Although we set out to heavily modify and beautify this Buescher Aristocrat Alto, we wanted all the modifications to fix real issues that a player will encounter when playing a Buescher Aristocrat. We also set out to modify the horn in a way that would lengthen the life of it’s shortest lived parts, thereby lengthening the life of the entire instrument.
Check out what makes this instrument so special!
One problem that all vintage instruments suffer from, Bueschers being no exception, is key noise. Sometimes that key noise is as simple as key feet smacking against the body of the instrument. Buescher Saxophones have very small key feet by design because the thickness of the brass they used dictated the width of the key feet. We have modified the key arms and feet, making the feet that hit the body much larger. Although they are still small and beautiful, the shop lovingly gave this instrument the name “Big Foot”. Big Foot’s bigger feet have a larger surface area to contact the body and, as such, compress the key foot materials less and are quieter when they hit.
Next, we replaced the original neck receiver which usually fails at the band and cracks, with our own improved design. This neck receiver allows a better, longer lasting fit while removing the common failure of cracking at the slot. By adding more slots, each individual slot is less stressed. The rounded area at the bottom of the slots ends the slots location perfectly and prevents cracking. With this design, it’s possible to separate the sealing function of the neck from the clamping section of the neck. The sealing function is improved by removing this compromise and the clamping function is improved with the added collet style grip. The neck can be fit for sealing and grip exactly the way a standard neck is fit.
Because it seemed unfair that vintage players have to adjust their key bumpers with glue and razors while modern horn players get to simply turn an adjustable screw, we incorporated adjustable screws into the key guards for this Buescher. Now it's a quick and easy to adjust the felts on the B and Bb bell keys, Eb, and low C. Buescher altos suffer from a Low C# that is flat and stuffy. To correct this the key must be set to open more. Sadly this geometry is not adjustable on a Buescher alto, or it wasn’t until we developed the minibal C#. With the minibal mechanism, the low C# pad is able to be set more open without introducing lost motion in the mechanism and resolves the intonation and tone issues. Additionally, the original mechanism that we removed has mechanical limitations that are eliminated by the minibal C#. In a nut shell, there is a mechanism that must be set perfectly parallel to work free of friction and noise but it’s made in a way that will not allow a parallel set up. So, the end result is a compromise between key noise, lost motion and poor fit. The mini-bal low C# mod fixes all these issues and makes set up simple and stable. Another note that needs love on most Bueschers is the low D (which comes from the tone hole covered by the C pad). This note can be stuffy and resistant. One simple fix for this is to open the key more, but the difficulty of this is that the key guard ultimately limits the key travel. We have replaced the key guard with taller guard to allow the C pad to be set higher. Side keys on these and most other saxophones have a tendency to get bent and out of adjustment because they are free-floating underneath the touchpiece where the player pushes against over and over. Adding contacts to the all the side keys including high E gives those keys a firm contact and feel, and prevents them from getting bent during use. Every player that feels side keys with contacts notices the horn feels tighter and stronger and the lack of “squish” in the key gives the player more confidence when they play. Other improvements for feel and mechanical soundness are a G key contact, an octave modification, an adjustable more comfortable thumb rest, and adjustment screws for the F# and G# keys. Aside from all of the mechanical improvements, we improved the aesthetics as well. BigFoot comes with beautiful extra engraving, satin silver finish, and a gold plated bell. It is also decked out with all new pearls, including rounded convex pearls in the Front F and Alt. F#.
This extremly unique instrument will be just as fabled as the Big Foot itself, with many people searching to find it, yet there is just one in the whole world! Will you be the lucky owner? Note that BigFoot is a work still in progress. As always if you reserve an instrument before its done you will receive a 10% discount off the listed price!