For Sale or Trade:
Alto Saxophones

Honest descriptions & photos of all instruments & products offered.  You may return goods for a full refund provided you notify us within three (3) business days of receipt, how, in detail, the goods received failed to materially meet our description. Upon return receipt of goods in the same condition as shipped a full refund will be issued within one business day. Your only risk is shipping cost.


Sopranos & Sopraninos
straight & curved 
Non Saxophone
brass, percussion, strings
Bb & C-Melody
For Sale or Trade
Featured Items,
bari & bass saxes
please email or call (918-625-9773) about items of interest

Buescher ‘True Tone’ Alto Saxophone

“The Buescher”
238xxx, built c. 1929

Late True Tones such as this one have a front F key and improved octave mechanism, propelling the wonderful & rich vintage Buescher sound into the era of modern saxophone keywork — and therefore performance. These fine instruments are suited for players of any skill level, and in fact, the noted saxophone impresario Sigurd Rasher played a gold plated example of this same model Buescher alto long after ‘supposedly’ superior saxophones had been introduced. Buescher employed this same keywork design on stencils and standard models well up unto the 1960s (the Selmer ‘padless’ saxophone is identical to this sax except for the left bell tone holes). Though these later Buescher-made saxophones may have the same keywork, they do not, however, possess the marvelous vintage sound of this heavily built and thickly silver plated beauty.

This saxophone received a restoration consisting of a thorough cleaning and hand polish, new OEM Buescher Snap-On pads and a perfect set up. This work was done about 3 years ago, and the instrument has been lightly played since. Bear will, of course, review the entire set up before this saxophone ships to you to assure that it plays perfectly. Be sure to click on the link below our display image to check out all the pix.

The sound is rich & dark, with a depth of character that no modern saxophone can duplicate. Response is easy from top to bottom, and the instrument is simply beautiful. The 95%+ satin silver plating has a sheen like a mirror. The yellow gold bell wash is hanging in there, but could be stronger. We can quote a brilliant bell wash replenishment as an adder if the buyer desires. Comes in a clean & serviceable replacement case, no mouthpiece.

Here’s a fine player with considerable cosmetic appeal for those who want to entertain knowing audiences with their luscious vintage Buescher alto sounds …

please click here for detailed pix

Conn/Lyon & Heally Eb Alto Saxophone 
56xxx — est. c.1940

Excellent example of some of Conn’s top stencil saxophone work. You may recognize the Lyon & Heally name as the maker of some of the most intricate & beautiful musical instruments on earth. Yes, these are the harp people. They didn’t make saxophones, so L&H stenciled them from builders such as Buescher, Martin & Conn to fill out their product line up. L&H ordered premium instruments for their stencils, and from the number of these that show up they must have done a darned good job of selling through into the retail sector. This alto is obviously patterned after the 6M, emulating that classic Conn masterpiece right down to the art deco engraving, rugged, clean lines, and forged keys ( a feature found on only the finest saxophones of this era) What do ‘forged keys’ mean for you? Forging yields a very tough brass molecular structure that is highly tempered by virtue of the heat used in the forging process. The result is a very durable & tough mechanical system that holds your playing condition very well.

please click here for detailed pix
But this saxophone excels in terms of its musical capability, as well. These top Conn stencil saxes really sing — free blowing, projection perfection! OK, I’ve had enough coffee this morning. The instrument has a fresh repad using moderate sized flat metal resonator pads, which includes my personal & exacting ‘Total Saxophone’ process of set up & regulation. This alto will blow away any newer instrument remotely near its price range. Nice original case included. No mouthpiece. Mouthpieces are shown so you can see the instrument as your audience will see it when you play.

Yamaha YAS-23 Alto Saxophone
sold !
s/n 306xxxA
made in Japan

A nice, clean one-owner horn approximately 5 years old. Excellent cosmetic and playing condition. Very clean and free of damage. Gold lacquer finish is about 95%, with just a few of the smallest scratches. Obviously well cared for by a good musician. Clean original case. Includes starter mouthpiece, ligature & cap, plus good used strap. Why rent when you can own this sax so economically? The sax will arrive in perfect playing condition — and you can be sure it has been disinfected so you (or your offspring) won’t risk catching the creeping crud. 

click here to view detail pix

Conn 6M viii “Naked Lady” Alto Saxophone 
sold !
282xxx — late 1937

This is a prime pre war vintage 6M equipped with the revised viii neck. This particular variation and vintage is widely regarded as the best of the 6M production run. Of course it has the signature rolled tone holes, lady engraving, underslung octave and G# trill. These are legendary alto saxophones that have both crisp, precise action and the dark, mellow sound that only the best RTH Conn instruments can produce. This instrument was the workhorse of famous section players throughout the big band era, and has made some of the most memorable jazz recordings of all time …

 This example is an excellent original lacquer instrument with 95%+ remaining lacquer coverage. Even the neck is still in fine condition. The pix show this horn’s immaculate condition quite realistically, so please go over them carefully. It’s not quite perfect, but incredibly close. We took one shallow dent out of the neck. There is one more so near the octave vent that we would recommend not attempting to remove it. You may not even notice. I have not yet found anything in the way of dents or damage to the body & keys. We usually detect the flaws during our photo shoots, so if there is anything to fix it is quite minor. I am told that this instrument belonged to an engineer who played it sparingly over the 35 years in which he owned it. It shows.

