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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks, Ive just become the owner of a Ida maria grassi Tenor Sax, It has the serial No 1609 on it. It needs serious work and overhaul, Does anyone know any info on these ect, anything will help
Thanks Steve
 

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simso.
You may notice that half the threads on this board are appeals for history of the various models of Grassi saxophones.
We know that some are top flight and others were made as student models. It was assumed that the last to leave the factory were the best, but that hypothesis has been blown out of the water on discovering that a 1960s "Jade" model compares favourably with a Selmer Mk6; this information from a contributor who has both.
Does your Grassi have a model name? No serial number details seem to exist.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yeh I kind of noticed this site and the net are a bit vague on these, But these are beautiful looking instruments, Ive completely stripped my unit and am wrapped at how good of a condition it still is, Im assuming its from around the 20s or even 30s because of the low low low serial no. Every thing seems to be solidly built, the only labels on it are the emblem which saids ida-maria grassi & Co Milano Italy, Then a floral design and fabrica strumenti musicali italiani. Am going to overhaul it anyway and see where it takes me. Heres a photo of it stripped and complete
 

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I doubt it's anywhere near 20s or 30s, it has sheet metal key guards which were not made till much later.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That makes sense, I had simply made an assupmtion by how low the serial no was. If anyone has any links or ideas I would greatly appreciate it.
Im dropping the stripped body of to a mate tommorrow who does electroplating for a living and organising him to buff the body up, apparently hes done them before, so Ill see what happens. Ive soldered up the loose posts and frame clamp, and theres no sucken or damaged tone holes so thats a great start.
Steve
 

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Agree with A Train...much later than the 20' or 30s. Axles run down the middle not the side. High E seems to have a lip at the top. Never seen a bell brace like that before on a Grassi. Could be 60s, but that's a guess.
Are you going to re-lacquer it or leave it bare brass? Ask your mate to go easy on the buffing...I preferred to bead blast mine as the gentler option. Nice looking horn....please keep us in the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I dont know whether to relaquer or not, thats an unknown for me. Im going to get it buffed gently to clean it up not to try and make it perfect. Paul whose the electroplater said, once buffed you can either leave it or lacquer it. I dont know whats involved yet in relaquering or whether theres any advantages gained either way, definetly open for suggestions recommendations. I have to make a couple of shims to space out two of the lower keys because I had to cut the keys and rods to get them of, the heads had been snapped of the through bolts and they had been glued into place. the give away was the rust at the join point, but i had to cut it to get it off. Ill spin up a couple of brass shims on the lathe when I go to re-assemble it. Definetly an enjoyable project.
 

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Decisions, decisions. After bead blasting I have left mine as bare brass...going splendidly green. You have that choice, clear lacquer, mix black into the clear lacquer, or even mix bronze into the clear lacquer to give that lovely dark patina effect that occurs on vintage Martins.
You, by sawing through the swivel screws, have taken a different route to mine when faced with your problem...I unsolder the posts.
Good for you, you seem to know exactly what you are doing, and I look forward to photographs of the finished horn.
I have just re-padded mine with hard pads; after the "floating in" stage, I was amazed that everything sealed and the horn now plays perfectly, usually there is a fiddling and faffing period....I had forgotten what a jolly good horn it is...out gigging with it tonight.
 

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Captain Beeflat said:
Never seen a bell brace like that before on a Grassi. Could be 60s, but that's a guess.
Hi Guys, I have both alto and tenor in the jade series. The bell brace is the circular Selmer style. This one looks reminiscent of the brace on my Martin Indiana's. This should be a great project!

--Sidepipes
 

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Good gracious...both a tenor and an alto in the Jade series...very tasty. Off topic, I know, but how does the Jade tenor compare with your Mk6 tenor? You have already, very kindly, given us a comparison of the equivalent altos.
 

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Hi Captain, The tenor is in Colin Price's shop for a little damage repair, but I hope to have it back this week. I'll try to give you a comparison after that. Also, I couldn't tell from Simso's pictures, but my Jade's have ribbed post construction, if that is any help for identification.

--Sidepipes
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I dont know if this is what you mean but about 80 percent of the posts are mounted on braces joining them together and then onto the horn. Theres a couple that just have a circular base but not many, ive included a photo. Yep you guys are right it cant be that old because it also has under bow bracing in case it gets dropped and Im pretty sure most early saxes never had this option. Is there a special type of lacquer you use because I dont like the green option thing happening thats for sure. Or is it just a 2 pac clear coat like they use on cars ect. Taking it today to get buffed have it back next week, and then let the fun begin
Steve
 

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buffing

I believe you are making a mistake by letting a non musical repair person buff your sax. A wrong move and a tone hole is messed up. Are you leaving the springs on it?

