Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just recently purchased a very nice '48-'49 Buescher 400 Top Hat and Cane with about 95% of it's original lacquer, all of it's Norton springs and believed to be original pads with all the snap-in's in place. Horn feels nice in the hands, but is stuffy and difficult to play the lower register. Obviously, the pads are well beyond their useful service life. Horn is in excellent shape, though.

I would like to see if I can find some recommendations for a tech that could do a proper overhaul on this piece of history?

Thanks! View attachment 247376
 

·
Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
Be careful, speaking as a tech who has worked on these, the lacquer can simply come off by washing it in luke warm water during an overhaul. On the "h" of Buescher written in cursive, I can see that thats the kind of spot that can start lacquer to flake off during cleaning.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,813 Posts
If you're looking for somebody who's sort of a Buescher specialist, Gayle Fredenburg of <vintagesax.com>, or Mark Aronson of <https://www.aronsonsaxophones.com>. I've had Buescher horns worked on by both with excellent results. I understand that the 400 altos can have a tendencies to run a bit sharp (or flat?) in the palm notes & Aronson is known for tweaking necks to fix that.

Assuming the horn still has its snap-on resonators, whoever you pick, make sure they're comfortable working with that. Personally I wouldn't let anybody who recommends removing the snaps work on my horns.

It's funny, what graysax refers to with the lacquer happened to me - except it was a 1940s "400" trumpet!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys!

The horn is completely original with all of it's original parts intact and I plan to keep it as Buescher made it but with new modern pads.

The anomaly mentioned around the 'H' in the raised Buescher logo can't be seen in person. I've looked it over and looked it over from every angle and I can't seem to replicate what the photo shows. I believe the photo is causing some light reflection that follows through the H in the logo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,797 Posts
Nice castle, Naked, thanks for posting the pic. I'm envious because my TH&C B12 tenor doesn't have a castle. Guess that makes me a vassal, not a lord.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,888 Posts
I just recently purchased a very nice '48-'49 Buescher 400 Top Hat and Cane with about 95% of it's original lacquer, all of it's Norton springs and believed to be original pads with all the snap-in's in place. Horn feels nice in the hands, but is stuffy and difficult to play the lower register. Obviously, the pads are well beyond their useful service life. Horn is in excellent shape, though.

I would like to see if I can find some recommendations for a tech that could do a proper overhaul on this piece of history?

Thanks! View attachment 247376
Whomever you choose please DO choose someone who can do all the work without skipping anything. I would go a tech like matt stohrer ( who is on a sabbatical now)

A friend of mine in the NL went through a real nightmare when he bought one of these because of the apparent unwillingness of at least 3 different techs to do the work that needed to be done they way it needed to be done ( which had started with the tech whom sold this horn in the first place).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,797 Posts
My tech was thrilled when I brought in my TH&C, saying he hadn't worked on one in a really long time. When I picked it up, he was cursing it up and down, and swore he'd never touch another one. He did a great job, though.

So what is it about these horns that makes them so difficult to restore? Surely it can't just be the snaps. Maybe the tall posts or backside bell keys?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,888 Posts
replacing a Norton screw often involves rebuilding it, a pain in the neck.

Replacing pads to allow the use of snap ons is also a pain.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,000 Posts
The Nortons aren't much of a problem as Ferrees sells good replacements. Trying to REPAIR an original (where the spring has actually started rotating ion its bushing)...is a waste of time and at best results in an impermanent repair.

The snaps ? yeah, they ARE a pain in the butt and it is still highly arguable that they OFFER anything at all to the performance of the horn (which is why for decades techs just grinded 'em out). Installation does take longer and yes, you wanna find someone who has done a lot of these. Also, not many suppliers actually still offer bona-fide Snap-In replica pads anymore (Ferees still does; MusicMedic discontinued theirs a year or so ago) so many techs use a hybrid 'snap/shellac' method now. Again, not rocket science but not lickety-split conventional either.