The engraving detail is as sharp as you will see on a brass lacquered 6M. The beautiful honeyed green-gold color screams of a well cared for, pre war Conn treasure. If you require a beautiful original finish Conn masterpiece that plays like the BeJesus, this is your new alto …

please click here for detailed pix
Playing condition was very good when we acquired this instrument, and of course I will tweak it out before shipment. Pads are real Conn Res-O-Pads with approximately 60% remaining life. We will replace any that require it during the final bench check/test play before packing. As you Conn enthusiasts know, pad life is always longer with with the rolled tone holes than on other saxophones. Just how long of course depends on your play patterns and maintenance practices. My personal  ‘Total Saxophone’ set up is included as part of our final processing of every saxophone we sell here at CS. We also ‘detail’ ‘em out so they look their best for you when you first open the case. Any dust or dirty residues that remained after we wiped the horn down for its pic spread will be seen to before it gets carefully packed away for a safe trip to its new & loving home. The original case is solid and clean. I would class it as well above average. No mouthpiece is included. The one pictured is so you can see the sax as it looks completely ready to play.

Buescher  400 ‘Top Hat & Cane’ Eb Alto Saxophone $4,385
sold !
313xxx — c.1946

In 1945 Buescher celebrated the end of WWII by introducing an innovative alto saxophone design destined to become an American saxophone legend. Each defining detail of these marvelous instruments is amazing enough taken alone, but when combined, produce an alto sax of truly awesome proportions. It is on first look beautiful. In the hands, the action is quick, smooth & effortless. Finally, the promise of look & feel is fulfilled beyond belief by the silky, seemingly bottomless tone these saxes produce. This is the smooth, powerful alto sound that defined the big band era — and this is the saxophone that set the standard for that sound. If you’re of the boomer generation (moi) it is entirely possible you were conceived to the marvelous music of this very instrument. No wonder the current generation is enthralled by the revitalized music of the golden post war years. During one of the happiest periods in American history, the music of the Buescher 400 helped make it so.

Defining features include snap in pads, gold Norton screw in springs, the ‘back’ located bell tone holes (another way to accomplish the leverage that makes the Selmer ‘balanced action’ spatula design so smooth), solid nickel-silver bell reinforcing ring (adds resonance), solid nickel-silver thumb rest, strap hook & long rod runs, underslung octave mechanism, and the oddly cocked high E key. A tech’s first urge is to straighten that high E key back into line with the other side keys, but after playing these saxes you realize the intentional odd look of the design helps avoid unintentionally opening the high E & side C keys simultaneously. We have come to recognize nickel plated keywork as a sign of inferior saxes recently, yet many innovative saxes have used solid nickel or nickel-silver alloy on keywork for added strength & rigidity over brass. The King Super 20, the Martin ‘skyline’ models & many fine French saxes such as SML have all used nickel-silver in their keywork. The judicious use of solid nickel-silver components in the world’s finest saxophones is a sign of strength, durability & exceptional saxophone design.

This particular Top Hat alto is a close to perfection as it is likely to find in a brass lacquer saxophone approaching its 60th birthday. Look the photos over carefully to see for yourself just how incredibly well-preserved this instrument is. On top of impossible-to-imagine cosmetics, this alto has just gone through the CS shop, where it received a new set of real Buescher Snap-On Pads, accompanied by Bear’s own personal ‘Total Saxophone’ set up/regulation procedure. The result is an instrument with a fluidity of feel, utterly silent operation, and play response that permits every note to speak effortlessly, regardless of your volume, or articulation.

