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Conn or Buescher C sop?

Hello all

I'm writing this mostly for my own curiosity. Who made the best C soprano? Conn or Buescher or are there any other c sopranos out there are pretty good. Also if anyone has a c soprano for sale let me know. I'd like to have one preferably a Buescher.

Thanks
Dan
 
I got my C Buescher sop sax because it was the cheapest one USA Sax had ~25 years ago. I purchased it over the phone For $600 IIRC. It had good pads but is the most out of tune sax with itself I have ever owned. The bell notes were so sharp I put epoxy putty inside the bell to lower their pitch. A repairman who was a disciple of Benade put some putty inside the neck to retaper it. Pad heights were adjusted. Now it is close enough to lip the remaining bad notes in tune. Sweet sound.
 

Gandalfe

Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
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You mean besides the one I've listed in the "For Sale" part of the forum? Yeah, I know ... it's pricy. But is is the only C soprano sax from Eppelsheim.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
You mean besides the one I've listed in the "For Sale" part of the forum? Yeah, I know ... it's pricy. But is is the only C soprano sax from Eppelsheim.

Do you still have that horn Gandalfe?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Piling on, let's go with the Selmer Mark VI!

I think I've played a total of one C soprano, so I don't exactly have a boat in this race. If you're telling me that I have to pick either a Buescher or Conn of about the same year and same condition, I'd go with Buescher, as the brand is known for better intonation. If everything is equal but one horn is significantly newer than the other, I'd get the newer one. Why? Both Buescher and Conn added new features to their horns often (e.g. my chart I made regarding the Buescher True Tone) and, in general terms, these updates made the horns better. The C sopranos lagged behind on the updates that were available on other pitches, too.

The Eppelsheim & Reese C soprano is probably the best C soprano made, based on what I've heard about other Eppelsheim horns, but it's just a tad pricey. Well, one of the Mark VIs was listed for $40,000 on ebay, so ...
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
Buescher vs. Conn and you go with the Buescher b/c of intonation? Really Pete? I am going to respectfully disagree with you.

Disclaimer: I haven't played a Buescher C soprano, but my Conn C soprano has no, zero, zip, nada, tuning issues. That said, this was accomplished when I played the C soprano exclusively throughout last summer, and spent time doing long tones with a tuner to learn exactly the pitch of each note relative to C2. (This is the long tone exercise I also give to my students. I got it from one of my teachers 20 or so years ago. It is the best thing I every got for long tones. I do it on all my horns since they are each different from each other.)

Each note from low Bb to high Eb plays in perfect pitch on my Conn New Wonder C soprano--little green light in my tuner comes and stays on when I sustain the note.

Its tone is sweet, clean, and pure.

Can a Buescher do this? Sure, probably. But Conn New Wonder horns are capable of perfect intonation. My Series I tenor pulls it off as well. The only Conn I haven't had a lot of joy with, is my C melody. I suspect it needs a proper set up. It hasn't been to the shop more than once since I got it in 1999.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Buescher vs. Conn and you go with the Buescher b/c of intonation? Really Pete? I am going to respectfully disagree with you.
Which is ... OK. I don't mind respectful disagreement.

I'm well known for not liking the Conn New Wonder model. I've played several pitches of this model, with the exception of Eb sopranino, IIRC, and I've disliked all of them. Even ones I got for free. Even ones I had fully overhauled. I'll also note that I played the Conns with Sigurd Rascher mouthpieces, which are very close to Conn and Buescher mouthpieces around this same era, with the exception of the C melody (Woodwind Co., IIRC). I used a Rascher bari mouthpiece on the one and only bass I've ever played and it was bigger than the shattered Conn bass mouthpiece that was in the case. I found them stuffy, resistant, fuzzy sounding, and their intonation, particularly on the bass, was questionable. Yes, that could definitely be just me. But ... although I haven't played many Buescher True Tones, the only problems I've had are the left pinky cluster, which is a me thing, as my left pinky's been broken a few times and still isn't that strong, and that the bari doesn't have a low A.

Mind you, I also hated ALL Conns until I played a 30M.

