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Saxophones RIP Buescher Tru-tone - need a new ALTO

Luluna

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Vermont, USA
Bad news from the only repair shop in Vermont....they are telling me my lovely old Buescher Tru-tone alto isn't worth the cost of an overhaul (I was playing it the other night and the pads fell out). They are telling me I'd be better off renting a student model until I figure out what to purchase to replace it :confused:

I am not any kind of repair person for musical instruments, so that's out.

I also could not find any BWs for sale in the states, but came across this Stephanhouser from the company I buy my reeds from. http://www.wwbw.com/Stephanhouser-SAS1500-Series-Alto-Saxophone-463429-i1398061.wwbw

Opinions? Advice?

I was just moved to 1st alto from 1st tenor due to a vacancy, and am feeling frantic.

Many thanks...
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
Bad news. I've also got an old Buescher True Tone, and it's a great sax, OK, crap ergonomics, but great tone. If you're really attached to it, you might want to give further thought to getting it overhauled. OK, it might cost $3-400 for ano overhaul, and give you a sax worth $400, but hey, if you like it? You certainly won't get the same tone from a modern student sax. I'd get quotes from another couple of techs if I were you.

Regarding Stephanhouser, they were stocked by sax.co.uk a while ago, if I remember rightly. You might want to PM nachoman about them. (I say PM as it might not be appropriate to criticise stock from the shop where he works!)
 
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Luluna

Luluna

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Hmmmm - all good food for thought. I do love the this old axe. I'm thinking a complete overhaul is not necessary. The pads just fell out after the last practice session.....and I've been thinking - if I can drop a sink in and install the disposal by myself - I could try repadding myself? Have you ever installed your own pads?

There are no other repair shops in the entire state of Vermont. I'd have to drive 3 hours to Boston or 5 to NYC.

I'm more confused - but in a good way. :)
 

jonf

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Luluna

Forgot how isolated you were . Three hour drive to Boston is a bit much for an old sax.

How about this as a thought. The sax has been assessed as beyond economic repair. Its only value is therefore sentimental. Pads and shellac are cheap, and you're good at doing stuff. So, my thought would be to get a good book on sax fixing (Mr Howards is indeed most excellent) and have a go. If it goes well, you've got your sax back. :w00t:

If you make a complete mess of it, all you've lost is the cost of materials, as the sax had no residual value anyway. In that case, you hang it on the wall as an ornament and you retain the sentimental value.

Jon

As a final thought, if you really see no value in it, send it to me. I'll give it a loving home, and it won't exactly be alone with all my other sax waifs and strays!;}
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I'd second what Jon said. There are also quite a few web sites giving similar/complementary advice cybersax is one. You can get the stuff you need on-line quite easily. I'd guess that with a bit of patience and perseverance you'll do a job we'd be proud of!

If you really don't want to do it, I'm looking for a sax to learn repairs on, so would like first refusal if Jon hasn't got the space(he's got too many, anyway).
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
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East Sussex
Agree with the above, but if you really aren't into home mechanics ask again just how "beyond repair" it is. I mean, it's an instrument YOU want because YOU like playing it.

So if it costs $500, say, to make an instrument worth $300 does it matter if you're not selling it. If it's what yopu want and like then get it working. Don't go silly but your needs/wants from the horn are not going to be aligned with the repair shops view because it's not their instrument.

And make sure they aren't adding up all the "worth doing whilst it's apart" costs. Of course they're worth considering, but check the cost to cover just what NEEDS doing to get your horn back into playing condition.

Phil
 

thomsax

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3,401
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Sweden
To replace a pad is quite easy. You can perhaps do it with without dissambling the key(s)? Your Beuscher is not with snap-on pads? It's very hard to find "new/old snap-on buttons"!

I would take that carride to Boston. Book a time at a tech meanwhile you can have some lessons/instructions at Bradford musicshool. Andrew Clark is running the school. I think Andrew use to talk about a good tech that help him with his saxes.

Thomas
 
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Luluna

Luluna

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:welldone
Wow, I just love this forum! Many thanks ;)

I found a site that sells pads for Bueschers http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/products/pad-s60.html
and you can purchase individually or a full set. Mamos you beat me to the punch ;) - I see that Mr. Howard's book will be available here in February? But I am more than willing to pay to have a copy shipped to me over here in the boonies of Vermont.

It was playing great before these 2 pads fell out - so I might just order those 2 pads to start - not very expensive at all. However, I did notice that the "snap" portion was plastic on one of them and had disintegrated. So I may have to opt for a cardboard backed "Roo" pad? The recommended overhaul included a "steam" cleaning and then a re-lacquer - and I don't give a skinny whether it's shiny or not as long as it sounds great the way it is.