Included is the original Buescher tan leather case in as remarkable a state of preservation as the saxophone itself. The original equipment Buescher white mouthpiece, ligature & cap are yours, as well as the original lyre and Buescher neck strap. All the accessories appear to be virtually unused except for the neck strap, which shows some signs of normal use. The instrument simply could not have been played much at all over the past sixty years, and has obviously been stored under ideal conditions.  If you are driven to acquire a museum quality example of one of the world’s greatest saxophones do not let this one slip away. 

please click here for detailed pix

Armstrong Alto Saxophone
sold !
s/n 4234xxx
made in USA

A nice, clean horn about 5 to 8 years old. that we took in trade from a developing player on a vintage step up. Excellent cosmetic and playing condition. Keyed to high F#. Very clean and free of damage. Gold lacquer finish is about 98%, with just a few of the smallest scratches around the bow and strap hook. We removed maybe 3 or 4 shallow dents. Obviously well cared for by a good musician. Clean original case. Includes starter mouthpiece, ligature & cap, plus good used strap. Why rent when you can own this sax so economically? The sax will arrive in perfect playing condition — and you can be sure it has been disinfected so you (or your offspring) won’t risk catching the creeping crud. 

click pic to view details

Selmer Super Balanced Action Eb Alto Saxophone
sold !
43xxx … built early 1951

The SBA is without doubt one of the world’s greatest saxophones. These instruments combine beauty, power & finesse to produce a musical instrument of truly classic proportions. The lines are clean and stylish, with an understated elegance. The mechanics are simply as good as it gets, designed with leverage and strength to perform flawlessly and last two players’ lifetimes. And the body tube is absolutely amazing ..
. with it’s superbly conceived and built contours that produce a tone so unimaginably powerful and flexible that knowing players the world over seek these marvelous instruments out over even the vaunted Mark VI. The Mark VI compares to the Super Balanced Action as a pretty young girl does to a beautiful, confident, knowing & sophisticated lady. If this saxophone were wine it would be Lafite ’61 …

Look over the many pictures. The instrument is simply beautiful as regards cosmetics. Not perfect, simply beautiful. Its promise is fulfilled in the playing condition and in the way it performs for the player. That’s why I have kept it as one of my personal altos for many years. Alas, there are too many fine instruments in my personal stash, so I’m offering several of them here at this time to make some accomplished player very happy. Pads are 80% plus remaining life. Setup is perfect. This alto will do anything  that any player out there can demand.

I could go on but I won’t. Those of you who know perfection already understand, and this is an instrument for  those of you who already know what they want. You’ve merely been awaiting an opportunity like this. Choice of cases — we can discuss your needs and provide something suitable. No mouthpiece will be included.


Caveat: The instrument may have been refinished at some time in the distant past. I honestly cannot say for certain. The horn came to me many years ago from a player/collector who is known for owning immaculate instruments that he babies. He wasn’t sure about this finish, either. If this SBA alto was refinished, the work was masterfully done. There is also the possibility that the sax was reworked at the Selmer factory prior to its original sale. We know this rework situation occurs, though it is virtually impossible to document. This area of doubt is reflected in the price, saving you a lot of money. 


please click here for detailed pix

custom made saxophone necks
impeccable old world design & craftsmanship

Let us help you select & order a solid copper, sterling silver or even gold saxophone neck to improve your saxophone’s resonance, projection, intonation & sound quality. We can even help you order a Gloger neck to replace that hard-to-find lost or damaged original neck for SATB, C-Melody, or even bass saxophones.

shown: Gloger-Handkraft solid sterling silver double socket, reverse tenon Conn Conqueror 26M neck in the 30M style (also called the ‘New York’ style Conqueror alto neck) compared to the Conn original design

Buescher “Big B” Eb Alto Saxophone 
sold !
320xxx — c.1949

From a period when Buescher did some of its best work. The ‘Big B’ model is widely regarded as the more desirable of the many Aristocrat configurations produced by Buescher between about 1935 and 1970. Though not quite up to the mechanical sophistication of the 400 Top Hats that were then the top of the Buescher saxophone line, these ‘Big B’ Aristocrats have a wonderful vintage Buescher sound and action that will complement the technique of any competent saxophonist. You choose to play Bueschers for a smooth, velvety sound that still has backbone if you push it. It’s the quintessential smooth jazz saxophone choice.

This instrument has excellent cosmetics & is in good playing condition. The neck (only) has been refinished. The horn is fitted with Norton screw-in springs and Buescher Snap-On Pads in average condition. The horn will come to you a-wailin’ — after Bear’s personal, careful setup & thorough test play. If you have to call the body lacquer coverage, it’s 85 to 90% of the original Buescher factory coat. You can always spot original Bueschers of this era from the way their lacquer peels around the cuts of the complex engraving patterns like that of this ‘Big B’ design. There are lots of detailed pix so you can see for yourself. Comes in a good replacement case, no mouthpiece (the one’s shown in our pix are so you can see how the horns look complete & ready to play).

