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Buescher Big B Alto Saxophone Original Lacquer Good Condition 324407$ 1,600
This is a 1949 Buescher “Big B” Aristocrat, so named for the ornate engraving of a, well, a Big B on the bell. This horn is in very good condition, and the typical wear around the fine engraving of the B on the bell is not present, which indicates that this horn has led a life mostly in a closet somewhere. There are no resolders or past dentwork to speak of, and it plays *way* better than it should on some very old pads, but you would want to get this repadded to play like it can, which is very, very good!
These horns are undervalued in my opinion. I mean, you can get this one in such great shape with all of its original Snap-on resonators and overhaul it for not a lot more than a Yamaha student model in total- seems like a good buy to me! Johnny Hodges famously played one of these, and his tone is a very good example of the blend of sweetness and power these horns possess.
Conn 10M Tenor Saxophone Pre-War 1937 Excellent Condition Overhauled
Conn 4M Curved Soprano RARE Late Example 244750 Matt Stohrer Overhaul Exceptional!
If you want the best, the most beautiful, the rarest, and the highest quality overhaul all in one soprano, then this is the one for you. You can get a ‘normal’ conn curved soprano for a lot less, but it will not be like this. This Conn curved soprano is for the connoisseur, the collector, and the discerning player.
The general rule for buying these, in my view, is to get the latest curved soprano that you can find. I only know of a few individual instruments with later serial numbers than this. You could probably count the total number that were made after this one in the single digits. This is only the second one that I have seen in person, and it is by far the nicest one I have seen. Like every Conn curved soprano it had a couple of key guard feet resoldered, and that is it for past repairs. They look good, and are not at all glaring. The neck is particularly nice. The bell flare and body tube are undamaged.
It just got a complete overhaul and gentle hand polish and cleaning done by Matt Stohrer, Conn enthusiast and my personal favorite repairman for Conn overhauls. Matt’s work needs no introduction, but you can find his website here, and his youtube channel here, complete with several Conn-specific repariman’s overview videos. I got the silver plate touched up in a couple of places where it was starting to show some wear, and I got the gold wash in the bell redone also, though there was still some gold in there to start with. The resonators are the nice, reusable, high-end TenorMadness set, flattened for an authentic look. They look great. An overhaul is a big job, and that’s now done, so this horn is back to factory fresh or better playing condition. Better, because Matt’s pad work feels better than the reso-pad job found on these originally. It’s tight, snappy, and positive under the fingers. Pad heights are just right, and all the little details that distinguish a really good overhaul from a mediocre one are present and correct on this horn.
Playing wise, this soprano is a monster. It’s warm, round, broad, and room-filling, even at low volumes. When pushed, it is almost too loud. It wants to project over a band. The tone is completely different from modern sopranos. Much more warm and medium-dark, almost like a larger saxophone voice squeezed into the small soprano body. The intonation is quite good, and this works well with a wider range of mouthpieces than many sopranos. I used my Bilger Morgan, and it sounds great. But a modern Yanagisawa HR or even a vintage Buescher will all work, so there’s a good range. This is easily one of my favorite vintage sopranos that I have ever played. If you are looking for a new dimension to add to your playing, a curved soprano like this is interesting and stimulating. A whole fresh world to explore. It also looks great on stage, and catches eyes if you’re a full time performer.
This beautiful instrument comes in its original case, also in good condition.
Just for fun, here’s a clip Dave Koz playing his silver Conn curved soprano with postmodern jukebox. Also, be sure to check out Keenan McKenzie’s curved Conn soprano playing in a 30’s swing setting. So great, and tons of fun!
Conn 6M Metro Alto Near Mint Condition Fresh Overhaul Amazing 275392$ 3,575
If you want the very best, this is the one to get. Nicest 6M Metro (predecessor to the VIII stamp) that I have had for sale and overhauled in a long time. Maybe ever. Pre-war, gorgeous original lacquer, Metro neck. Fresh high-end overhaul that feels great under the fingers. Nothing sounds like a 6M. You get the swivel thumb hook too, that only comes on the earlier Artist altos like this. Maximum projection, power, and warmth, while maintaining just the right amount of focus. This is an exceptional alto, and whoever gets it will be very lucky!
