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  1. #1

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    Default Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Hi All,

    I luckily stumbled across a buescher aristocrat from 1935/6 in a music shop (I was looking for a new sax - never considered vintage) and was told this was a 70s student model (they'd misread the serial #!). I was blown away by the tone and ease of this sax I got it in the UK but live in a country with absolutely zero shops carrying sax equipment. My alto came with a standard 4c mouthpiece. I'd really appreciate any recs for a good mouthpiece. I won't be able to try - since a friend will pick it up for me whilst traveling.. What would be a good mouthpiece to get a nice full tone? Also if anyone can recommend an alternate strap to a neck strap - these saxes are either really heavy or I'm getting old.. The pads are all snap ons, apart from the palms. Most are looking in good shape and no leaks - but a few look a bit yucky. Can I clean these myself to keep it going until I can visit a tech shop (unlikely for 6 months!).

    LOVE this old horn!

    Cheers

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Best alternative to a neck strap is the jazzlabs saxholder.

    For cleaning pads I would no product at all apart from lighter fluid. Although water is OK of course but may not clean off oily or greasy gunge that causes stickyness. I would stear clear of any proprietary pad cleaning products.
    TamingTheSaxophone.com & PPT Mouthpieces
    Tone Without Tears: No more boring long notes | BEGINNERS' DVD & HUNDREDS OF ONLINE TUTORIALS | FREE CDs, BACKING TRACKS & SHEET MUSIC

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Great I'll look for that strap. Any ideas on a mouthpiece? Just need a fairly easy to find decent one for now.

    Thanks!

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceR View Post
    Great I'll look for that strap. Any ideas on a mouthpiece?
    Yes, but I am biased of course (see my signature)
    TamingTheSaxophone.com & PPT Mouthpieces
    Tone Without Tears: No more boring long notes | BEGINNERS' DVD & HUNDREDS OF ONLINE TUTORIALS | FREE CDs, BACKING TRACKS & SHEET MUSIC

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Another very comfortable strap is Just Joe's. Joe's homepage http://justjoessaxgelstrap.com. I also see them available in Europe athttps://www.thomann.de/gb/koelbl_just_joes_saxophone_strap.htm. I use the strap for alto and tenor, and all my stiff neck problems disappeared.

    Your Buescher is very mouthpiece friendly, so decide what tip opening, and what reed strength you want to play. The older Buescher's were designed when large chamber mouthpieces were the norm, but I find that I like a Morgan Jazz M (medium chamber) on mine. I chose this chamber because the horn is very smooth and a little dark on its own, and the medium chamber brightened it slightly while maintaining that old smooth sound.

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Congrats on the find. Mouthpiece recommendations are risky. Many alto players use Meyers (I do) but just because some use Meyers doesn't mean you will like it . . . and they vary in tip openings, chamber sizes, and length of lay. Too many combinations to say one will be the piece you like.

    You can buy one piece and risk it being the ONE, but more than likely you'll end up buying (and returning, if possible) several before you find one you like. Most of us have had to do just that. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Thanks! Yep, no chance to tour shops trying mouthpieces from here :0
    I'll check out the two recommendations - try to get 1 for now and then wait until I live somewhere more sax friendly.

    Thanks for all the tips Getting to work on the pads now..
    Alice

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 warp x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Always tricky to buy a mouthpiece without trying. But if you have no other choice I would recommend a Vandoren as they are almost always good right out of the box. Another good idea is to contact Phil-Tone and get one of his pieces. Congratulations on the horn by the way. What country are you from?

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    I just sold an aristo one and my standard S-80 D was fine. I think about any mouthpiece should work.

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    The Vandoren Sax Harness works well too.....I just got one of these a few weeks ago and my sore neck problems are a thing of the past
    http://www.vandoren-en.com/Universal-harness_a145.html

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Your Buescher is very mouthpiece friendly
    Alice is lucky to live in an era when that is an acknowledged truth.

    When I started messing around with Bueschers 20 years ago, you HAD to have a big chamber, closed facing, and play them with a classical tone or you were on a fool's errand - everyone would tell you they could not be played in tune otherwise.
    "80 years passed before we heard the tenor...in the hands of cads with centre partings & co-respondent's shoes. They squeezed syrupy, farting, oleaginous sounds from their cavernous chambers & microscopic tip openings." –Captain Beeflat, 2013

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceR View Post
    I luckily stumbled across a buescher aristocrat from 1935/6 in a music shop (I was looking for a new sax - never considered vintage) and was told this was a 70s student model (they'd misread the serial #!).
    Alice, just to clarify, is this horn actually a '35/'36 (series one) Aristocrat? If so that's a 'pro' horn and one of the truly great altos. In other words, the shop had it wrong and thought they had a '70s model, when in fact it is the earlier 'real' Buescher?