BUT...and I have said this before....that some sort of "Tech Guru" is necessary to 'properly' overhaul/repad a THC...is hogwash. I can think of 4 off the top of my head whose names are guaranteed NOT to ring a bell with anyone (I am on that list) :|

So just some advice, don't get caught up in that belief....
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,844 Posts
The snaps provide no increase in performance. They are smaller than a proper resonator. They were made to make changing pads easier, period. I use regular pads in which I pop off the plastic reso. I punch the hole out larger with a leather punch. I put shellac on the pad and replace the snap. Those steps take a few minutes over a regular pad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
How much would removing the Buescher snap-ins and replacing them with modern resonators decrease the value of the horn? Or would it really decrease the value?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,960 Posts
How much would removing the Buescher snap-ins and replacing them with modern resonators decrease the value of the horn? Or would it really decrease the value?
It will decrease the probability of resale.

It’s an odd thing. People have no issue with non-original resonators on a King Super 20 or even a Selmer Mk VI, but don’t mess with Snap-In resos on a Buescher!

+1 to the observation that the diameter of the original resonators is small by modern standards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,797 Posts
Though messing with snap-ons doesn't just mean substituting a different reso, but grinding the stubs off the key cups, right? That kind of destruction seems more extreme than buffing off the original lacquer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,027 Posts
I have restored several True Tone Bueschers and have found that working with snap on resonators and Norton springs does not present a challenge. It may require stocking all sizes of snap ons and Norton springs to have replacements when needed, but there are no more specialized skills required to do top quality work on a Buescher than any other make of saxophone. It is true that Mark Aaronson has experience cutting Buescher necks and brazing the metal back together to make them more "conical" to bring down the pitch of the highest notes, but that is not a modification that is routinely required on Buescher overhauls.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,813 Posts
Though messing with snap-ons doesn't just mean substituting a different reso, but grinding the stubs off the key cups, right? That kind of destruction seems more extreme than buffing off the original lacquer.
You would have to either snip out the spud and grind it down, or desolder it. After sometime in the ‘20s they’re silver-soldered in, so that would take a good bit of heat. I’ve seen de-snapped horns where you wouldn’t notice unless you inspected the pads - it doesn’t necessarily mean you mangle the key cups. On the other hand, I have a mostly de-snapped NA alto where it was very carelessly done.

I have restored several True Tone Bueschers and have found that working with snap on resonators and Norton springs does not present a challenge. It may require stocking all sizes of snap ons and Norton springs to have replacements when needed, but there are no more specialized skills required to do top quality work on a Buescher than any other make of saxophone. It is true that Mark Aaronson has experience cutting Buescher necks and brazing the metal back together to make them more "conical" to bring down the pitch of the highest notes, but that is not a modification that is routinely required on Buescher overhauls.
Absolutely. I did not mean to imply that you had to take these horns to specialists. Aronson overhauled a ‘30s tenor for me; the next ten years my local tech (King Repair) handled it and a couple other fully-snapped Bueschers no problem. And neither used the metal-backed “snap-on” pads. If I had known about King Repair earlier I might not have shipped it to Aronson at all, but I had just moved to the area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,324 Posts
Though messing with snap-ons doesn't just mean substituting a different reso, but grinding the stubs off the key cups, right? That kind of destruction seems more extreme than buffing off the original lacquer.
It's much easier than that, the pegs are soldered into a little center hole in the cup, if you heat it up, they come out without damage. I had this happen on one of the TTs I just did, accidentally overheated a little with the electric heat gun and the peg came out, and it was just as easy to put it back in, only thing I added was a little flux and it fell right into place again.

And like others have stated, the resos are very small but so are some of the tone holes, the cups and pads are hugely oversized on some of them but that does require comparably small resos.

Otherwise, installing the pads is a breeze if no other damage is present and with a little massaging they fall right into place / level / seal as long as the cup is centered over the tone hole. I have heard all kinds of myths about needing to put paper shims behind the pads to level them and no, the original pegs look like little chess figurines that are raised above the back of the cup to allow for wiggle room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,324 Posts
My tech was thrilled when I brought in my TH&C, saying he hadn't worked on one in a really long time. When I picked it up, he was cursing it up and down, and swore he'd never touch another one. He did a great job, though.

So what is it about these horns that makes them so difficult to restore? Surely it can't just be the snaps. Maybe the tall posts or backside bell keys?
It's just that it is a different procedure and folks seem not to understand the concept of a snap fastener anymore.
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top