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Saxophones Finding a hidden gem - Conn; Buescher; Martin; Selmer; Etc...

DavidUK

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I'm intrigued.

My sorry looking Pan American was cheap but plays really well with a lovely tone and has features of it's big brother 6M.

So, if the Pan Am is the 6M's alter ego, what of the other brands and their stencils? Which other "cheapies" are only marginally behind their more expensive siblings? And which ones are to be avoided?

I'm referring to vintage 2nd hand horns that cost maybe 20% of their famous brethren.

What's been your experience? Do tell.


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This may sound silly David but try an older Corton / Amati tenor sometime, you`d be amazed at how early SX90-alike it sounds for little money (Keilwerth were related to Amati at some stage) , I prefer it to the BW soundwise as it`s less boxy across the range and has more life at the top end , the action is a damn sight less clunky than you`d expect too ..

Saxgirl won`t be parted from her Weltklang Soloist tenor, OK it`s arguably the best sounding of the East-german B&S/B&M stuff but they still can change hands at less than a used G4M, has it a fancy big brother - no but worth a blow all the same .

Moving back to famous names What about the Shooting stars series - the 16M is starting to gain ground in the Tenor region especially if you manage to land a pre-Mex wireguard one - Rumours say it`s a 10M body with cheaper keywork ..

Everyone seems to rag the Bundy-II but the older Bundy Special (Keilwerth) Bundy non special (Dunno who made it) are worth looking out for . there are other Keilwerth and Yani made stencil horns worth keeping your beady eyes out for ..

The Yam 32 is a 62 body with student keywork and its own bell supposedly

What I`d like to discover is a Chinese Tenor which looks suspiciously like a 10M clone and after getting it out of curiousity for £50 and finding out that it`s a real 10M badged for the chinese home market
 

altissimo

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there's a bewildering array of stencil saxes out there, some of this info may be of use -
http://bassic-sax.info/version5/vintage-saxes/stencil-saxes
http://www.saxpics.com/infonmisc/stencils.htm
http://saxpics.com/?v=info&p=stencil
http://www.drrick.com/stencil.html

some stencil names were used on instruments made by different manufacturers, so it gets quite confusing and there's also the 'second line' or student instruments like the Conn Pan American, Buescher Elkhart, King Cleveland and the Martin Indiana and Medallist. To further confuse things, there are instruments made by the Pan American company before Conn bought them out and used the name on their own made instruments - you'd have to read through the Saxpics site for further info ..
My Martin Indiana and Medallist altos are great, maybe not as refined as the Committee, but I love 'em..

The Couf Superba made by Keilwerth in the 1970's is an excellent sax, I tried a soprano once and it was the best sop I've ever played.. I hesitated because the key work is a bit of a stretch, went back with the money 2 days later and it'd gone...
 

majordennis

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My 1937 Cavalier is a New Wonder without BisBb or front F, it has the Mercedes keyguards and the solid Conn build, contrary to the pic on my avatar it is in fact silver plate, it looks and plays exactly like a New Wonder, £80 well spent.

I've had a 16M and currently own a 10M and I'm not sure if the bodies were the same although they both play(ed in the case of the 16M) very well, I'm sure one of our US members would be able to clarify that. I also owned a YTS32 which I bought from another member here, superb horn but turned out to be just a bit too edgy for me.

Plenty of bargains to be had in the "stencil" market, but make sure you do your research.
 

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Buescher`s "Aristocrat" line may have been a name for their cheapest plastic Clarinets and later in Saxes too (the 200 for instance) but the old Saxophones (the "New Aristocrat" and older) are of a different level and well worth a blow ..

I think the biggest hidden gem (though less and less hidden as time goes on) is Still the MKVII Tenor, I`d not have swapped my tatty early sample for any MkVI I played on sound, without a doubt THE most underrated Henri-Selmer sax by a good few miles ..
 

