“Top Hat & Cane”
In 1945 Buescher celebrated the end of WWII by introducing an innovative tenor 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 a tenor 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 tenor 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 (like me) 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 most prosperous, happy 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 ‘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 serial number (302,xxx) traces to 1945, making this one of the very first “Top Hats” to roll off the line after the war. The sax is roughly 95% original honeyed lacquer, no scratches anywhere & only one finger tip sized, shallow dent (easily popped out without a trace). The horn has good snap in pads on all but the very smallest pad cups. The smaller pads have been replaced with glued riveted pads. All are in very good condition. The case is original tan tweed with leather ends, also in excellent condition. This may have been a closet horn, but if so it was stored in the best of conditions. I prefer to think it has been owned by a good player who perhaps had other horns, so this one was played regularly but lightly. It is an amazing example of one of the finest saxophones ever built. This prime Buescher 400 tenor is suited to a very particular professional player or the discriminating super collector who demands perfection.
| Sorry, this rare instrument is not for sale, but please enjoy it with us.
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