Only one available!
Conn 6M Transitional Art Deco Alto Saxophone 247105 Great Shape 1931$ 1,600
I love Conn altos in the 230-260k range, and especially the ones near 250k serial. This 247k is a transitional Conn between the New Wonder II (‘Chu Berry’) and the 6M (‘Artist’) models. It is a true transitional in every sense, and is almost half NWII and half 6M. These special alto saxophones have a tone and set of features found nowhere else, and that makes them especially great in several ways. The bore still feels more like a NWII to play, so the tone is wider and wilder than the later 6M’s (which are also great, but are more focused and a bit less wild). The neck is like a 6M, so you get the improved intonation that ‘slots in’ better – NWII’s have good intonation as well, but it is more flexible than the 6M versions. The bell keys have moved around to the left, but the left hand spatula keys retain their NWII shape, but with improved mechanics. No saxophone has an easier or more direct feel on the low B and Bb that this version of Conn. It’s nice and light and fast, though you don’t have anything like modern ergonomics on those keys, of course. The regular main stack keywork is already mostly updated to the fast and comfortable 6M design. That is very good keywork, and is hardly improved upon in modern horns, so this is a very comfortable horn to play.
It came with special ‘art deco’ engraving on the bell that you only see for a short time around 245-249k serial with Conn altos. This example is original or ‘first’ lacquer, and has not been refinished. It has original pads and even comes with the original warranty and care booklet in the original case.
Tonally, these late transitional 6M’s are an ideal choice for big band or jazz band lead alto. They have almost unlimited projection or ‘carrying power’ as the old advertizements put it. And the tone stays strong and cohesive no matter how much you push it. It’s just a joy to hear one of these in full song. Marhsall Royale and the Basie band all played Conns like this, as did Charlie Parker for a while (among many other horns). You see them commonly in clubs in NYC and all over Europe these days. Nothing sounds like a Conn. This one is priced low for what it is. Superb original condition. Add a good overhaul, and you will have one of the best built alto saxophones ever, that will be dependable and fantastic to own and play for many many years to come. If you like this version in silver, I also have a silver 249k that I just got completely overhauled that is also for sale.
Only one available!
Conn 6m Transitional Art Deco Alto Saxophone 249081 Overhauled!$ 3,450
The Conn 6M transitional takes many forms, and this particular original silver plated example is from 1932. It features art deco engraving (a style which only appears for a couple of years), left hand bell keys, 6M style keywork everywhere except the left hand pinky table, which is New Wonder II style. This is the last iteration before the transitional becomes nearly identical to the 6M, and to my ears these have a bit wider tone of the New Wonder II than the transitionals just after it- and in fact around this serial range is my favorite of the transitionals, playing-wise.
It has just gotten a complete overhaul, and it looks crazy stupid fine! Physically it is in extremely good condition, with no dents or dings or evidence of past repairs that I can see. The neck is undamaged and shows no signs of past pulldown, and the microtuner is free and functional. The silver plate is thick and unworn, and shined up unbelievably well with a gentle polish! It comes with its original case in good condition and its original warranty card. These are great altos, built by the finest American saxophone craftsmen in their heyday, and a super clean one like this is a great place to start if you are looking for a fantastic vintage horn that will last you a lifetime for less of an overall investment than most any new horn of even middling quality that you can buy today.
Conn 6M VIII Alto Saxophone Pre-War Original Lacquer Very Good Condition Plays Well 294775$ 1,950
This pre-war (from the American perspective, meaning prior to the government order than restricted the manufacture of musical instruments along with anything else made out of brass) Conn 6M was built in 1941, and is the desirable “VIII” version, with the VIII stamp on both the body and neck.
It is in very good physical condition with original lacquer, no dents, and no major or minor past repairs or resolders, with the exception of a repaired dent on the bowguard, which is visible in the photos. It has what appears to be a recent repad, or perhaps an old repad that wasn’t played much after it was done, and Conn Res-o-pads were used. It plays well with a big voice, and although to my professionally-obligated-to-be-picky tastes it is not quite as astoundingly slick under the fingers at these feel when they have been overhauled as the best repairers can do, it is definitely playable as-is and will beat the pants off of most any challenger, especially modern imports that cost a lot more and give you a lot less than this fine example of vintage American saxophone craftsmanship.