DavidUK

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majordennis

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Very interesting, when I bought my 16M a few years ago it was likened in appearance to what was generically referred to as a "Chu Berry" body with cheaper keywork which would suggest that they were NW or PA bodies, Mr Berry was believed to have played a "Transitional" model produced between the NW's and the Artists (6M and 10M).

When talking vintage American Jaye is the expert, he will have researched his data thoroughly, if they are alike it's amazing what a difference the 10M keywork must make.

Not everyones cup of tea but I find it fascinating.
 

majordennis

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Mine must be earlier, I have no BisB and split bell keys, there is a website which gave it's designation as 92M and year as 1937/8, Conn Loyalist under the Pan Am section.
 

kevgermany

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I'm a big fan of older saxes, my best 'stencil' buy so far is a Butcher Elkhart alto. Really roars and plays beautifully. Not refined like my Kohlert, but raw, rough, loud. Stripped for a repad atm, but back soon.
 

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All the Cortons I`ve seen have the Deluxe logo on the neck , have the Yanis got it on the bell as well ? . Yanis made ones seem pretty scarce though are well worth searching out, it must be fabulous to buy a Corton on the cheap a a kickabout and find out it`s a Yani made one - the bog standard Amati made one is a great horn for the pittance you can pick them up for though .
 

thomsax

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Corton was made by Amati. Corton Deluxe made by Yanagisawa. Rather common here in Sweden. They were sold and distrubuted by Hagstöm Musik (the guitar builder). The had ss,as,ts and bs. My friend bought a silverplated Corton Deluxe low A bari. Very good bari, to be a low A;).

Here is som pictures of a Corton Deuxe, mid 70's, Nice horn and with high F#. Picture 12-15.
http://s297.photobucket.com/user/thomsax/media/cortondeluxeclusterpk.jpg.html?sort=3&o=12
 
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That`s a bang up to date design unlike my Amati made Corton which has no high F# and the LH table doesn `t tilt and looks very vintage USA , they all seem to have deluxe on the neck ..

Here are the pics of mine, don`t know how old it is, late 70s / early 80s at a guess but it`s rather primative for that era in design though far less clunky than you`d expect, the keywork is more refined than some modern horns and quite suprised me .... these things are really underrated , as I say, I prefer it to the BW TS-Y Soundwise , its more open and lively

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nx7vm4jfvne13jj/-VbKG5BucD
 

Nick Wyver

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Mine must be earlier, I have no BisB and split bell keys, there is a website which gave it's designation as 92M and year as 1937/8, Conn Loyalist under the Pan Am section.
No bis Bb? Don't think I've ever seen one like that from that late. So it's side Bb all the time then?
 

thomsax

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don`t know how old it is, late 70s / early 80s at a guess but it`s rather primative for that era in design though far less clunky than you`d expect, the keywork is more refined than some modern horns and quite suprised me .... these things are really underrated , as I say, I prefer it to the BW TS-Y Soundwise , its more open and lively

Maybe built -78-79? http://s297.photobucket.com/user/thomsax/media/cortondeluxeclusterpk.jpg.html?sort=3&o=12

I like Amatis. These horns were very common in in Sweden in the 70's and 80's. It was the horn that was affordable for young players and was the first sax for lots of beginners. The saxophone had a renewal in the poular music in the late 70's early 80's; Bruce Springsteen, Soutside Johnny, Mink Deville, Gary US Bonds ......... . I hope we get a new renewal?
 
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thomsax

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Amati serial charts
http://s297.photobucket.com/user/thomsax/media/amatiserienr.jpg.html?sort=3&o=73
 
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Thanks Thom .. I think of the thing as a kind of poor man's SX90 , It has the same kinda gutsy life to its sound, of course the handling is more like an old Buescher than a modern Keilwerth ..
 

majordennis

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No bis Bb? Don't think I've ever seen one like that from that late. So it's side Bb all the time then?
I can and mostly use long Bb, I could I suppose graft one on but I use it so little on my tenors it doesn't seem worth it, I think then I only use it for runs that end on Bb.
 

majordennis

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Found a picture of it.
 

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