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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
As I mentioned in another thread, I've looked at SOTW on and off for a couple of years but decided to join up today and get involved.

A couple of years back I was lucky enough to get a great deal on a B&S Medusa tenor sax in the sandblast finish and within a couple of gigs it had already started tarnishing, despite me giving it a fairly decent wipedown after gigs. The tarnish only occurred in the places where the finish had gotten wet from leaking condensation/saliva etc during the gigs eg. around some of the lower tone holes, some drips around the upper stack tone holes and then these dripping down to the top of the bell etc.

Now, a couple of years later, the horn is definitely looking extremely "vintage" (a lot like the reference Selmers and worse) and whilst this doesn't particularly bother me, I'm curious to see if other players' sandblast-finished horns have aged the same. I mean, I've got huge tarnish blotches and water marks everywhere and unfortunately the "fair Medusa" engraving isn't so "fair" anymore :) I ALWAYS wipe down the horn after a gig and I wonder if perhaps my SKB flight case is the culprit??!? I've recently read that SKB cases seal so tightly that often the horn doesn't dry out very well.

I'll post some pics shortly when I get the chance but I'd love some feedback from others on how their Medusa's have aged. I don't suppose there's any way to clean up some of the tarnish or water marks from the sandblast finish? It'd definitely be nice to clean up some of the more unsightly marks, whereas others I can live with.

Cheers
 

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The sand blast finish is designed to degrade like that, according to the people at B&S....I am not happy about it either; but there is no cleaning or polishing it- once it is there, it is there.

Probably you are not blotting your pads and swabbing out your horn before you put it in the case, and that has resulted in the unwanted saliva stains in the finish, I dare say.

I have had the same problem too.

On the other hand, my silver Medusa is still immaculate.;)
 

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My CJS tenor also is holding up well. The only finish flaws are those it came with as a B-stock horn. It has been played quite a bit, including a few outdoor gigs, so definitely not babied.
 

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My B&S was a Guardala Earthtone...I have heard from several others that they had no problem with the finish on their sand blasted Allora and CJS horns, so I am wondering if B&S started clear lacquering these horns later, or changed the laq formula to keep it from degrading?
Perhaps those of you who have no problems take better care of your horns?

I wonder...?
 

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Randall, my Allora does not have a clear lacquer coat over the sand finish. However, I have not used it that heavily. It may still degrade the way yours has once it gets more use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the degradation of the sandblast finish is intentional to give the horn a real vintage look, eh? I figured that must be the case and I'm OK with that in general, but I wish that it'd degraded somewhat more evenly!!

And I'm pretty sure that there's no clear protective lacquer at all on my Medusa - unless it's a rough finish lacquer - especially with the way that the finish degraded so quickly.

Some of you may have read my post in the other thread re. general impressions of the B&S horns by the playing community. I haven't received much feedback so far but I'm still very interested in how well regarded the B&S horns are in general. Personally, I don't care what anyone else thinks but I'm quite curious as to whether they're regarded as cheap horns or as good pro horns.
 

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The truth (or the official truth if you contact JA Musik and ask) is that B&S workers failed to properly degrease a lot of these Earthtones before applying the clear coat (which they do or were meant to have). Hence the extensive volume of B-stock that went out WWBW doors....

Considering the amount of horn you get for the going street price, though, it's hard to complain about that..... If I still had my earthtone, I think I'd've stripped it clean to see how it evolved.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hornimus said:
The truth (or the official truth if you contact JA Musik and ask) is that B&S workers failed to properly degrease a lot of these Earthtones before applying the clear coat (which they do or were meant to have). Hence the extensive volume of B-stock that went out WWBW doors....
The only thing is, my horn isn't an Earthtone, wasn't B-stock and wasn't purchased from WWBW, let alone in the US at all. It came direct from the factory in Germany as a promo horn for the Australian distributor, and I really don't they would have sent out a B-stock horn as a promotional horn.

Also, my marks are definitely only from waterstains since I started gigging with the horn in mid 2005....they're not marks that have appeared over time from age or as a result of B&S negligence - unless the horn WAS supposed to have a clear protective lacquer coat applied!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hornimus said:
sandblast = earthtone
Ok. I thought the Earthtone finish was quite different to the sandblast in that it had the smooth, clear lacquer finish whereas the sandblast had the "rough" finish. I've always considered the earthtone to be similar to the Yamaha student altos which came out a couple of years back with a similar look as opposed to a "sandblasted" look and feel.
 

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The Earthtone feels like fine sand paper under the fingers. I have a sandblast/earthtone tenor too, but it came "vintagified" when practically new. It has changed little, mostly on the neck and some keys. Because I was able to see past the cosmetic challange I paid $1100 for it to a fellow SOTW member who was bothered by its appearance.
These saxes are not regarded well, pretty much due to the lack of experience with the brand. It is difficult to form a reliable opinion on something you don't know. (Some people do it all the time, but that should be called bullocks instead.) The few folks I have met locally that are familiar with the Guardala name and associated saxophone quality, known almost nothing about B&S, or Chicago Jazz Series.
 

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I think the Medusas are pro horns, maybe not Selmers, but still very good instruments. I test-played one at the Frankfurt music fair back in '97 or '98 and I really liked it. Quite open-blowing with a strong sound. Also liked the mechanics, just look at the complicated g# mechanism that prevents the pad from sticking.
Maybe during the later years they had a problem keeping the quality up, B&S stopped making saxophones end of 2005 when sales dropped to fewer than 100 instruments per annum.
Heard that the whole sax production unit was sacked after 40 years. Dunno, if someone tells you you are going to be fired soon, you might feel like not properly removing the grease from the body :?
Anyway, bare brass instruments tend to develop all sorts of funny stains and colours. I have a S20 Alto with nearly no lacquer left which I had professionally cleaned 4 years ago and nearly always wiped carefully and let dry in an open case after playing. It looked cool 4 years ago but it looks horrible now, greyish-greenish-whatever-tarnish so I hardly play it outside the house. Maybe will have it partially silver-plated one day when I am old and rich.
Anyone around here who has a thin "new" lacquer coating applied to a (vintage) bare brass horn? Wouldn't that prevent the brass from tarnishing without changing the sound?
 

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I had an early B&S 2001 which was not nearly as refined as the late model CJS horns that I now have. I don't think the quality dropped at all. These horns are exceptionally well made, apparently right up to the end of production.
 
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