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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at a few different horns.

Conn 10M from 58 that is in pristine condition and is reported to play great. Has the naked lady and nickle plated keys original case.

Conn transitional 1934 that was VERY nicely relacquered. The engraving looks to have not suffered at all. Has been completely repadded with Selmer pads and Conn style metal resos.

Yani T880 in original lacquer with good pads and is reported to play well.

Conn 10M 1952 relacquer that has this description:

Refinished, many years ago
Straight tone holes
Brand new pads with reusable custom brass resonators. This work is warrantied by BSS.
No physical damage, neck is perfect

So basically I'm on the fence about the relacquer issues on the Conns. So that is leaning me towards the 58 Conn in original lacq. and the Yani 880. I'm wondering how much the relacquer affects sound and have heard in the past that Conns tend to not be very affected if the relacquer is done well.

Any thoughts?

Oh, also the last Conn I mentioned is at a local shop so I could go play it while the others are all online.
 

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Alterations in the relacquer sounds are due to the changes in the pads, setup, and so on. The finish on a horn is not important to sound production. However, the market says an original finish is more valuable, rather like an old chair that is just as comfortable to sit on, but is worth much less on the market b/c it has been stripped and refinished. It is a collector thing.

If you are looking for thoughts and opinions on this question, there is no shortage.

It could be very useful to read the information out there on this topic. There is a lot of it. Here is post #52 quoted below in this thread [[[ https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?40249-Lacquer-impact/page3 ]]]

In the Frequently Asked Questions section there is a collection of threads. Interesting reading to be found there. https://forum.saxontheweb.net/conte...or-New-Members-and-Frequently-Asked-Questions

Saxophone:

Does Finish/Material affect Tone?

http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=62244
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=61212
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=42432
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=40249
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=96155



"If you have been following this long and tiresome rehash of acoustics through its many threads, you will have become aware that scientists have clearly quantified the contribution of wall vibrations to the overall sound radiated by the instrument. There are effects, which, however, are below the threshold of human perception. Thresholds of human perception are measurable. Scientific instruments have ranges, and can be engineered to be much more sensitive than human instruments.

The usual argument at this point is that humans somehow have magical synthetic abilities--as parallel processors able to integrate information from many inputs, they have capacities beyond those of any individual scientific instrument in isolation, designed to measure only a single parameter. While human integative abilities are marvellous, it does not change the fact that unless one can demonstrate interactive effects between the various phenomena being investigated, then the point is moot. Then it is enough use a range of experiments to investigate all possible variables in isolation.

Historically, makers and players consistently claim to be able to perceive differences based on wall materials. Scientists have been investigating possible mechanisms for such a claim, and have, without fail, been unable to demonstrate how this could be. Coltman thought he knew a possible mechanism, and did a very clever double-blind experiment in the 1970s in which he first gave a number of players flutes made in three different materials (wood, copper and silver) in a normal setting. He reported that nearly all of them had definite preferences, and could even describe the differences they consistently perceived between the various instruments. He then removed all visual and tactile clues as to which instrument was which (I won't describe his methodology--links to the full text of the experiment have been posted here several times), and the players were dumbfounded to find that they could no longer tell the instruments apart. They were asked to state which was which after playing the instruments randomly, and their answers were statistically no better than random guesses.

Linortner's experiment with seven identical flutes is also methodologically quite sound, and demonstrates minimal differences between flutes in different materials.

Employing Occam's razor, it is pretty clear what conclusions should be reached."
 

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Is this a question about a replacement of a finish with the same finish or same horn model/different finish? I know that same horn/different finish can affect sound. For example, I once tried a couple of Selmer Series III tenors side by side, one with gold lacquer and one with the brushed finish. There was a distinct difference in the amount of harmonic content of each horn. The brushed finish was richer while the shiny gold lacquer exhibited a "duller", less harmonically complex sound. Both horns were new and set up seemingly identical at the shop. My short answer is "yes", finish can affect the sound of a saxophone. Let the disagreements fly.
 

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I would think the different ergos are kind of a big factor in which horn you're going to like . . . the lacquer not so much, unless you are thinking of resale value. First thing I'd do is go play the horn that is available to be played.
 

