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I recently bought a 1972 buescher aristocrat for $245 on eBay and took it to a repair technician. She said to get it in playable condition would cost $90 if everything went well. The problem was the saxophone had three different brand types of pads and some were uneven in thickness and most had leaks. Does the different types of pad really matter? Overall the horn is not too bad in shape would you recommend fixing it to playable condition or returning it? This is my first saxophone and just starting if it makes a difference
 

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Yep. There are different diameter pads, and different thicknesses for each diameter. For the pad to swing down and seal evenly around the entire sound hole properly, the correct thickness pad is required, or sometimes you can shim a thinner pad. Otherwise the heel or toe will strike the tonehole first, and require key bending or flexing to complete the seal. Using the wrong thickness pads is a common mistake amongst less experienced techs and do-it-your-selfers. IMO, $90 to get a $245 classic horn in good playing condition is a bargain.
 

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Well...wait..."different thicknesses for each diameter" ? Am I misunderstanding something ? What does that mean, exactly ? The thickness of a pad is not a function of the diameter of the pad.

Different types of pad on the same horn does not necessarily matter ...as long as all pads are sealing, no leaks.

I do agree, getting an eFlay Buescher for $250 and having to put $90 into it...it's still a pretty decent deal.

You may want to contact the seller, tell him your tech found some leaks which will need to be addressed, and ask him if he would be willing to send you a partial refund to cover some of that cost. If you can get $40 out of him, I think you will have done very well. You can put that $40 towards the repair, pay $50-60 out of pocket, and you would still only be $300-310 into it. Not bad, and you could rest assured knowing the horn was in good playing shape now.

If he refuses any sort of partial refund (he really shouldn't, if he is a decent seller) then you can either (nicely) threaten to return it for a full refund, or (nicely) suggest that his refusal will result in you being dissatistfied with the transaction (i.e. leave negative feedback).

But $90 of repair work on an eFlay horn....that's not bad.
 

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Consider also that you will be eating the cost of shipping.

Keep it.
 

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Have it repaired, the cost of the repair is trivial in the scheme of things, I would not bother with the seller, the purchase price was good as well.

Steve
 

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If you return you would probably lose some shipping costs and only $90 for a sax you got from ebay is pretty good. It's very rare that I see a saxophone bought from ebay that only needs so little repairs.

Well...wait..."different thicknesses for each diameter" ? Am I misunderstanding something ? What does that mean, exactly ? The thickness of a pad is not a function of the diameter of the pad.
I think in this case the poster just meant that pads are available in many diameters and different thicknesses.

You may want to contact the seller, tell him your tech found some leaks which will need to be addressed, and ask him if he would be willing to send you a partial refund to cover some of that cost.
He mentioned nothing about the way it was advertised. Unless the ad specifically said the saxophone is in playable condition and requires no repairs, I would say it's not really fair to ask for a (partial) repair refund, even though a responsible seller should mention if an instrument needs some repairs. Maybe it was advertised "as is", who knows.
 

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Well...wait..."different thicknesses for each diameter" ? Am I misunderstanding something ? What does that mean, exactly ? The thickness of a pad is not a function of the diameter of the pad.

Different types of pad on the same horn does not necessarily matter ...as long as all pads are sealing, no leaks.

I
Types of pads don't matter much, metal vs plastic vs no resonators and such. But, the thickness does matter a lot*. I think in the olden days, they floated in pads with shellac or shimmed pads, so they all worked with the same thickness pads. And, you can still do that, but its much faster to measure the thickness, ~2-5mm, and get replacements. Again, if someone replaced them with the incorrect thickness, you don't want to repeat the mistake. You'd have to determine the proper thickness thru trial and error, or maybe you can measure it. You may also have to unbend some keys as well. Trust me, $90 is a good deal - maybe too good now that I think of it. Is this person a real tech, and reputable?

*All your keys swing thru an arc. Like a waffle iron top or something. The surface of the pad has to meet the tone hole precisely to seal properly. Think of the F key under your right index finger. If the pad is too thick, the pad will touch the tone hole near the "heel" or hinge first. If the pad is too thin, the pad will strike the tone hole at "toe" or farthest from the hinge. In either case, extra finger pressure may force it down enough to play, but this is bad for the pads, bad on the keys and rods, and bad on your fingers and joints over time.
 

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Yep. There are different diameter pads, and different thicknesses for each diameter.
FWIW....I was making reference to this (above) comment when I wrote:

Well...wait..."different thicknesses for each diameter" ? Am I misunderstanding something ? What does that mean, exactly ? The thickness of a pad is not a function of the diameter of the pad
I realize based upon your subsequent reply, it isn't what you meant, but the initial comment seemed to imply that different diameter pads have different thicknesses, is all.
He mentioned nothing about the way it was advertised. Unless the ad specifically said the saxophone is in playable condition and requires no repairs, I would say it's not really fair to ask for a (partial) repair refund, even though a responsible seller should mention if an instrument needs some repairs. Maybe it was advertised "as is", who knows.
Actually, in another thread about this recently purchased horn, he mentioned it was sold in playing condition. Which is why I suggested the idea of letting the seller know it needed some servicing.

