All Things Saxophone

Buffet 400 series BC8402 Tenor Sax

This review is for archival purposes only.  It has been superseded by this review

Last modified 09/12/08


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The first time I heard of the new Buffet 400 series of saxophones was at a New Years Eve gig ringing in 2006.  I was backing up Frank Sinatra Jr. and the lead alto man (who travels with the show) was playing a sax I had never seen before — the matte finish was what first drew my attention to it.  I asked him about it and learned of this new line of saxes that Buffet introduced.  I played his Alto briefly and was very impressed (here’s my full review of the Buffet 400 Alto ).

I recently had the opportunity to try out the 400 series Tenor (pictured at right) and I jumped on it.  I wish I could say I was as equally impressed as I was with the Alto, but tragically I was not.  Here’s my run down on the Tenor, good stuff first and then the other stuff I wish I didn’t have to write about.


The lacquer finish on the sax has a very good aesthetic appeal, although that has little to do with the sound.  There’s a standing argument in


the world of all things saxophone that lacquer (or its absence) has an affect on the sound a saxophone produces.  I will address that in later in an article in the controversies  section of this website.  Even if the matte finish has only aesthetic appeal, this will have an positive impact on how many of these horns they sell (just ask the automobile manufacturers if it matters how a car “looks”).

The weight of the metal falls in the middle range category — heavier than some but lighter than others.  Construction is sound — there is a very sturdy brace for the keys operating the low notes (pictured at left).  The action and feel of the horn is good with the exception of the low C-E flat spatula keys on the right hand — they don’t roll well between them like the spatula keys for the left hand.

The sound (on the notes that speak well) is good — comparable to other premium saxophones.  I played the horn using a Runyon 7 mouthpiece & ligature with a Zonda 3.5 reed.  However, the tragedy is in a design flaw that produces a very stuffy sound on the C, B, & A notes in both octaves.  I am attributing this flaw to the shape and arc of the neck joint.  Too much arc — it looks more like the neck of a C melody saxophone.  The sound was so bad on these notes I thought the sax must be out of adjustment, but inspection did not indicate that there was a problem.  Another possibility is that this specific serial number has an issue — a “one out” per se.  I really hope that’s the case because if it isn’t, NO PROFESSIONALS SHOULD BUY THIS HORN.  I would even avoid recommending it to my students because it would just make the learning process harder (see the golfing analogy in my article about reeds).  The Wellington Tenor would be a better recommendation for a student.

Here is a sample of the sound I produce on this horn (this motif is the only thing I could get to sound reasonably good)

Buffet 400 Series Tenor Sax Sound Byte

The saxophone is priced very reasonably as are most of the saxophones these days that are being built overseas to American specifications.  This horn is about $1,800.

As a final word, I’m a nice guy so I don’t like saying negative things but sometimes that is necessary.  THIS HORN IS NOT GOOD — VERY SUBSTANDARD.

Too bad, really — it’s a great looking saxophone.

Text Box: SaxophoneMan’s ratings:
(5 is best, 1 is worst)
Overall is not an average
Text Box: Sound

Text Box:  1.5

Buffet 400 series BC8402 Tenor Sax

The Buffet 400 Tenor has a sturdy brace supporting the low note keys