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Hi Folks,

I have recently acquired a 1936 conn 10m tenor saxophone that has supposedly been "refurbished" but has what appear to me to be 3 damaged rolled tone holes. My instinct is to run fast in the opposite direction, having heard horror stories of rolled tone holes that have been filed down.

The horn has been setup with new pads. I love the sound but I'd rather not spend the time getting use to it if it will be a money pit.

Is it possible to know from looking at these pics? Are these in fact damaged rolled tone holes that sax repair men and women loath to work on? Is it possible to maintain this saxophone without spending a ton of money? Seller is claiming natural wear and tear, but I fear not.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

View attachment 111425 View attachment 111433 View attachment 111441
 

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It looks like the tops of the tone holes were filed enough to thin the roll and a bit of it broke off. My worry would be whether the remaining material is thick enough not to cut the pad (easy to determine by visual inspection).

A good repair person can solder a bit of material to the top, or surround the whole thing with a ring, to provide a pad seat that's wide enough not to cut the pad. If I were you, I would try to get that done before you start putting a lot of time in on the horn, because if you don't you may find yourself replacing those pads frequently.

Other than that, and the unavoidable loss of value due to having 3 repaired tone holes, I would not worry about it. Given what I can see about the instrument in the pictures (no lacquer, lots of corrosion, pitting on contact points, etc.) I don't think a small loss of "originality" is going to matter much anyway. If it plays well, keep it, get the 3 tone holes sorted, don't look back.
 

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Seller is claiming natural wear and tear, but I fear not.
The seller has a different perspective of "natural wear and tear" than most of the world.

Yes, as turf3 cites, there exists a path to repair the damage, but not all techs will be willing (or able) to do that. Nor do we know what other damage is lurking in that horn - either from real wear or technical ineptitude.
 

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looks like a few re-lacquered saxophones i have had in the past....
really,don't worry about it,don't spend any money on it to "fix this",and play the horn till it needs some work....

"she'll be right" as long as the pad is sealing....

cheers,philip
 

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The other question is is this devaluing the horn that you have bought and by how much?
Take a look at the pictures, I don't think repairing the tone holes would devalue the instrument.

Main question is whether what remains is wide enough not to cut the pads. If it is, I would leave it alone.
 

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You misunderstood me.

OP has paid a sum and he thought the sax was not damaged this much.

Now he has ascertained this damage, the money that he paid originally would probably be too much because this damage has certainly an impact on the value of a saxophone.

Hence my comment on devaluation.

The damage might very well be the result of the buffing that this saxophone appears to have received. It was at one time silver or nickel plate and NOW the body appears to be unlacquered (and quite a bit dented by the way) and probably unlacquered the HARD way!

With hindsight, there could be scope for the seller returning some of the money or for OP to return the whole saxophone.

There are ways, described in the threads that I have quoted above to address this problem of the toneholes, but the value of this horn, certainly for collector’s purposes, is very low.

Many good technicians responded in those threads and declared their capability to perform the right repairs. I can’t comment whether the necessary sum would be worth what the horn is worth or not, probably not.
 

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Many good technicians responded in those threads and declared their capability to perform the right repairs.
It's great that there exists the capability somewhere in the universe, but if the only local tech is the one that filed those tone holes in the first place, what are the chances that they will (or can) right the egregious wrong that they committed?

I know the capability of my locally available technicians, and this is not something that I would ask them to try.
 

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Try sending the photos to Saxquest in St. Louis. They should be able to offer a quote, or best options.
 

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This is at least 3 continents worth of solutions...

There has to be more

Round it out.
File it down.
Solder on a ring from an old Conn reso-pad.

For repairing, there are a few options, first repair the body and the dodgy soldered posts, then repair the tone hole within the manufacturers design constraints, that is raise areas that are visibly damaged and lower areas that appear stretched.

After this you have choices, one solder and build up the surface and file back to shape, two cut and remove the tone hole and machine up a new one and solder it into place, three leave it as a cut tone hole with no rolled edge (is the instrument valuable enough to warrant an expensive repair)
Do what Keilwerth do - turn up some tonehole rings from brass and solder them on - that's if they've been filed so much the rolled over part has broken off!