These ‘Big B’ horns are a great bargain in a fine late ’40s vintage American saxophone …

please click here for detailed pix

Conn F Mezzo-Soprano Saxophone … 213xxx — 1928 …
sold !
Updated completely for modern play. Please visit our feature page on this beautiful and musically capable rarity for a full description and detailed photographs. Includes modified alto case in near new condition and an authentic F Mezzo-Soprano mouthpiece. 

feature page

Conn ‘Conqueror’ 26M Eb Alto Saxophones

Meet the reigning Queen of Conn lyric ladies. As for the 28m Constellation: Bring her on. What the Conqueror lacks (arguably) in action vs. the younger princess, Constellation, she more than makes up for in both durability and depth of sound. By the late 1940s, when the princess was born, there were few left at Conn who could build saxophones like these pre war marvel Conquerors. Before WWII changed and decimated the wonderful Conn organization, their benches were filled with some of the finest hands and minds that ever tensioned a pivot screw. The combined effect of superior craftsmanship and design that went into the 26M make it virtually impossible for other Conn altos to be considered serious rivals. Though he 6M viii, 28M and transitionals are all fabulous saxophones, this elegant lady has a degree of sophistication to which the others simply cannot ascend. Please note that we have two (2) of these delightful jewels available from which to make your selection. We will, however, be selling only one at this time. In other words, when either of these 26M listings is sold, the other will be withdrawn. The unsold instrument will remain in my saxophone collection. Both the horns play lights out, with small differences in sound due to the different metals. The silver 26M is extremely rare, and of course, more valuable than the brass horn.  Offered in a clean & sturdy non-original case, no mouthpiece (mouthpieces shown are for display purposes only).  Since I have personally set them both up to play perfectly I am more than happy to let our CS clients make the choice on which of these wonderful 26Ms I keep to play — and which you will take as yours to cherish …

Conn ‘Conqueror’ 26M
(in satin silver finish)
sold !
271xxx … built early 1936

Please study all the detailed pictures carefully. The satin silver finish is 97%+ intact, with deep texture that indicates the horn has never been buffed. There is very slight wear at some high spots on the keywork from contact with the case interior over the years, plus a minimal amount of wear at a few key touches. Your gold bell wash is dazzling & deep. I personally touched up the gold plating on this horn, so any spots that appear to be defects in pix are simply reflections.

The horn is wearing high quality flat metal reso pads that are near new. The action is medium low and very slick. With the adjusters on your stack key feet a good tech can change these heights for you in a few minutes. That’s if you decide you want them different after you’ve played the horn. I went through & tweaked out the horn’s set up, adding teflon at all friction points & assuring the entire mechanism is in sync with itself. We call this our ‘whole saxophone’ approach to set up & regulation. All the saxophones we ship get this treatment — the ones we sell, and those our service & resto clients send in (and pay big bucks) to have us set up for them. [note: Please keep in mind that there are trade offs in response, intonation & projection that need to be considered as you alter pad heights to effect changes in key quickness.]

This extremely clean horn is dramatically beautiful, and sings like a diva soprano. If you can’t become a star playing this instrument you simply do not have it in you. Whether your goal is to acquire a gorgeous & rare piece to anchor your saxophone collection, to own a spectacularly performing musical instrument, or simply to invest for future appreciation, this fabulous silver 26M will not disappoint. Of course your questions are welcome …

please click here for detailed pix

the Conqueror legend

So, what makes this such a special instrument — other than the finest craftsmanship, that is? Starting from the basic rugged design of the workhorse 6M, Conn sought to create a saxophone with even more refined key leverage and serviceability, while incorporating cosmetic features (like solid silver touches everywhere there is not a pearl, plus richly detailed engraving) that would set these saxophones apart from anything else then in production. First, Conn enlarged and tilted the left pinky spatula table forward in order to gain a better angle of fit and to facilitate additional leverage. Next, Conn added special motion stops engineered for a compact range of motion in the spatula keys, which helps to create a wonderful precision feel. To enable the added leverage Conn repositioned a number of posts in the low pad linkages and modified the G# actuating lever. Conn then added a multi part low Db mechanism to solve the problem of adequately springing the low Db pad closed without so hardening the key feel as to be difficult for the vast majority of players (those of us who don’t possess WWF level hand strength). These spatula modifications combine to greatly increase ease of movement on the spatula, and to shorten key travel depths. The result is that few saxophones can match your 26M’s crisp & effortless spatula key action.

The coup de gras though, are the special adjusting mechanisms added at every key-to-key or key-to-body juncture. These sophisticated, but simple, lock & screw adjustment mechanisms alleviate the tedium of sizing & sanding cork or felt bumpers in order to achieve the precise clearances required to make a saxophone function in its intended manner: as a mechanical device that manipulates the body tube’s sound per commands initiated by the player’s manual inputs. Ask any experienced tech & they will tell you, “The real artistry in making a saxophone play is this ‘set up’ work.” Whether set up adjustments take place in cork & felt — or in the infinitely easier-to-manipulate mechanical adjusters of the Conn Conqueror saxophone design — your tech’s set up adjustments distinguish a saxophone in top playing condition

