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hey im new to these forums, and recently i have really been getting into the saxophone. at first i only played it because i wanted to be in the school band and i thought that the sax was really cool, but now i do it more cause its fun.

i have been renting an antigua winds alto sax from kenelly keys for a few years now, and finally have decided that it's time to buy a sax. i really really like the vintage alto saxophones and don't want a newer model... something about vintage saxes makes me love 'em.

i don't have a ton of money to spend, and i researched it a bit and the Conn 6m looks like a really good sax, but a guy at kenelly keys that we asked said that it would be better to buy a newer sax, even though the conn is nice.

does anyone know of any nice saxes that are vintage?

i would get the Selmer Mark VI if i had the money.. but im sort of on a budget... hehe.

p.s. my friend has a 1927 alto conn that was amazing when i played it, and he also owns a conn 10m tenor that i played and that was also amazing, so i dont know why that guy thinks vintage saxes arent good..
 

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Buy the horn that will beg you to play it the most. In other words, go with the one you are drawn to the most emotionally. A new horn--even if its 60 years old--is more than just a hunk of brass. It's like an adopted child. It sounds like you have a thing for the vintage horns. If that's where your heart leads you, why don't you explore it. The Conn 6M Naked Lady is one of the best saxophones ever made. But make sure you--and possibly even your friend--try it out first.

The only downside is that your school band director might want you to play a newer sax. I would test him or her on this; if he is firmly against it, however, you might have to go with a used Selmer or Yamaha, considering you are on a budget. But neither option sounds very exciting, does it?

Another consideration is a Buescher 400 alto sax from the 1960's. I'm talking about the ones with the vertical "Buescher" logo and just floral engaving, not the expensive ones with the top-hat-and-cane engraving. I thought of these as a possible compromise because they have a big vintage American sound like the Conn but have keywork that is slick enough and a tone that can blend well enough with newer horns to appease your director. This is all from the assumption that you are going to be playing in school.

The great Johnny Hodges played a Buescher 400 alto.

Where do I get a Buescher 400? They come up for sale quite regularly on ebay. However, I would buy from an ebay seller who is either an instrument dealer or has a ton of transactions with a high (over 95 percent) feedback rating. Some members on here would caution you against this; but the reality is that the majority of the members on here have bought (or least bid on) a sax on ebay. But you might ask your parents for help should you decide to go this way.

Have fun!
 

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You know, on second thought, you might not want to make ebay your first horn-buying experience. If you're comfortable with it, you'll get the best deals there. But there is a risk.

Fortunately, there are several online vintage horn dealers. A good way to find them all is to consult this forum's online dealer directory (go back to the main menu).

But to help you out I'll list a couple of the more prominent (and trusted) ones:

www.worldwidesax.com

www.junkdude.com
 

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Saxalex: Welcome to SOTW. I agree with what Swingtone posted. I'll add that while vintage horns are nifty (I own several), newer players may not fully understand the nuances of intonation with these horns.

Some are just out of tune. Others are near perfect. I know many players love their old Conns but I've never played one that had a good scale (and I've played many and owned several). Meaning that when selecting a vintage saxophone, you must understand the risk.

I am a Buescher fan (making a full disclosure here). Every Buescher I've played has had a good scale - at least good enough that a good player can compensate for it. You may be able to find a good Buescher 400 that was made by Buescher - before the Selmer buy-out (those with the TH&C markings). But admittedly, those seem to be becoming more desireable, thus the prices go up. I found mine for around $1300. a couple of years ago (a local store that I frequent).

Buying from eBay? Be prepared to add about $700.00 or so for a complete overhaul. But after that, you'll most likely have a player.

Another source for great vintage horns is Gayle Fredenburgh's site, vintagesax.com. Let us know how it goes. DAVE
 

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I can deifintely agree with everything said above.

The biggest considerations with vintage horns are the different nuances of each horn, but even modern horns have their own, all of them.

Also the consideration of IF something breaks, it may be harder to replace the part. Im partial to Kings and Martin horns, they play the best for me. But look in My signature, I'm looking for the the correct replacement neck for my bari, and a low C keygaurd for my alto. Its just something that vintage owners have to be willing to deal with. I still LOVE my vintage horns

I second the recomendation for junkdude music listed above. I live about 20 minutes away, and Dave is Class A all the way, and so is Tom, who is doing repair there. If you decide you're interested in a horn there, let me know, Id love the excuse to head over and play some horns, let you know how they are
 

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Neil Sharpe said:
A horn that you might consider, and should be able to pick up for a good price, is a Martin Handcraft. Stephen Howard has a review at the following link, as well as reviews of other vintage altos.
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Martin_Handcraft_alto.htm
Those are nice horns, for sure, but they may be a little too vintage (1930s) for use in his school's band. That's why I thought a 400 would be a good compromise. They have spot-on intonation and can easily blend with modern horns.
 

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Swingtone, with respect, I simply can't agree that a Martin made in the 30's or even earlier would be too "a little too vintage" to blend in with "modern" horns.
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=13770

The same holds true for the well regarded Buescher True Tones from the 20's and Aristocrats from the 30's, as well as the great Conn horns from these time periods.

The bottom line is that a player, especially a student, wherever possible, should first try out a horn to make sure it's right for them. This would be especially true for the keywork on vintage horns. Reputable dealers will provide a trial period with the player responsible for the shipping costs if he or she decides to return the horn.