If it were mine... hand finish the horn and be happy, leave it what it is or take it to an individual who knows something about buffing saxophones. I wish you good luck with what ever you do.

As for finish... Ferees (sp?) sells the appropriate type of lacquer to use. Again there is something to be said about experience in this field.


Cyber sax has a great section on hand refinsihing saxophones click below, it may help you a bit.
PLEASE GO THROUGH THESE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING TO THIS SAX


Again... best of luck because that is a cool old horn. I am currently working on a bari that I am refinishing and rebuilding. The amount of time and labor is high so do it right! :D


Best regards,
HUTMO
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well its a risk you gotta take. I really really dont like crappy looking horns all tarnished dull. My mate paul is not a repair tech but is an electroplater and according to him used to polish numerous saxophones and brass instruments at the last place he worked at. He said not an issue whatsoever, so Ill leave it with him. He did a quick polish on the neck for me and I was stunned at the brilliance of colour that is still in the instrument. In seconds it was mirror quality finish. Looking forward to getting the whole thing back next week
Steve
 

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Please do not let anyone loose on your horn with a buffer. I have stripped several, and may I suggest that first you try Nitromors, or any chemical paint stripper; this is not as messy as it sounds. The lacquer on my Grassi was impervious to paint stripper so I used a bead blasting cabinet. Bead blasting uses small glass beads and a cabinet can be found typically at vintage motorcycle restoration shops. See if the owner will allow you to carry out the work yourself...mine does; after all it is your horn.
With regard to lacquer. I was fed up with my silver Buescher tarnishing, so I took it to bits, cleaned it and took it to a car paint spray place to be clear lacquered. Modern car lacquers will adhere to bathroom tiles...ten years on and the Buescher still looks great.
simo, I repeat...PLEASE do not anyone hand buff your horn. Apart from anything else, there are places where a buffer cannot reach...it will be a bodge at best. Beadblasting is the only way.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Too late, its already gone and I believe already done. He was going to put it into a heated strip tank designed for stripping laquer when I left it with him today. I have a plastic bead blasting cabinet here at home, and an ally oxide blasting cabinet as well. When I go and pick it up ill check to see how much material has been removed, I do non destructive testing for a living, that is I measure and inspect things, so I guess Ill find out now how good he really was at doing this. I have a small paint booth in my shed as well which is set up for two pack paints, so Ill use some clear car laquer that I have already.
Okay cross my fingers and wait now
Steve
 

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Steve.
You are obviously a very competent person, but I have to ask why you subjected your horn to a buffer when you have a bead blaster at home. Another advantage of bead blasting is that, as you well know, it results in a matte finish which provides a good key for the lacquer.
Used my re-padded Pro. 2000 at a gig last night....glorious horn. With a No.11 Rico Metalite, even the electric guitarists took notice....and nothing fell off.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeh I know, but the matt finish does nothing for me, I like that nice reflective type. In hind sight I could have given it a tickle with the blaster and then lived with the matt finish but the offer from me mate to polish it up was just to good to knock back, well I thought it was too good, we will see when I get it back. Ill do some thickness measurements and see what I have
 

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buff away

Obviously we are wasting our breath (or fingers IN THIS CASE) because a shiny horn is more important to you than doing the right thing for the sax that will make it last longer and play better. BUFF away!!!!:D You will sound good or bad depending upon your talent, not how the sax looks. Such a shame in my book but its your sax.

Best regards... Seriously, I hope that thing shines like a son of a gun for you. It will not play any better if it does. Please share images with us.

HUTMO
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
That was a bit unnecassary, Ive asked for advice and taken it, I jumped the gun a bit and gave it to me mate to plate prior to everyones comments, as I said in hindsight I could have lived with a matt finished unit and plastic bead blasted it myself, but when you get excdited and started you have a tendency or at least I do,to go at things like a bull at a gate and get into it. I contacted him yesterday and he had already started I went and saw him and he gave me a fair bit of info to put me at ease about the buffing and weight variances ect. As I have already pointed out such is life and now Im still okay with the job becasue its already happened, Its gonna play fantastic anyway because of the new pads and all degummed so Im still excited about it, in future I probably will just live with a matt finish, but he is pretty convincing and determined about the miniscule of difference it makes, Ill find out in the end. Well personally I dont know if its even possible to find out what difference it has actually made without first having a second unit completely overhauled and not buffed to use as a comparitor. But still happy and cant wait to start re-assembling. I will post photos if anyone is interested
Enjoy now
Steve
Ps Photo of home made spray booth and blasters. "So you know I wasnt Bull****ting you"
 
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