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Saxophones Should I save her? Grassi 2000 Professional Tenor - Restoration?

DavidUK

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:crying:

Aw.... bless her. She arrived an hour ago and looks half dead. Photos below>>>

So, not one of my best "bargain buys". You win some, you lose....

Mouthpiece (Selmer Soloist C**) stuck on the crook and gnawed away at on top (filler & patch to fix up?). MP table looks fine though. Missing pad on crook octave mech. Copious tarnishing. Pads look shot. One slightly crooked key (low C). Dirty. Greenish and "growing" in some places. All mechs work. Some rusty screw heads. Three key touches missing - three in the case but one is conVEX?
NO DENTS!!! :welldone

So, on a practical note what shall I do?
First step was to phone Matt at Connolly Musical Repairs in Brum (who I'd spoken to earlier about the Beaugnier's leak) as Paul Carington, my usual tech, is both away this week and then busy for a month. I found their details from a happy cafe'er here: http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?10827-Sax-service-repairs

Matt said, after I'd described exactly what it was: "best thing is to sell it on. Pile of junk these Chinese models."
Hmmmm..... opinion just dropped a few points. I persevered, explaining that many liken this late 80's ITALIAN sax to a MKVI. "I'll pass you to Charlie." Speaking to Charlie I explained what it needed and he didn't shun it, instead saying "I'd be interested to see it." Being diplomatic perhaps?

Well, it does look a state, but I'm sure there are others here, such as jbtsax and Steve Howard, who have attempted a repair on much worse (no dents remember! :)).

So, what are my options....

1/ It needs re-padding etc so why not have it de-lacquered at the same time and then polished up and... waxed? As per the TJ Raw model?
2/ Just get it dismantled cleaned up, re-padded, overhauled, then play it (or sell it if not for me)?
3/Sell it on as a project.
4/ Be conscious of COST!

Questions....

A/ If I have it de-laquered and polished will all the tarnishing come off?
B/ Who should I ask to do the work? Charlie Connolly, Paul Carrington, Steve Howard, Griff here (or is he abroad) someone else? ProfJames, you had someone re-pad a sax. Could you direct me to your thread please?
C/ Should I strip it down and do most of the prep myself (I'm thinking NOT, but I could). This might make it look nicer for the person re-padding it, but then again it'll be a box of (clean) bits!
D/ What's it going to cost and is it economical. I reckon one of these in GOOD order is worth £600-700.

Answers and suggestions welcomed. I do feel like I should save her, as I have done others, but this will be my greatest challenge so far. I have some sax DIY skills (Haynes-wise) but not re-padding, regulation, etc. Plus, it deserves the best chance it can get to live!
Will I like it when it's fixed up? You know me!! :rolleyes:

Anyway, to the photos....

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Colin the Bear

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I know nothing about the horn itself. Strip it clean it and repad it yourself. I've always done mine. It's not half as hard as you would think. Looks like nickel plate. Silver would be blacker. It's corrosion and pitting not just tarnish so some of the nickel will be missing with brass showing through when it's cleaned.

If you look in the Taming the saxophone section there's a whole article on restoring rubber mouthpieces. While the teeth marks will affect its value it's still playable. I would have thought a player/collector will want it in it's un repaired condition so a light clean only unless you're going to keep it and play it.

Looks like the convex key pearl is from the Bis key.
 

majordennis

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Something like this is always worth saving, I've done a few, labour intensive but also very rewarding, I'm looking for a Martin or Conn in similar condition for my winter project.
 

DavidUK

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It's gold all over, including the keys, so lacquered brass methinks?

Just spoke to Geoff, the chap who re-padded ProfJames' Martin (http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?9647-Re-pad-for-%A3155). He's suggesting a company in London called Lamberts who do a professional dipped de-lacquer and the body/keys come back super clean. So, I strip it down to a box of bits, send the brass parts to them, send it on to Geoff for a complete re-pad at £180 inclusive of all parts and setting up. I've fancied a "raw" sax for a while now, but will I regret the multi-coloured discoloration? Do NOT want to get it re-lacquered for definite.

I'll maybe have a closer look at the rods and see if they are eaten away or if it's just the lacquer. If one or two can be polished smooth it may give me more of an idea of how it'd turn out.
 

kevgermany

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If you do the work yourself it's viable. If you have to pay to have the work done, I's not going to work out and you'd be better selling it on as a project horn. Might be worth selling the mouthpiece on it's own in the US. People sometimes pay silly money for these, but a collector may want it as is.
 

jonf

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Well, personally, I'd leave that to someone else. It's so corroded and manky I'd expect to fnd all sorts of other problems such as seized rods, knackered or missing springs, rusted in screws, etc. I really don't think you'd get £600-£700 for one of these, even if they are nice saxes. Unless you fancy doing some of the work yourself, I would guess it's not economic. I'd move it on as a project.

It also doesn't say much about the original lacquer quality that it's corroded to such a state. I've got saxes that are ninety years old that have survived better.
 

DavidUK

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It also doesn't say much about the original lacquer quality that it's corroded to such a state. I've got saxes that are ninety years old that have survived better.
I think that's down to how it's been stored? Remember, my Buffet 400 was kept in a cupboard for 18 mths and suffered similarly, albeit no so drastically.
I'll have a better poke around next few days and see how far gone she is close up.
 

milandro

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actually nothing seems very bad ( I’ve seen worse and that includes Selmer and Yanagisawa) and probably the horn will respond well to a very good restoration, the mouthpiece will clean up nicely too!
 

