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I'm OLD - have been playing the same horn since I was 10 and I know nothing about saxes except how to finger and blow. My dad bought me my sax - and I loved it, cared for it and played it. I play in a community band. I'm reading way technical stuff and it is wtmi. I had my old sax repadded recently, the company 'cleaned' it and it came back with all of its lacquer stripped off. It sounds much like putting a mouthpiece on a lead pipe now and I can't afford to have it refinished. So I'm looking at used saxes - possibly on ebay. I played a Beuschler Aristocrat yesterday - it had wonderful tone, but had an awful warble in the low range - lower d and down. it would not be acceptable to have that in the band. Was is my mouthpiece, my mouth position or the horn that caused that? I could not find any leaky pads and the pads looked pretty good. I'd love to hear from 'experts' or at least knowledgable folks to hand me some advice! Thanks in advance! Diane
 

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Take it back and make them fix their mistake. They should not have stripped the finish without your OK! Ebay is not for novices. What is your price range and maybe someone can advise. I deal in vintage horns but there are also modern saxes such as the Yamaha YAS-23 that are good.
 

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Thanks for the quick response. I raised all kinds of a fuss when I got it back - they refused to fix it and are the only 'game' I'm aware of in Central Iowa. They deal with schools and are statewide. I went as far as the company owner and I have cried tears as the horn had been babied for 50 years - I played it and my son played it and now I play it again but although the new pads helped me get low range easily again, it just has a flat sound. I'm thinking in the neighborhood of $300 to $400 and I'm with you - I'm nervous about ebay. I'm considering some of the dealers with good return policies and high positive feedback (lots of happy buyers) might be my best bet. If they offer full refund on quick returns, I am not too worried about paying return shipping. I sell on ebay also (not musical instruments) and I know feedback is very important to us as sellers.
 

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What kind of horn did they ruin?
Stripping the lacquer should not have deadened the sound. Something is amiss in the adjustment. Has anyone at the store played it since you complained? Did they even recheck for leaks?
You may want to escalate to small claims court if they can't/won't make your old horn playable.
 

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Mod: I agree with the others - finish doesn't matter and it should not affect the way the horn plays. It is most likely in the pads, adjustments, key-heigths, etc.

Bueschers are fine saxophones (I have five) and any warble is most likely because of a leak somewhere - probably a leak that isn't easily detected OR causede by poor adjustments in the interconnecting mechanisms.

Regardless of how your old saxophone turns out, you may want to consider a new saxophone. There are some really nice players available today that don't cost an arm and a leg. Many of them are made in Taiwan and of good quality. If this interests you, give Dave Kessler a call (see his advertisement on these pages). He can get you into a reasonably priced alto for less than you think. I've purchased two of his house-brand saxophones and they are good. DAVE
 

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Thanks to all of you for your advice - for someone who has played off and on for 55 years, I'm sure a novice. No one has played the horn at the store as suggested. I'm seeing so many different things I could consider, not the least of which is more practice and working on my own sound. I do not know of another sax 'technician' in Iowa besides the major company who did this to it. I'm thinking that some adjustments might help if I knew someone who could do this. It is an Indiana Martin from 1952.
 

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WHOA!!! Iowa has some GREAT sax techs!! Denny Lawson in Davenport is very good. Randy Jones in Cedar Falls is one of, if not THE best out there. There are others but I know these two shops personally and recommend them without reservation.
 

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Hi Carl H!
Thank you for the info - I'm going to contact Randy Jones - I'm about 150 miles from Cedar Falls - (Davenport would be quite a drive!) I live 90 NW of Des Moines - I've decided to check out whether or not this horn can sound good. I tried to play it with a better embouchure, (work a little harder! lol) - and it just has no ring. It is worse than I ever knew it and from what I'm seeing on these boards, it might be salvageable and is worth a try. If I can't get it to sound good, I've decided to look for a better horn. But, it is an old Martin and some people seem to really like them so maybe there is hope.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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As others have said, it's not the loss of lacquer that is causing the deterioration in sound. I wonder if they have done physical damage to the body - the only thing I can think that would affect the sound if all the pads are seating OK.

If so, this might explain why they removed the lacquer - to conceal a solder or bend repair or something. Either way, they should not have removed the lacquer without asking you. "Cleaning" does not mean lacquer stripping.

And yes, there are now many good instruments from Taiwan and China that do not cost an arm and a leg - but you should by these from reputable dealer - there are some dodgy new horns ones around.
 

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Usually I don't like "me too" threads but since you are so unsure and inexperienced maybe sheer volume of responses will give you more confidence. :)

Whoever worked on that horn screwed it up. I personally believe that the finish can make a difference so the irony here is that many feel that stripping a sax, or trumpet actually enhances the sound so, if anything ("if anything," folks ;)) it would make it sound better, not worse. Somebody definitely screwed your horn up. Either that, or the "ugliness" of the horn is giving you a subtle influence on what you hear.

I would take it to Randy Jones and have him give you his opinion. I would also use that as leverage in getting money back from whomever you took it in the first place. If Randy says you're not going to get a better horn in the same price range as your present horn, then I'd keep it.

However, there are now any number of decent new saxes being made in Taiwan that are inexpensive that play very well for the price; Unison, Kessler, Barone, and others. Maybe someone can chime in, I can't think of the name but -was it you Pete?- someone had very good things to say about a..."Walstein"?

And, of course, you can't go wrong with a used Yamaha YAS 23. These are just killin' little saxes.
 

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Even new horns from China are going to exceed $400, so really the only choice if a replacement is necessary is going to be used, either in the classifieds, (local or on SOTW etc) or ebay. Shipping is going to suck up $50, and any used horn should really be counted on as needing to see a technician (but not the one who stripped this horn)

I had a nice taiwanese Antigua Winds 520 that cost me $200 on ebay. By the time I had it here and looked at etc there was $350 in it. I dont think I could do a lot better for a modern horn for the money, but I think if you can justify $1000 on your hobby then there are some fantastic horns out there to be had. I ended up with a B&S stencil and am more than happy that that horn will last me a lifetime now.

I cant believe they just stripped your horn without asking. Bizarre. But I too dont think that stripping alone would have a major effect on sound on its own. Could the difference be to do with resonators? Maybe when whichever ape fixed your horn forgot to install resos on the pads? Could that make enough difference if everything else is OK?

I also dont believe the stores attitude, they should be bending over backwards to fix this mess.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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gary said:
Maybe someone can chime in, I can't think of the name but -was it you Pete?- someone had very good things to say about a..."Walstein"?
That's the one -it;s a Phosphor Bronze instrument based on a Yanagisawa design, but you'd be paying shipping from the UK. However, from the correspondence I've seen here, it seems that most of the good experiences of cheaper Chinese horns have been from the UK. Not sure why this is. There is also the Gear4music, which is cheaper than walstein and is an extremely good horn fro the money.
 
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