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Seeker Of A Clever Title.
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This forum has done a fine job of figuring out how Buescher's saxophone designs have changed over the years. A couple questions have been bugging me, and I've crawled the archives and haven't been able to find answers. Would really appreciate if someone could help me!


  • For tenors, we have come to the consensus that the 127 (which encompasses both art deco and Big B engravings) and the 155, 156, are the models at which the sonic design changed. Going earlier than that, did the sonic design (neck, bore, tonehole placements) change between the True Tone, New Aristocrat, and 127? For example, the True Tone design was reused for Aristocrats in sopranos and baris, so I'm curious if they had done so for tenors too.
  • Did the sonic design of the curved sopranos change between Series III (pearl G#) and Series IV (roller G#)?. People seem to value the Series IV curvies more, but I'm wondering if they are truly better players than the earlier ones. For altos we have some street knowledge that the Series IV True Tone altos are better than the Series III, but there's really little data on the sopranos.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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Players who are fully Buescher-focused - rather than yrs truly, who merely harbors a deep love for the marque - tell me that the change from T-T to New Crat tenor was really just in the neck (specifics not available) and some keywork. (Enough of the latter to warrant changing from oval post feet to diamond, FWTW.) The New Crat tenor was brought out later than the alto, and made in much smaller numbers - perhaps 1,000 units or less.

The main improvement I hear in the New Crat tenor over the T-T (mine are only about 1200 units apart) is a subtly smoother, easier-blowing quality, which could be accounted for by the new neck. They're both friendly and flexible horns, with unusually easy low ends for tenors, and once you learn how to blow thru a couple of intonational foibles, they will play with just about any great tenor (and even outdo them at low volumes and intimate contexts). That they are known mostly as the demure helpmeets in Rascherian quartets is merely parochial tradition.

A data point of note: model number 127 dated back to early T-T tenors. It was reused for the New Crat tenors, whereas the New Crat alto was a new model - 135. Typically a new model number at Buescher meant either a variant available simultaneously OR a whole new instrument - i.e. a redesigned body tube, not just keys or what have you.

Late in 1934 the Aristocrat series 1 with left side bell keys came on the market more or less simultaneously in alto and tenor. Once again tho, the alto remained 135 and the tenor 127. That suggests changes were limited to the neck and keywork, altho the latter was severely revised this go 'round, giving quite a different feel from previous models.

Some acoustical changes are evident to my ear as well, even if the body tube is still mostly the same. (Individual notes could be tweaked up to a point, say by changing tone hole size.) I hear a refined scale and perhaps a compromise or two in response on certain notes - middle C2 on alto might be a little more whispery, and low C# on tenor a little more prone to breaking up. But the tonal character is much the same, altho new neck designs are obvious, due to that refined scale and a little easier emission at high volume.
 
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