How do you do brass plating?
So here is a super crude attempt but the the concept might work. I formed a circle out of tubing, spot soldered the loop, sanded half way through and then attache to a piece of brass tube. The unevenness is from a sloppy forming and not warping from heat.
Thanks to one of the members on another forum, I got to thinking about how to repair a rolled sax tone hole that has been destroyed. I came up with a method for stamping or pressing a new seat out of .015" thick annealed brass shim stock. The method isn't fully tested, but it looks promising. I need an actual sax to try it on :) Here are some pictures. http://smg.photobucket.com/user/slausonm/library/Sax Rolled tone hole repair?sort=3&page=1
 

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You misunderstood me.

OP has paid a sum and he thought the sax was not damaged this much.

Now he has ascertained this damage, the money that he paid originally would probably be too much because this damage has certainly an impact on the value of a saxophone.

Hence my comment on devaluation.

The damage might very well be the result of the buffing that this saxophone appears to have received. It was at one time silver or nickel plate and NOW the body appears to be unlacquered (and quite a bit dented by the way) and probably unlacquered the HARD way!

With hindsight, there could be scope for the seller returning some of the money or for OP to return the whole saxophone.

There are ways, described in the threads that I have quoted above to address this problem of the toneholes, but the value of this horn, certainly for collector’s purposes, is very low.

Many good technicians responded in those threads and declared their capability to perform the right repairs. I can’t comment whether the necessary sum would be worth what the horn is worth or not, probably not.
OK, I understand, just a situation of using different words for different concepts. I agree it's likely the horn is worth less than the OP paid for it, and that's an issue he and the seller need to work out. I would not call this "refurbished, only normal wear and tear". If as you suggest it's a plated horn that was buffed to death to remove plating, thus resulting in tone hole damage, it's even worse.
 

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well, there were no two tone colors 10M at the time when this was made, so the only way this horn could have lost so much plating is through some pretty aggressive buffing.

The buffing wheel ( but this maybe done even more aggressively with steel wool, the signs of which are visible in the picture below) , has removed all the plating on the body and the operators has left it on the keys (or so the little we see in the pictures shows).

This, in itself, has rendered this horn non interesting for any collector.

Still there would be a residu/al player’s value but not if it is badly damaged. But I think that from this picture it is also apparent that the pad installed are on the small side too...

 

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The other question is is this devaluing the horn that you have bought and by how much?
Take a look at the pictures, I don't think repairing the tone holes would devalue the instrument.
But damaged or repaired RTH DEFINITELY devalue the instrument, especially a 10M.

So the question is, did OP get 'a steal' on the price ? Or did he/she get it for more or less market value ?

If the former, then one can either leave the holes as-is, as Phillip said, as long as the pads seal it'll function fine. Or, can endeavor to actually do a transplant (tech work) if one really wants to bring it back to almost-full RTH glory. Not totally 'as-original' because any new RTH edge would be soldered onto the existing chimney stack; but for all intents and purposes it'd look and act just the same and really be undiscernable to 99% of sax owners. THIS WILL BE EXPENSIVE, but again if acquired for significantly below market...then if the transplant investment brings total input up to maybe 20% higher than market value, some could say it's worth it. It would not devalue the instrument.

If the latter (buyer purchased for market value...no 'steal' or 'good price' involved), then either seller owes buyer a significant refund (at least $300)...or buyer should just return the horn, get $ back, and afterward admonish buyer rather sternly for not properly representing the condition.

To MIlandro's researched solutions above, I add another (photo attached):

A cheaper alternative is what I do: having saved years of Res-o-Pad rings, I remove all of original RTH lip and then fit and solder in a pad ring atop the now straight hole, thus mimicking the surface of the original rolled lip. This would devalue the horn somewhat, because it is not as close to "original RTH" as the aforementioned method. But it works well and looks better than the current condition, and it's more than fair to call it a replacement RTH lip.
 