In my experience...when what arrives is way, way off from what was described, it is OK to come back at the seller in a certain way. But if what arrives is close to what was described, yet t will still cost you (buyer) a substantial amount of $ to correct...it is fine to ask the seller to at least split the cost of that work with you.

Oftentimes, a seller will reply in a much more reasonable manner to a partial refund request, as opposed to an instance where a buyer demands either full recompense, or a return. Anything a buyer can recover on subsequent repairs, even $20...is something which can make the entire transaction resolve better.

This has just been my experience, which is why I suggested it.

(and, while I agree that a $90 tech tweak ain't nuthin' as far as a charge for servicing; and buying a 70's Buescher for $250 which needs only minor work is still a good deal.....if I may observe:
the buyer was looking to buy a playable alto for $300....so, setting aside whether this was realistic or not...a $90 repair is perhaps NOT small change to the buyer in this instance; which is something we should keep in mind).
 

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I recently bought a 1972 buescher aristocrat for $245 on eBay and took it to a repair technician. She said to get it in playable condition would cost $90 if everything went well.
I agree with the consensus here - $90 of "make playable" work (assuming the tech is competent) on a $245 eBay Aristocrat is a good deal.

...some were uneven in thickness and most had leaks. Does the different types of pad really matter?
Ideally pads should be the same thickness so that the keys have a consistent feel. As others noted, you'll probably have to realign/unbend keys to get there. If you were completely repadding the sax (much more than $90 or even the $245 you paid for the sax) this is what the technician would do. Like many others, I use not only the same thickness of pad but also the same brand throughout to achieve this evenness.

I'm guessing that on your sax, the regulating materials (cork, felt, etc.) are also inconsistent in an effort to compensate for this, which also is not going to contribute to the best possible feel.

However, it is possible to have pads of different thicknesses in a sax and still have it seal, and I'm guessing that's what you'd get with the $90 repair you were quoted. And for a someone starting out, this might be all you need to get started, provided the work is thorough and good.

Good luck...let us know how it goes...
 

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and, while I agree that a $90 tech tweak ain't nuthin' as far as a charge for servicing; and buying a 70's Buescher for $250 which needs only minor work is still a good deal.....if I may observe:
the buyer was looking to buy a playable alto for $300....so, setting aside whether this was realistic or not...a $90 repair is perhaps NOT small change to the buyer in this instance; which is something we should keep in mind.
I totally agree, but I'll just put out there that a playable alto for $300 is not realistic under most circumstances, especially where eBay is concerned, so I'd advise the OP to consider going for it...the alternative is returning the sax and playing another round of Russian Roulette...:yikes!:

And if the OP is going to start over with the saxophone search, I'd recommend checking the for sale listings here or going through a reputable dealer like Jaye...
 

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I totally agree, but I'll just put out there that a playable alto for $300 is not realistic under most circumstances, especially where eBay is concerned, so I'd advise the OP to consider going for it...the alternative is returning the sax and playing another round of Russian Roulette...:yikes!:

And if the OP is going to start over with the saxophone search, I'd recommend checking the for sale listings here or going through a reputable dealer like Jaye...
Every ebay sax I've bought has needed at least $25 in repairs. Those that needed more, I called it a loss and moved on. Still, $90 to fix back to performance playable, isn't bad :)
 

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Ideally pads should be the same thickness so that the keys have a consistent feel. As others noted, you'll probably have to realign/unbend keys to get there. If you were completely repadding the sax (much more than $90 or even the $245 you paid for the sax) this is what the technician would do. Like many others, I use not only the same thickness of pad but also the same brand throughout to achieve this evenness.
Are you sure? One of the banner features of a Buescher is the excellent featherweight keywork and action. I think you have to have the right thickness pad to preserve that. You aren't advocating bending keys to make them seal are you? I thought that was taboo? Back to the OP, I just had a couple pads replaced, re-cork and regulation, a few keys straightened, plus a dent removal on an old horn for close to $90. I was really happy with that.
 

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In my experience...when what arrives is way, way off from what was described, it is OK to come back at the seller in a certain way.
Sure, but I didn't see any other thread so didn't have any way to know how the saxophone was described, or that he was looking for a $300 playable saxophone, since none of that was mentioned here.
Just saying playable is a little tricky too, since that varies significantly...

