Saxophone Forum


by scottpinkstone
(3 posts)
1 year ago

Thinking of going vintage

Hi everyone, its my 1st day on the forum and thought I would ask the experts for advice. 
I have been playing alto for nearly a year now and have to say I'm doing really well. My Alto is  1 year old and a John Packer 45 (English model as I'm from the uK) but I'm thinking of changing it for something older with great tone and a bit of history?
My teacher (who has played with Rod Stewart) suggests a Conn or a Bucsher but I'm not sure what model or age... Any suggestions or other makes would be good ? Many thanks 
Scotty  

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  1. by Saxquest
    (324 posts)

    1 year ago

    Re: Thinking of going vintage

    Hi Scotty-
         Vintage saxophones are a great choice for many reasons and your teacher has suggested some great options. With both Buescher and Conn, consider altos between about 1933-1955. The big advantage of buying vintage is that there's already an established market value and you really take no depreciation hit other than wear and tear that you put on the instrument. Of course, they can also be incredible instruments and offer the player a unique sound versus the standard that most modern makers seem to be going after today.

    I would probably most recommend Buescher over Conn when considering altos. The first series Aristocrat and the Big B Aristocrat are great! In general, they have a nice focused sound and great intonation. The sound tends to be a bit on the sweeter side with a beautiful singing quality. The Buescher 400 top hat & cane is also great! These are bigger bore horns and tend to be louder instruments. They are also a bit more spread but that comes with tremendous resonance. They are great fun horns to play.

    Conns of this vintage are also a great saxophones. Conn first made their transition into the 6M model in the early 1930's. 30's-40's vintage 6M altos can be incredible saxophones. In my experience, the Conn 6M rolled tone hole alto blows most similar to the Buescher 400 but with a dryer overall sound. The Conn 26M Connqueror is a "souped up" 6M and has a very similar blow.

    You can typically get into a Buescher or Conn of the prime vintage in decent original lacquer for under $2000. In fact, we have a near mint original lacquer Buescher Big B alto posted up on the Saxquest web site in this price range. You can check it out at the direct link below:

    http://www.saxquest.com/index.php/product/view/beautiful-mint-condition-vintage-buescher-big-b-alto-sn-297263-P7050

    Best of Luck!!

    Cheers,
         Mark Overton
         www.saxquest.com

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    1. by scottpinkstone
      (3 posts)

      1 year ago

      Re: Thinking of going vintage

      Mark 
      a huge thank you for sharing you knowledge and thoughts about upgrading my Sax , that's very kind. I will do some looking around for my next sax . I would like to buy one from the states however tax and import duty is very high to the UK, so I will keep looking closer to home , however great advise!!!
      many thanks
      Scotty  

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  2. by GFC
    (359 posts)

    1 year ago

    Re: Thinking of going vintage

    Vintage horns can be very rewarding, but also very demanding.  It's important to know what you're getting into when you enter that world.  They can be quirky.  There's all sorts of variation in all brands of vintage horns in terms of quality, tone, ergnomics, and so forth.  The buyer's guide under "resources"  and the museum section on this site are a good starting point for anyone considering the world of vintage horns.  More historical information can be found at Saxpics.com.  Another resource is the Saxgourmet vintage saxophone value guide.  

    http://www.saxgourmet.com/VINTAGE_SAXOPHONE_VALUE_GUIDE.htm

    The most important element in all of this is you, knowing what you really want to achieve in terms of sound and being sure that your technique has developed to the point where you know you can really benefit playing a vintage horn.   In the meantime, enjoy the geeky pleasures of learning the ins and outs of various models and how they evolved through the years, and familiarizing yourself with the various sounds of vintage horns.  There are lots of examples posted on YouTube.  But be aware that the sound of a vintage horn is never better than the sound of the person playing it.

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  3. by birdlover
    (40 posts)

    1 year ago

    Re: Thinking of going vintage

    Don't ignore the Conn New Wonders, or even the Wonders, they are great altos with a rich and sweet sound. They are also a good deal these days if you watch what you are doing and are worth checking out. Also, don't leave your mouthpiece out of the equation. The mouthpiece you use can make a huge difference in your sound although I agree with GFC that the sound really originates with the player. Still, I like the old New York Meyers for my altos although I also have an MC Gregory Hollywood that really plays great as well. I couldn’t decide which I liked better so I kept them both. I had them worked on by Dan Yokum through a friend of mine who knew him, and he did a great job on them, made them better without changing their intent. Investing a little money on and in a mouthpiece is very worthwhile. So keep that in mind as well when you decide how much you want to spend on a new horn.

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    1. by birdlover
      (40 posts)

      1 year ago

      Re: Thinking of going vintage

      Correction: I meant John Yokum not Dan. Sorry about that, getting old I guess.

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      1. by scottpinkstone
        (3 posts)

        1 year ago

        Re: Thinking of going vintage

        Hi Birdlover thanks for the advice !! I have just upgraded my mouthpiece to a Selmer Soloist and it has changed the tone of the sax hugely, however I think I have outgrown my starter sax. Already :-) 
        thanks again
        Scotty 

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        1. by cycles
          (42 posts)

          1 year ago

          Re: Thinking of going vintage

          Hi scott
          i have imported a few vintage instruments from the US, and have been happy with all my purchases. If you calculate the 20% vat + £8 to parcel force plus your shipping costs it can still work out cheaper than buying in the UK. if the US seller doesn't ship to the UK, you can get yourself a US address through a company called reship  who will send your sax on for a modest fee, they will even pack together a few items for you ( consolidate) and ship them in one package. Great service.

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