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Saxophones When is a Buffet not a Buffet ?

Buffet Crampon is a highly respected Clarinet maker who once upon a time actually made saxophones - I mean MADE them as opposed to sticking their name on whatever came along but that was decades ago and they`ve not made anything in house since the S series (unless that hi-end limited run horn made in the factory in France came off) ..

Soooo Buffet have stencilled their name (both Evette and just Buffet) on horns made from all over the place, the Evettes are the worst for this, they can range from really sad Eastern European clunkers, through Italian oddballs to Japanese Yani excellence I believe .. the horn of the review here lies in the middle and is in fact a Taiwanese made Jupiter with a couple of differences spec'd by Buffet , an intermediate JTS 789 it would seem


Using Jupiter to make your horns in the 90s was a wise move because the Chinese were nothing like as good as they are now, eastern European horns (especially Cortons) were still using way outdated pinkie tables and the posh ones were no doubt cost inffective .. as Evettes were the Student models (or so I was lead to believe) , choosing an intermediate Jupiter raised the bar the marque somewhat - as did using the Yani 500 series (probably the best thing Buffet ever badged) ..

The original Jupe STS 787 tenor was based on the Selmer MkVII of all things (rather than the usual SA80) complete with very MkVII like key spacings (not the most popular) - the later JTS 789 (and JTS 787/789 labelled one) is very similar but Buffet have spec'd normal tables here , I can`t say if they`re SA80 ot Yani copies but they`re easier to reach than the MkVII ones on the 787 ..


This horn also has the 3 point brace and blued steel springs showing its the JTS series 789 model and not the earlier STS series horn ........ the keywork on 90s Jupes is functional and quite fast, can be prone to wear and uses non adjustable bullet screws but even when rattling they do stay reliable , this example needed minor regulation only .. another thing this horn does`t suffer is the traditional Taiwan warbles (from research, early jupes, TJs and others were rather notorious for this)..

Soundwise , like all the Jupiter tenors I`ve played, it sounds lovely, it`s got that MkVII depth without lacking clarity thing going on - it also suffers typical MkVII ills such as stuffy mid D losing clarity at the top end , bell notes having a tendency to set off car alarms etc ;) , it`s not got that "Combine a MkVII with a Yamaha" spread a TJ RAW has but it`s far from stuffy though most of the range and better than a few real Selmers I could mention . Nope, I have no issues with the sound or the handling - the latter isn`t refined like a Yamaha or Yani but no worse than a thrashed Selmer or a few years old Mauriat etc .

the reason I`ve never kept a Jupiter Tenor, even as a backup is the tendency for them to octave and warble on certain notes (played loads ,they all did it, the G being the most common place they do it) , admittedly my MkVII did also , you get used to playing around these things but after a couple of years of Yamahas, Tolerance slips and so never kept any of them - this Version seems to have cured it, maybe the later Jupiter badged 789s do also ....... whatever , this is an excellent sounding horn with serviceable keywork which can be picked up cheap .......

thankfully unlike other Buffets, it`s OEM is easy to spot - the Jupiter bell brace, trills style and MkVII stack rod collector is a dead giveaway ..

Update ......... 14/06/15 ..

I`ve fully lubed and adjusted the action now and it`s feeling a hell of a lot smoother , I still need to do some corks, just odd ones here and there such as under the C trill and one of the palms / replace a couple of hardened ones etc which will finish it off nicely but it`s playing sweet now, Action is on reflection about TJ Revolution-II level which is pretty good (better than a Bauhaus Walstein TS-YD) ....

Another thing I`m appreciating is the lack of weight (or lack thereof) , even high end Jupiters of the time didn`t set the pillars on ribs so the horn is little if any heavier than the YTS-61 and likewise is easier on the neck than most .

Update ......... 30/06/15 ..

This has definitely settled in as my Band instrument, the tonal balance fits like a glove which the Yamahas (62-II, 32, 61) never really did (they`ve lamented the passing of the MkVII for nearly 2 years, far moreso than I have) , you can really growl into this thing with a 9 tip Mpc and no worries about it getting nicked or kicked, I feared for the "Silver-lady" 62-II`s fragile perfect finish and the 61`s ribless body and 2-point bell brace...
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5.00 star(s) 2 ratings

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