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I’ve posted here a couple time before and I’m making one last ditch effort. I have a Conn bass that needs to be buffed, bead blasted, and plated or lacquered.

I’ve called everyone.

J&J Woodwinds (Doc Frazier) can’t do it
Anderson’s can’t do it
John Uttech can’t do it and won’t call me back when he says he will
I’ve asked music medic to do just the prep and got no response

I’m really in awe to think there is no one in the country that can do this

Please let me know any other suggestions

John




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Maybe you need to refine your explanation of the work you want; first, you would not 'buff' and then 'bead-blast' - its one or the other. Most instrument shops don't have a media-blasting set-up to start with and most everyone does not want to buff a sax anymore. Maybe you should drop the 'plating' and just ask for a 'clear coat' to preserve the raw brass finish after blasting. Blasting can be done with any of several very gentle media, like baking soda for instance.
I'll tell you what I have done - taken apart saxes and hand-polish with metal polish. Leaves a nice bright finish that takes a golden-tan patina over time. Now I know a bass is big but it also has plenty of wide-open spaces that go quickly. The worst thing about doing this is you are going to stick yourself with needle springs so get a Tetanus shot. And while you have the keys off you really should wash it out. If it has any lacquer or plating on it you'll have to remove it. Lacquer is easy, several solvents and strippers take it right off. If you have plating, the job gets more involved. I don't think there's anything safe for the sax that you can do at home to remove it. You do not want to attack the horn with power tools/sandpaper.
Have you tried World Wide Sax? They overhaul/restore saxes all the time and I know they have done a matte finish in the past. Talk with Chad there and see if he can help you. One thing you should realize is this kind of work, unless you do the hand-polishing, requires an overhaul. The pads are removed along with the springs and all corks and felts, shrink tubing, etc. On a bass sax I'm guessing an overhaul is about $1500 or so and the surface treatment would be extra.
Can you post a picture or two of the horn and maybe we can provide better info. I can tell you now that if you have a silver bass that is tarnished and has a lot of brass showing, it might be best just to dip it to remove the tarnish and brighten the exposed brass. This can be done without an overhaul - the keys would be done by hand to avoid soaking the pads and exposing the pearls to the acid used. A few corks/felts might be lost in the process but if you don't need an overhaul this might be your best bet.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@1saxman

I’ve posted on here twice about it so I apologize if I sounded vague. I’m no expert in finishing saxes. I just specialize in the mechanical part and leave the finishing to others. I need a satin silver plated bass.

So I get conflicting feedback from the people I’ve talked to. Most say it must be buffed first to have a consistent color before plating

I don’t know and really am not concerned of the process. I’m simply trying to find a way for my client to have his bass finished in a satin silver finish

The horn is clean inside and out and has been bright dipped






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If you prep and polish it, a standard commercial plater who does auto bumpers could probably handle it but you may need to use chrome.
 

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Did you try Band Instrument Repair Specialists? 715-675-6394. Natalie will most likely answer the phone. Ask to speak to Brian. Tell him John Greiner sent you and he might not hang up. ;-)
 

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They do have to buff for the right color/gloss for lacquer, but obviously if you blast, there's no polishing. You blast and go straight to plating. Typically the plater does the surface prep (blasting) so there will be minimal oxidation/contamination between that and the plating tank.
 

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I need a satin silver plated bass.
I'm surprised that Anderson's won't do this. They definitely silver plate horns. Could it be due to the size of a bass sax? Maybe they don't have the facilities to plate such a large instrument. But that would also be kind of surprising. What did they tell you?
 

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So I get conflicting feedback from the people I’ve talked to. Most say it must be buffed first to have a consistent color before plating
This is true, it needs to be prep-buffed and then seriously cleaned to remove any residue.

BUT...if your intention is to bead-blast to a matte finish, then plate it, I think Saxman is correct....no need for the buffing, just make sure ALL old lacq is gone (if there was any).

It's not that hard to find sandblasters around...they need not necessarily be folks who do musical instruments. So the more challenging remaining aspect becomes finding a shop which will properly PREP the horn for plating (i.e. clean it properly), then plate something that large.

I hear Anderson no longer offers prep services...which, if true.....is bullsh#t of them to no longer do so. It's complete wiggle-word policy; this way if something with their plate job goes wrong they can blame the owner for failing to deliver it prepped 'properly'. Sad, because they used to not be like that.

I have no particular suggestions...

...other than : do NOT use chrome plating...having restored many a COB (chrome over brass) snare drum, IMHO in no way would it hold up to being dented then being dent-repaired.

When I lived in Portland, OR I once used these guys to nickel-plate a set of Comm III keys...they did a good job, came out nice and uniform and after buffing in my shop looked quite good; the guy there said he hadn't done musical instruments before, but seems he knew exactly how to prep and plate brass...it's Nickelplating, however:

http://www.tfcplating.com/Home.html
 

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Since a lot of antique cars used nickel, an auto plater may have that option. If Anderson has a tank size issue, maybe removing the bow and bell assembly would work.
 

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Interesting thread. If the OP needs a satin silver plated sax, I would advise him to purchase a Satin Silver plated bass. Likely no one wants to touch it because of all of the things that can go wrong in the plating process. It is not like the OP is starting off with a silver plated sax.....and the instrument shops don’t want to be held liable for a great plating job that doesn’t play well.....because it is going to need a thick coat of plating to get all of the base metal covered. If you have had so many people say No, it is probably because they think you will end up with an unplayable sax rather than a playable one.
 

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I’ve posted here a couple time before and I’m making one last ditch effort. I have a Conn bass that needs to be buffed, bead blasted, and plated or lacquered.

I’ve called everyone.
To get the best responses and info here it is advised that you make the title of your post relevant. So "One last attempt" is probably not the best way to get the best answers to your question. My suggestion would be to edit the post title to something relevant as it may then be found in Google or on the site which will help you find what you are looking for.
 

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talk to Eric at MeridianWinds or else, I am sure MusicMedic could do it but they are not inexpensive (just in case everything else fails)
 

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If you prep and polish it, a standard commercial plater who does auto bumpers could probably handle it but you may need to use chrome.
Wonder if they could do nickel?


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I used to take home heating vents and door knobs to a guy that did plating. He’s Out of business now due to a fire and CA regulators but the point is he would buff and plate it with nickel or gold or whatever you wanted. There are still a few shops doing that kind of work for people who restore old homes and want the door hinges and knobs replated. Consider looking around for someone like that.
 

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I know Music Medic has offered bead-blasting and plating as part of their Uberhaul before....might be worth contacting Curt Alterac to see if they would be able to do it.
 

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I know Music Medic has offered bead-blasting and plating as part of their Uberhaul before....might be worth contacting Curt Alterac to see if they would be able to do it.
I would contact Technic in RI. They are one of the largest suppliers of plating chemicals and supplies. They likely know someone with a large tank. I would never chrome a horn.

https://www.technic.com/about/contact-us
 
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