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Vintage Saxes

What

Member
Messages
314
I see all of these vintage saxes on eBay. Band masters, stenciled Martins, King C Melody. All selling for cheap, between 100 and 300 US. They all say Pads and overhaul needed, but the key work moves freely. I was wondering if these horns would be a good way to learn some at home repair work without endangering my main sax. My main question is do those of you who might have more experience at vintage horns find that they often need extensive work that requires a professional or that they can be mostly taken care with basic repair kits so long as they are in good condition to begin with?
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
I am new here, but I jumped in the deep end. I bought one of those really cheap Sax's on Ebay and tore it apart. It is a La Monte Superior Alto made in Holland. I have nothing to lose. Consider it a hobby. I took a lot of pictures, drew many diagrams and made as many notes as I think I needed. I packaged each key assembley and numbered it in the order it was removed. I purchased new pads and a few new needle springs. I have stripped the old lacquer with a toothbrush and Brasso. I will re-coat it myself. I have Lacquer experience. I have studied every web site that talks about Sax repair. I understand how important pad alignment and contact is. I have more time than money. I am taking my time and have nothing to lose. The experience I gain is worth what I have spent. Life is about trying new things.
Grow or die. Have fun and good luck.
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Darn snipers got me the last minute on my c melody, still have one more I am going to try for tomorrow. I am looking forward to winning one and restoring it with my own two hands. I tend to do that. Put a little blood and sweat into things. Makes um more "mine" if ya know what I'm saying.
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
I know exactly what you mean.
I have purchased many things on eBay over the years. I find that you can beat the bidding system. You know, when you place a bid, it only shows what is needed to win and automaticly ups your bid if needed. So in the last 20 seconds, use the one step bid. Keep bidding and at two seconds make a bid, just enough to beat the last bid shown. There isn't enough time left for the automatic system to out bid you.
It is better to be lucky than good. Good luck and have fun. It took several trys for me to get mine.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
What - it's an excellent way to go. There's lots of info available on the web, but first port of call should be Stephen Howard's Haynes Saxophone Manual. It's also a good way to learn sax problem diagnosis...

Some caveats...

You need some tools, not many but you need some
Make sure you know what you're buying - some have funny pads or other quirks. Often these instruments are stencils and play the same way as the real maker's horns. Which means a great sax at a great price...
Watch costs - it's easy to put more into an overhaul than the sax is worth in repadded condition - not an issue if you intend to keep it, but if you want to sell it on it's difficult.
Look for good photos that show that no major work is needed - like straightening, bent rolled tone holes, missing parts, bad corrosion. Bad/missing necks are a no-no, as is a high pitch horn.
Be prepared to take a long time, especially on the first one. Getting pads to seal all round with a light finger touch is a lot harder than you'd think. And regulation is another time consumer until you understand it properly.

Good sources of tools/parts are musicmedic.com, ferees tools
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Ha, so that the bidding is done Mr. arock. Thanks for the tip. I am starting work on my Martin Indiana v soon now, its a crippled up tenor from e bay in better nick than I thought it would be. Does the brasso on the toothbrush scratch the brass? With relaquering, if its not too intricate, can you tell me how its done. eg aerosol or what? I am pretty handy with experience in compressor spraying of cars, not to a professional standard and many years ago with cellulose paint and laquer. I don't think that allowed now without specialist booths and breathing gear.
Best wishes
Mike
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Ooops! Its brass polish, duh! Still forgive me, my only experience with brasso is that a coupla teaspoonfulls first thing give you a bit of zip on a winter day.
 

Dave McLaughlin

Sesquipedalian
Subscriber
Messages
305
Keep bidding and at two seconds make a bid, just enough to beat the last bid shown. There isn't enough time left for the automatic system to out bid you.
Sorry, but I don't believe that. The May 2010 "Flash Crash" was triggered by the same bundle of securities being traded 27,000 times in 14 seconds. Do you really believe a computer can't react in two seconds? Besides, the eBay computer doesn't need to react - it already knows if there's a higher bid in the system.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,095
The thing with ebay is to put in what you're willing to pay from the get go. Dribbling bids in is time consuming and can lead to you getting carried away and bidding too much or missing out due to other commitments.
 

What

Member
Messages
314
What - it's an excellent way to go. There's lots of info available on the web, but first port of call should be Stephen Howard's Haynes Saxophone Manual. It's also a good way to learn sax problem diagnosis...

Some caveats...

You need some tools, not many but you need some
Make sure you know what you're buying - some have funny pads or other quirks. Often these instruments are stencils and play the same way as the real maker's horns. Which means a great sax at a great price...
Watch costs - it's easy to put more into an overhaul than the sax is worth in repadded condition - not an issue if you intend to keep it, but if you want to sell it on it's difficult.
Look for good photos that show that no major work is needed - like straightening, bent rolled tone holes, missing parts, bad corrosion. Bad/missing necks are a no-no, as is a high pitch horn.
Be prepared to take a long time, especially on the first one. Getting pads to seal all round with a light finger touch is a lot harder than you'd think. And regulation is another time consumer until you understand it properly.

Good sources of tools/parts are musicmedic.com, ferees tools
I already have Mr. Howard's manual right here. I love it. It really helped me feel good about the cheaper tenor I am learning on, by letting me test myself a few things here and there.

