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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems to be very well known that the vintage Buescher true tone alto is one of the best and most underrated buys available, because its a quality sax (intonation issues aside), and a decent fixer upper can be had for as little as $150-$300 USD. I personally bought a Conn21M with rolled tone holes for about $220 USD - loving it.

I'd love to hear your vote for other vintage saxes that are sleeper deals. (meaning great quality, low price).
If you want to play, here are the categories:

1) Bari

2) Tenor

3) Alto

4) Soprano

5) Nino

Also, try to list the expected price for an instrument in decent condition ( >$150 in shop repairs).

Thanks all,

J
 

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Great topic --- Limited to vintage, eh? Ok.

The obvious answer is always "stencils." I've got a "Concertone" stenciled tenor sitting in my workshop right now that is a Martin-built tank of a horn. Its a cross between a Martin Imperial (has the funky front Eb key) and handcraft (has split bell keys, and no front alt-F). I got it for $150 on ebay WITH an old Buescher mouthpiece that I sold for $100. Needs an overhaul, yeah, but $50?? When I get 'er done I'll either keep it as a backup or look to sell for approx. $500 - $550 FULLY RESTORED. Stencil = bargain Martin. Sorta similar, my bari is a "Indiana Band Instrument Co" horn (Martin), and my new sop is a Pan American (Conn), and both were good value.

If not stencils, the others that get pitched around quite often as value horns are:

1. Immediate post-selmer buyout Bueschers. The first number of Bueschers post-Selmer are still made with all Buescher parts, no shortcutting, so they're just as solid as the Buescher Bueschers.

2. Old Bundys. Often made by Buescher, these go cheap and can play.

3. Old vitos. Often made by Leblanc or Yamaha (although plenty of makers made "vito" at some time), these can be players.
 

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For Bb baris, the Buescher 400's are a great value, especially those built in the '60's. The True Tones keyed to high F are often a good deal too.

The other obvious answer...re-lacquers!
 

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Like MyMartin says, stencils are definitely good value, as they don't have the "prestige" name. Some stencils have funky aspects (older tooling or keywork, etc.), but they are still a lot cheaper than the name brand horns. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out who made them, especially with the French and Italian horns - I have a Malerne? Rampone? Malone? But it sounds good, and was cheap. I like my '67 Conn 10M tenor - no naked lady engraving or rolled tone holes, but a solid quality horn.
 

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Yani stencils. For bari, the old ones are Artist. For tenor and alto, Martin. For soprano, Martin or Vito. There are many threads on these. They will seldom be as cheap as $300 but still a lot of horn for the money. But the intonation and action are good though the soprano has the Mk VI sop. keywork that may feel funny at first.
 

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Buescher 156 tenor and 140 altos. 156 is pretty much a later series Big B without the engraving. These are amazing horns and the rest of the world has not caught up on how great they are. Got my really good condition 140 at a pawn shop last year for $100. I'm an avid pawn shop hunter and from my experience they only know vintage Selmers and maybe vintage Conns are worth something.
 

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You might want to consider Conn 94M DJH modified and 110M in all horns. These are Couf Superba I and II (respectively) stencils and are the precurser to the Keilwerth SX-90R and non-R series. Very under valued but are REAL players with modern keywork with optional F#3. Built like tanks in the Keilwerth factories for Conn under the direction of Daniel J. Henkin and Doc Severenson mid 1970's.

B
 

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I second the 156 Buescher tenors. Also for bari, I've seen old New Wonder Conns such as mine go for around $800. No low A and they're keyed only to Eb3... and you might need to take some time to find a good mouthpiece match... but they can honk just like the later, more desired Conn models if you can live with the limitations.
 

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Dollar for dollar, the best 2 saxes I have are a Martin Indiana alto and Selmer Signet tenor. The Indiana is the "deluxe" model (adj thumbrest, heart-shaped left thumbrest) and plays almost as good as my Comm II. Just wish it had the c# adjuster. The Signet is the older "S-brace" model. I have about $300 in the alto and $400 in the tenor, that's including re-pads and some minor dent work. Not an ounce of buyer's remorse for either of these.
 
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