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You will not get agreement on this forum, or anywhere else about whether, and how much, lacquer matters, but for the purposes of your quest, my advice would be to assume that lacquer affects the price, but that other factors make a bigger difference to the sound.

An obvious next step is to try the Conn in your local shop. If you love it and the price is reasonable, then why not buy it! This would be by far the lowest risk option.
On the other hand, if you hate it or are not sure, then would any of the other Conns be better?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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There is no evidence that lacquer finish will affect the sound, and plenty that it doesn't, and even it it did (which it doesn't) a relacquer is unlikely to be any different to an original lacquer. Yes, the type of lacquer has changed over the years but it's a saxophone. The (geomettry of the) air column dictates the sound, not the protective coat of lacquer (which possibly would affect the sound of a resonating instrument like a violin).

My choice would be one the 10Ms, nicer ergos IMO than the tranny.

But really you'll just have to play them, you'll get opinions but I doubt a unilateral agreement.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Pete ,

What’s your take on sound between the chu, which is pre war , and the 50’s 10ms?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Pete ,

What’s your take on sound between the chu, which is pre war , and the 50’s 10ms?
It's ages since I played a Chu (what we used to call the Big Bore) so I'd to say for sure. I think they are very similar though I know people who prefer one or the other. Plus when I bought my 10M everyone said it sounded identical to my MKVI. So what does that tell you?
 

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When you try the 10M's, bring your preferred mouthpiece with you and a digital tuner. Make sure the horn is in tune and then play a nice, soft low D. If it speaks well for you, then you don't gotta worry about things like original finish. If it doesn't, then move on.
 

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I think there's a couple of factors with relacquering. They are mostly cosmetic. Does it look shinier and brighter than such an old horn should look? The engravings usually suffer. There's a lot of awful refinishing going on that I see on ebay etc., a lot of beautiful vintage instruments beng just about ruined (for me anyway) by uninformed, indiscriminate buffing and slathering with matte polyurethane or whatever. The other consideration is whether the thickness of the metal was reduced by over-buffing. I'm sure it's debatable whether this impacts sound but not hard to imagine that a stiffer, thicker wall might sound different than a thin wall. Different resonant frequencies etc., whatever.

I think a really well done relacquer would be not an issue except for value. Price should reflect the relacquering. As is true with furniture, cars, etc., original finish has value. Houses maybe not... The Conn tranny sounds promising to me but any of those might be the best of the bunch for YOU - good luck!
 

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I am looking at a few different horns.

Conn 10M from 58 that is in pristine condition and is reported to play great. Has the naked lady and nickle plated keys original case.

Conn transitional 1934 that was VERY nicely relacquered. The engraving looks to have not suffered at all. Has been completely repadded with Selmer pads and Conn style metal resos.

Yani T880 in original lacquer with good pads and is reported to play well.

Conn 10M 1952 relacquer that has this description: Brand new pads with reusable custom brass resonators. This work is warrantied by BSS.No physical damage, neck is perfect

So basically I'm on the fence about the relacquer issues on the Conns. So that is leaning me towards the 58 Conn in original lacq. and the Yani 880. I'm wondering how much the relacquer affects sound and have heard in the past that Conns tend to not be very affected if the relacquer is done well.

Any thoughts?

Oh, also the last Conn I mentioned is at a local shop so I could go play it while the others are all online.
Bob, I have played more than a few relacquers (mostly old Selmers, and a few Bueschers and Conns), and will assert that a good relacquer - coupled with a good overhaul - can often be a superior playing horn. If you can play that horn, and it rings your bells, then buy it and enjoy it.

As far as comments regarding comparisons of new Selmer Ref 54 finishes, I played a great many Ref horns, and found wide variation in sound and response due to the necks. Yes, there may be nuances due to finish, but the variation in the necks will swamp those effects. The dominant sound of the horn will follow the neck - all else being equal.
 

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I once worked with a player who told me about his relacquer experience. He had his Mark VI tenor relacquered (before the whole price increase thing). After receiving and playing the horn, he claimed the horn was horrible, that is, not speaking, it was stuffy and it did not vibrate as it did before. After bringing the horn back and having it relacquered again, it came back fine. Was it a bad relacquer job or did someone screw things up upon rebuild? I guess we'll never know but there's a story for what it's worth.
 

