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Howdy all,

I just started back playing Saxophone after 25 years (I'm old) and bought several of the cheapest Chinese horns (think "brands" like Ammoon, Lade & Glory) as they really did not exist in the marketplace back in the early to mid 90's. Several altos (6), and a straight Soprano, Tenor and Bari. I'm actually kind of impressed as most of the horns played half decently out of the box and only two (of the altos) needed minor adjustments to belt out low b flat and c and managed not to sound like total crap in the sub-altissimo natural horn range.

However, I also wanted to try out some horns that I never used in the past and some of the older Conn's are also major curiosities and renovation (frustration) opportunities. I acquired a 1922-23 C Melody with a really nice body and missing a bunch of missing keywork/one post for $50 off of Craigslist in Santa Fe, plus a set of keys from a 1921 NW1 off of eBay for $80. Any suggestions on which pads to get?

Also and maybe of more interest to the forum, I got a re-lacquered (I believe) 1922 Alto "players" NW1, SN#109348 for $420, with decent looking leather pads w/plastic resonators, some sticky keys and a rather nice engraving of a young lady on the bell. Really nice free blowing horn. Not necessarily a bargain, but heck it plays! First time for me playing a horn with a "lateral" low C/B/B flat key set...kinda funky, but pretty easy to get used too.

Link to the ebay listing for the NW1 Alto purchased:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Conn-New-W...ne-Hard-Rubber-Mouthpiece-Clean-/264476768604

If there's any interest in either horn, I plan on taking some decent pictures as both horns will be my 1st experiment/experience with complete overhauls, though I might not need to do a re-pad on the Alto.

I've been immersing myself in the excellent videos/postings of Matt Stohrer as an initial point of overhaul entry/lofty standard for me for the work/process that will be required.
Any advice, guidance and suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks,
Mike Barber
 

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The lacquer on the alto is not original. That horn would have originally been gold plated. The horns with lesser finishes had less ornate engraving.
 

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The lacquer on the alto is not original. That horn would have originally been gold plated. The horns with lesser finishes had less ornate engraving.
Thanks for the reply. I've never seen a gold plated saxophone that's looked like this. The pads have metal resonators (not plastic as I previously stated) that look to be riveted, I'll take a closer look at them after tearing down for the horn for a full cleaning.

After reading a good bit of the (incredibly detailed) history of these horns, I haven't seen one photo of a NW1 with the "Cleopatra" iconography or pose. Though I'm sure it is one of the ~30 standard ones for the "Artist" optioned horns.

What a pleasure/privilege it is to play a piece of "living" art:

View attachment 243316
View attachment 243318

Pad Examples:
View attachment 243320
View attachment 243322
 

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Those look like standard "flat metal booster" pads. Visually they look OK, so you might well get away with replacing one or two. Use a leak light.

I agree, the instrument was almost certainly gold plated originally. For whatever reason, it was buffed off and lacquered. Certainly there was a period (that lasted many decades) when the standard "overhaul" included polishing and re-lacquering. Silver plated horns fell far out of favor around the same time and many of these had the plating buffed off, but gold looks pretty close to brass, so I would guess the gold plate on yours just got on the wrong side of a "standard complete overhaul". At any rate, it will have no effect on how it plays.

Check out my thread on refurbishment of my Mexi-Conn tenor for an "at home" perspective on what you're talking about doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I'm guilty of having a shop do a full overhaul including the lacquer to a Mark VI Alto about 30 years ago while I was still in High School--horn sold long ago. I'll definitely check out your thread. I've got plenty of experience tearing apart/modifying RWD convertibles for track/autocross use and look forward to any excuse to accumulate more specialized tooling-leak light acquired last week. :twisted:
 

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The horn doesn't seem to be sealing as well this morning...
View attachment 243474

Interesting mix between the sliver plate present under the original gold plate/lacquer remnants. I plan taking it down to the silver plate based on the initial tear down/cleaning.
 