Helen's mentioned a couple times that she's got a couple of Conn New Wonders that will change my mind, if I ever make my way up into the Canadian wilderness. Gotta wait for CA to reopen the border, tho. It's been a long time since I've played any sax, so I think I'm as close to a blank slate as I'll ever get.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Mind you Pete, you also don't have a love affair with King. My main tenor a 1950 Zeph with 100% spot-on intonation. So hey, yes, by all means come up here and play my babies. You will be shocked and awed by the tone and yes, intonation. :eek:;):D
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Yah. I think that Buescher is the only US instrument company that has produced saxophones I was fond of, although note my comment about the Conn 30M. Mind you, I really liked the sound of the Martin "Committee III" I played, but I had problems with intonation. I also had TWO Mark VI tenors to play with (the Martin and the VIs were high school horns, so we're talking ... a long time ago), so I never worked that hard on the Martin.

I've only played one King (HN White) alto. I think it was a Voll-True. Intonation issues and that pinky cluster isn't user friendly. I've not played Holton, Couturier, or JW York horns. Holton wasn't considered good enough even by their sponsors, e.g. Rudy Wiedoeft played Selmers rather than the Holton model named after him. Couturier and York are very uncommon, even more so in decent shape. I don't know anyone that owns those.

In any event, if this thread was created by and for just me, I'd be looking for a C clarinet. I think that has more utility, as it has a more extensive range, even though a C soprano sax sounds more like an oboe.

Every now and then, I think about taking my WX5 out of storage and hooking it to my computer, as there are some really good sounding woodwind virtual instruments out there. I then remember that I'm backlogged on stuff I otherwise want to or need to do. Hey, 21 years until retirement.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
In any event, if this thread was created by and for just me, I'd be looking for a C clarinet. I think that has more utility, as it has a more extensive range, even though a C soprano sax sounds more like an oboe.

OK, that's it. Now you've gone and done it. ;) Next time we are one the phone, I am going to play my C soprano for you. Oboe my as!.

Not even in the slightest.

While a Bb soprano can most assuredly sound like an oboe--especially depending on the MP & reed you use--the C soprano couldn't be further from that sound. Its tone is sweet and pure. It sounds like a saxophone--just a high one. It's a bit like an F Mezzo sounds distinctly like a saxophone, but not an alto or soprano. Well the C soprano is like that. It sounds like a saxophone, just not a Bb one.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Going off track a bit, I've heard both Paul Cohen and Rob Verdi play the Conn-O-Sax (same bore as a Conn F Mezzo, but considerably different bell and extended keyed range). Dr. C makes the Conn-O sound like its own voice. Mr. V makes it sound like an alto sax. I've also heard a gentleman, whose name escapes me, switch between Eb sopranino on down to contrabass on a piece, and he just made it sound like one big saxophone. I don't think that any of those approaches is wrong, but I prefer trying to bring out the tone color unique to the instrument, like what Dr. C does.

I've heard both Dr. C's and Mr. V's approach to playing the C melody tenor vs. a Bb tenor. Again, I like trying to bring out the unique tone color. It can be very reedy and that sounds extremely nice. Remember that A Sax wanted C and F saxophones for orchestral instruments. I think "more reedy" is great for orchestral stuff.

Note that I did say "more like an oboe" for the C soprano :D.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I love this video of Don Menza. He really does a fantastic job of demonstrating how a player's attitude influences the sound.

 
That must have deen a Mark VI or SBA from the 40s or 50s...
In fact they all did c-sop in the 1900-1920s: King, Martin, Conn, Buescher, Selmer, Holton, Couesnon, etc
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
It might have been that Mark VI that I mentioned above.

I've seen quite a few C melody tenors from Selmer, but not many C sopranos. While I have seen a few French-made C sopranos -- and a couple French or English curved C sopranos -- they're not incredibly common.
 
When I set out to buy a C soprano, Bruce Bailey told me that he had seen intonation issues on Conn and Buescher Cs, and that Holtons were the best - plus they (at least some) are keyed to high F. So I went Holton - I did find the low Bb was reliably sharp (fixed with a liner) and the rest of the horn is very well intonated.

I haven't ever played a Conn or Buescher C, so have zero personal information.

I really like the sweet delicate tone of a C soprano, even at my poor level of playing.
 
When I set out to buy a C soprano, Bruce Bailey told me that he had seen intonation issues on Conn and Buescher Cs, and that Holtons were the best - plus they (at least some) are keyed to high F. So I went Holton - I did find the low Bb was reliably sharp (fixed with a liner) and the rest of the horn is very well intonated.

I haven't ever played a Conn or Buescher C, so have zero personal information.

I really like the sweet delicate tone of a C soprano, even at my poor level of playing.
Where did you end up finding this Holton? Please do share photos
 
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