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Discussion Starter #1
I have an original lacquer Selmer Mark VI i purchased almost 1yr ago.

Someone told me that my horn has lost lacquer.

I reviewed the pics and its true - especially around the bell where the Selmer emblem is.

I didn't want to wipe the horn down after playing because I thought that would pull the lacquer off but It seems as If I should be wiping it down after I play.

Any tips here? I have some ideas but just wanted to share this thread incase others experience the same.
 

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Your sax has reached an age where the lacquer will flake off if played. It was manufactured decades before epoxy-based lacquers started being used. If you are planning to sell it soon, then perhaps the best solution would be to play another sax instead. Otherwise, it isn't something worth worrying about, as there is nothing you can do. I have a '56 tenor and every time I pull it out of the case, there are tiny flakes of lacquer that have come off. I keep my sax clean by swapping the inside and wiping down the outside after play. I doubt that this hastens decay of the lacquer by much but wouldn't care if it did.
 

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Thanks for the advice - I hope I never have to sell the horn - it is one of the best feelings 5 digits out there. Famous people have tried and love it 😉... what do you use to wipe it down? Any suggestions?
 

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I have a five-digit MKVI soprano (1959) that was engraved by Selmer USA after it was shipped to the USA from the Selmer-Paris factory (as documented by Douglas Pipher). It is original lacquer and where the engraving was done, the lacquer is gone. However, the rest of the horn's lacquer is intact and does not appear to be weak, loosening, or coming off.

I occasionally wipe off the water marks with a cloth and all is well. I wouldn't worry about the condition of the lacquer on your saxophone. DAVE
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Back in the old days players didn’t worry too much as lacquer would come off over time, they just got the horns relacquered and then they looked good again. This was in the days before there were that many collectors who care more about the lacquer being original than how well the horn plays or looks.

If you are going to keep it and care about how it looks, but not too bothered about resale value for collectors, then you could get it relacquered, modern lacquer will last much better than the old stuff. But it will lose value.
 

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Thanks for the advice - I hope I never have to sell the horn - it is one of the best feelings 5 digits out there. Famous people have tried and love it 😉... what do you use to wipe it down? Any suggestions?
I just use something cotton that has been washed a million times. I have various old rags that I keep solely for this sort of thing.

The notion about lacquer aging to the point where it becomes brittle and flakes off is not just my experience. I happen to know a couple of the major vintage dealers in the US a bit and they said that this is to be expected. It doesn't mean that each and every horn will behave similarly, as they all lead different lives.

BTW, I never bought into the whole vintage Selmer thing until I got this tenor. I paid well below market value, but it also needed an overhaul. I figured worst case scenario I could sell and brake even. The guy who performed overhaul wanted to keep it. It plays as well as anything I have tried. Congrats with yours.

Congrats with your sax!
 

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Spray a little lemon pledge on some soft flannel or tee-shirt rags (washed many times), and use that to wipe the horn. Lemon Pledge is good for all lacquer finishes, cellulose and epoxy both, and it will also help clean the areas where the lacquer has worn off. Keeping dirt away from the lacquer islands (or, as in my case, freckles...) helps them to stay put. The Lemon Pledge is also good for the bare brass surface so its a double win.

BTW when I say "a little" I mean a short, 1-second spritz of the Pledge onto the cloth from a foot or so away. You don't want the rag wet, just a little of the polish in it.
 
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