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Now that makes a little more sense than a lacquered brass. I ran across a similar finish find. A alto that was painted completely gold. Was silver plate finish under the gold paint. Used fingernail polish remover to take all the paint off. Worked excellent. Looks like you’re going to have a beautiful alto when you’re finished. I love the Cleopatra.

Any pictures of the C melody? I would go with the same flat metal resonators pads that you have on the alto. Music Medic has pad sets for both of your saxes. https://musicmedic.com/pad-set-finder.html. You may also find some of their repair guides informative. https://musicmedic.com/articles.html
 

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I'll post some of the C Melody later, when home tonight. Thanks for the pad suggestions and acetone should definitely take care of the remaining gold stuff. If not I have some Benco B17 left over from refinishing some wheels which will take care of the lacquer (and melt the whole saxophone in the process).
 

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I'll post some of the C Melody later, when home tonight. Thanks for the pad suggestions and acetone should definitely take care of the remaining gold stuff. If not I have some Benco B17 left over from refinishing some wheels which will take care of the lacquer (and melt the whole saxophone in the process).
View attachment 243530
 

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I'll post some of the C Melody later, when home tonight. Thanks for the pad suggestions and acetone should definitely take care of the remaining gold stuff. If not I have some Benco B17 left over from refinishing some wheels which will take care of the lacquer (and melt the whole saxophone in the process).
Two good looking instruments in route:) looking forward to seeing the beauty’s after pictures.
You must be single. Seriously, Benco B17 in the house Lol. Acetone maybe, but $60 a gallon fingernail polish remover wife & daughter have no problem with smell. Oh, it’s low VOC and high flashpoint too right! Que some Pink Floyd and pass the bottle.

After a sliver cleaning project I did using proprietary mixtures. I have since changed it to some highly recommended products from fellow members. My mix worked good, this is the best you’ll find anywhere. Cream, spray or suds. Personally I use the suds & cream.
https://www.target.com/p/hagerty-silversmiths-polish-12-fl-oz/-/A-51198402
https://www.target.com/p/hagerty-silver-foam-19-ozs/-/A-51198410

Here’s the silver cleaning project.
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?352138-Rudy-Wiedoeft-alto-1930-cleaning-pictures

I actually bought this gem for the Mouthpiece in the case. Lol had no clue it included a early ‘20’s Buescher stencil.
Enjoy your project.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So, I've kinda gone off the deep end here. Since my last post I've "added" to inventory: an NW1 C Melody with so much tarnish that it rubs on the hands during normal playing, a NW II Alto for ding practice and a 26M if the dood will ever ship it (off of Reverb). I'll update the post at some point here with pictures. BTW, I'm actually married and my wife is somewhat "understanding" of my impulse control issues :p
 

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Beautiful resto/de-lacquering job on the Buescher stencil!
Thank you! I’m sure your projects will turn out very nice. Nothing like not needing another sax but you really want one. The familiar term amongst members is GAS. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Spoil the wife once in a while. It’s good for GAS relief.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
CONN-Versation Menagerie Update (Lack of Impulse Control Edition):

View attachment 248038

From upper left going around to the right/down:

1. Buescher 400 (TH&C) Alto
2. Conn 26M Alto
3. Conn NWII Bb Soprano
4. "Estella" Baritone (Plays well for a $550 Chinesium Horn)
5. Conn NWII Alto (147k) regular engraving
6. Conn NWII Alto (244k) Art Deco engraving
7. Buescher 400 (TH&C) Tenor
8. Conn NWI "Cleopatra" Alto-Half buried under some silk swabs.

And out of all of them the one I'm currently the most enamored with? (trick question)

1. Conn NW1 C-Melody

View attachment 248040

Needless to say...I'm having a lot of fun playing and doing the gear/GAS porn thang.
 

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Gee the only gold plated Conns I still have for sale are NW II, an alto and C Melody in satin gold. Looks like you have me beat!
 
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