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Advisable? Would this "save" or "ruin" my instrument?

I have a Mark VI alto that was delacquered by one of its previous owners. I do like the look of the instrument, but I have a feeling that this can't be good for the brass and for longevity's sake the metal might wear through at some points. I think that a lot of buffing was done at certain points, when it was stripped. I play this horn a TON. I feel like plating it at some point might be a good idea but that should be done before the metal starts to wear through. The neck is also damaged and has some weak/thin points, though it still plays great. Again, I'm not sure for how many years.

I don't intend to ever sell this alto, so the affect replating has on the resale value is of no consequence to me. If I ever do decide to sell it, the prices will probably have gone so high that a replated horn will sell for far more than I paid for this one.

I know that some years ago, replating or relacquering were standard parts of an instrument's overhaul and nobody really questioned it. These days everybody becomes afraid at the mere mention of the process... any thoughts welcome. I just want this horn to last.
 

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It's already been worked over so the hit it would take on it's value to the collector has already happened. The experts will have their say and have an opinion more backed up than mine, but I think that it's obvious that unprotected brass will wear more over time than if it was plated. You could keep it wiped off after playing to reduce the effect of sweat acids from doing their thing. If taken care of the horn will probably outlive you.
It's tempting to get it gold plated and not have to worry about it. Opinions will vary on what effect this will have on the way it plays and sounds. Maybe better, maybe worse, maybe just the same. The overhaul itself probably has more effect. Either plate it or be consistent with wiping it after play. Salty air has a corrosive effect too, so if it's exposed to that plating is a good idea.
 

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Razzy, I'm not so 5-digicentric. It sounds like you've already thought this through and you understand the issues. If it's a horn that you are committed to, I'd say get it plated in either silver or gold (gold will be over a basecoat of silverplate) with its next repad and enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the opinions for so far.

I must say that I don't understand the 5-digit comment. Are you saying purely because of the age of the instrument, that only delac'd saxes made before a certain date should be replated? Or is it more because of how certain crops of serial numbers reportedly play?

This is a 106-thousand, so it's close! :p With altos the 5-digit phenomenon doesn't seem to matter as much. I have always preferred tenors after 200-thousand, too. The 100-thousands and 5-digits are usually in worse shape; who knows if that's why they have always played far worse for me and felt kind of strange compared to the later horns, which have superior intonation and project a little more on average. I have only played about 20 Mark VI tenors though so who can really say...

Anyway, I don't want this to turn into "does finish REALLY affect sound" thing as that is a dead horse that was resurrected on the third day, beaten to death again, had its Second Coming thousands of years later, brought the Saxophone Finish Apocalypse, and now we are all living under its eternal kingdom forever and ever... I've already made up my mind that I don't think it's going to affect the tone that much. That said, here are my thoughts on the subject, so that those of you wishing to offer advice might better understand my reasoning behind this idea: Grumps and others have stated that factory-silver Selmers seem to be a lot more dead than their lacquered counterparts, and I do agree from my personal experience with the horns, and silver-plated saxophones in general. However I think it has a lot more to do with the plated tone-hole surfaces/chimneys being more acoustically dead than bare brass ones, and the silver plate that made its way into the body tube or bell causing a little bit more acoustical disturbance. I'd challenge anyone with a plated instrument to have the toneholes worked a little and see what they think then. Every such sax I have seen has silver going into the body, bells, and toneholes.

So I'd be careful to have Anderson or whoever plate the instrument and have my tech adjust the internal bore accordingly. The instrument is not due for a repad for possibly another several years so this is going to be down the line. Right now it is in perfect playing condition, having had a complete overhaul just under two years ago and subsequent checkups by the best tech in the region. What I am really looking for is longevity and gold-plating might be a better option if I can afford it. An old gold-plated cigar cutter was probably the most resonant Selmer instrument I've played so I don't have any qualms with dumping a lot of plate on there.
 

