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Good point on the snaps. That will make the price higher, so we need to know that.
There was an earlier thread about how long they used the snap in pads and screw in springs. My tenor 505xxx puts it about 1969 and this thread had an alto slightly later still with snaps and screw in springs.
This has been discussed that it will be cheaper to have the snaps removed and more costly to keep them. The consensus seems to be that the sound is fine either way. But depends if you want the horn like it was then. I love the story of the family connection of your horn. And I tend to like to keep things as they were originally intended - so I kept all the snaps in mine. This definitely added to the cost of repading.

 

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I highly doubt any technician would give you a breakdown. Like I said in post nine understand the realm of work in each category. You went in and asked for an overhaul. You got the standard overhaul price based on his knowledge and experience. If somebody walks in and asked for an overhaul and then asks for a breakdown of pricing. It really shows you don’t know what you’re doing. Common beginner mistake. Asking what a service category includes is completely different.
What makes you think the technician you’re dealing with is untrustworthy? Sounds to me like he’s planning on handing you back a well assembled unit. Complete with a couple additional hours he’s going to end up taking answering all your questions.
This is not what I did lol. My wife is the one who dropped it off, and She specifically asked him to take a look at it and see what work he thought needed done. Then he just said 800 dollars for an overhaul. I asked for a breakdown of what he thought needed to be done. This is called due diligence lol. I have not made any novice mistakes yet. I came here to make sure I didn’t.. before any decisions were made lol. I didn’t say he was untrustworthy. I’m checking to see what this forum thought about it. I spent time crafting a post and everyone else besides you seems to have taken the time to read It and not jumped to any assumptions, and then gave me great and helpful feedback. I’ll assume you had good intentions as well, but it just didn’t come across in the message very well. Or you are the shop in Portland that quoted me lol.
 

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There was an earlier thread about how long they used the snap in pads and screw in springs. My tenor 505xxx puts it about 1969 and this thread had an alto slightly later still with snaps and screw in springs.
This has been discussed that it will be cheaper to have the snaps removed and more costly to keep them. The consensus seems to be that the sound is fine either way. But depends if you want the horn like it was then. I love the story of the family connection of your horn. And I tend to like to keep things as they were originally intended - so I kept all the snaps in mine. This definitely added to the cost of repading.

finally some one else brought this up!
 

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Wow!!!!!! You guys are amazing. Sorry I’m just now reading the responses. They were all so so helpful. What a great forum. I took it to a tech and they quoted me 800 dollars for an overhaul. What made me kind of annoyed is that I had asked for a list of everything that needed work with a quoted price on what those things would cost, and he seemed hesitant to give it to me. He said he always charges 800 dollars, as it’s just his standard price. If any of you work on Saxes in Portland, OR let me know! Or if you have a recommendation of someone you trust there.

Thanks again!
Well, I'm not surprised he didn't give you a detailed rundown on everything needed on your particular instrument. He's probably taken a general look at it to assess its general condition and applied a standard price.

For mechanical repairs there are generally three ways to do businesss.

1) Standard price, applied to a "typical" job of work. If it requires more work than $800 covers, he'll lose on the deal; if it requires more, he'll gain. That's a standard way to do business. He's taking the risk that the work required exceeds what he's allowed for.

I do think he ought to be able to give a standard list of what's "typically" included in that standard price.

2) Pure time and materials. Now you're taking the risk that the work required exceeds what you've budgeted.

3) Time and materials with paid estimate/diagnosis. This is how auto repairs of some complexity are done. I've not heard of a saxophone tech doing this, but I suppose it's possible.

From the service provider's perspective the fixed price for fixed scope makes a lot of sense. Time and materials customers will tend to nickel and dime them to death, plus there's the chance the customer, upon hearing how much it costs, will pull the job, and the tech is going to lose money on those situations. If you set the price correctly, it's a no-muss no-fuss way to do business, as the customer knows how much the job's going to cost.
 

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Anyway, OP, I don't think you've answered why you believe the horn needs a complete overhaul. If it were me I'd ask for the cost of a "playing condition" service, which would typically be a few pads, a few corks, and some adjustments.
 

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Without seeing a saxophone first hand and having the knowledge and experience to determine whether getting an overhaul is the most logical choice with all things considered, none of us on SOTW can provide more than an "educated guess". Second guessing a professional repair tech's opinion over the internet without any additional facts or information is what I would call an "un-educated guess". There are still those who might think that techs recommend "un-needed" overhauls in order to make more money. The truth is those who invest the time to do detailed top quality work will always make more money doing play conditions in the same amount of time in my experience. Suppose an average play condition costs $150 and takes 2 hours. A tech can do 4 of these in an 8 hour day and make $600 a day or $3,000 a week. Complete mechanical overhauls can take a week or more and the costs are generally $900 - $1600 depending upon the area and whether the tech is one of the "big names" in the trade. My mentor in repair taught me that what we are selling to the customer is "reliability", in other words that their instrument will play its best over a period of time without needing repair or adjustment. Many play conditions are warranted for 30 days (of reliability) because only a few of many possible issues were addressed. Overhauls are typically warranted for a year or more (of reliable service) and include minor check ups and adjustments free of charge.
 