An oft overlooked aspect of Conn engineering is that they constantly looked for small changes that would make a tech’s job easier — and in the process, their manufacturing & assembly job more streamlined. Whether Conn’s main motivation in reducing saxophone assembly & set up time was cutting their own factory costs, or helping the tech in aftermarket service is debatable (Conn did run a fine repair school, however). But there is no doubt that the end result of Conn’s incessant mechanical tinkering is our enduring blessing — both for players and for those of us who maintain these fantastic saxophones in top playing condition for our clients. If there ever was a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its many, many parts, that time honored phrase applies here. The Conn Conqueror is a true saxophone legend, in any sense of the term …

Please note: Two different neck designs were offered on the Conqueror: (1) a tuner neck like the 6M, and (2) the conventional neck (as shown in these pix), patterned after the 30M tenor. Though I love the Conn tuner necks, to my mind the conventional neck adds a flare of fluid beauty to these marvelous alto saxophones. After the viii neck revision (c.1937) very few of the conventional necks appear on the 26M, making these particular instruments all the more unusual & rare.

Conn ‘Conqueror’ 26M
(in honeyed brass finish)
(sorry, no longer available)
269xxx … built late 1935

This is a richly colored honey with lots of the characteristic copper bleed that shouts pre war Conn excellence. The horn is extremely clean for an instrument with such a great old jazz ax look. We’re not just talking cosmetics here, either. Like Striesand and Aretha, this old babe can really belt it out.

Pads are high quality Selmer type with rounded button resos in excellent condition. Remaining life is at least 75%. Just how long that will be for you depends upon your play patterns and maintenance habits, of course. The instrument has the same attentive, perfect set up as described in our write up on the silver 26M above. I’m sure if you are reading this you’ve already read those details, so I won’t bore you with repetition just to use up space. This 26M plays lights out just like the other one. Action is slick & fast. The sound is rich in the lower end combined with those brilliant highs we expect from the finest vintage Conn altos. On the extremes you may get a little darker sound out of a brass saxophone than a silver one, but a good player can get the same sounds out of any good vintage alto by manipulating their player inputs and by tweaking out their mouthpiece/lig/reed set up. If you doubt that try identifying exactly what horn you are hearing on your favorite jazz station some time — and not the players you know about. You have a better chance of picking the identity of a wine you’re drinking …

This instrument is from my personal collection. It been perfectly stored and very lightly played for a number of years. Take a look at all the pix & ask your Qs. If you’re a very particular advanced player and/or collector, this is the class of instrument that’s sure to please …

please click here for detailed pix

Bare Brass Restorations please email or call for quote
The Selmer 27k SBA & 251k Conn Transitional altos pictured (sorry, thse horns are not available) are beautiful examples of bare brass horns that we recently stripped of all the old, ugly lacquer & gave them a nice, gentle hand polish. These saxes now have a fabulous ‘old gold’ look, that slowly over time will develop into a striking, aged brass patina.

Our bare brass restoration process eliminates the real issue with refinishing a saxophone: the destructive buffing that’s needed to make the brass shine brightly before the new lacquer finish is applied. Until the early 1930s no saxophones had lacquer finishes, so for almost a century all the saxophones came from the builder just like the results of our bare brass restorations. Some of the early bare brass instruments are renowned for their extremely rich & free vibrating tone nuances. It’s from the same source — no restrictive lacquer coating — as the great sounds so many pros get from their ugly old horns where all the lacquer has worn off naturally over the years. 

Our strip & polish treatment leaves saxophones it in that same wonderful harmonic state as the pre lacquer saxophones & those old jazzers’ horns — but we have chemically removed all the ugly mess & given your sax an even sheen by our tedious, detailed hand polish process. After polishing, we fit each sax with all new premium pads, plus new corks & felts, and replace springs as needed. I personally set each sax up to play flawlessly – and they do, or they just don’t leave here. One of the pluses in working with bare brass instruments is that dings, damage & solder repairs can be made virtually invisible because of our freedom to work in a finish free environment. This is THE answer for a really nasty old sax of great pedigree (like the ones pictured were) that you want to play regularly, plus have it it look clean & even again.

With the correct-for-design pads we use on our restos (Res-O-Pads on Conn, Snap-In on Buescher, plastic or metal button on Selmer, moderate-sized, flat metal reso on others), you have the flexibility to play any style of music by merely changing mpc/reed/lig combinations & your oral inputs. You will find these saxes will do raunchy Rock ‘n Roll or cello-like lullabies, all at the player’s whim (you just have to know how to ask). Of course if your heart is set on pads & resos of a more exotic bend we will accommodate you (at additional cost), but CS cannot be responsible for the way the sax sounds or responds as a result, and to some extent we may not be able to set the action & intonation to our usual exacting standards where pad thickness & reso size interfere with an instrument’s design tolerances. Please keep in mind that we are neither fast nor cheap on our resto projects here at CS. We are, however, your dependable source for top quality restoration work on your very valuable & most cherished vintage saxophones.  You can’t hurry quality – so we don’t even try … :-) also specializes in fine silver & gold plated saxophone restorations

Did you miss the One-Hand Conn F-mezzo we recently sold?

see our new feature article on this unusual instrument, including added information on Al ‘Papa’ Miller.