    Do I have that right? Hope so, because if so, you have a really nice horn there and it's no wonder you were blown away by its tone quality. Treat it well and get any work done on it that it needs; you won't be sorry.

    As to mpcs, it's a really personal choice. But I'll join the chorus in saying that Bueschers (both altos and tenors) are very mpc friendly.

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    I too lucked out and stumbled upon a 1940 series 1 alto. . . got it overhauled (well, mostly overhauled, but that was already discussed in another thread) and it's a sweet horn, a real keeper. I found the Meyer 5 my son had used back in high school and used that for a while, to my inexperienced ears at least it sounded and played fine, really liked it. Later, I switched to the Otto Link NY Joe Allard model that as luck with have it came with the horn, and I still really enjoy that mpc, but best of all has been a Doc Tenney refaced model called The Desmond. Not many of them around, but I got mine here and have seem some other for sale threads here in the archives. If you ever have a chance to get The Desmond, I would highly recommend it for that, or I guess just about any, alto.

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Hi, Yes, I was looking to replace a broken student selmer and tried this (1970s student sax) in the shop.. There is some speckling in the lacquer around the serial number, and I believe they'd read a 3 for a 2 - it has the art deco style and is a gorgeous well looked after 1935/6 alto! The price was good too, but I doubt I'll ever sell this

    Unfortunately I live in Morocco at the moment and managed to bring it in hand luggage, but no possibility of getting any work done for now!

    But it's playing beautifully, no problems or leaks. I cleaned the pads with water, just cos a few looked a bit yucky. I played for 9 years, then had a break for almost 20, but now I can't stop playing this sax!

    I only wanted a new mouthpiece to try a different chamber. But it seems like I should maybe wait until I move back to Europe. Will check out the straps and get one asap though!

    Really enjoying learning more on this forum.. Cheers all for the help!
    Alice

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    Forum Contributor 2016-17 DavisConnArtist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Here's another nice strap:
    https://www.amazon.com/L305M-24-Inch...x%2Bstrap&th=1
    The "less stress" design really does make a difference. The Just Joe's straps already mentioned are also very nice.
    Congratulations on your find!

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceR View Post
    I only wanted a new mouthpiece to try a different chamber. But it seems like I should maybe wait until I move back to Europe.
    I would definitely say you can do better than the "standard 4C" mpc you say you have now.

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    As for straps, the Jazzlabs Saxholder works great but for Alto I prefer something with a little more flexibility (also more traditional) and I have heard great things about Just Joe's, linked above in the thread. Mouthpiece choice largely depends on the style of music you're looking to play. For classical I could talk your ear off about how wonderful these horns are but as for jazz and big band settings I'll leave that up to the people who know firsthand.
    1947 Buescher Aristocrat Big B "155" tenor, 308,xxx, relacquered and ugly
    1934 Buescher New Aristocrat alto, 267,xxx "outback rescue horn"
    1922 Buescher True Tone "The Buescher" alto, 99,xxx, garden variety

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eradium
    For classical I could talk your ear off about how wonderful these horns are but as for jazz and big band settings I'll leave that up to the people who know firsthand.
    The biggest drawback for those genres is the name on the bell.
    "80 years passed before we heard the tenor...in the hands of cads with centre partings & co-respondent's shoes. They squeezed syrupy, farting, oleaginous sounds from their cavernous chambers & microscopic tip openings." –Captain Beeflat, 2013

  19. #19
    Forum Contributor 2016 MrBlueNote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    Congratulations on the horn!

    As far as the strap, you may also want to consider a harness. I use one for tenor and it's made a huge difference in my comfort by getting the weight of the horn off the back of my neck and distributing it through my stronger shoulder and back muscles. Here's the one that I use. Good luck!
    "Jazz is people playing weird s#*t on the V and then resolving to the I."

    -My teacher

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    Default Re: Mouthpiece for a series 1 aristocrat alto - (and strap for sore neck please! oh and pad cleaning tips?!)

    I have an alto just like that, same era. '35 Series 1 Aristocrat. You're right, these are great instruments!

    Haven't tried a lot of alto mouthpieces, but I like my current production Meyer on it just fine.

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