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Saxophones Buffet "Barn Find" - here we go again...

DavidUK

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5,081
Some of you may recall my Grassi 2000 restoration: Saxophones - Should I save her? Grassi 2000 Professional Tenor - Restoration?

Well, I found this lurking in the small ads and having had a few Buffets before immediately recognised it as a Superdynaction, but without its model inscription. Instead, "Sole distributors John E Dallas & Sons Ltd London".





A little research found this info on a similar one: buffet SDA alto

I could tell from the photos it needed a repad and would likely be unplayable (it isn't due to a couple of springs missing, let alone the ripped pads) but I was curious and it was 15 minutes away from an appointment last night.

Before I went I found a useful video by Matt Stohrer on SDA pads and screw-in resonators:

View: https://youtu.be/-HybQc3LTQY





I checked the serial number, 5249, and it appears to be a 1959 model (the SDA was born 1957), so it's also my birth year horn!

I also read the earlier ones with nickel plated keys had a better sound but this may be more to do with key heights (as Matt explains in his video) than build differences. @Stephen Howard did a review of older and newer SDAs and found little difference in sound, here: Buffet Super Dynaction (SDA) alto saxophone review

The Buffet has a mouthpiece firmly stuck to its neck, a Berg Larsen 85/2 SMS



See more photos in the link at the bottom...
I'm wondering what this might be worth as it could help toward the cost of overhauling the sax. Any ideas anyone? Seems to have its original log and cap.

So, being a Buffet fan and having enjoyed my later 1970's SDA years ago I shall have to restore this one to its full glory. Paul Carrington did my SA80II overhaul (sticky pads before) and he's quite happy to keep the original screw-in resos so as to maintain originality. There are no dents so far as I can see, and the worn nickel on some touches I shall leave as it adds to the horn's back story of being played and enjoyed over at least some of the last 60 years.

I'm going to strip and clean it so as to save on Paul's labour costs and will update in a few months when it's back. My 60th is 17th December so it would be good to have a playable 60 year old SDA as a present.

Will I keep it thereafter? My l ast SDA lost out to my SA80II, and as Steve says in his review the tendency is for the SDA to enjoy a softer blow. That was my experience compared to the Selmer but I do wonder whether Matt's comment on this and increased key heights for extra volume (along with the additional "domed" space the screw-ins allow) might make a difference. I wonder if Steve experimented with key heights when doing his review?

More photos here: Buffet Barn Find
 

DavidUK

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5,081
I have tried to identify the MP via this resource: Berg Larsen Mouthpieces | Theo Wanne

It's certainly older, due to the "Denim" markings on the table...



From this and its profile and "bullet" chamber I think it's a Vintage Duck Bill although the slope behind the bite plate looks steeper than a "very mild upward slope."





The slope looks more like the photo of the ‘Scoop Bill’ Berg but as these all have a straight drop off at the back of the baffle it must be a Duck Bill.

...unless anyone knows better?
 

jbtsax

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From a professional repair perspective I might point out that a lot of important information about the condition of the saxophone can be learned by the tech while doing the disassembly himself. Free play in the keys, keys or rods that are bent and causing friction, pad seats that are not centered due to the key cups being bent, springs that are loose to name just a few.

One possible workaround would be to have the tech remove the keys and then give the body and neck back to you to do the "grunt work" of cleaning. Just a thought. ;)
 

DavidUK

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5,081
Yes, that's a good point about finding out what needs adjusting whilst it's all together and I'll take it on board.
 

DavidUK

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5,081
@jbtsax - out of interest, have you ever repadded a SDA with it's original screw-in resos? Just wondering whether it's easier or more tricky?

Also... thinking about the cleaning issue, it's the nickel keywork that may take the time. I guess I could take it apart, clean it, then put it back together for the tech to be able to see what's needed. Or as you say he could disassemble after inspection and give all back to me having made notes. But that means several more back and forth trips of an hour and a half.
 

jbtsax

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@jbtsax - out of interest, have you ever repadded a SDA with it's original screw-in resos? Just wondering whether it's easier or more tricky?