Oddly, the lacquer on the neck is more worn than the rest of the horn- although physically the neck is in immaculate condition with no dents or past pulldowns. In the past when I have seen this the culprit is usually a homemade neck bag that was lacquer-unfriendly, or perhaps the owner had a habit during rests to hold the horn with the neck in his hand. Given the lack of wear elsewhere on the horn, I’d guess a neck bag was the culprit here, although I can’t be certain. But again, though the lacquer itself is mostly gone from the neck (and the neck alone), the neck tube is flawless and there are no signs of past repairs of any kind.
The microtuner is free and functional, and all of the original rollers and present and moving freely. The engraving is crisp and clear with no lacquer loss, and the pearls seems largely unworn. The keywork is tight and the body is straight. This is a very clean example of the most desirable vintage of the most desirable variant of the Conn 6M, and it can be yours for less than a new Yamaha YAS-26.
Conn 6M VIII Original Silver Plate Pre-War Rare Version 285404 Excellent Condition$ 2,650
Incredible Pre-war Conn 6M VIII in silver plate. You rarely see silver plated instruments before WWII stopped conn production in mid 1942. This one from 1938-39 is in gorgeous condition with original silver plate nearly 100%. The pads are older. Plan on a repad. The neck is great condition also with no damage. No past repairs. Interestingly, this appears to have been special ordered with a second strap hook, which makes the horn balance like a modern alto. I have never seen this before on a Conn, but I’m certain that this is factory original, as the plating matches and there is no sign of aftermarket soldering at all. Pretty cool!
Only one availble!
Conn New Wonder II Chu Berry Alto Saxophone Relacquer 1930 Good Pads Great Deal 236664$ 800
This is a Conn New Wonder II Transitional alto saxophone from 1930. It is probably the best playing alto per dollar spent on the site, because it has good pads but has been refinished. The new coat of paint it got made the price go down, but didn’t hurt the playability. This horn came to me playing well on its current pads. It hasn’t been freshly overhauled, but it does play on the current setup. That makes it a great deal, because you get the beautiful big, warm Conn tone for under $1k, which is crazy. This horn is pre-war, if you’re looking for that, and it has rolled tone holes. By ‘transitional’ in the title, I mean that it was made very late in the New Wonder II (or ‘Chu Berry’) run, and it has some features that anticipate the 6M or ‘artist’ or ‘naked lady’ or ‘lady face’ (I could go on. Conn nomenclature is kind of convoluted.) It’s basically a New Wonder II, but it has the raised high E side key and a few other small changes like palm key shapes and possibly a different neck though I’m not sure about that.
It includes the case in the photos as well.
Only one available.
Conn Standard Steelay 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece D69$ 95
Complete your set with a Conn 10M tenor from the 30’s or 40’s. Deep scooped sidewalls, very large chamber, no baffle. Tip opening measures 0.058″. This tip opening is pretty limiting in terms of flexibility and projection. High resistance, very dark tone.
Selmer Balanced Action Alto Saxophone Fresh Overhaul! Original Silver Plate Great Tone$ 5,150
This is an amazing, fully restored Selmer Balanced Action alto. It just got a wonderful high-end overhaul, complete with some spot plating on some keys and along the back of the body tube where the silver had begun to wear. This is one gorgeous alto, with the rare British market two-tone finish, and gold wash bell. The spring tension is on the lighter side, like with most Balanced Actions. If you want stiffer spring tension, we could discuss replacing the springs, but right now, it has a light flute-like feel like these originally had.
Tonally, If you want an alto that people are going to want to listen to, this is the one. It plays extremely well, with a warm, powerful voice that is effortlessly lyrical and makes you not want to put it down. It has high-end reusable domed brass resonators and sounds very good on them. Keywork is snappy, and ‘dry’ under the fingers, like it should be. This comes with a new BAM Softpack alto case, or you can swap that for a Cabine for +$100. These British market Balanced’s are my favorite finish on vintage Selmers, and they are few and far between.
There’s only one available!