DavidUK

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Given some parts a polish and the crud appears to be in the lacquer.

How do I get the MP off? Stuck fast!!!

:confused:
 

ProfJames

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Glad Geoff could be of help. I have a Martin Handcraft to send him this month. You raise some good questions David such as - what is the best way to store a sax? On a stand in the bedroom? In it's case? In the garage?

How much did she cost against the re-pad and overhaul? You are as bad as me! When I see a vintage horn that is in a bad way I want to get her fixed up! I have two Martins that I will never get my money back on if I sold them! And the Handcraft will be break even....but then again I have made money on two previous Martins so it all works out in the end.

They had a great reputation Grassi saxophones so why not give it a go?
 

milandro

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really, I have seen quality horns in as bad a state or even worse.

Anything you see there is salvageable and won’t exceed the capability of a good technician who will strip the lacquer ( chemically and then gently buffing the remnants) and polish the oxidation which will then return an unlacquered horn (if you want to lacquer it again it won’t diminish its value!).

Remember tat this was one of the best models made by Grassi.

What it would cost to be put right? Probably in the region of 750€ I have no idea of how much you paid but the mouthpiece ( after putting some hot water through the neck to try to soften the grip of the dried up cork, gently but firmly twist it, with a gentle and short left to right rotating movement while holding very firmly the neck, remember necks are not made of glass but can twist if excessive force is applied) can be salvaged and restored and it is rather valuable. The discolouration can be polished off and so can be all the scratches.

The Berkley of London case is also a nice case and if it doesn’t smell too bad it has a value too.
 

Targa

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Given some parts a polish and the crud appears to be in the lacquer.

How do I get the MP off? Stuck fast!!!

:confused:

Self grip wrench and a hammer.

Wrap the m/p, tighten the wrench so it only just grips and tap the end as if it was an egg in each direction.
 

Stephen Howard

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Always tricky, these 'borderline' jobs. The Grassi Pros are reckoned to be good horns, but I don't recall being all that impressed by them. If it were my horn my decision would be based entirely on how the horn played. That might mean shelling out to get it up and running - at least enough to be blown.

The horn looks like it's suffered from a combination of acid bleed (from the soldered joints) and long-term storage in damp conditions. The latter is easy enough to correct, the former tends to keep coming back...so a relacquer will probably end in tears at some point.

I think it likely there'll be some pitting to the metal in places...but nothing to worry about from a structural perspective - and on that basis I'd either clean up the corrosion and leave as is or have the horn stripped and left bare.
In the meantime though I'd splash as much Plus Gas over the action as I could and let it soak in for a couple of weeks, just to be on the safe side.

On a side note, I wouldn't keep any horn I valued in a Berkeley case. They're simply a shell, and offer as much knock-resistance as an egg in a jam jar.
 

Stephen Howard

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What is Plus Gas? How would you store a sax properly?

Plus Gas is a dismantling fluid - you can get it from any car accessory shop/hardware store. Other brands are available, but they all do the same job eventually.

For short-term storage I just keep the horn in its case in a dry, cool room - but for long-term storage you have to ensure that both the horn and the case are fully dry beforehand...and it pays to air the horn every few weeks.
 

DavidUK

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really, I have seen quality horns in as bad a state or even worse.

Anything you see there is salvageable and won’t exceed the capability of a good technician who will strip the lacquer ( chemically and then gently buffing the remnants) and polish the oxidation which will then return an unlacquered horn (if you want to lacquer it again it won’t diminish its value!).

Remember tat this was one of the best models made by Grassi.

What it would cost to be put right? Probably in the region of 750€ I have no idea of how much you paid but the mouthpiece ( after putting some hot water through the neck to try to soften the grip of the dried up cork, gently but firmly twist it, with a gentle and short left to right rotating movement while holding very firmly the neck, remember necks are not made of glass but can twist if excessive force is applied) can be salvaged and restored and it is rather valuable. The discolouration can be polished off and so can be all the scratches.

The Berkley of London case is also a nice case and if it doesn’t smell too bad it has a value too.
Was the "tat" a mis-type? ;}

The sax cost...... £50.

If the Prof is happy with Geoff's work, the re-pad he quoted is £180 and includes corks, felts, odd springs, odd screws, regulation, in fact everything to bring a "box of bits" back to life.

Once I removed areas of the lacquer last night the horrible spots of black and pink (?) tarnishing were easily removed and having since read some of the info at the links above I understand that this discoloration progresses at a molecular level and so on a mildly tarnished horn there is unlikely to be any pitting, as has been my experience with the grotty looking rods once I started applying Brasso. I read Duraglit is a better polish as it's not so aggressive?

So, just the cost of dismantling and cleaning/polishing to add. I'll phone my expert metal polisher in the gun trade, Colin Molloy, about this. He's a 20+ years plus metal polisher but also an "alchemist" when it comes to metal finishes being able to replicate any age of gun bluing by a mix of chemicals. He's blued, nickel plated, and chromed items for me before and I'm sure he'll have a dip-strip tank to clean the body, keys, guards, and rods before progressing.

Still not sure what to use to protect a fresh bare brass finish. Furniture polish has been suggested (think it was Steve Howard?)
How about gold plating it? Silver tarnishes, nickel is slippery as would be chrome. I'll have a chat with Colin. Of course he may baulk at a saxophone as it's not really gun shaped!

Failing that, I've stripped varnish and lacquer off many a wooden gunstock so could give it a go myself.

Does it look like I'm going to give saving her a go? :w00t:
 
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