Special Note
A a result of our one-hand Conn F-Mezzo offering we have been contacted by others interested in acquiring rare collectible saxophones. If you have instruments such as the Conn-O-Sax or standard F-Mezzo Soprano that you would like to place (or know of someone that might) please email or call Bear ASAP(918-625-9773). The buyers we have waiting are sincere and capable of the contemplated acquisition transactions.

Selmer Mark VI Eb Alto Saxophone Table Lamp (233xxx)
Sold !
What can I say?
I’d better start with, “We didn’t do this here at CS — we found it this way.” 

French products are under the gun now here in America — and rightly so — but some things are absolute stupidity. To borrow material from the wickedly witty mind of Dennis Miller to forge the analogy: Here’s the saxual equivalent of pouring out French wine you’ve already paid for … now who does that hurt?

Enough with the levity. We all know it took a serious idiot to turn a $3,000 vintage classic alto into such a monstrosity. We took lots of pix so you can see all the gory details of this miserable crucifixion. I would guess that the horn was in relatively good shape at the time the deed was done. There is no neck with it now, so maybe because it was incomplete — if that was indeed the case when the mutilation occurred — that was part of the reason we have this mess with which to deal today. If you’re thinking about parts — or what it will take for a restoration — I believe all that’s missing (except maybe a spring or screw here & there) is the left thumbrest, lyre screw and of course, the neck.

There are two extra holes — that we’ve noted. One is in the bottom, where the flattened bow is bolted to the lamp base; and the other (actually a three hole set) is on the front of the bell. That second set of holes is a bit of a mystery, my best guess being that maybe some kind of switch was attached there at one time. The two smaller holes on either side of the big one could be where the switch was mounted — then a knob or button poked through the big ‘un. You kinda’ can visualize the issue with a switch mounted there though — since brass is such a fine conductor … and those wires would be very close to the sax bell inside there. I certainly hope no one was hurt. But you can see how such a switch arrangement coulda’ been nature’s way of eliminating this perp from our gene pool …

Anyway, look it over & let us have your questions. There’s no case, no neck,no warranties of any sort. Before you ask — we won’t sell any parts off this baby separately. But if you wanna’ buy it to part out you can probly double or triple your money for your trouble. The lamp part functions, with this proviso: if you choose to use this item as a lamp you will be doing so at your own risk. The shade is black, and the wrought iron base may possibly be an antique — so you can substitute an old Holton Cmel (not included) and have a sensible conversation piece — to spark recounts of how you came across your great little VI alto … and basically got this neato saxophone lamp for free ...

please click here for detailed pix

Conn Burnished Gold Plate ‘Artist Model’ Eb Alto Saxophone 
Sold !
237,7xx … built very late 1929

According to the charts this example of the highest degree of saxophone art was among the very last opposed bell tone hole altos built by Conn. That late production point, combined with its possessing the super premium burnished gold plate saxophone finish & the most highly decorative of engraving patterns, makes this a truly historic & collectible instrument. Shortly after this horn was built saxophones of this class would fade to mere catalog footnotes as the Great Depression gripped the musical instrument business and the world. Perhaps that explains why the gentleman depicted in this Conn master engraver’s classic Greek interpretation — by  himself a very unusual subject on these beauties — wears such a stoic look …

There is some disagreement about where to draw the line between the Chu Berry Conn models and the Transitional ‘M’ series instruments that followed them. You see the start points for the trannys listed as both 235xx and 240xxx. Part of the confusion is because Conn didn’t make a clean cut along all the saxophone types, nor did they incorporate all the ‘M’ series features at once. Rather it was a gradual process of evolution, with the altos perhaps having the most varieties of all. For that reason we are not going to categorize this instrument in any way. Instead we will tell you its features and allow the reader to decide exactly which model it is. In truth, to my mind this is a ‘tweener’ instrument — not Chu Berry completely, but not a tranny either. If when you view the profile of this saxophone you note that its bell lip seems narrower and more front facing than a Chu alto, you are indeed correct. In fact, by a fraction of an inch, the entire bell & bow is smaller than on a late Chu to which we also put the calipers. The keywork on the two we compared appears to be identical except for the raised side keytouches & larger low Eb/C spatulas on this instrument — which those of you who know your Trannys will recognize as some of their features. You can’t really compare cosmetics since this is the portrait model, but if this had been a silver plate finish it would have had the art deco engraving pattern of the early Trannys and not the floral pattern we all know & love on our great old Chu Berry Conns. So that’s how features stack up. We report — you decide …