Also... thinking about the cleaning issue, it's the nickel keywork that may take the time. I guess I could take it apart, clean it, then put it back together for the tech to be able to see what's needed. Or as you say he could disassemble after inspection and give all back to me having made notes. But that means several more back and forth trips of an hour and a half.
I have not, however I would approach those the same way I do the Buescher pads with snap-ons. I level the pad on a thin bed of shellac to seal 360° and then install the "reso", Then I recheck and make small adjustments if anything has changed.

I see your dilema because of the distance involved. Perhaps you could disassemble the sax to clean the body and keys and make detailed notes yourself leaving it to the tech to remove the pads. I would suggest you not remove springs or pivot screws. If cleaning around the springs is an issue, small corks on the ends of the springs can help protect your fingers.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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1,988
It's easier than Buescher snap resos because the screw-in is a much more intelligent design than the snaps.

SDA's had this and so did some LeBlanc Ststem horns. Fantastic idea, really.

Yes, shellac is required and the pad is floated really in the same way as any conventional pad installation. Unlike the Snaps, installing the screw-on reso does not really dramatically impact the floated pad the way the Buescher system does, so far less tweaking afterward is required.

If your intention is to repad the entire horn....I'd say there is no point in cleaning anything now (keys included) until your tech has given it his punchlist/assessment.
 

thomsax

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3,923
I have a Kohlert Model 1927 soprano with the same type of screw and washer pad system. The washer is not meant to be a resonator/reflector just to hold the very thick pad. No shellack.
kohlertwasherscrew.jpg
 

DavidUK

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Messages
5,081
Took the SDA to Paul Carrington the other day for a look-see. He's happy with it mechanically, no big issues, so I've kept it and started dismantling and cleaning the individual parts in my meticulous time-consuming way (ideal over Xmas).

I'm one original screw and resonator short. Although this can be overcome with a standard pad, I'm just wondering if there's someone somewhere with a drawer full of the things. Bound to be... but who are they!?

I popped another four horns over to Paul to be "set-up" (Conn 7M; Indiana; King 660; Fremont Mirage tenor) prior to deciding if I'm going to keep the 7M or SDA. Doubt it will be the Indiana. The 660 was just a cheapie with dents but will be interesting to see how it plays when set up as "new" as they (Conn 20M clone) are generally disliked. The Mirage could be my bargain tenor for occasional use?

Anyhow, having had a 70's SDA for a while it will be interesting to compare this one from 1959 once it's playable again. Oh... and once my broken finger has healed. The fractured vertebrae has.

Keep you posted...

:)
 

MMM

Senior Member
Messages
943
Took the SDA to Paul Carrington the other day for a look-see. He's happy with it mechanically, no big issues, so I've kept it and started dismantling and cleaning the individual parts in my meticulous time-consuming way (ideal over Xmas).

I'm one original screw and resonator short. Although this can be overcome with a standard pad, I'm just wondering if there's someone somewhere with a drawer full of the things. Bound to be... but who are they!?

I popped another four horns over to Paul to be "set-up" (Conn 7M; Indiana; King 660; Fremont Mirage tenor) prior to deciding if I'm going to keep the 7M or SDA. Doubt it will be the Indiana. The 660 was just a cheapie with dents but will be interesting to see how it plays when set up as "new" as they (Conn 20M clone) are generally disliked. The Mirage could be my bargain tenor for occasional use?

Anyhow, having had a 70's SDA for a while it will be interesting to compare this one from 1959 once it's playable again. Oh... and once my broken finger has healed. The fractured vertebrae has.

Keep you posted...

:)
I have a bunch of original screws/holders and resonators, just PMd you!
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,081
Fell off ladder in April. 4 visits to GP over 3 1/2 months before they sent me for an x-ray. T12 fracture. Saw consultant but by then it was just about fully healed. During those 3 1/2 months I'd been hauling 25kg bags of aggregate around, digging holes, and riding the coasters in Florida!
 
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