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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just got a Buescher 400, Selmer 1st Gen.
serial #520XXX

It seems it has Norton springs, they are threaded and not tapered. One seems gold plated. Not sure if they are original.

My question is do you think it used to have also snap-on pads?
The previous owner changed them to leather pads with regular metal resonators. I am not sure if he removed the spuds in the keycups in order to install them or there were simply not there? Visually this new pads looks good but they are extremely sticky, to the point the sax is unplayable, that is why I am thinking about replacing them.
Should I try to restore it somehow to it's original shape and reinstall spuds and snap-on? How much would i cost? Which Tech can do such a job (in Europe)?
Does it make sense at all??? It is late Buescher 400 so it is not worth as much as the TH&C or Super 400, but it seems really well built. And it sounds great!

photos below:
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Nice horn, but are you sure it's a first-gen post-buyout 400? I may be wrong, but had thought the early ones still had backside bell keys. Not sure when they stopped using snap-ons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice horn, but are you sure it's a first-gen post-buyout 400? I may be wrong, but had thought the early ones still had backside bell keys. Not sure when they stopped using snap-ons.
It is super confusing:
According to this website it's called 1st. Gen Selmer
and there are only two generations mentioned.

on the older website there are 3 generations, and this one would be the 2nd
but this was changed and simplified, see the comment on the site.
 

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Super Action 80 Tenor, Buescher 156 Tenor, Yamaha Vito YAS-21 , Kessler Soprano, Superba II Bari
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Nice horn, but are you sure it's a first-gen post-buyout 400? I may be wrong, but had thought the early ones still had backside bell keys. Not sure when they stopped using snap-ons.
That's confirmed. The first Buescher I ever played was my friend's 400 tenor that was manufactured shortly after the buyout. The cost cutting measures in the keyword, specifically the nickel plated keys, were already in place, but the low Bb and B toneholes were still facing the player. It's a very good horn actually. Lushest low end I've ever heard in a tenor. I'm hoping that this was attributed to the bore itself, and that my own model 156 plays similarly down there when I get it back from the shop after a full overhaul. The bell keys moved to the side in later post buyout iterations. This applied to both alto and tenor.

Regarding the snaps in the OP's horn, yes it is possible to put snaps back into the keycup. Now I'm wondering a few things here. Mostly, when did Selmer discontinue the snaps? It's possible that this horn never had them to begin with. Another thing to consider is the fact that the snap in resonators look just like standard metal domed resonators. Buescher made these out of nickel, so they're extremely resilient towards pitting and corrosion. Most techs just clean em up and reuse them during overhauls. Now if these are aftermarket metal resonators, the snaps would have to be filed, or removed in order to seat the pad properly, as conventional resonators are riveted to the pad itself. The rivet will prevent the snap from fitting into the hole in the pad. In older Bueschers, the snaps are silver soldered into each keycup. In this case, removal involved filing as getting the solder up to a temp that would allow removal would destroy lacquer or seriously damage plating. In later examples, snaps were soft soldered in place, which allowed for far easier removal. Soft solder is used in replacement snaps. Regarding replacement snaps, I think that the only way of getting them would be to pull them from a donor horn. So that leads us to the following possibilities.

- Your horn has snaps and the original resonators. They can be used with any modern pad.

- Your horn never had resonators. Get it overhauled with any pad/resonator option you see fit.

-Your horn had some/all of the resonators removed, and you want to replace the snaps. This will require a parts horn so that the snaps can be transplanted. Cheapest option would be a True Tone in poor condition with snaps. You may be able to track one down for less than $200, but that's a considerable amount of money to add to an overhaul of a post buyout 400, especially considering the fact that the snaps really don't offer any real playability advantages. They're only really an issue for the prime Buescher models where resale and originality are serious considerations. The only practical advantage that Snap in resonators have is the fact that they will hold a pad in a keycup if the adhesive holding the pad in place ever were to fail.

My advice? Have a tech take a look to confirm whether or not the horn has or ever had snaps. If the answer is no to either, don't worry about them. Just get a good overhaul done, and enjoy a still pretty well designed sax.

Edit: Took a closer look at the horn's pictures. Those are riveted metal resonators. With those in, and the lack of Norton springs, in addition to this being a post buyout 400 where the bell keys have been moved, I seriously doubt that it ever had snaps to begin with. Like I said previously, it's no big deal.
 

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+1 to “Don’t sweat the snaps”. I had a 400 with the spuds removed and domed resos installed - played great.

If you forgo the snaps, you can ensure that the resos are properly sized to the tone holes, rather than be limited to the sizes of the originals.
 

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Right...OP is correct, the side bellkey 400's are the early Selmer USA ones. The backside bellkey 400's..available both as the 400 and Super 400...were changes made under Buescher (underappreciated models those last Buescher 400's).

Really GOOD question as to when the snaps vanished. I bet @maddenma would know but sadly he no longer posts here.
My recollection is I have worked on some Bueschers early buyout which still had snaps. BUT the OP's 520,XXX is a few years into Selmer ownership, while if I recall correctly the ones I worked on were still in the mid 400,XXX area.

Absolutely do NOT bother with re-installing spuds. I would say this for ANY era Buescher which has had 'em removed. Just NOT worth the effort...nothing gained other than you are able to state "it has its snap ins"...which even in this instance would be a bit of a lie since they are not factory spuds...

On a Buescher of THAT era, nothing gained in resale value if it has its snaps.

Just have her repadded with whatever you like or whatever tech suggests.

Congrats on your new (old) horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hi All!
thanks for your answers. It is my first Buescher so I don't know that much yet and don't have experience. But I'm very excited about it.
I will ask the tech to check if there are any traces of the spuds being removed. And let you know. I guess there will be some traces if they were there? What you think?
Thanks for advice I will not make any attempt on re-installing the spuds and snap-on.
What regular pads would you recommend for that sax?

I'm trying also to figure out the springs question. Norton springs were always gold-plated or there are just steel Norton springs?
Definitely the springs on this horn are different than the usually springs I know. They are threaded, have little golden threaded base which is threaded into posts, and they are also not tapered - if it is correct term? I mean they are equally thick on the whole length.
Do you call it Norton springs or not?



thanks!!!!
 

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The earlier Norton springs were gold plated. Later on they were steel. Any spring that's attached to a threaded receiver on a Buescher is a Norton spring. I was actually surprised to see these on a later post buyout horn.

And yes, if spuds were removed or filed, there will be evidence of this in the keycup when the tech pops those pads out. A decent tech will have their recommendation of pad based upon what they're comfortable with, and what's appropriate for the horn. Some techs will offer a variety of pad and resonator types, which are mainly cosmetic. A good quality pad, with a resonator, that's seated properly will allow the horn to play as it was designed to play. Regarding the type and style of the resonator, eh, there are countless other variables that will impact the playability of the horn long before them. But if you like a particular look and style of resonator, and/or colored pad, go with em. Anything that motivates you to pick the horn up and play is a good thing to have.
 
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