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what i mean is that spending more than $2000 to gold plate a late mark vi is just a waste of $ because the horn itself is not worth that much more especially if it has no lacquer --- but since you have A 106,xxx - do it but know that it's alot of $$ that could be spent on something different
 

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jmm1713 said:
what i mean is that spending more than $2000 to gold plate a late mark vi is just a waste of $ because the horn itself is not worth that much more especially if it has no lacquer --- but since you have A 106,xxx - do it but know that it's alot of $$ that could be spent on something different
He specifically said this horn is a keeper and he doesn't plan on selling it. If you are going to keep this horn for a very long time, go ahead and spend the money for the silverplating and don't worry about what the "experts" say and just play.
 

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jacobeid said:
He specifically said this horn is a keeper and he doesn't plan on selling it. If you are going to keep this horn for a very long time, go ahead and spend the money for the silverplating and don't worry about what the "experts" say and just play.

jacobeid ,I never said I was An " Expert " - -- Razzy, just plate the horn .

And Btw razzy , it may play alot better or alot worse after the plating /overhaul
 

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Razzy said:
However I think it has a lot more to do with the plated tone-hole surfaces/chimneys being more acoustically dead than bare brass ones, and the silver plate that made its way into the body tube or bell causing a little bit more acoustical disturbance. I'd challenge anyone with a plated instrument to have the toneholes worked a little and see what they think then. Every such sax I have seen has silver going into the body, bells, and toneholes.

So I'd be careful to have Anderson or whoever plate the instrument and have my tech adjust the internal bore accordingly.
If you're worried about it, have your tech make some meaningful measurements of the critical dimensions before it goes in for plating. I'm betting that you won't measure the difference and certainly won't need to "adjust" the bore after the fact. The thickness of the plating vs the natural out-of-round of the toneholes is in the noise of the measurement.

G'luck!
 

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I'd get it silver-plated at Anderson's. Protect that brass and the horn will last a lifetime.
 

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I agree with Dr. G. I'm not totally sure, but I think the thickness of the plating is around a thousandth of an inch, and even less on the inside of the horn due to (electromagnetic law I forget the name of) when plating. So unless your tech has tools and skills 200 years more advanced than the rest of us, I don't think adjusting the bore is a good idea.
 

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JL is correct. Call Andersons in Elkhart IN (they have a site) and ask questions. I would not go with gold plate. The new stuff is ugly and it really wears off fast. You probably would go through the touch points within a year. Andersons is the best I have used and not real expensive. What IS costly is the prep. All springs must be removed from the body and pads and corks from the keys. I would have it engraved before plating and you would have an excellent looker. As far as the 5 digit concerns, I think that the cutoff would be around 115,xxx when they went to the long bow models. I recently played a 111,xxx and it was great.
 

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This is going to turn in the usual lacquer delacquer yes/no thread, it must be the most beaten dead horse on the forum which re-incarnates itself everytime in a different shape.

Have the horn lavishly engraved and personalized (by someone great like Jason Dumars) and then perfectly restored prior to replating . Plate it in the most beautiful and thick gold you can afford (how does anybody think that the bore would have to be consequently adapted baffles me....if there is one thing which you have to leave alone is the " Internal" shape of the horn, the only thing that has a direct bearing on the air column...).

Yes , none of this probably makes economic sense, but you are going to keep this horn, right? So just think of all the immense pleasure it will give you to have something as unique and beautiful. Sod all the rest.

Just dropped a tuppence.

by the way, I really don't think it will matter all that much soundwise, please make sure you make soundclips (in the absolute same setting) before and after, just to end this less than interesting thing that lacquer or plating matters on sound.........
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sorry, I was using incorrect terminology. What I was really thinking of were tonehole surfaces being true and the chimneys being correct and not out of round or anything from the prep work that goes into the plating process. I meant that my tech would have to restore those to the original pre-plate measurements or at least double check that they were only affected within acceptable tolerances before I am comfortable with playing the instrument. Good tip on the pre-engrave.

As far as gold-plating, are you saying that the actual process over the years has become worse and there is no longer the material/process available to do a good job of it?
 

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Razzy said:
I have a Mark VI alto that was delacquered by one of its previous owners. I do like the look of the instrument, but I have a feeling that this can't be good for the brass and for longevity's sake the metal might wear through at some points.
How 'bout clear coating it then? A lot cheaper too. I actually prefer silver plated horns, but for some reason, just not Selmers. But preserving it by silver plating might add some value to it. Still... since you've already stated that silver plated horns had never really impressed you, I'd consider the clear coat route.
 
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