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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 10:11 am 
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 6:03 pm
Posts: 210
A reader writes:

I have read your information about Bundy II saxophones and own one. The modifications on it indicated to me , a novice, that it is one with the key mechanism redesigned by Ralph Morgan. I'm playing it with a 3C Morgan classic and a Brillhardt Special. The Bundy II was panned by the local sax player repair guy. With a little research I bought an early YTS52 Yamaha.It too is in excellent shape. My feeling is in terms of sound the Bundy may be a richer fuller sound, but since I'm a novice what do I know?

Yes the keys seem easier to manage on the YTS52, but the Bundy is not bad.

My "history " in music is long. I was a band director trumpet player for 35 years. I switched to sax because my lip felt dead. Eventually because I took some time I was able to get the trumpet lip to respond (while practicing sax too ) so I abandoned sax for five years and then decided recently decided to re engage with sax because liking it. Thus I bought the Bundy tenor and now the Yamaha because the Bundy got such a poor rating from the repair

Then, of course, I read your article several times! Well I now have the two horns. Probably all I can do is continue playing both until one seems to be "better." Or since they are "two different people" keep them both and enjoy the differences. Totally between both of the horns I have about 1800 in them , in perfect shape etc. I had learned of Morgan mouthpieces during my first undertaking of the saxophone. At that time I was playing a Vol Tru King II.

I'm just about 84 years old, retired but still with the stamina to learn. You can be sure I'll be a frequent reader of all of your well written articles. Thanks.

-----------Our Reply - Feel Free to Add Your Own -------------------------

Thanks for the nice note. I once owned a 1969-ish "Selmer" Signet alto that was based on the Bundy II, and it played like a professional horn. Took it to college as a music major. My only complaint was that the stock Brilhart mouthpiece was crap and I didn't realize how much it was holding me back until after I changed majors to English (sorry).

I traded it to my sister when I went back to tenor, and she sold about 1984 for about $300 to a student looking to upgrade. The kid got a steal, but we didn't have the money at the time to buy it back from her. Worked out, though. In 1995, I got a Mark VII alto in perfect condition for $500 and have held it back for pro gigs ever since (I have a Yamaha/Vito YAS21 I use for freebie or "pizza money" gigs that require an alto).

Yes, the key redesign on the Bundy II is Ralph Morgan's. He was forced to do it because Yamaha did such a good job of copying the Mark VI key layout on the YAS21. Influenced by Yamaha's interpretation of the Mark VI, Morgan kept the ribless design but made the bases of the posts bigger to help keep the horn from wandering out of intonation.

Personally I like BOTH Bundies, although they're different horns. The older Bundies were basically relabeled Buescher True-Tones, based on what was considered a professional horn in 1925, so they weren't crap, either.

Selmer DID include a crap mouthpiece that kept them from reaching anything like their potential. But so did the Conn "Shooting Star" Director, which was their biggest competitor for the student market at the time, so they saw no reason to spend $10 more (in 1968 $$$) to put a real mouthpiece in the case. BIG MISTAKE.

When Selmer's "Balanced Action"-style keys started finding their way to student horns, the Bundy had to change to keep up. Moving and angling the keys made them easier for their target audience - kids - to play.

What Selmer DIDN'T do was put a real mouthpiece in with the Bundy II. The first time I played the Yamaha YAS-21, I felt it significantly outplayed the Bundy II. Now that I've tried both with real mouthpieces, I can still tell the difference between horns, but it's more a difference of "personality" than quality.

BOTH Bundies have nice big bores, and the Bundy II retains enough of the Buescher core engineering to appeal to an old Buescher guy like myself. Properly set up, and with the right mouthpiece, EITHER Bundy would serve me in any gig outside a recording studio. Your YTS52 is a step up, for sure. But it's largely based on the YTS-21 engineering that inspired the Bundy II, so it's not night and day. It has ribbed construction, right? I would expect it to keep its intonation longer with heavy use than the Bundy II. But if you're not playing 8-hour gigs every night it might be years before you noticed a bigger difference than the different "personality" of the horns.

Bundy IIs got a bad rap in the 1970s because they were "me-too" instruments - to some extent copies of Yamaha's copy of the Selmer Paris, and because the crap mouthpieces kept students back unnecessarily. But in my opinion, a well-preserved, properly set up Bundy II holds its own against 90% of the so-called "name-brand" "intermediate" saxes coming out of China today, and outperforms all of the Chinese student models I've tried.

Sorry, you can tell I'm passionate about the Buescher legacy. :-)

Have a great summer, and best of luck with your horns!

Paul Race

P.S. Your repair guy is a Brand Bigot. ... got__.html

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