All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Truetone Soprano Restoration

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,128
It has been a while since I tackled a vintage overhaul and cosmetic restoration. I bought this straight Buescher soprano 8 years ago for about $700 on EBay and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. I thought I would post a "show and tell" on the progress hoping it will motivate me to keep going till it is finished. All but one of the keycups still has the spuds for the snap-ons, and I have several spuds and snap-ons as spares in my inventory.

The plan at this point is to install white roo pads with polished and/or replated snap-on resos. Depending upon how it polishes up, there may be a bit of silver brush plating touch up required. I am thinking of doing a brush on rose gold plate inside the bell even though the original sax didn't come that way because I haven't tried that plating finish before and I really like that look. I will probably sell it when it is finished with the realization that I will not make much money considering how much work will have gone into it.


199.JPG
200.JPG


Soprano with keys removed photo glued to a corkboard to keep track of spring locations

IMG_0048.JPG

Body after Empire tarnish dip. Note Votaw work fixture modified to fit soprano

IMG_0051.JPG

Keys after Empire tarnish dip. Missing resos and poor condition of remaining ones
prompted the decision to remove the soft soldered spuds and go with white roo pads
with seamless domed resos instead. Since this is my first Buescher soprano I didn't realize
my stock of resos didn't include the smallest size required by sopranos.

IMG_0049.JPG


The next cosmetic step include a final polish using Haggerty's Spray and prepping the bell
to be gold plated with 24K hard gold followed by a layer of rose gold.
 
Last edited:

PigSquealer

Connoisseur of applesauce
Subscriber
Messages
159
Looks like a really decent starter project. A lot better than a Borgani sop I bought for $50. It was listed locally as a Clarinet.
If you’re doing this repair as a DIY hobby you’ve made a fortune. The value is in the entertainment. If this is how you make a living I have a new shirt to give you. Honestly I would like to see you restore the Rudy Holton you’re hiding.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,128
Looks like a really decent starter project. A lot better than a Borgani sop I bought for $50. It was listed locally as a Clarinet.
If you’re doing this repair as a DIY hobby you’ve made a fortune. The value is in the entertainment. If this is how you make a living I have a new shirt to give you. Honestly I would like to see you restore the Rudy Holton you’re hiding.
You would have to bring up the "Rudy". :doh: I have developed a "love-hate" relationship with that saxophone, knowing that a true restoration would include redoing the gold plating on the keys. That is another one that will not be worth the time and effort in monetary terms when it is finished restoring. Maybe Jaye has the right idea to "refurb" them and get them out the door. It is a good thing I am not doing this to make a living---my wife and I would be eating rice and beans if that were the case. (not that there is anything wrong with rice and beans---along with a beef enchilada or two ;) )
 

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
86
Those are beautiful horns, I have it's little brother (c-sop) and I love playing that horn, especially some classical stuff. The only thing that decreases its market value is that it is not keyed to high F# so you're going to cap out at around $1100.- for the re-sell
 

PigSquealer

Connoisseur of applesauce
Subscriber
Messages
159
I have a 12 step Holton program for you. It’s six steps to my front door and six steps back. If no one answers the door just leave it next to the cactus plant:D.
I‘m curious about the date of your sop project. Round pinky G & table look 1926? I think your idea on a rose gold wash bell is nice.
I assume the electroplating is semi transparent? How do you correct the blotches that exist?
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,927
It has been a while since I tackled a vintage overhaul and cosmetic restoration. I bought this straight Buescher soprano 8 years ago for about $700 on EBay and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. I thought I would post a "show and tell" on the progress hoping it will motivate me to keep going till it is finished. All but one of the keycups still has the spuds for the snap-ons, and I have several spuds and snap-ons as spares in my inventory.

The plan at this point is to install white roo pads with polished and/or replated snap-on resos. Depending upon how it polishes up, there may be a bit of silver brush plating touch up required. I am thinking of doing a brush on rose gold plate inside the bell even though the original sax didn't come that way because I haven't tried that plating finish before and I really like that look. I will probably sell it when it is finished with the realization that I will not make much money considering how much work will have gone into it.


View attachment 16040 View attachment 16041
A nice TT 1923-1925 soprano? Drawn or solderded tone holes? Bueschers sopranos are great. Even better if you drop the "Snap-On" system. ;) Easy for me to say. I didn't install modern pads on my 1927/1928 TT soprano. It was already done when I got it. Keep it in orginal condition or give an old sax a more modern style? Not an easy decision.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,927
Those are beautiful horns, I have it's little brother (c-sop) and I love playing that horn, especially some classical stuff. The only thing that decreases its market value is that it is not keyed to high F# so you're going to cap out at around $1100.- for the re-sell
I also have a Buescher TT C-soprano from 1923. Nothing for me. For the last 12 years my friend is playing my C saxes. He is into folk music. And a much better player than me.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
6,393
On an emotional level, I really like the idea of restoring fine old saxes like this back to their former glory, but as you say, economically it makes no sense.

But very little in the saxophone world makes economic sense right now.
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,538
I have a real soft spot for these horns, this is my current one.
truetone-soprano.jpg


Gracefully worn gold plating, sadly not museum quality as somebody added a (useful) palm key extension, modern thumbhook and less useful blocking off of the Eb trill mechanism. One day I might like to restore those features if I can find a donor "parts" wreck.

I
 

Chris J

Member
Messages
228
My first full restoration was on a Buescher TT - under the excellent instruction of one known well to this forum. He was just putting some thought to how he may explain sax maintenance and repair for an audience without specialist tools, and I turned up asking him to teach me repair techniques, as a person without that many specialist tools. A happy alignment of stars!!

Those two days he spent teaching me will stay with me forever, and was the bedrock of my interest in woodwind repair which has been a passion as a hobbyist ever since.

That TT still gets a regular outing, and I still benefit from generous support, and friendly critique of my work!

If you can't guess who my teacher was, you can tell from his write up of the experience:

Chris
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,993
On an emotional level, I really like the idea of restoring fine old saxes like this back to their former glory, but as you say, economically it makes no sense.

But very little in the saxophone world makes economic sense right now.
Here, at least it depends on what price you acquire it for. Here in US, a completely overhauled vintage '20's Sop of one of the major makers, keyed up to high F, fetches $1200 pretty easily. So if one acquires a 'project' one for $450-ish (doable if not with regularity, then on a non-negligible "occasionally" basis) one's investment will be returned give or take, from a market standpoint....

Go to it, @jbtsax ...she certainly deserves to be resurrected.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,927
BTW. I see a bass sax as well. A friend boght a Adler C bass sax. He thought it was a Bb bass:
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,128
I have a 12 step Holton program for you. It’s six steps to my front door and six steps back. If no one answers the door just leave it next to the cactus plant:D.
I‘m curious about the date of your sop project. Round pinky G & table look 1926? I think your idea on a rose gold wash bell is nice.
I assume the electroplating is semi transparent? How do you correct the blotches that exist?
That is a good question. The "blotches" are an area of concern. I'll respond after trying some of my "tricks" and let you know what worked the best. A friend of mine cleaned up a vintage Conn tenor with a "frosted" finish using just a toothbrush and a paste made with baking soda and it came out quite nice.
 

PigSquealer

Connoisseur of applesauce
Subscriber
Messages
159
I picked up this 1925 Buescher soprano last year for the bargain price of £100. I'd like to restore it myself but beyond my skills unfortunately.

View attachment 16061

anything can be done with understanding and a little patience. There is no shortage of assistance here to help you. Worst case scenario, you hand it to a technician to finish the job. I would seek the technician prior to your attempt.
 
Top Bottom