A fellow saxophonist, Linsey Wellman, turned me on to Ellery Eskelin and his blog (view it here). In a recent post, Ellery talks about getting his Buescher Big B tenor restored, and how much he loves it.
I have to admit that this was the first time that I had ever had Ellery Eskelin play – he`s a great! I love his tone! And his ideas! I`ll have to try to grab a lesson with him.
Linsey and I were talking about that blog post in particular, because I recently made a major purchase…FIVE saxophones. Four (curved soprano, alto, tenor and baritone) are Buescher True Tones (the model that preceded the Big B – which is the horn that Ellery Eskelin has had restored) and one Rudolph Wurlitzer (c-melody), which happens to be a Buescher stencil from the same time period. Five matching horns that play beautifully.
Here`s the story behind the acquisition of the four True Tones.
I have played several different models of saxophones over the last few years. I`m a little bit crazy when it comes to gear. Not so much that it gets in the way of my practise time, but in that 4am kind of crazy. I like to drool over eBay late at night after a gig and think of ways to acquire horns and mouthpieces and many other saxophone, flute and clarinet paraphernalia.
My first horn was a vintage Borgani tenor that I loved, but I couldn`t get over the keywork. It was a very uncomfortable horn for me to play on – my wrists were constantly sore. I sold that horn about three years ago on eBay.
After that, I had a Selmer Series II, a Selmer Mark VI, and up until recently, a Yamaha Custom Z. These are the tenors that I have owned. I`ll focus on that, since it`s my main horn.
Through all of these horns, I promised myself that if I ever found a set of nice old horns, I would get them.
A few weeks ago, I started looking, not particularly planning on finding anything, but just simply seeing what was out there, and a set of Buescher horns was for sale in Nova Scotia. This was Sunday night.
Monday morning at 11am, my Yamaha Custom Z tenor and my Custom EX soprano were sold! I, for the first time in my career did not own a single saxophone.
Friday morning, I flew down to Nova Scotia, tried the horns (the man who sold me the horns was incredibly welcoming) and flew back that afternoon.
After working on the baritone, alto, and tenor, I am happier than ever. The soprano needs a total repad (this will come over the next few weeks). You can check out the tune `You Do Something To Me` on the Reverbnation player. That`s the new bari. I`ll post more tunes in the next few days.
The horns are different from the modern horns in many ways. The keyword of the older horns is said to be clumsy. In regards to this comment, I find the horns different, but not difficult to get around the horn on. Also, tuning is not as locked in. I find this to be true. I do have to focus a little more on pitch, but it makes life interesting. One thing I do miss from the new horns is the front F key. I can always put one on, but I`m sure I`ll find a way around it. If anyone has suggestions, let me know.
A really positive aspect of the Bueschers is the tone! Big, fat, round and yet still totally flexible. I still sound like me. I love that!
I have a day off tomorrow, so more work on the horns (from a practising and tech side of life)!