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I own a bunch of old Conns with rolled tone holes (1920s-1940s), and none of them have any damage like that. So I think the idea that it's "normal wear and tear" is complete nonsense. If you got a heck of a deal on the horn and want to keep it as a player, that's fine. But if you paid a lot for it, I think you should consider returning it & getting your $$ back based on misrepresentation, & look for a horn that doesn't have such issues. I also agree with the opinion above that it looks like it has had finish or plating sanded/filed/scraped off with a machete.
 

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Take a look at the pictures, I don't think repairing the tone holes would devalue the instrument.

Main question is whether what remains is wide enough not to cut the pads. If it is, I would leave it alone.
My first 10M was like this and although it was leak free, it cut through the pads quite quickly so I would get it looked at. I would also suspect that some of the other tone hoes are possibly less than perfect, even if they don't look as bad as these three and a sealing OK now, they could cause issues down the line pads not sealing well. I would not sink a lot of money into this unless the horn is basically in pristine condition, which it doesn't look like it is so getting a cheapish fix is what i would do (i.e. a level or two above a bodge as opposed to complete renovation).

I did know a tech once who suggested he could build up the tone holes with silver solder. I imagine that is quite skilled, but if someone can do that (and then presumably file it level) it could be the cheapest though not the best looking option.

It's always sad to see the ladies in this kind of condition, I wish people would treat them better.
 

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I believe this was the horn in question, and the sale. I was following this auction, as to me it had potential for a full on restore but when it crept over $650 it was a no-deal for me. THIS even if the holes were all fine (something which is an ABSURD omission on seller's part).

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1936-Conn-1...D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

If you got a heck of a deal on the horn and want to keep it as a player, that's fine. But if you paid a lot for it, I think you should consider returning it & getting your $$ back based on misrepresentation, & look for a horn that doesn't have such issues.
Mmmmmyeah. I wouldn't call this purchase 'a steal'. Perhaps if it had gone for $750....it'd be fair enuff just to shut up and say 'not bad for the money'. This horn has indeed had its lacquer/orig finish abraded off, clearly unprofessionally; the engraving is almost obliterated, and as Milandro noted...the keys either had been refinished at some point long ago....or in fact the keys ARE original and some idiot actually stripped the silverplate from the body (If THIS were the case, though, there would be signs on the body of some plating...somewhere - so I would lean towards keys having been replated once and lacquer stripped from body once). I think given all of the signs here, you (OP) gotta consider that there are likely other aspects which require attention. It's unlikely a horn 'repaired' this poorly doesn't have other issues which need attending to.

Issue here, from a market-viewpoint, is that one can buy a later, completely overhauled 10M from the 60's (no Lady) for $850....or from the 50's (Lady no RTH) for around $1100....and everything would be solid and popping, smooth as silk, no significant body damage and probably decent looking....and many would argue just as good a 10M as a 30's-40's one (I certainly feel this way).

Now, for the sake of the Conversation.....let's take this from various repair angles:

1) Complete Resto:

Recut of engraving $250

Repair of toneholes (back to rolled) $400

Buffing and polishing of body and keys to at least bring back to 'nice' $100

Misc. regulation (likely) = $100

So, at $850 put into the horn, you could end up with a pretty classy ol' 10M, albeit two tone w/ a bare brass body and plated keys, so still a 'non-original finish'.

But many people like bare brass, and sometimes it can be treated in such a way to patina nicely over time. So it could be an 'attractive' horn again.

So, for $1850 total investment you'd have a bangin' nice 10M, even though the two-tone finish might put some folks off (not me, particularly)

Now...if this matters (it does to some): could the horn be resold at $1850 ? Iffy. Very iffy. I'd say in full tack, a $1300-1400 sax.


2) The alternate (mid-level) cure:

Do either a file-off repair or just a smooth-out repair on the holes to make sure they are stable, so nothing like tears and bad/irregular wear (per Pete's reply) will happen.

Maybe if you care to, get the engraving recut just so you can have your Lady back, and get the body cleaned and light-buffed to look significantly better.

$400-500 of work...drops to $200-300 if you forego the engraving recut (although Sherry at Artistic Engraving is masterful at engraving recuts fior a very fair price, and if you were gonna get those abrasions to subside on the body you would wanna buff a bit - but if you wanna buff a bit and DON'T recut the engraving, then the engraving would vanish even more...)