If I flub it - I'll just hit the highway and head down to beantown.

With all this encouragement, I'd be embarrassed not to at least give it a try.

The tone on this old axe is round and mellow. And I love the convex pearl keys...ahhhh.
 
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Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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Full of admiration for you Lori - go for it girl! I have neither the skill nor inclination to attempt a repair myself but all power to you elbow if you can. Hope it plays beautifully again for you.

Sue
x
 

Mamos

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691
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Falmouth Cornwall
Cool

I am really tempted to buy one of the complete kits and using Mr Howards book have a go at reviving my 1920s C-Melody that is worth diddly.

At the moment it is just an ornament on the wall but it would be great to get it playing again

There was an exact model on ebay this week for £900

weird

mamos
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Whoa - snap in pads... if it's still got those,the cups should be metal, so new snap ins should be easy. If you want to put ordinary pads in, I believe the cups need grinding out, not so good. Griff or Stephen should be able to confirm. And I'm sure I saw a post from Pete a while ago saying he'd done the snap-ins on his Beuscher.
 

Stephen Howard

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UK
First up - scratch the relacquer. It's just not necessary, and unless it's done very carefully it can ruin a horn. Part of the beauty of a vintage horn is that it shows its age - every mark tells a story.

Steam cleaning? Likewise. It's not a car, it only needs a bit of a scrub out.
Tell them you don't want 'the full Monty' - you just want a working horn...you might find the price comes down considerably. If not, ask around!

As far as DIY goes, the biggest problem could be the snap-in pads. These aren't terribly easy to work with, but if you treat them like ordinary pads and shellac them in, you shouldn't have too many problems.
It's better to retain the snap-in feature rather than grind out the stub and fit ordinary pads - it's part of the character of the horn.

My manual will go some considerable way to helping you understand how the horn works, and, if you're a dab hand with a screwdriver and a few small tools, you should be able to make a fair job of fixing it up.
If you don't want to wait for it to hit the States you can either buy a copy off me ( pricey - but I scribble all over it )...or you can get one from the Bookdepository at a frankly silly price that barely covers the cost of the free postage they're offering:

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844256389/Saxophone-Manual

Regards,
 

phooesnax

Member
Messages
97
Location
USA
Unless you know you have worn out pivots and rods and excessive end play or huge dents I have to say that for the cost of pads and corks you should be able to resurrect the old horn. If a tech is doing an overhaul at some point the price just should not get any higher. An overhaul is an overhaul.

I think I would be getting a second opinion. I think somebody does not want to be bothered or likes renting and selling his student horns more.

I took a 1923 CONN Alto once<for a friend> with hardly any pads, no corks and broken springs and it clean up great and plays awesome.

If you go new, you will not be disappointed with the Bauhaus
 

thomsax

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Sweden
To be honest - I don't think the Snap-On pads are any good. If you are going to renovate your Beuscher I think you should grind out the stub and use ordinary pads. I have some Bueschers that was constructed for the Snap-On system. I think you get a better sax without. But if you're going to renovate a goldplated Beuscher for a museum, you should keep them. If the pad is going to be "glue" in without "snaps" an ordinary pad with just a hole (without metal back and resonator) can be used. Just make sure you get the right dimensions.

I think the Buesher-like Snap-On pads are manufactoried by Ferree's in Battle Creek, MI.
 

Saxlicker

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Breakfast room since '06 UK
Another vote for getting the work done if you love the horn.

My out look is as simple as this....
If for instance a sax only cost you $1 to buy, played well for years and then needed $400 to get it tip top condition again. It's cost you $401.
(I don't look at it as if the $399 over the top of the cost makes it uneconomical even if the resale value doesn't amount to $400)

If you buy a student horn and pay more, say $700, its cost you $1100 with the same overhaul! What's the resale value on that? It's not $1100 that's for sure.

Your outlay on just fixing the horn is less than buying another horn (which lets not forget, will need repair one day) and if the tru tone is in good order it shouldn't be worth less than the student model should it?

I know what I'd do.

On the other hand, nothing like treating yourself to a new toy>:)
Good Luck.
 

fishpond

Member
Messages
143
Location
Havant, Hampshire
You have to go for repadding yourself.
If you make a good job of it, you can buy a new horn to remind you why you fixed the old one.
If you make a complete hash of it (which you will not), you can buy a new horn.
Easy ain't it!:thankyou:
 
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