PPT mouthpieces

Do I Strip or Not

Screamin Wind

Halesowen, West Midlands
Hi Guys,

My Martin "The Martin" tenor sax I'm going to have overhauled in the near future.

I'm thinking while it is dismantled should I have it stripped of the 55% lacquer that remains as I have to say it looks tatty; & are there any disadvantages having this process carried out in the terms of the metal tranishing badly late in it's life?

I wouldn't do it, personally. Yes, the Martin lacquer is probably the worst of all the vintage horns. But it still protects the brass, and on Martins in particular having no lacquer may make it easier for you to develop solder problems around the toneholes. Also, chemical de-lacquering is fine, but if it is buffed off then too much brass can be taken off with it. But while you're having it overhauled, if the shop does a chemical lacquer removal maybe a relacquer is a good idea.
I wouldn't do either.
I mean, you probably intend to keep it judging by your other post about the aristocrat but....

A delacquered horn will always prompt the question of why it was stripped, so there after the generally poorer reception of relacquered examples could reflect in other peoples apprecitation of this sax.
They maybe potential buyers should you ever wish to sell.

OK so it's tatty as it is but i'd live with that. It is after all unique in it's appearance as it is! not only that, it may be appreciated as a nice 'lived in appearance' by some.

Still, your choice :D
Last edited by a moderator:
Leave it as it is. A worn sax is an object of beauty.

Anyway completely bare brass can grow some pretty unpleasant things. You're going to need to protect it with something.
It's worth reading the recently released Haynes sax manual on this topic - which doesn't recommend completely un-lackered finishes.

I have chemical de-lacquered some saxes with good result. But I think even the pearls should be removed. I let my saxes get a new coat of clear-lacquer. No polishing after de-lacquering with polish abrasive. Just use a "dry" cloth or dito polishing wheel.

It's important that you make sure that the joint (soft solder) between tube and tonehole/"chimney" is sealed while your sax is dismanteled. Inspect the toneholes joints and "preserve" them. Stephen Howard has some reading about Martin toneholes on his website.

To de-lacquer and preserve the tonholes is a bigger job than just "re-pad - new corks - new felts - and adjust the keys!"


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