Saxophone lacquer problems

Andrew T

New Member
Messages
16
Location
Ootacamund, S.India
Hi

I have a Hanson alto sax which is only two years old,and it has developed some problems with the lacquer, and some rust marks have developed - see attached photos below. I live in S. India, and for six months of the year we are in monsoon season where the humidity is very high. It has been suggested that the high humidity might have caused this. I'll be buying some new saxes soon when I return for a holiday to the UK (probably Walstein), and I don't want the same think to happen to them! Through my investigations I have found out:

- someone suggested I put a silica gell pack in the case to cut down on moisture levels
- someone else suggested spraying the saxophone lightly with something like WD40
- It has also been mentioned (on this forum I think) that the Hanson lacquer isn't that good anyway, despite the website saying, quote from website - "Long lasting high quality baked American epoxy gold lacquer. Your instrument will keep its good looks for years!"
- I contacted Hanson about this eventually (they are incredibly hard to contact, rarely replying to emails), and they said they will try and clean it up when I send it for its next service when I return in the summer.

Anybody else had any experience of this? Anybody have any ideas on how to avoid it? Is the advice good?

Many thanks.

Andrew
 

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jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,654
Location
Betelgeuse
I've had this on some saxes and not others. Seems to be a bit random and unpredicatable. It happened on a cheapy Blessing sop I had and an old Conn, but not, oddly, a 1970s Buescher (hardly the best made of saxes). It may be that high humidity causes breakdown in lacquer, and I know that a high temerature range can do as well.

I certaily wouldn't recommend spraying a sax with WD40 or other oils, as it would inevitably get on the pads and ruin them.

I don't think it's rust, by the way, as the sax is made of brass, so it won't rust, which means it's likely to be cosmetic. This might still be a big issue for you, but at least it is unlikely to stop the sax playing. On thing that might well rust is the springs - have a look at them. If they are rusty it could well indicate that the sax is suffering from high humidity.

Jon
 
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Andrew T

Andrew T

New Member
Messages
16
Location
Ootacamund, S.India
You should speak to Alistair at Hansons, he may have a view and if you are still under guarantee they may do something.
I'd love to get in contact with Alistair at Hansons, but he never answers my emails! Hence me trying here for an answer. It can be very frustrating being 7000 miles away and stuck up a mountain. Phoning can be very expensive too.
 
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Andrew T

Andrew T

New Member
Messages
16
Location
Ootacamund, S.India
I certaily wouldn't recommend spraying a sax with WD40 or other oils, as it would inevitably get on the pads and ruin them.

I don't think it's rust, by the way, as the sax is made of brass, so it won't rust, which means it's likely to be cosmetic. This might still be a big issue for you, but at least it is unlikely to stop the sax playing. On thing that might well rust is the springs - have a look at them. If they are rusty it could well indicate that the sax is suffering from high humidity.

Jon
I'll stop spraying mine then (only done it twice)! I'm glad it's not rust and only cosmetic. I'll check the springs too. Perhaps it does depend on the make!?
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
I'd love to get in contact with Alistair at Hansons, but he never answers my emails! Hence me trying here for an answer. It can be very frustrating being 7000 miles away and stuck up a mountain. Phoning can be very expensive too.
I've got his mobile number. I'll PM you. I have always found him helpful but they can be a bit slow. Maybe send him a text first, then call.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,047
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
I will bet my last £20 note in my wallet that these marks are in proximity to a joint where two seperate parts are joined e.g the bow to bell joint or where a post or strap joins the body.

These are not rust but marks commonly referred to as acid bleed.

basically its where the flux ( chemical used to assit in the flow of solder) has reacted with the metal underneath the lacquer more than likely due to it not being completely cleaned off/neutralised once the soldering process was complete.

It happens on most if not all saxes but I find that yamaha and yanigasawa in particular suffer less than other brands Ive come across
 
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losaavedra

Member
Messages
392
Location
Rojales, Spain
What Griff said is pretty much it as I see it ... my Chinesebay alto has the odd bit of darkening around bits where one might suppose the solder joints are. They all clean off with (for example) Duroglit plus a lot of rubbing ... but of course they are going to darken up again later on, due to it being in the open air, that being what 'bare' brass will always do. You could clean these parts up, then re-spray carefully (masking everything you don't actually want to respray!) but I personally don't think its worth the effort more than once every two years or so. Just consider that a 'well-played-in' sax looks at least as if you know what you're doing! Mine's still far too shiny to convince anyone of that!!!!
 
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Linky Lee

Member
Messages
182
Location
Salisbury, UK
I had basically the same thing on my Hanson alto after a similar period.
I have seen it on a couple of my other horns and not on some too.

The Hanson lost it's lacquer pretty quickly and all over, not just on joints but in the frequent places which are rubbed like the table keys, Eb-C key, Octave key, the rings around the pearls, thumb rest and most joints.

It doesn't bother me though as it's just cosmetic.
 
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Andrew T

Andrew T

New Member
Messages
16
Location
Ootacamund, S.India
I will bet my last £20 note in my wallet that these marks are in proximity to a joint where two seperate parts are joined e.g the bow to bell joint or where a post or strap joins the body.

These are not rust but marks commonly referred to as acid bleed.

basically its where the flux ( chemical used to assit in the flow of solder) has reacted with the metal underneath the lacquer more than likely due to it not being completely cleaned off/neutralised once the soldering process was complete.
You are right, most of the marks are around the joint. However, if you look at the photo, you will see some marks around the keys too.

However, at the end of the day, most people are saying it's cosmetic, and doesn't affect the long term life of the instrument. I thought thuough that I might be doing something wrong (like not drying it out arefully enough), or be able to prevent it in someway, or that it might be something to do with the high humidity during monsoon season.
 
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