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Hello

I am new to the forum and hoping to get several questions answered. Please be patient with me regarding my lack of knowledge/terminology.
Here we GO. Please only respond if you have kind-helpful information.

I have this beautiful saxophone that was given to me by my X-girlfriend in 1998. She last used it in 1988. Thus, not played in the last 23 years. I play bass and guitar and had hopes of learning to play the Sax. I feel this instrument has been wasted on me since it has never been played. I have many questions for those who could answer. Any help would be appreciated. Especially want help with cleaning! THANKS.

How do I determine the year it was built (somewhere 1950's-1960's). Model Serial #5480.

Is this an Alto or Tenor Sax (how do I tell)?

How do I thoroughly clean without damaging? What is the best cleaner to restore its original luster?

There seems to be some discoloration/build up (from saliva) on the outside of the lower-back key. Can it be cleaned?

How much is it worth (approx) without any restoration? There is one selling on eBay and is currently bid at $1000 (20 bids - 1 day left on auction). Mine has fewer scratches then the one on eBay, but needs other restoration/pads/tune-up/etc…

Would having it restored increase its value (in relation to cost of restoration)? I am sure it would cost several hundred dollars.

I will try to attach a few photos.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks
 

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Welcome to the forum!

How do I determine the year it was built (somewhere 1950's-1960's). Model Serial #5480.
That looks to be from 1958.

http://drrick.com/bufsax.html

Is this an Alto or Tenor Sax (how do I tell)?
That is an alto sax.

For reference, here is a Buffet tenor: (notice the difference in overall neck shape, the tenor neck is more curvy than an alto neck)

http://saxpics.com/cpg143/albums/Buffet/super_dynaction/tenor/lacquer/178xx/dynaction_1.jpg

How do I thoroughly clean without damaging? What is the best cleaner to restore its original luster?
Quite honestly, it looks great as-is. A common mistake is to try to 'polish' up an old sax that is lacquered. While it is a great idea with plated instruments, all you accomplish with one that is lacquered is to remove more lacquer than is already worn off (not something that improves the value). The best approach with this is to just leave it alone, apart from cleaning off any major dust/dirt.

Would having it restored increase its value (in relation to cost of restoration)? I am sure it would cost several hundred dollars.
Having a sax overhauled can vary greatly in cost depending on where you live and who you have work on it. For an alto, you could be looking at anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for a complete overhaul (new pads, corks, felts, and possibly a little dent work and tightening up the keys -swedging-).

While the price will increase for a sax that is freshly overhauled, you won't necessarily get all of that investment back when you sell it (again, with such a large variance in price...it's hard to say!).

Although, it's possible that it might not need a complete overhaul, in which case the investment would be less and the sax would be much more marketable being in 'playable condition'.

It wouldn't hurt to find a good sax tech that lives near you and find out just what needs to be done to make it fully playable. That way you know, and you can either have the work done, or relay what work it needs to potential buyers.

As far as what they're worth, I'm not completely sure...Buffet's are a little out of my realm, but hopefully the other information helps you a bit.
 

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Thank you so much! Good to know about polishing (best to leave it alone - bummer, a little love would probably make it look great). Most of the pads look good (2-3 clearly need to be replaced - dark in color - not solid red). I am still curious about getting rid of the saliva residue around the exterior of a couple keys (lower back - sorry do not know technical terms)?

Thanks again, any other input would be great
 

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As pretty well stated above, leave the finish alone except to clean it with a damp cloth. The strongest cleaner you should use would be Windex Glass cleaner (the version without ammonia). You want to preserve the Patina of this horn, which to a lot of eyes in the Sax world, is beautiful.
 
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