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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was curious about the pricing structure for new horns on the various finishes.

I get the extra charges for plating (of any kind) or for a patina finish. Why charge extra for bare brass? Are there additional steps involved in finishing a bare brass horn that I'm looking past that make it more labor for bare brass then there would be for a bad lacquered finish. The only thing I can come up is that they're fashionable at the moment.

Just one of those why is it type questions that pops up on a relatively quiet afternoon.



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Another thing on a new sax that has never been polished is the brass in the body is a little thicker than one that has been buffed before lacquering. Of course an unlacquered saxophone can be a pain unless you like 'Holiday Horns' - that is, green, black and red.
 

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I was curious about the pricing structure for new horns on the various finishes.

I get the extra charges for plating (of any kind) or for a patina finish. Why charge extra for bare brass? Are there additional steps involved in finishing a bare brass horn that I'm looking past that make it more labor for bare brass then there would be for a bad lacquered finish. The only thing I can come up is that they're fashionable at the moment.

Just one of those why is it type questions that pops up on a relatively quiet afternoon.



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The market price for a product is unrelated to its manufacturing cost. Business 101.

Next!
 

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The market price for a product is unrelated to its manufacturing cost. Business 101.

Next!
This rude reply is unnecessary.

OP - I agree with you, most likely because the unlacquered is considered fashionable, and they figure they can get a little more for it. The prior post above better soldering jobs could also have something to do with it, but my gut says it's just a profit thing. I spoke with a Yamaha rep years ago who said the 82ZUL and the 82Z lacquered example were nearly identical in cost to manufacture, but the unlacquered model was popularized by Phil Woods (RIP) and they knew they could get a premium for it. That's just hearsay, though.

- Saxaholic
 

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Call it "flippant", but no need to interpret it as rude.

Sheesh...
 

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The market price for a product is unrelated to its manufacturing cost. Business 101.
Yes, there is a lot more to final retail prices than meets the eye. Obviously demand can have an effect but so can the size of a production run. Smaller runs of unlacqured (as opposed to mass produced lacquered) can cost more to warehouse or store. Unlacquered horns may need different storage conditions. Then you have to take into account the initial finishings costs may be higher for unlacquered.

But it's absolutely true final cost may or may not be related to manufacturing. The reasons are many, but although it makes sense to the factory, the distributor and the retailer, it will sometimes perplex the customer.
 

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The prior post above better soldering jobs could also have something to do with it, but my gut says it's just a profit thing.

- Saxaholic
I tend to agree with this. I assume that soldering is done prior to finishing. In a production atmosphere, the soldering operation may not have a clue to the eventual finish of the end product. I doubt if the personnel in the soldering station adjust their technique to accommodate finish.
 

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This rude reply is unnecessary.

OP - I agree with you, most likely because the unlacquered is considered fashionable, and they figure they can get a little more for it. The prior post above better soldering jobs could also have something to do with it, but my gut says it's just a profit thing. I spoke with a Yamaha rep years ago who said the 82ZUL and the 82Z lacquered example were nearly identical in cost to manufacture, but the unlacquered model was popularized by Phil Woods (RIP) and they knew they could get a premium for it. That's just hearsay, though.

- Saxaholic
Not flippant at all. Fact of life! As Pete explained.
 

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I doubt if the personnel in the soldering station adjust their technique to accommodate finish.
maybe not,but thinking about it they probably pick the perfect soldering for the unlacquered horns.
i have owned 3or4 of these un-lacquered yamaha's and the soldering jobs were fantastic.
 

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Where are you shopping? It really depends...Phil Barone’s site has bare brass priced lowest. WWBW prices P Mauriats at +500 for bare. Ask the seller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not shopping, I've already spent my horn money for the year :)

Just acade or rampant curiosity.

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The bare brass is confusing, but so is some of the plating pricing. For example I bought a gold plated Chinese horn for about $100 more than lacquered, yet Yanigisawa charges over $6,000 more for gold plating on an alto and Selmer charges over $10,000 more. Yanagisawa even charges more for gold plating than for their solid silver sax. Seems crazy to me.
 

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I suspect it comes down to the following:

Bare brass looks "vintage."
Vintage is "cool."
Ergo, many consumers are willing to pay more for bare brass.
 

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The bare brass is confusing, but so is some of the plating pricing. For example I bought a gold plated Chinese horn for about $100 more than lacquered, yet Yanigisawa charges over $6,000 more for gold plating on an alto and Selmer charges over $10,000 more. Yanagisawa even charges more for gold plating than for their solid silver sax. Seems crazy to me.
Could there be a difference in the quality of the plating and the amount of gold deposited?



(Yes)
 

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Could there be a difference in the quality of the plating and the amount of gold deposited?
Yeah, but not thousands of dollars difference. That's not reflective of the difference in manufacturing cost, that's reflective of other things like perceived value to the customer and/or the company's desire not to do gold plate.

If I had to guess I would estimate the cost differential of silver plate vs. lacquer at something like $500 and gold plate maybe another $500 over that (gold plated horns are first silver plated; I think the silver is more of a "flash" when it goes under gold, but you still have to rack all the parts, dwell time in the bath(s), etc., so the cost to plate just a flash isn't going to be all that much less than the cost to plate a final silver coat.)

Of course, you can't compare the cost of having an existing saxophone re-done in plating to the cost of making it that way in the first place. If anyone has knowledge of the manufacturing cost differentials for the different finishes it would be interesting for them to chime in.

[EDIT} - Of course, there is something I didn't consider, which is that the manufacturing cost of gold plating may very well be much higher if they don't have a gold plating line in house. I think if you had to send each gold plate sax out individually when ordered, rather than doing the plating in your own mass production facility, it could add many hundreds of dollars to the cost. I suspect that at least Selmer and Yanagisawa don't have such facilities in house, due to very low demand, and nowadays, it's very expensive and troublesome to set up a plating facility in the developed nations (as US, France, Japan) due to environmental regulations.
 
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