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Here's the $157 early 60's Cleveland tenor I scored on eBay after my "rat rod" treatment. It turns out that every time I picked it up to play, another piece of cork would fall off. But the pads are in decent shape, and hey, it's just a Cleveland, so not worth the cost of a full overhaul. So, I decided to strip off all the keywork and re-cork it myself, and also take the opportunity to do SOMETHING with the finish. It had that classic bright 60's student horn gold lacquer rubbed off and scratched up enough to be really annoying looking vibe to it. After several attempts at chemical stripping didn't work out very well, I finally just went at it with a cheap hand held media blaster and baking soda. I know some (most?) may not like it, but this is exactly the look I was going for. AND, it still plays great after sanding down and adding a little more cork where needed. Love the sound of an old King! I was able to successfully deodorize the case, and while the keys were off I cleaned all the pads with alcohol and treated them with oil so they don't smell musty, either.

View attachment 235456 View attachment 235458
 

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I like it. Of course I like the 'rat rods' too. I think we're looking at the same car-building shows on TV.:) However, you may be disappointed to realize that what you have done is a legitimate technique whether a ScotchBrite pad is used or a media-blaster. I have seen a few well-known players with an old sax that has obviously been stripped and clear-coated to preserve that 'look' while making it easy to care for. I think to truly make it 'ratty' you would have to really make it look bad as well as ridiculous. Don't ask me how - I couldn't think of anything. Its easy with a hot rod car but horns don't really 'rust' and you can't use the wrong parts from other horns if you expect to actually play it.
Nope, your horn looks great and the treatment is totally legit.
 

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I think to truly make it 'ratty' you would have to really make it look bad as well as ridiculous.
I've thought <eg> about a steam punk decor, maybe some gears and hand tool parts attached, drill holes in the touches and the bell flare, spray paint alternating satin copper, silver, gold and rust on the keys and guards, a cup holder attached, etc. I've also thought about a monochrome day glow spray paint, like chartreuse, safety orange, lime, etc. just clamp all the keys down, spray the whole thing. I see functional imports sell under $100...good project for the iconoclasts.

But I'm a big fan of the Clevelands and 615s. I'd totally spend the money to rebuild one if it needed it. They aren't cheap because they are cheap - they are cheap because they are [like all other saxes] in huge surplus. That has nothing to do with the cost of owning a functional horn. Its like not re-tiring a daily driver auto, because "its not worth it" ;).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I originally bought it with the intention to do any minor repairs needed and flip it quickly. Now, if course, I think I may hang onto it.
 

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Drill out the key cups to make them lighter.
 

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I like it. I have a plug-ugly Martin Imperial student horn that has a nice sweet sound to it. But I'm one of those guys that likes shiny and new. I may just take it apart and do something like what you did. I only have about $200 in it so if I mess it up and can't get it back together no big loss. It sits in the closet anyway.

Along the lines of steam punk I was looking for a cool sax done up like described above. I didn't find any that were all that cool but I did find a steam punk clarinet-blunderbuss pistol. View attachment 235490
 

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Awesome, King factory lacquer is ephemeral at best anyway! The 615 and Cleveland are the best deals for a vintage USA-made horn since the market (at least on ebay) is flooded with them recently. Did a bunch of middle and high schools dump their stock all at once? Expect these horns to need some work, after decades of grubby fingers and bare-minimum repair jobs. Mine needed a bunch of adjustment and a neck, but for less than $300 including a Chinese neck and a few pads I have a great vintage horn!

I recommend an ebay neck if yours is even a little damaged, it makes such a difference. Your tenon size should be around 27.8-28.0mm.
 

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Wanna really confuse the issue? have Anderson plating silver plate the neck (100 or less). it would be and interesting touch with a shiny silver neck.
 

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I have the Cleveland alto I started on in the 6th grade in 1966. I also played it (badly) in jazz fusion bands in the 70's because I lacked the resources for another horn. Not sure what to do with it. Certainly not a landfill. And it's not really good enough for a student horn without more work than it's worth. Lamp? Doesn't feel right. Maybe take it all apart.. clean it.. and learn a thing or two about working on saxophones. Thanks OP for making me think about it..
 
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