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Discussion Starter #1
Hey I need an F# key for a 156 and was wondering: would only an F# key from a 156 fit,
and are all 156's built with the same keywork?
Are there stencil models that could be scavenged for use?
Or otherwise, where does one go about finding such a thing?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Which F# key?

All 156's have the same key work. Some adjustment will likely be required, as they were/are hand fitted and will be slightly different lengths (thousands of an inch). If it's just a tad too long, then get some 400 grit sand paper and go after the long end (match the seat on the pad to the tone hole). Too short, then you'll want to find someone that knows what they're doing to swedge the key (in the right places) to lengthen it to fit.

Note: If you're a tech and I just insulted you, drop to the link below. :)

That said, for either F#, a 157 or a 1960-64 "400" (model S-25) will very likely fit as well.

It gets murkier going earlier and it's certainly possible a 155 or 127 key will fit a 156. It's just far from certain, as the key work is a bit different and the differences didn't always follow the model changes. Maybe someone that's actually tried substituting an earlier F# can help out.

There are techs out there with donor horns willing to sell keys. Here's an eBay link for a Big B key guard. He might have the key you're looking for.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Bu...887151?hash=item3ad5ab766f:g:edMAAOSwB09YMNgn
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, I'm not a tech, although I would like to learn to work on saxophones. I'm still learning the keys, as you noticed I didn't even realize there is more than one F# key. I mean, I know there is a high F# on most newer horns, but I was unaware of another besides the, what do you call it, side F#? The one activated by your right hand. I am amazed at just how complicated this machine is and I've started dabbling in some very minor repair attempts, learning to understand key geometry, etc. I have a shop I work with for most stuff, but they mostly work on band instruments, don't really have any special knowledge or appreciation of older horns. I've been reading up on the Buescher Snap-On pad system, wondering if I should attempt a repad solo. I couldn't find any recent discussion about it but read folks were having issues with MM Buescher pads a few years back, too thick or something; also watched Matt Stohrer discuss his method; would love to know more. I'm definitely in the "keep it original if possible" camp. I just recently purchased an alto and a tenor (140 and 156), early 50s, post big B horns. Both look to have the original systems intact along with the Nortons, (which seem like such an incredibly good idea). I checked the link you shared and didn't see what i was looking for but I'll email the guy and see if he might have one. Thanks!
 

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It would help to know which key you are referring to when you say the F# key. In the RH stack the key you press with the middle finger is the E key which some folks mistakenly call the F# key. The F# key is the key above the F that closes when the F, E, or D keys are depressed. It is always a "split" key that has two hinge tubes separated by a gap with a "back bar" in between.

The other F# key operated by the 2nd finger of the right hand is commonly called the "fork" or chromatic F#. It is used when going between F and F# to avoid "flip flopping" between the first and second fingers. I am not that familiar with the Aristocrats. Is the 156 an alto or a tenor, or do both have that number designation?
 

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I just recently purchased an alto and a tenor (140 and 156), early 50s, post big B horns
One thing to keep in mind is that the "post Big B" 156 tenor is the exact same horn as the Big B 156, aside from the engraving. There are two earlier models with the Big B engraving also, so three different model Aristocrat tenors were Big B engraved (you can't really speak of the 'Big B' as though it's one model).

Just out of curiosity, what happened to that F# key? How did you end up with a horn lacking that key? Odds are if a 'key' key like that is missing, there are a number of other issues to address. The horn may need an overhaul.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
One thing to keep in mind is that the "post Big B" 156 tenor is the exact same horn as the Big B 156, aside from the engraving. There are two earlier models with the Big B engraving also, so three different model Aristocrat tenors were Big B engraved (you can't really speak of the 'Big B' as though it's one model).

Just out of curiosity, what happened to that F# key? How did you end up with a horn lacking that key? Odds are if a 'key' key like that is missing, there are a number of other issues to address. The horn may need an overhaul.
While it made sense to me that a 156 is a 156 is a 156, I wasn't sure if minor key changes might have been made over time. Didn't realize all Big B's weren't 156's.