You aren't advocating bending keys to make them seal are you? I thought that was taboo?
If that's true, then every saxophone factory is tabooing their own saxophones.
Short answer is that it's not taboo, it's actually the best way to get keys aligned a lot of the time (just not all the time, it depends).
Also sometimes keys bend and need to be bent back to correct alignment.
 

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Are you sure? One of the banner features of a Buescher is the excellent featherweight keywork and action. I think you have to have the right thickness pad to preserve that.
This is a mid-70's horn. It's not your father's pro-level Buescher. It's a student horn and it's not one of the Buescher designs, but rather something Selmer USA cobbled together largely from EBIC tooling. Excellent key work wasn't one of its features when it was new.

That said, to the OP, just get it put into playing condition, but don't spend a grand on it. It will serve you just fine for now. As others have mentioned, you always have to put a little money into an eBay horn. I usually budget at least $200 for that, but on many occasions that has been a $1000 overhaul. For your $350 you will have a working alto that is quite suitable for a beginner to intermediate saxophonist.
 

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This is a mid-70's horn. It's not your father's pro-level Buescher. It's a student horn and it's not one of the Buescher designs, but rather something Selmer USA cobbled together largely from EBIC tooling. Excellent key work wasn't one of its features when it was new.
1972 per the OP. I'm a little skeptical. I don't see Selmer buying Buescher, and then bypassing best-in-Buescher tooling and techs, and going for the worst-in-Buescher tooling and techs? I thought that was the Bundy? Was the Aristocrat a mid-level or top level Buescher? And if not, what became of Bueschers top model and tooling?
 

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1972 per the OP. I'm a little skeptical. I don't see Selmer buying Buescher, and then bypassing best-in-Buescher tooling and techs, and going for the worst-in-Buescher tooling and techs? I thought that was the Bundy? Was the Aristocrat a mid-level or top level Buescher? And if not, what became of Bueschers top model and tooling?
Signet, Buescher Aristocrat (and some Buescher 400), and Bundy all shared the same body tube and keywork during this era. Signet was marketed as a "step up" while the other 3 were student models (I had a Buescher Aristocrat and Bundy - Tenor and Alto - from this period). Altos are only worth $350 in the best condition, Tenors around $700. The Signet came fully gold lacquered. The Bundy and Buescher came nickle plated keys, and either clear lacquer body, or gold fleck epoxy finish. The actions were considerably cheaper and far simplified over what they were born from! The Signets feel like a pro action, but share largely the same parts as the student models.
 

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If that's true, then every saxophone factory is tabooing their own saxophones.
Short answer is that it's not taboo, it's actually the best way to get keys aligned a lot of the time (just not all the time, it depends).
Also sometimes keys bend and need to be bent back to correct alignment.
Ugh, you guys are killing me LOL. If the key is out of alignment, proper alignment, yea, you put it back to specs. But, you woudn't bend a key to make up for the wrong thickness pad, correct? If the thickness is not even close to correct, like its half the proper thickness, you may not even be able to bend the key enough to get it to seal at all. Anyway, I appreciate all the knowledge offered to curious guys like myself. I get caught between differing opinions sometimes though!

FWIW, the reason I'm pulling on the pad thickness, key alignment and the OP, is I just discovered the wrong pads were used on one of my horns and they indeed are too thick, and many of the keys strike at the heel, creating a mushy feel and excessive pressure. This repad job dates to 2010. It played ok when I got it back, but deteriorated. Same thing happened on the previous repad. I traced it back to the tech, who said he used the thickness of the ones replaced, and may have been hasty. Those dated back to 1980. Recalling, I had it repadded for cheap in 1980, and it was mushy and required excessive pressure then after a month or so. In drastic contrast, I've got a 1924 Conn C melody with ALL ORIGINAL pads that plays top to bottom. 92 year old pads. The morale of my story, is that a hasty repad might play great for a short time, but a quality repad is worth the extra cost of a knowledge tech.
 

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You aren't advocating bending keys to make them seal are you? I thought that was taboo? Back to the OP, I just had a couple pads replaced, re-cork and regulation, a few keys straightened, plus a dent removal on an old horn for close to $90. I was really happy with that.
I am, key bending is standard practice for setting keys correctly, manufacturers bend keys on the assembly line, assemblers bend keys at the final station at manufacturing, I bend easily a 1000 plus keys a week.

What is the correct thickness of pad for saxophone x and then for saxophone y. Answer is whatever I can fit, that gives me the best contact at the optimum point of travel. Sax pads don't come in a range of thicknesses like 3.1mm thick then 3.2 or 3.3,3.4, 3.5 and so forth.

Any repairer worth there salt bends keys, its the only way to achieve very fine adjustments

The problem with badly set keys or poor repads is the simple fact that anyone can hang a shingle outside there house and call themselves a repairer and offer services as a commercial enterprise,opening a business in this field has nothing to do with skill sets or qualifications.

Steve ( key bender )
 
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