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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone had trouble with the sound or response on an overbuffed, relacquered horn?

Can you recall what its characteristics were? What did, or didn't it do compared to a properly restored horn?

I'm particularly interested in more info about 2 things:

- buzzing or excess vibration - what registers or parts of the horn are usually affected? at what volumes? do you feel it, hear it, what?
- warbling or breaking up notes - is it all just due to uneven toneholes? or can thinned bodies cause it too? in what register of the horn is it a tell-tale?
 

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Has anyone had trouble with the sound or response on an overbuffed, relacquered horn?

Can you recall what its characteristics were? What did, or didn't it do compared to a properly restored horn?
The quality of a horn after an overhaul seems, based upon my experience with perhaps two dozen horns over the years, to be purely based upon the quality of the mechanics; sealing, springing, play in the mechanism, ETC. While I've never- obviously- unbuffed a horn to compare it- I've had horns that stunk with perfect engraving and 90% OL and horns that played great with buffed to death bodies and slightly runny new lacquer.

Many horns play "different" after an overhaul- but I've noted no correlation between buffing and not buffing in the types of "differences". I believe that the differences came from changes in venting and the elimination of un-noticed but nonetheless present micro leaks which affected the character of the horn and were eliminated as a result of the overhaul.

I'd prefer a just left alone in the first place or lightly buffed if refinishing was required (never had one of those myself since I don't place much stock in the finish) horn to an over buffed one- but that's purely based upon aesthetics, not upon playing characteristics.

My take, and others may differ in their opinions. Good luck getting a definitive objective answer on this one...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd hope it would be a matter of "you'll know it when you play it."
 

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"...buzzing or excess vibration..." It's a saxophone...like this should be a problem?
 

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I'd hope it would be a matter of "you'll know it when you play it."
But I don't think you can. There are too many other variables. You'd never get two horns which played identically with identical physical characteritics in minute detail prior to the work and had identical physical characteristics after rework but that one had buffing and one didn't. Too many other factors at play to say- and you'd have to repeat the testing many times under the same identical this and that (which you couldn't truly get for even one instance) to really draw a conclusion as I see it.
 

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But I don't think you can. There are too many other variables. You'd never get two horns which played identically with identical physical characteritics in minute detail prior to the work and had identical physical characteristics after rework but that one had buffing and one didn't. Too many other factors at play to say- and you'd have to repeat the testing many times under the same identical this and that (which you couldn't truly get for even one instance) to really draw a conclusion as I see it.
I agree...some horns play terrible when they are brand new. I would not base playability of a horn on how it was buffed...surely buffing will affect value, but for instance Joshua Redman plays a relac SBA. There are a ton of variables that have to be taken into consideration, and many of them can't if you're buying a buffed horn. I really think a blind test should be done to dispel the myth. I have had several relacquered 10ms that were monsters....My only concern with a buffed horn is simply that its not so thin as to cause it to damage easily, but thats about it. I dont want to have to patch a hole. Other than that, relacs can and often play just as good as any horn.
 

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Other than that, relacs can and often play just as good as any horn.
Not just "often" but "always". Unless the buffing stuffs up the toneholes. I agree there are many variables, but a blind test would be impossible, you'd have to actually use a time machine to compare before and after side by side. However of the relacquers I'v had done, they played exactly the same as far as I could tell. Although I must admit I don't have experience of getting a horn buffed to extremes, as Paul is asking about, but some of the extremely buffed relacquers I've played have been great solid horns.
 

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In side by side I mean just take 3-4 relacs and 3-4 original and do a test, there is no real way to do before and after unless you want to just deface a lot of instruments to prove a point.
 

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I've never found relac's to play differently than original's. I've had a few of my own horns done (though none of them were machine buffed), and they sounded exactly the same as they did before the work was done.

And even though I haven't had any of my own horns given the Popeye buffing treatment, I've played on a number of horns that did look like he had his way with them. IMO, it doesn't have any significant influence on how a sax sounds/responds...at least not enough to make a difference to the player, and certainly not enough that an audience would notice.

Any issue I have with a relac has everything to do with damage caused by buffing (posts, rods, tone holes, etc), and not the general thickness of the metal after buffing. Though I know a guy who crushed the bell of his heavily buffed tenor back in his marching band days (had it under his arm during a particular move on the field).

In side by side I mean just take 3-4 relacs and 3-4 original and do a test, there is no real way to do before and after unless you want to just deface a lot of instruments to prove a point.
Even if the saxes are the same model and vintage, that's making an assumption that those saxes play similarly to begin with.
 

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Has anyone had trouble with the sound or response on an overbuffed, relacquered horn?

Can you recall what its characteristics were? What did, or didn't it do compared to a properly restored horn?

I'm particularly interested in more info about 2 things:

- buzzing or excess vibration - what registers or parts of the horn are usually affected? at what volumes? do you feel it, hear it, what?
- warbling or breaking up notes - is it all just due to uneven toneholes? or can thinned bodies cause it too? in what register of the horn is it a tell-tale?
Paul, buffing the horn itself won't do anything to change the sound. The fact is that the sax doesn't vibrate enough to influence the sound but it will effect the value depending on what it is. Heavens forbid, don't relacquer a nice old Mark VI. Phil Barone
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Phil, I would never do that to any horn. But mine came that way - a 1932 Chu Berry without even the name left on the bell. Plays like a Chu, except for the low end, which is balky, as if needing adjustment. Which it might - it's had a nice deep crease put into the bow right around low C#!
 

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paul, the biggest issues would be caused by leaks probably due to uneven toneholes. the thinned metal should not cause anything. people go nuts over relacquered horns, i have owned and restored and played a lot of buffed to death horns. as long as the toneholes are level and the pads seat well and the key mechanism is not full fo excessive play it should not be an issuse. also the lower you go on the tube the less the coemstic stuff matteres. i used to know a VII tenor with a perfectly flat bottom bow and it played like a beast.

the problem with un level tonhoeles is a lot of times they will seat with heavy finger pressure but not pressure that you would use when playing.

also if the low c sharp tonehole is not very good, your pad might seat poorly and look like its seats with a light, btu blow open a bit when a lot of air is moving through it.

you could also have a leak higher up on the horn, or on the g sharp, if your horn has an articuylated g sharp.
 
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