It is my impression that this lovely lady has been in the company of a pro player for a very long time. She could easily play that role again, or serve just as readily as the beautiful & rare centerpiece of your personal saxophone collection …

please click here for detailed pix
More …
As for cosmetics, that plating has some wear at the usual spots — bow, lower thumbrest, strap ring, ‘hand rest’ on the back (between thumbrest & strap ring where a player rests an arm with horn on knee while counting long rests). Except for the lower thumbrest area the wear is just into the silver that undercoats all gold plated saxophones (gold won’t adhere directly to brass, so silver goes on first). I would say the horn has been played over the years & cared for exceptionally well — certainly not abused. I believe the strap hook is a replacement, otherwise there are no solder marks & to my eye, no dings…not even evidence any have been removed. The engraving is super sharp, indicating the horn has never been buffed. It does, however, have a coat of very nicely applied clear lacquer over what appears to be a competent hand polish. There is some scattered pitting, but of little note except inside the bell — and there it’s not really objectionable. If I had to put a number on the remaining original finish I’d say 92-93%, though some would say 95%+. You can see from the pix this is a real looker.

As for playing condition, the sax is wearing near new pads with Selmer style domed plastic resonators. Remaining pad life is at least 80%. This sax was set up to wail like a banshee — obviously by a real pro. We don’t get many that play test perfectly without even lighting ‘em up, but this one did. It whispers down to the bottom & screams out the altissimo. It has one of the most entrancing, lyric alto sounds you could ever ask for. She will do the dark & sultry seductive voice or project like a Super 20. You just have to know how to ask her …

Comes in the original Conn premium case that all gold plated models had. This one has a red velvet interior. Outside is a bit tattered, but inside is clean enough. It’s wearing an old leather belt buckled onto the handle rings for portage — sturdy & comfy, so we’ll leave it to you to change if you want. Personally, I’d store away the original case & put this baby in a new ProTec for routine use. No mouthpiece is included.

Martin ‘Committee II’ Eb Alto Saxophone
Sold !
… 138xxx, c. 1940 …

Here’s one of the coolest vintage altos you’re likely to run across. This highly decorated instrument was built by the superb Martin shop at the peak of the art deco period, and at a time when American saxophone quality was at its peak. Original pre war Martins like this are truly scarce, especially in this highly distinctive Committee II design. Aside from the fabulous cosmetic touches, this is a hugely built horn from go. It has the trademark soldered, beveled tone holes, adjustable right thumbrest, contoured left thumbrest, long & slender needle springs for super smooth action, rugged solid nickel-silver keywork, and that velvety, lush sound for which Martin saxophones are renowned.

 The price includes brand new premium flat metal resonator pads (the correct type for these horns), to be installed ASAP after the instrument is sold (or sooner, as the shop schedule permits). The scope of work to be performed includes disassembly, a thorough cleaning, replacing all pads, plus corks, felts & springs as needed, then reassembly & set up for proper play, sound & response. Bear will do the setup and final play check personally — and when Bear passes one on it’s good to go anywhere you can take it. The original case is solid & clean, rates very good+. Sorry, no mouthpiece. 

Perfect for a collector, pro, advanced player — or anyone who appreciates playing an original piece of saxophone histoire. Be sure to check out all the pix. It may be a long time before you see another original example of this great jazz horn in such amazing detail. Enjoy …

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Conn ‘Chu Berry’ Eb Alto Saxophone
Sold !
192xxx … built 1926

When this one rolled off the Conn line it was arguably the finest saxophone on the planet. Those of you familiar with these fabulous instruments know that this is the most intense, gutsy sound that Conn ever managed….high praise indeed. These are players’ horns, and a special treat when you find one in the sort of extraordinary cosmetic condition of this fine satin silver plated example. The sound is full and deep, with the delightful edge provided by real Conn Res-O-Pads and thick silver overcoat. The sax has been in my personal stash for several years & I began to feel guilty cuz it wasn’t getting played very much. It’s all ready to go & is setup for a pro or very serious step-up talent. If you seek a dazzling alto to knock your audience into silly putty … this is your horn.

Check out all the pretty pix, and be assured what you see is what you will get. I painstakingly hand polished this beauty myself — for myself — about four years ago & have stored it with Hagerty Silver Protection Strips since that time. Today this instrument is testimony that it’s totally unnecessary to lacquer over these plated vintage saxophone finishes. Modern silver care products and a little insight into how tarnish develops is all that’s needed to keep them looking like mom’s heirloom silver serving pieces. The sax came to me with the Conn Res-O-Pads, all of which are in good shape. It depends on your play & maintenance habits, of course, but this horn won’t need pads for quite a while. It’s in perfect playing condition, tweaked out to exacting personal standards. My saxophones have to whisper down low, scream up top, and pop the altissimo effortlessly. If that’s what you demand, too, you’ll love the horn. If you’ve never found a sax that played like I just described you will be hooked for life on this instrument. Priced includes a clean & sturdy replacement case, no mouthpiece.

