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Which Horn is OK to Remove the Lacquer ?

Jamesmac

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1,874
I would like to ask, which horns are never to be relacquered , I have heard that some Vintage Selmers are better left in as original. To keep the max resale vaue, but is it acceptable to remove the bits of lacquer left on say a 40% original lacquered horn. But leave as a polished bare brass horn, to improve the look. And isbthereba general rule of thumb, as to which vintage horn is it acceptable to remove the often ugly bits of lacquer and leave as polished bare brass.

Thanks in Advance
jamesmac
 

Fraser Jarvis

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1,910
Depends on what your intentions are, if you intend selling the sax absolutely leave well alone, even if you polish the bits were the lacquer has gone could put off a prospective buyer.

If on the other hand you intend to keep it and you cant bear the look of the thing as is, by all means polish or remove the remaining laquer....
 

jbtsax

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8,011
There are a lot of different opinions on this topic and quite a bit of mythology as well. There is, in my opinion, an irrational belief in the saxophone community that a re-lacquered vintage professional saxophone is somehow inferior to one that has not been re-lacquered and worth a few thousand dollars less on the market. That is what it is and if one has a vintage sax that they plan to sell someday that should be taken into consideration.

As for removing the remaining areas of lacquer and giving the entire sax a uniform brushed or polished finish to "age" uniformly, I can't say whether that adds to the value or not. I have done several lacquer strip overhauls for customers who have requested it and the saxes turned out quite attractive compared to how they looked before. An example is shown below. I made sure the customer understood that there may be a change in the resale value before they committed to the work. My personal opinion for what its worth is that pretty is better than ugly when it comes to saxophones.


 

Colin the Bear

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13,089
The sort of instrument that is valued on the finish or lack of it is more about collecting or owning than playing. I'm a function over form sort of guy. The lacquer is to protect the brass from atmospheric and bodily fluid attacks. Fashion dictates price and fashion changes with the wind. Back in the 80's I used to get told off that my alto looked so "lived in". Apparently now that adds value, but the make subtracts it lol
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Fashions change, in the 50's it was quite acceptable to get your sax relacquered, now the fad seems to be to have the laquer taken off your sax...
The predjudice against relacquered saxes seems to stem from some of the over enthusiatic polishing of saxes sent for factory relacquers. It would appear that polishing all the scratches out, even the really deep ones, took prrecedence over paying attention to what damage the buffing wheel may have been doing to the instrument.
This led to relaquered instruments gaining a bad reputation and hence the antique collectors mentality of retaining the original lacquer, an attitude that still prevails. Some people get really obsessive, a guy in a sax shop told me that he had a customer in who was looking for a MkVI with the same lacquer wear as the one John Coltrane had...
Debates about whether the lacquer has any effect on the sound have been going on for a while and I doubt any clear conclusion will ever be reached. Some people like to remove the lacquer just because it looks nice, whether they'll still feel that way when their beloved instrument has gone all green remains to be seen..

now here's an anecdote about what not to do...
Several years ago I was travelling home from Liverpool after a gig the night before. Somewhat bleary and hungover I got on the train at Lime St and spotted a young lady with an alto sax case on the opposite side of the aisle. She was busy chatting to the bloke next to her, so I closed my eyes for a nap, dimly aware of their conversation... Somewhere around Warrington, I woke up and saw that she was showing off her instrument to the guy next to her and I heard him say "what're all those scratches?" I peered over to see a nice Yanagisawa alto with abrasion marks all over the bell and I heard her say "oh, I've been taking the lacquer off, it improves the sound" and I saw a piece of what looked like 400 grade wet and dry paper in her sax case... I nearly screamed, but resisted the temptation to say anything and carried on the rest of my journey in a state of shock...
Since I heard her say that she was going to Leeds, I can only assume that someone in Leeds is going round telling music students that sanding the lacquer off perfectly good instruments is a good idea and thus is causing the ruination of perfectly good instruments...
If you must get the lacquer removed from your sax, harsh abrasives are not the answer...

As you might guess, since that day I've not been in favour of delacquering
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Fashions change, in the 50's it was quite acceptable to get your sax relacquered, now the fad seems to be to have the laquer taken off your sax...
The predjudice against relacquered saxes seems to stem from some of the over enthusiatic polishing of saxes sent for factory relacquers. It would appear that polishing all the scratches out, even the really deep ones, took prrecedence over paying attention to what damage the buffing wheel may have been doing to the instrument.
This led to relaquered instruments gaining a bad reputation and hence the antique collectors mentality of retaining the original lacquer, an attitude that still prevails. Some people get really obsessive, a guy in a sax shop told me that he had a customer in who was looking for a MkVI with the same lacquer wear as the one John Coltrane had...
Debates about whether the lacquer has any effect on the sound have been going on for a while and I doubt any clear conclusion will ever be reached. Some people like to remove the lacquer just because it looks nice, whether they'll still feel that way when their beloved instrument has gone all green remains to be seen..

now here's an anecdote about what not to do...
Several years ago I was travelling home from Liverpool after a gig the night before. Somewhat bleary and hungover I got on the train at Lime St and spotted a young lady with an alto sax case on the opposite side of the aisle. She was busy chatting to the bloke next to her, so I closed my eyes for a nap, dimly aware of their conversation... Somewhere around Warrington, I woke up and saw that she was showing off her instrument to the guy next to her and I heard him say "what're all those scratches?" I peered over to see a nice Yanagisawa alto with abrasion marks all over the bell and I heard her say "oh, I've been taking the lacquer off, it improves the sound" and I saw a piece of what looked like 400 grade wet and dry paper in her sax case... I nearly screamed, but resisted the temptation to say anything and carried on the rest of my journey in a state of shock...
Since I heard her say that she was going to Leeds, I can only assume that someone in Leeds is going round telling music students that sanding the lacquer off perfectly good instruments is a good idea and thus is causing the ruination of perfectly good instruments...
If you must get the lacquer removed from your sax, harsh abrasives are not the answer...

As you might guess, since that day I've not been in favour of delacquering
Would have to agree....Leicesterish?? Leicesterish wear exactly? thats not you is it Tim?
 

jbtsax

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Subscriber
Messages
8,011
Nice work Jamesmac. What did you use to polish the stripped brass? It looks great.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,874
Does it play?
When i got it gave my Custom 855 Yamaha a run for its money and has a bit more focus sound wise, obviously the ergos are better on the yamaha.
I am not a repair tech, and a couple of pads have not lined up, so i will give it to willie Garnet a Conn Guy working out of London to set it up for me.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,874
Nice work Jamesmac. What did you use to polish the stripped brass? It looks great.
Hi Jbtsax
I used a fine polishing steel wool to take off the exess lacquer, { and the Dremmel tool }then a silver polish, called Silvo.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Mmmmm, a Conn New Wonder.. very nice.... I see someone's done a neat job adding a modern thumbrest, a sensible idea, the one drawback of Conn's is the painful thumbrest.
Bet it sounds as amazing as it looks...
 
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