Selmer New Largebore Alto Saxophone Silver 13405$ 1,350
Here’s a beautiful silver plated Selmer New Largebore alto saxophone. This alto needs a repad, and the silver has been replated. It’s nearly 100% present now. This will be an excellent alto if you want to adopt it and overhaul it. These New Largebore altos play like a half Selmer half Conn, with a wider, darker tone than other Selmers, but still definitely a Selmer, with a delicate, lyrical ‘French’ core to the sound. If you’ve been looking for a deal on a vintage Selmer, this one will be hard to beat for what you get!
Selmer ORIGINAL Gold Plate Tenor Sax 16164B Coleman Hawkins Al Cohn Sal Nistico$ 12,750
This tenor is an exceptionally rare original gold-plated Selmer Super Sax in very good physical condition. Sporting ornate engraving down to the bottom of the bow in a burnished background, the body of the sax is a matte gold plate finish while the keys and interior of the bell are burnished. Factory gold-plated Selmers are not common, and this is one the few original gold-plated Selmer tenors from this early Super Sax era ever made, and likely one of the nicest still surviving, if there are indeed others still out there. The keywork is tight and shows very little wear- although this horn shows signs of being used, it was well cared-for and well loved.
This horn has recently been given a thorough check-up and plays well. I am a big fan of these Super saxes, and this instrument is a good example of why. It plays with what is arguably the biggest voice of any Selmer, and is one of the few instruments that can give a good Conn of the same period a run for its money in richness. But the velvety Selmer tone is there along with the fatness, making for a uniquely broad and ballsy-sounding Selmer with a lot more power than most horns. The keywork is quite nice and although of an older style ergonomically, those that play these do not find them difficult or an impediment to technical facility.
The serial number is also interesting: although infrequently seen, the B at the end of the serial (sometimes it would actually say “bis”) is Selmer’s way of denoting that they struck the same serial twice on two different instruments! So this is Selmer #16164… B. All in all, a uniquely beautiful and rare instrument with the bonus of a historical quirk.
The last 7 photos are of some of the tenor greats playing similar horns to this.
Selmer Radio Improved Alto Original Lacquer Excellent Condition Getting Overhauled Now$ 4,950
Original lacquer Selmer Radio Improved alto saxophone! This is a rare beauty among vintage Selmers, with a sweetness and beauty all its own. The keywork is comfortable as well, which is why Jimmy Dorsey wanted to keep this style of keywork even after Selmer changed to the ‘Balanced Action’ design shortly after. These are just beautiful players – warm, spread, lyrical, and sweet – most of what you want in a top quality vintage alto. Plus this one is in beautiful original lacquer with minimal past repairs and comes with a fresh, full overhaul! Radio Improved Selmers are very popular these days, and getting more popular all the time, as alto players catch on to the unique tone that you can get on one. This is a great purchase that you will enjoy playing for many years with minimal upkeep, and that will go up in value while you own it. There are not many nicer Radio Improved alto saxophones out there!
Only one available!
Selmer Super Sax Baritone Unique Original Permagold Finish 18xxx$ 7,500
This is a beautiful Selmer Super Sax Baritone saxophone. It is one-of-a-kind according to Selmer’s factory record book. It is the only perma-gold plated Super baritone like this that exists. Permagold is a unique finish that is gold-colored dichromate and that does not tarnish.
If you love Selmer baritones, and you want something cool and vintage to play around on, this would be the thing. I have a very similar Radio Improved baritone myself that I play as my main bari, and I just don’t think you can beat it for tone or response. This horn has medium-aged pads, not freshly overhauled. But someone took really good care of it, because the overhaul feels very good, and the pads are sealing well, so you can play it easily. This horn plays amazingly when I use the neck from my Radio Improved baritone (1100 serial numbers later, so pretty close.) So I just got a neck custom made for this horn that matches my beloved Radio Improved neck but tunes on this horn. This baritone now a phenomenal player. The tone is centered and warm, rich and medium dark
It comes with a ProTec Contoured bari case, but if you want the high-end BAM baritone case, I will include one for an extra $600. Given the coolness of this horn, and the extreme rarity factor, the price is quite good I think. I certainly had to pay a lot for this myself, and I’m not making much.
Only one available!