All the standard ‘Chu Berry’ features are here: rolled tone holes, neck tuner, opposed bell pads, fork Eb, G# trill, textured G#, locked pivot screws, and built like a Sherman tank.  It’s a cool little horn that I want someone to treasure & enjoy. Sit it on a sax stand & wrap a big red ribbon around the bell if you want to create a life long memory for that sax player you love. These ‘Chu Berry’ Conns are magical….but now I’m repeating …

please click here for detailed pix
The horn has almost no blemishes & the plating is near perfect. There’s a wear spot on the right hand thumb rest & some hook wear at the strap ring, both of which show up in the pix — and that’s it as far as cosmetic blemishes. If you look directly down inside the bell you will see that the bell side of the body brace was at one time compressed by an impact. All is straight now, but there is a ‘bump’ that remains as evidence of this long past repair. As information, many of these 1920s Conns show evidence of this same sort of repair history. Rather than a defect, it is a testament to just how rugged they are. Most modern saxophones would have an ugly ‘lipped’ bell repair instead of this well hidden mark.

Conn ‘Transitional 6M’ Eb Alto Saxophone 
259-260xxx … built very late 1933

This satin silver jewel is a bit of a mystery. The serial # is double stamped (second & third digits only) and the horn isn’t marked ’6M’. You will note that it has the adjustable thumb rest (eliminated about ’37), which it should have, either for a 6M with a 260xxx serial number – or a late transitional model. You can’t read the numbers under struck (or first struck) clearly, but it could easily read ’259′ under the obvious ’260′. The significance of that is the 6M started with 260xxx, and the model known as ‘transitional 6M’ ended in the 259xxx range. Since Conn chose to start the 6M at even 260xxx not many people believe that Conn used up all the highest 259xxx numbers on the transitional horns. Add to that bit of information that Conn took three years of gradual changes to get from the late Chu Berry ‘Art Deco’ horns to the final 6M design, and the conclusion that emerges is either this was one of the very last trannys or one of the very first 6Ms. If you’ve done your research you know that the transitional Conns are the rarest model, and they have a rather mystical quality that makes them both the most desired and valuable of all the Conns except arguably the Conquerors (26M & 30M). The last trannys were virtually identical to the 6M (swivel thumbrest, lady engraving, octave mechanism, etc.), but carried a ‘patent pending’ in place of the ’6M’ stamp and the patent info for the funnel shaped 6M octave pip. Call it the last tranny or the first 6M (or one of them), but it’s a fabulous, rare silver plated example of one of the finest alto saxophones Conn ever made. Choose it and you will have a physical work of art, a musical masterpiece, and, if you keep it in its present condition, an heirloom class investment.

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The instrument is equipped with premium Selmer-type button reso pads with about 80% remaining life. Just how long they last depends on your play patterns and maintenance habits, but it should be quite a while with the rolled tone holes. Of course we’ve tweaked out the horn to play perfectly, plus I go over every sax again before it’s cleared for shipment to be sure the set up is exactly right for you. We’ll also touch up the polish job, plus treat the wear marks with a silver plate solution that will make the wear much less evident. It’s slight anyway — maybe 5%. No mouthpiece is included. The one shown is for the photos only. Comes in the original case that’s in very good condition. For those who just have to see everything in writing, the horn is completely original, has rolled tones holes, underslung octave, G# trill and gold bell wash. The knowledgeable among you already know these things from the pictures. The slick action on this jewel will easily handle anything I ask of a saxophone – and I’m a picky old Bear in that regard. The horn has been in my personal stash for over 5 years. It came to me from a pro who had kept it as his backup alto for a very long time. The instrument has been handled very little in the last 10 to 15 years – maybe longer. I made the decision last year to thin out the saxes that I’ve considered my personal instruments cuz I want them to be loved and played before my final performance. Not that the event is imminent — at least not that I know of … ;-)

1939 Selmer “Padless” alto saxophone
offers please
sold !
The unique padless design was produced for Selmer in the USA by Buescher. It is considered one of the rarest of the vintage Selmer saxophones. This 27,xxx example is 95%+ original dark honeyed lacquer. Outstanding cosmetics combined with the fascinating padless design make this a ‘must have’ for the meticulous saxophone collector. Your serious offer to purchase the completely original instrument & case (no mouthpiece) will receive our utmost consideration.

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