I tried to like vintage instruments, the price was right and they are beautious to behold. I even saved some from the trash heap like my Conn C soprano that Sarge of Worldwide Sax was able to revive. Truth be known, I played a 50s ‘crat alto sax all the way through school.
But for me, every vintage instrument I played was eventually replaced by a modern instrument. The most common reason was the inherent intonation on the new horns was vastly superior to that of the vintage instrument. The second most common reason was the ergos on the vintage instrument bothered me in some way like the right-hand pinkie keys on that gorgeous Buffet SDA.
Maybe if I wasn’t a doubler, spent more time practicing, and really learned the instrument I could have gotten past these issues. But I found that every time I replaced the vintage instrument, the new instrument was so much better that I ended up selling the vintage. Here is my odyssey:
- Alto/Tenor: Couf Superba to Selmer Ref 54 (before the Ref series I really disliked the Selmer stuff)
- Clarinet: Leblanc Paris to Buffet R-13 Festival
- Bass sax: Buescher to Eppelsheim
- Soprano: Antigua to Yani 992
- Soprillo: Mason to Yani 981
- Bass clarinet: Leblanc to Selmer Privilege
- C sop: Conn to ER (Eppelsheim)
I got smarter as I went along too buying new and best in class vintage from the get go:
- Bari: Yani 991
- Soprillo: Eppelsheim
- F Mezzo: Conn
- Contra (bass & alto): Leblanc Paris paperclip
- Flute: Gemeinhardt 3SHB with Chris McKenna head
I am not a pro. If I were I could make any sax sound great; gawd knows my instructors can. But I luv playing in the community band, my big band, and my quartet. And I get paid gigs all the time. I think I have made the right decisions for me. If vintage works for you, great. But I *always* recommend getting the best instrument you can afford, for a student or hobbyist. At least then you have a chance.