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I once worked with a player who told me about his relacquer experience. He had his Mark VI tenor relacquered (before the whole price increase thing). After receiving and playing the horn, he claimed the horn was horrible, that is, not speaking, it was stuffy and it did not vibrate as it did before. After bringing the horn back and having it relacquered again, it came back fine. Was it a bad relacquer job or did someone screw things up upon rebuild? I guess we'll never know but there's a story for what it's worth.
If it came back fine from a second relacquer, then that tosses out whether a horn can play well after a relac. If a horn is stuffy and not vibrating as before, get the leaks out. Yes, we do know that leaks will kill a horn’s response.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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but not hard to imagine that a stiffer, thicker wall might sound different than a thin wall. Different resonant frequencies etc., whatever.
Personally, I find it very hard to imagine that a thicker wall would sound any different, it would never even occur to me that it might.
 

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Personally, I find it very hard to imagine that a thicker wall would sound any different, it would never even occur to me that it might.
I know, I'm skeptical but, I can't intellectually rule it out especially in the upper end of the horn (least likely area to be over-buffed btw). My theory there would be that the high frequencies resonate high up in the horn, and resonant frequencies of parts of the metallic structure might come into play. A very small resonance at a high frequency might interact with upper partials in the higher end of the horn's range. I haven't observed it, only imagining it could be possible. This would jive with differences reported with different neck structures, bracing, and materials.
 

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A related aside, I definitely find that I feel vibration in my hands more in my Buescher tenor than in my Conn. The Conn is a heavier horn, the Buescher Big B quite light, and with the rivets. That is tangible evidence to me that there is vibration of the sax body, fwiw. Again I'm not claiming it makes a difference in what anyone hears.
 

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Conn 10M from 58 that is in pristine condition and is reported to play great. Has the naked lady and nickle plated keys original case.

Conn 10M 1952 relacquer that has this description:

Refinished, many years ago
Straight tone holes
Brand new pads with reusable custom brass resonators. This work is warrantied by BSS.
No physical damage, neck is perfect

Oh, also the last Conn I mentioned is at a local shop so I could go play it while the others are all online.
I'd be inclined to choose one of the Conn 10Ms (having play-tested a friend's 10M and really liking it, feeling that it stood up well to both my Buescher and MKVI tenors). You always have to factor in how much work the horn needs. Given your description of the '52 10M having brand new pads*, etc, I'd also tend to conclude it is likely in better condition than the other one that is 'reported to play great.' Couple that with the fact you can try it out first, the decision is pretty easy:

Go try out that '52 10M with the brand new pads! If you like it, your search is over.

I wouldn't worry in the least about the relac, given it was done a long time ago and the tone holes weren't over-buffed. I don't care what anyone here says, a relac won't affect the sound/response of the horn. Old, leaky pads certainly will.

*note: For some reason the description of the '52 Conn isn't coming out on the post (I saw it in the quote prior to posting my response). You might consider editing out all the color & font stuff; that might be the problem.
 

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I think it goes without saying that you should play them all and base your decision on what works best for you. Me, I have small hands, and I've always found the Conns kind of difficult to handle, so I'd probably be most interested in the Yani. But that's me.
 

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I once worked with a player who told me about his relacquer experience. He had his Mark VI tenor relacquered (before the whole price increase thing). After receiving and playing the horn, he claimed the horn was horrible, that is, not speaking, it was stuffy and it did not vibrate as it did before. After bringing the horn back and having it relacquered again, it came back fine. Was it a bad relacquer job or did someone screw things up upon rebuild? I guess we'll never know but there's a story for what it's worth.
I bought a beat up poorly relaquered Mark VI last June and it plays great, looks like crap, but plays nice and bright.
I don’t think it was rebuilt particularly well, but I probably just got lucky.
Doubt that lacquer or unlacquered has anything to do with being stuffy. Saxes are stuffy when they leak.
I wouldn’t bother with a 10M, Yanagisawas are nice modern saxes.
 

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I've heard from a very reputable tech that Conns take a relacquer much better than a Selmer because the metal is harder. He said that a Conn with a good relacquer is nothing to worry about.
 
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