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Without seeing a saxophone first hand and having the knowledge and experience to determine whether getting an overhaul is the most logical choice with all things considered, none of us on SOTW can provide more than an "educated guess". Second guessing a professional repair tech's opinion over the internet without any additional facts or information is what I would call an "un-educated guess". There are still those who might think that techs recommend "un-needed" overhauls in order to make more money. The truth is those who invest the time to do detailed top quality work will always make more money doing play conditions in the same amount of time in my experience. Suppose an average play condition costs $150 and takes 2 hours. A tech can do 4 of these in an 8 hour day and make $600 a day or $3,000 a week. Complete mechanical overhauls can take a week or more and the costs are generally $900 - $1600 depending upon the area and whether the tech is one of the "big names" in the trade. My mentor in repair taught me that what we are selling to the customer is "reliability", in other words that their instrument will play its best over a period of time without needing repair or adjustment. Many play conditions are warranted for 30 days (of reliability) because only a few of many possible issues were addressed. Overhauls are typically warranted for a year or more (of reliable service) and include minor check ups and adjustments free of charge.
Well, it sounds to me like OP went in and asked "how much to do an overhaul?" not "what does it need?" If the second question was actually asked and the answer was "complete overhaul, costs $800 flat rate" then your scenario is bang on. But if the first question is what was asked, the tech would certainly answer it. He might or might not try to dissuade the customer.
 

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This is not what I did lol. My wife is the one who dropped it off, and She specifically asked him to take a look at it and see what work he thought needed done. Then he just said 800 dollars for an overhaul. I asked for a breakdown of what he thought needed to be done. This is called due diligence lol. I have not made any novice mistakes yet. I came here to make sure I didn’t.. before any decisions were made lol. I didn’t say he was untrustworthy. I’m checking to see what this forum thought about it. I spent time crafting a post and everyone else besides you seems to have taken the time to read It and not jumped to any assumptions, and then gave me great and helpful feedback. I’ll assume you had good intentions as well, but it just didn’t come across in the message very well. Or you are the shop in Portland that quoted me lol.
All good! And yes I have read the thread. Maybe I didn’t express myself adequately. Everyone makes mistakes. Well unless you’re a guy who walks on water.
No I am not a tech in Portland. To cold to live there.

Your comment about the price, the techs lack of desire to give you a itemized breakdown and the inquiry of looking for a “trustworthy” tech in the area….. well that left me with the feeling you didn’t have a warm fuzzy glow about the person you were working with.
ask your wife how she presented it to the technician. As in the term she used. And what questions he asked. Like how long has your husband been playing? Time is money. Techs wouldn’t get into it technical conversation with a non-player. They wouldn’t understand anything anyway. If he took it out of the case and did a pop test and checked a few places for loose hardware he knew enough. Anyone who has handled enough saxophones can usually tell mostly what one needs in less than three minutes. Like the checklist I posted. There are set things you check for. On a play condition inquiry he would have played it most likely. I’m not sure on this anymore due to Covid. If he didn’t take it out of the case and your wife told him it had been 40 years since last played. Default answer, needs everything. not that this is dishonest. The tech is truly giving you the best quality package for full satisfaction. Your 400 is no student junk. The person wants you to have the best sax care.

If you would like to post some pictures I’m sure all of us can point to some areas to inspect. Things to look for. I.e. pad condition. Sticking a flashlight in the body tube and checking for leaks, bent neck, bent body & sticking keys ect.
hats off to you for doing due diligence. It’s a shame when people post “look at my new sax isn’t it wonderful”. I paid $10,000 for it. What does it need? It happens


Well, it sounds to me like OP went in and asked "how much to do an overhaul?" not "what does it need?" If the second question was actually asked and the answer was "complete overhaul, costs $800 flat rate" then your scenario is bang on. But if the first question is what was asked, the tech would certainly answer it. He might or might not try to dissuade the customer.
Exactly what I thought. Guess not 🤷‍♂️
 

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Without seeing a saxophone first hand and having the knowledge and experience to determine whether getting an overhaul is the most logical choice with all things considered, none of us on SOTW can provide more than an "educated guess". Second guessing a professional repair tech's opinion over the internet without any additional facts or information is what I would call an "un-educated guess". There are still those who might think that techs recommend "un-needed" overhauls in order to make more money. The truth is those who invest the time to do detailed top quality work will always make more money doing play conditions in the same amount of time in my experience. Suppose an average play condition costs $150 and takes 2 hours. A tech can do 4 of these in an 8 hour day and make $600 a day or $3,000 a week. Complete mechanical overhauls can take a week or more and the costs are generally $900 - $1600 depending upon the area and whether the tech is one of the "big names" in the trade. My mentor in repair taught me that what we are selling to the customer is "reliability", in other words that their instrument will play its best over a period of time without needing repair or adjustment. Many play conditions are warranted for 30 days (of reliability) because only a few of many possible issues were addressed. Overhauls are typically warranted for a year or more (of reliable service) and include minor check ups and adjustments free of charge.
Yep !
 