The thing with ebay is to put in what you're willing to pay from the get go. Dribbling bids in is time consuming and can lead to you getting carried away and bidding too much or missing out due to other commitments.
Not a bad idea. Admittedly I almost made that mistake on my C Melody last night, but was able to stop myself in time. Lost the sax, but not my shirt.
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
Sorry, but I don't believe that. The May 2010 "Flash Crash" was triggered by the same bundle of securities being traded 27,000 times in 14 seconds. Do you really believe a computer can't react in two seconds? Besides, the eBay computer doesn't need to react - it already knows if there's a higher bid in the system.
Thanks Dave.
You may be correct. I am not a Computer Guru. There must be different levels of computer systems. I am just refering to my experience. If I believe it works for me, then I will keep doing it. I also keep a four leaf clover in my pocket. Maybe I am just a lucky man. :)
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
Ha, so that the bidding is done Mr. arock. Thanks for the tip. I am starting work on my Martin Indiana v soon now, its a crippled up tenor from e bay in better nick than I thought it would be. Does the brasso on the toothbrush scratch the brass? With relaquering, if its not too intricate, can you tell me how its done. eg aerosol or what? I am pretty handy with experience in compressor spraying of cars, not to a professional standard and many years ago with cellulose paint and laquer. I don't think that allowed now without specialist booths and breathing gear.
Best wishes
Mike
Thanks Mike.
The pros who restore horns will kill me. Remember that I am talking about a cheap beater horn that I intend on keeping for myself. If it turns out bad, it only has to please me. I can always do it again or pay to have it done. This old horn is not worth paying for a total rehab. I took pix and drew diagrams before I removed all my keys and guards. Packaged and labeled location and order of removal.
Brasso is a bit caustic. It works well but it is a slow process. I have several holes in my finger from hitting needle springs. Keep the Bandaides close. There were a few places that I used 1500 grit wet sand paper to remove some scratches. If you do everything by hand, there is less chance of ruining the horn. It is slow but it works.
After the Brasso, clean well with dish soap. Then I use Mothers polish and it looks great but it won't stay that way.
Lacquer is not allowed here either, without special professional equipment. I use to be a pro auto painter years ago.
I see a product called Permalac that comes in a spray can. Google it up. I have not sprayed my horn yet. This looks like a good product designed exactly for this type use. Opinions are welcome. Other options are welcome too. Unless I find something else, I will spray mine next week and report back with photos.
This is Brasso then Mothers polish only. Not bad for 60 years old.
. PA190005.jpg
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Well I have my first sax on its way. Won the day with a 128 dollar bid. Even if its a Melody C sax from 1916 and might not take the place of a tenor Bb, it'll be great to work on it. Plus a second sax that isn't another tenor will be nice to have once its restored to full playing condition. I have so much to learn :). I will update with pics and progress if anybody is interested.
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
Con Grats. You will have hours of fun no matter what. Life is an adventure and a lesson.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
There's an aerosol lacquer that the repairers use, I'll find the name for you. Unless JBTSAX chimes in with a supplier before I can dig it out.

Make sure you get ALL the brasso out of the moving parts before reassembling. And don't get it on the pads, it doesn't come off too well.



Thanks Mike.
The pros who restore horns will kill me. Remember that I am talking about a cheap beater horn that I intend on keeping for myself. If it turns out bad, it only has to please me. I can always do it again or pay to have it done. This old horn is not worth paying for a total rehab. I took pix and drew diagrams before I removed all my keys and guards. Packaged and labeled location and order of removal.
Brasso is a bit caustic. It works well but it is a slow process. I have several holes in my finger from hitting needle springs. Keep the Bandaides close. There were a few places that I used 1500 grit wet sand paper to remove some scratches. If you do everything by hand, there is less chance of ruining the horn. It is slow but it works.
After the Brasso, clean well with dish soap. Then I use Mothers polish and it looks great but it won't stay that way.
Lacquer is not allowed here either, without special professional equipment. I use to be a pro auto painter years ago.
I see a product called Permalac that comes in a spray can. Google it up. I have not sprayed my horn yet. This looks like a good product designed exactly for this type use. Opinions are welcome. Other options are welcome too. Unless I find something else, I will spray mine next week and report back with photos.
This is Brasso then Mothers polish only. Not bad for 60 years old.
. View attachment 1813
 

What

Member
Messages
314
That puts my in mind of my first pondering. The silver plating on the sax will need a good polish to get it to shine again. Should I do this before the other work since a lot of polish work might mean having to clean up all the moving bits anyway, and it might get easier to get to the bits with the sax stripped down? On the other hand it's just surface work and will probably need touch up after the padding, corking and spring replacement.
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
There's an aerosol lacquer that the repairers use, I'll find the name for you. Unless JBTSAX chimes in with a supplier before I can dig it out.

Make sure you get ALL the brasso out of the moving parts before reassembling. And don't get it on the pads, it doesn't come off too well.
Thanks, will do. I am repadding it, so no problem. The horn is in complete strip down at this time.
I will really appreciate the spray lacquer info.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
That puts my in mind of my first pondering. The silver plating on the sax will need a good polish to get it to shine again. Should I do this before the other work since a lot of polish work might mean having to clean up all the moving bits anyway, and it might get easier to get to the bits with the sax stripped down? On the other hand it's just surface work and will probably need touch up after the padding, corking and spring replacement.
Silver - Do it with the instrument stripped down, preferably with the springs out. Then touch up as needed after the rebuild. I use a silver cloth, slightly moist - and lots of patience. Try not to use an abrasive polish. Once you get it clean, it should stay clean, jus wipe it over every time you use it with a soft cloth. And every now and again as it starts yellowing use a silver cloth. If you use a gas torch to heat the cups for pad seating, make sure the flame is low AND no air - just gas.
 
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