Oh, this horn needs an overhaul for sure. I have no idea what happened to that key, I bought it this way. The tightening ring on the neck receiver has been replaced with some weird chrome colored thing, with what looks like a ligature screw acting as the tightening screw...AND it's reversed, so right hand tightening. This will have to be remedied as well. As far as I can tell, everything else looks intact. It has some dents in the bow and a couple of other dings. The finish is green in several places so I'm trying to figure out how to clean that without losing patina. But overhauled, oh yes, that it needs!
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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This warrants some pictures. :bluewink:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here are some photos. The more I look at it, it seems to me the body tube is curved slightly forward.
Assuming a straight edge held lengthwise against the body tube should touch full length, it is definitely bent.
The body/bell brace is broken at the body side. Looks like it was sloppily repaired at one time, not even lined up in its original position.
This may be a bigger can of worms than I thought. Oh well, "Fools rush in...".
 

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Hopefully you didn't pay much for the horn in that condition! However, a good tech can bring it back to life. Be prepared to sink some $$ into it and you will end up with a great horn.

Since you're in Florida, you might get in touch with Gayle at vintagesax (I think she's up in the panhandle). She's a great tech and a Buescher expert. I don't know if she does work on horns that she isn't selling herself but she could certainly advise you:

http://www.vintagesax.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate the suggestion. I'll see what she has to say.
Not sure if I paid too much for the horn. I'm a sucker for the wounded.
 

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Hey, if you are still looking and your don't mind your parts being well travelled. Philip from Secondhandsaxes down under (http://secondhandsaxes.com.au/) has a pages on his site for wrecks and spares. He has a Buescher Aristocrat 156 currently listed for parts. I've bought a number of horns from him as well as spare parts, great to deal with.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Here are some photos. The more I look at it, it seems to me the body tube is curved slightly forward.
Assuming a straight edge held lengthwise against the body tube should touch full length, it is definitely bent.
The body/bell brace is broken at the body side. Looks like it was sloppily repaired at one time, not even lined up in its original position.
This may be a bigger can of worms than I thought. Oh well, "Fools rush in...".
Yup, that's a pretty impressive body bend you have there. Looks like $1200 to $1500 in repairs to me to put that old girl right. Given the missing key and the condition, clearly someone was serious about this being a parts horn.
 

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Just MHO: Replacing a missing F# trill key isn't all that difficult. I mean...it doesn't HAVE TO be from another 156. The only advantage there is it'd slip right into the posts.

I dunno if later 'Crats or Bundys or the like has the same spec for that key or not. But even in a worst-case scenario, a tech with decent soldering skills can likely either relocate the posts for a different donor key, or just replace the posts with the posts from a donor horn. IMHO the donor horn part doesn't even HAVE to be a Boosh.

In this instance, seriously....I would not suggest you go on a search for an original model key. If someone has one, they will ream you w/ their pricetag.

Yeah, there's a bend and a bellbrace impaction into the tube. Gnarly looking, but a very typical bit of damage that is easily rectified, again by any tech who can solder and do body work decently. It would have been worse had the bellbrace been impacted into the bell, actually.

I also don't think it is anywhere near having one foot in the grave. This is a straightforward resurrection candidate here. Full overhaul probably: tear down, chem or sonic bath (forget the patina, having a clean horn is way more important that trying to save a patina), polish, dent removal, making tube plumb, resoldering bellbrace, leveling holes, replacing pads, regulation, and all of that....$1500, yes in certain parts of the country. $750 in other parts. It'd actually be a bit cheaper even if not for having to graft on a new F#.


So, not to dissuade you from finding the Buescher gurus...but this is a mostly straightforward repair stuff and doesn't require a guru by any means. Just a respectable tech with some experience in key mods.
 

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So, not to dissuade you from finding the Buescher gurus...but this is a mostly straightforward repair stuff and doesn't require a guru by any means.
Yeah, except the OP is in Florida, so might as well look up Gayle at vintagesax. She could definitely put that horn right. And no, Gayle doesn't give me a kickback or anything. I've bought a couple horns from her in the past and am a very satisfied customer. I have no idea what she'd charge, but I know she's an expert on Bueschers and other vintage horns, so the job would get done correctly.
 

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If OP is in Florida.... then he should just find Scott Ankrom (Forum member Southfloridahorns, also found at www.southfloridahorns.com).

Scott, besides being a nice guy and a great tech, is a master at keywork mods and grafting...and he is very reasonably priced as well.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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If OP is in Florida.... then he should just find Scott Ankrom (Forum member Southfloridahorns, also found at www.southfloridahorns.com).

Scott, besides being a nice guy and a great tech, is a master at keywork mods and grafting...and he is very reasonably priced as well.
George, did you move to the Netherlands? Looks like you're no longer in P-burg (handle change).
 
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