I've seen local high school students who were very happy with their vintage Bueschers, Conns, and Martins produced in the 20's and 30's while others preferred today's Keilwerths, Selmers, Yamahas, and Yanagiswas to name just a few.

Saxalex, if you really like the feel and sound of your friend's Conn alto, then the Conn 6M sounds like the best place for you to start. Although I personally haven't played one, they certainly have a wonderful reputation:
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Conn_6M.htm
http://www.saxpics.com/conn/new_wonder2.htm

And here's an earlier thread that discussed the respective pros and cons of the Buescher 400.
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/archive/index.php/t-1924.html
http://www.saxpics.com/buescher/400.htm

Best wishes in finding the horn that's right for you!
 

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I have a Handcraft that I played in a church orchestra. It blended pretty well. I really did not notice any intonation issues on the horn, when I played it. It always had a great full sound, that could rival most Conns in how loud, and pure it COULD sound.
The other post were right, a Conn 6M is the king of the pre-Mark VI era. Easily one of the best vintage saxophones.
I would not recomend going the e-bay route with your first vintage purchase. You have stated that you do have a small budget, and e-bay could be the place to find a horn. The problem with vintage horns and e-bay are numorious. Horns were made in different pitches, their were two main ones. High pitch = European pitch Low pitch = American pitch. If you buy a high pitch instrument you will not be able to play it in almost any type of band setting, save a rock band. Another problem is that horns were often made in "C", so that people could play at home with a Piano. The bottom line is that without some serious help, their are some serious problems that you could find.

The best place to find a vintage horn, with almost no risk, is the Marketplace. Since alot of trading is done, you can usually get a good deal on a horn.
 

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I'm still wondering how your band director would feel about you playing a horn from the 20's or 30's. However, I do agree that most Bueschers from that period, with their excellent intonation, would not be a problem.

If you do decide to go with a pre-WWII horn, definitely, and I mean definitely, buy one that has a trial period before you commit to purchase. Aside from those wonderfully-in-tune Bueschers, most saxophones I have played made prior to the mid-50s had some intonation problems which I had to adjust for--in other words, they were not in tune with themselves. And these included several Conn's, King's and Martin's.

I think pre-war Conn's and Martin's are wonderful horns and would be a good choice--only a couple more years down the road when you've developed some more chops.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry!

Sorry everyone! I couldn't find where I had put my post so i had been looking around and then finally, thinking that no one else had found it, I gave up and started browsing for different saxophone reviews.

Sure enough, going into the Advice on Buying or Selling a Saxophone section i happen to find it and there are a lot of replies! Thank you all for them. I haven't read through them all quite yet, but i just wanted to post this to let you all know that i'm here now... :)

I found a Conn 6m Naked Lady sax thats about a 3 hour drive away thats in good condition, but $1600, and another one thats in not as good of condition but still plays nicely for 875$. My plan is to buy a really nice vintage saxophone, and then put the rental money into renting a newer saxophone, for playing in band and other places, and I'll use the vintage one (whichever one i happen to buy) for performances and practice.

Thanks for the replies!
 

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hm there's something wrong with me posting stuff on forums.. it takes for EVER to show up for me... anyone know what that problem is?

Now in response to all the posts that I have now read;

I would NEVER take a vintage saxophone into my band... too many jerks would try to steal it.

I'm looking for a vintage sax with really good response and tone, so if anyone knows whether any of the saxes mentioned in posts above has better tone and response than the others, please tell me. The Bueschers look like they're nice, but I actually am not on that big of a budget I realized... If I sold one of my guitars (i own 9... 4 vintage) I could buy a decent sax, but I would prefer not to sell one.

Basically, I could have the money to get a really really nice sax if I wanted to make the sacrifice of a guitar, which is tied for sax in my love of music. The guitar I would sell is a 1969 Gibson ES335... been fixed up a bit by the owners before us, but the value is nevertheless still high, and increasing yearly. We could sell it for $4,500-$9,000 this year, but in 10 years it would be worth well over $20,000.. so I don't really know what to do... keep the vintage guitar, or sell it for a vintage sax?

Thanks for the replies.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
4 saxes..

OK! I have finally looked through a lot of different companies who make saxophones and these are the ones I came out with... forget about whether my band teacher likes vintage or not..

Conn
Selmer
Buescher
Martin

If you like any one over another please tell me which model of that series you like the best with experience... and also, what do you all think about relacquered saxophones?
 

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Selmer prices are high for all of their horns. Conn, Buescher, and Martin will fetch a decent amount. If it is a relaq. check the toneholes.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
down to 3

your right selmers are too expensive.. i guess selmers eliminated.

Personally, I like the Conn 6m and Martin Handcraft Imperial (which I saw for $1,300 in good condition). I also like the Buescher 400 Top Hat and Cane... Anyone have any personal experience with one or more of those?

I'll just list them again in a neat way.. :|

Conn 6m
Martin Handcraft Imperial (or any other Martin, I just like the Imperial design a lot)
Buescher 400
 

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Every brand you listed is good (assuming the particular sax is a good one). But no one can tell you which you should choose. That's a matter of individual preference.
 

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Is this the "How long is a piece if string" thread?

Its an impossible question to answer.

Find out what is available in your price range, and go play them. Then chose the one you like best.
 
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