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This is not what I did lol. My wife is the one who dropped it off, and She specifically asked him to take a look at it and see what work he thought needed done. Then he just said 800 dollars for an overhaul.
 

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Without seeing a saxophone first hand and having the knowledge and experience to determine whether getting an overhaul is the most logical choice with all things considered, none of us on SOTW can provide more than an "educated guess". Second guessing a professional repair tech's opinion over the internet without any additional facts or information is what I would call an "un-educated guess". There are still those who might think that techs recommend "un-needed" overhauls in order to make more money. The truth is those who invest the time to do detailed top quality work will always make more money doing play conditions in the same amount of time in my experience.
+1. Well said, saxoclese. This comports very well with my experience with reputable techs. I've been lucky to have had 3 different, really great techs service my horns over the years. The only way you can find out what your horn needs, beyond the basic fact that it needs work, is for a tech to examine the horn in person. I never tell my tech what needs to be done. I trust him to find what needs doing. He's never steered me wrong and my horn always comes out playing better even when it only requires a minor fix, or a new pad or two.
 

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@saxoclese yes that’s exactly what he stated. I did read his reply, and yes I asked the question again.. But do we know if the technician physically picked up the sax. Did he look at it in the case? Did the technician ask any questions? “Dropped off” was it left for a review?
take a look and see what’s needed “ i’m more curious as to exactly how the process went.

People send their cars in for a tuneup these days. There hasn’t been much to tuneup on a car in 30 years. Service yes…
 

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I'm an Amateur repairman, but I own and have worked on a couple of these.

Buescher snaps complicate pad replacement, whether you deal with them or have them removed. I prefer mine with the snaps even with the recurring greater difficulty replacing pads. Other than that, they are not bad to work on as they are decently made instruments, just make sure never to get a flame anywhere near the springs as they are hard to find good replacement for.

They are good horns, probably my top "sleeper" pick among tenors and are priced low because I think the Boosher market gets strangely averse when looking at anything post TH&C. The Altos aren't too bad either.
 

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I've done a repad on one instrument with the Buescher snaps and I can't see for the life of me how it "complicates" matters. You just have to have a bigger center hole. That's easily accomplished with a hole punch from the crafts shop.

I agree there are about two or three extra steps but unless you're in a true assembly line situation where every second of TAKT time matters, it's a pretty trivial matter compared to all the time it takes to disassemble, clean, measure all the pad cups, straighten things, replace all the corks, float the pads (I floated the pads and then snapped-in the snaps), and regulate the horn.

The whole "snaps are a pain" thing sounds to me like a manufactured issue rather than a real one. Maybe if I had a lot more experience with them I would change my mind.
 

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I've done a repad on one instrument with the Buescher snaps and I can't see for the life of me how it "complicates" matters. You just have to have a bigger center hole. That's easily accomplished with a hole punch from the crafts shop.

I agree there are about two or three extra steps but unless you're in a true assembly line situation where every second of TAKT time matters, it's a pretty trivial matter compared to all the time it takes to disassemble, clean, measure all the pad cups, straighten things, replace all the corks, float the pads (I floated the pads and then snapped-in the snaps), and regulate the horn.

The whole "snaps are a pain" thing sounds to me like a manufactured issue rather than a real one. Maybe if I had a lot more experience with them I would change my mind.
I can tell you my impression and share why I think snaps "complicates" padding, at least for me:

1) yes, you have to either have pre-punched larger holes or do it yourself. This is a small matter.

2) the "Abadcliche" method of pad replacement is interrupted by the spud sticking up through the pad. Once you've gotten everything sealing, you have to figure out a way to mount the snap on it which can be hampered by the presence of shellac. You either have to avoid shellac'ing the center or re-soften it with heat after its been set. Either that or you go with Buescher's original intent of using no adhesive, which comes with its own challenges.

These problems are often enough to convince techs to grind out the center spuds.
 

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My method of installing pads with snap-on resos is to seat the pad first being careful to keep shellac away from the spud which can be a challenge when a lot of pad movement is required. Then with the pad installed and seated, I insert the reso. About 50% of the time, the pad stays perfectly seated. The other 50% of the time the reso depresses the leather and the pad needs to be reworked. My vote is that it is more "complicated" than installing typical pads with a reso attached using shellac. When I get a Buescher to work on and several of the key cup have lost the "spud", I remove the rest. If all of the keycups are intact and I have the sizes of snap on resos to replace any that are missing, I install the pads with snap-ons. The Music Medic "Bench Press" and Buescher hole punch set make the task much easier when converting "regular" pads to use with the snap-ons.
 
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