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OK, gang - my first foray into SOTW...

The above horn has been, shall we say, in the family for almost 50 yrs. I'm now pulling it out to begin a refurb, repad - and likely to put it into service. The backstory? It's a great joy to me that my father supported his son's interest in it: 'Dad, I want it!'

It's been stored safely, but underwent (suffered?) a less-than-optimal re-pad 40+ yrs ago. So I'll be beginning the process of complete disassembly for a complete ground-up restoration...

From what I've been reading, I should have expected the standard(?) Buescher spuds in the cups, no? Having taken only a few keys off for inspection, I can see no evidence of these. Do the stencils have these? Should I presume they were removed by earlier worker? Were some stencil horns built differently, without the spuds?

Am happy to hear any input on my Next Steps here. EG, I'd be happy to begin to look for/perhaps even fabricate/solder in replacements spuds if this seems important to a) playability/quality or b) retaining value for the horn.

ON the question of value: Heck, it's an ancient Buescher knockoff (it seems to me). It seems unlikely to be of great value.

Specifics:
VocoTone
W.J. Dyer & Bro.
St. Paul

Serial # 55794 (from DB seems to be 1919-1920)
Low Pitch
License Pat Dec 3 1914

Opening the conversation! Lou
 

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Hi Lou, great to see you taking interest in the horn after all these years.

Resonators, those are the subject of opinion but remember, the original pads in these horns had 'nothing' on the old white pads they used back in the 20s era. The pad was just smooth all the way across. Standard Music Medic pads work well with these horns, though, never buy a "kit" that is supposed to fit your horn. You have to remove the old pads and measure each cup for the proper size and order each pad accordingly. The kit never fails to have at least ONE pad that is too big to fit any given cup, and you have make another order and wait ~5 days.

Be very careful with all the rods, soak them in PB-Blaster or WD-40 a few days before the scheduled tear down. One stuck rod will ruin your day. You'll never find anyone stocking that same exact rod, You'll find yourself having to order a blank rod in the correct diameter, then finding a Die in the same thread and then cutting a new slot......you could spend a couple of weeks recreating a replacement rod once you break one (unless you have a micro-machining shop on hand)

The "Pat Dec 3 1914" is a dead give-away that you have a Conn Stencil. Post some pics, but most likely you have a Conn New Wonder One stencil. Quick to check to see what kind of neck it is, if it looks like a tenor with a support rod soldered on it, it's most likely a Conn NW-I or Pan Pacific Stencil made for WJ Dyer. Both are good horns and have a "honey-Tone" sound to them.

Is it Silver Plated or Lacquer? If Lacquer, you can't do much to the finish, but if it is Silver plated, plan on spending ~5 hours with Tarn-X and Haggerty's silver polish. Tarn-X will take all the black off the silver plate, but it leaves it too clean and that results in it tarnishing within months, so you have to Tarn-X first, get all the black off it, the follow up with each piece a nice coat of Haggerty's wish Tarnish inhibitor. That will make the Silver last for about 2 years before you have to do a major polishing again.

Value? Sadly, despite being very friendly horns to play, the Sax community continues to poo poo the pedigree of the C-Mel. I have tons of videos on my FB page showing very talented players "killing it" on a C-Mel, but seeing and hearing doesn't seem to 'resonate', the C-mel get's hammered constantly for being worthless.

Despite that, and even though I do a lot of alto's and Tenor's here, I have a fondness for the C-Mel and I restore them the same as I would any horn and have a blast playing mine. I keep ~6 horns here for my personal collection. a few Buescher's, a Conn NW-II and a King.
 

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Good advice 😊
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Hi Lou, great to see you taking interest in the horn after all these years.
Oh, I'll be giving it the respect it deserves; I want to get it into playable shape...

Resonators, those are the subject of opinion but remember, the original pads in these horns had 'nothing' on the old white pads they used back in the 20s era. The pad was just smooth all the way across.
I assume you mean originals didn't even have the central rivets?
Standard Music Medic pads work well with these horns, though, never buy a "kit" that is supposed to fit your horn. You have to remove the old pads and measure each cup for the proper size and order each pad accordingly...
Yes, I use no pre-arranged kits; everything measured. I've had such good luck with (kanga)roo pads on a couple of clarinet projects I've been doing, I'm inclined to use them here. Again, happy to receive inputs from those more experienced. Are there strong arguments yay/nay on the resonators, and on which ones to use?

Be very careful with all the rods, soak them in PB-Blaster or WD-40 a few days before the scheduled tear down... then finding a Die in the same thread and then cutting a new slot......you could spend a couple of weeks recreating a replacement rod once you break one (unless you have a micro-machining shop on hand)
Turns out I do...(!) But will be making every effort to make no use of it for this project!) Believe me; poster is well-familiar with penetrating oils, having done a lot of auto restoration and other reapairs on several ancient English, German and other cars! FWIW, PB Blaster has become my new preferred, having grown up on WD-40. Buy this stuff nearly by the gallon now.

The "Pat Dec 3 1914" is a dead give-away that you have a Conn Stencil. Post some pics, but most likely you have a Conn New Wonder One stencil.
Many thanks for input on this; your definitive assertion of identification and comments are helpful.
Quick to check to see what kind of neck it is, if it looks like a tenor with a support rod soldered on it, it's most likely a Conn NW-I or Pan Pacific Stencil made for WJ Dyer. Both are good horns and have a "honey-Tone" sound to them.
Neck is a clean gooseneck shape, with a beautiful Saturn-ring actuator for the register key, and no support rod. in great condition. Does this provide additional insight? Yes, I hear what you're thinkin' - I shall get some photos up here when I get my act together.

Is it Silver Plated or Lacquer? If Lacquer, you can't do much to the finish, but if it is Silver plated, plan on spending ~5 hours with Tarn-X and Haggerty's silver polish.
By all evidence, it appears to be Nickel. The oxidation's appearance is closer to the light gray of nickel, not the more black Silver Oxide. And if it ever was lacquered - presumably it had been? - none remains now. Further, the metal does not respond immediately and profoundly(!) with TarnX, as has been my experience with it and other silver polishes. On the other hand, it shines up immediately on treatment with Flitz. (Flitz is a go-to among auto restoration guys; useful for a variety of jobs. Ah, those Germans and their chemistry!)

Value? Sadly, despite being very friendly horns to play, the Sax community continues to poo poo the pedigree of the C-Mel. I have tons of videos on my FB page showing very talented players "killing it" on a C-Mel, but seeing and hearing doesn't seem to 'resonate', the C-mel get's hammered constantly for being worthless.
I have no concern with its dollar value; the horn's value to me is sentimental - and even somewhat practical. I - or even the kids - may bang a few notes out on it at some point soon... I just want to bring it back to being a living, breathing instrument.

Despite that, and even though I do a lot of alto's and Tenor's here, I have a fondness for the C-Mel and I restore them the same as I would any horn and have a blast playing mine. I keep ~6 horns here for my personal collection. a few Buescher's, a Conn NW-II and a King.
We are entirely on the same proverbial page.
 
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