Re: Thinking of going vintage
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:
Best of Luck!!