Get seller to partially refund $200, a very FAIR partial, really.

Now your investment is $1000-1300 and everything probably functions as it should. The horn would likely be resellable at $1000-1200.

3) Minimal repair:

screw the looks of the body finish, just leave the abraded body as -is & have a tech do a file-off or smooth out of the toneholes,
maybe give the horn a chem bath, reassemble and regulate and replace some pads (any tonehole which is worked on will need a new pad). Maybe, say, a $150-250 repair.

Get the seller to reimburse you between $150 and $250.

Then keep and enjoy the horn, fook worrying about 'resale value' & live with the fact that your $1000 investment may not be recoupable if you decide to sell- but at least you have a nice old 10M which, albeit not pretty, functions well...
 

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Get seller to partially refund $200, a very FAIR partial, really.

...
Very fair, if that is the auction then the condition of those tone holes was not disclosed.
 

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Yes, it's a very fair request on buyer's part...one might argue initially asking for $250-300 back, and negotiate it from there.

But at least with $200 back in your pocket, you can proceed with getting the most pressing issues alleviated on the horn....

Mapranja...I don't know where you are located, but if it is west of the Rocky Mtns and you cannot find a local tech to do work within your budget (and you want to keep the horn), I could probably assess and work it up some for you within some sort of constrained budget. The shipping would be the issue, as if you are more than 1000 miles away from Portland, shipping back-forth would be $120 in and of itself....thus probably unfeasible, budget-wise.

But if you paid a lot for it, I think you should consider returning it & getting your $$ back based on misrepresentation, & look for a horn that doesn't have such issues.
This is the other alternative...don't wade into this any further - get your $1000 back, and get another 10M (later vintage) or another good ol' vintage sax for that $ which doesn't need such attention....
 

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Discussion Starter #19
This has been incredibly helpful...thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses.

Jaye, that is in fact the horn, thanks for the detailed price list for different options. If I keep it, I'll go the cheapest route, and looks like I shouldn't loose more than $200 or so if I have to re-sell in future. A partial reimbursement would be helpful, but I think it's unlikely given the seller's less than understanding attitude. It's possible I'll have to go for full refund w/ ebay's support, or keep the horn. This thread has given me confidence to pursue a partial refund though, so thank you all for sharing your experiences and knowledge.

I will now see if I can find somebody good who is willing to do a file-off or smooth out repair. I live in Asheville, NC, so it will be difficult to find the right person for the job, I may have to take the lady with me to NYC when I head over there this summer. Ken Beason is here, and I hear he does incredible work, but I spoke to him and it doesn't sound like he is interested in doing one of the cheaper solves (but he is incredibly knowledgable and kind). If you're interested in his exact words after seeing the pics ... "It's fux'd." I have contacted other techs, and am waiting to hear back.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
This has been incredibly helpful...thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses, spot on.

Jaye, that is in fact the horn! and your price list is incredibly helpful.

The seller has been less than accommodating, so I'm not sure a partial refund is in the cards. It's probably full refund w/ ebay's help, or keep the horn. However, the support I've gotten here, and the knowledge, has definitely given me the confidence to try and get some cash back if I decide to keep it.

I live in Asheville, NC, so it will be difficult to find the right person for the job, I may have to take a trip with the lady to do one of the suggested repairs for cheap. Jaye, I do have a brother in Portland, so that is an option, thanks so much for the offer. Ken Beason is here in Asheville, and I hear he does incredible work, but I spoke to him, and it doesn't sound like he is interested in doing one of the cheaper solves. If you're interested in his exact words after seeing the pics ... "It's fux'd." (he spent a ton of time on the phone with me, and was incredibly knowledgable and kind). I have contacted other techs, and am waiting to hear back.

Ya, it's tough because that tone hits me in the heart. I'm just not excited about spending a ton of time and money over the long run. But if I can get a partial refund, and spend no more than $200 getting the problematic tone-holes smoothed out, then it might be worth it. hmmmm.

Again, I can't thank you all enough!
 
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