I picked up an old 1970s bundy alto in its original throw back plastic molded case this past weekend for 60 bucks at a garage sale. As I refurbish horns for a hobby, I thought Id use it for my grandkids to learn on or simply for a free loaner whenever I have a students horn for a few days and they need a horn for band.
I Looked it over to see the expected war wounds from a horn a student used.
Missing cage lock down screws, two cage feet needing resoldered. Dings here and there, bend down rim lip, a couple non resonator, cheapest available rivet pads, that are too small for for the key cup, needing a new neck cork. Nothing major, just what makes us techs deal with daily that run up a repair bill. Normal issues caused by studen players.
After I do my work on it, nothing major just taking up my time, I will have a great playing alto. I compare it to a 1924 brass Buescher True Tone I have in stock. Yes they are the same horn, just a stripped down version of a true American vintage horn. I smile at the similarities and the inevitable downfall of the American horn market.
Then I look at the market. All the Kids get together in band holding their red, purple, brightly colored taiwan made horns and realize, this bundy is just the new ugly duckling for the kids to make fun of. More than half the players will quit and the other half will move on to a horn that wont fall apart. One that wont bend if you squeeze the bell too hard.
Then I remember in my Senior year of HS, I had my wonderful 1964 Selmer Mark VI that I played for hours every day. But that first chair alto player that never practiced and always could sight read the pants off anybody was sitting there with his Bundy Alto and his Silver selmer alto mouthpiece chewing all of us up. Still blowing a wonderful sound.
So I salute the Bundy. Pick it up for 60 bucks. Put 200 bucks into it to get it playing real nice, and it is still worth less than you have into it. Its like that 95' toyota corolla with 250K miles on it that is worth nothing. Except this horn, unlike an old car, will not die. 10 years from now the market will be saturated with cheap multi colored horns that nobody plays or repairs and the Bundy will be making its rightful vintage beat around comeback. Never March with your upper end gem horn, pick up a bundy. Its hard to kill.