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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 )
I think we are agreeing, except on the availability of different thickness pads. I guess that's not widely accepted yet? You must be shimming or bedding in shellac? At 50+ horns a week, you probably are pretty good at it! I'm just glad we have techs who still know how to service vintage horns.
 

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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.
I completely agree...for one of half-decent quality, it isn't realistic whatsoever.

If I had a nickel for every person who contacts me wanting a good brand, serviced Alto for $250...or a tenor for $350.....I could be retired & living on a tropical beach now....
 

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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.
Yes, this is another horrible internet misconception which has developed over the years: key bending is incorrect, or a hack repair...

Comments misinterpreted by readers over the years, and then somehow the bad info/interpretation takes on a life of its own ( "soft soldering is bad", or "never use shims" are some other chestnuts one comes across regularly)....

Key bending is one of a bevy of techniques regularly used from a tech's arsenal.

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 :)
You are being conservative :).

To potential buyers who know zilch about repair, I always suggest to set aside a minimum of $125-200 for an eFlay horn, even one which is described as 'good playing condition'.

So yeah, I hear you guys....$90 repair...$335 total investment at the end of the day...yup, not much of anything to complain about there at all, really....

Statistic:

My experience as a buyer shakes out this way: only 2 of 7 eFlay horns described by the seller as 'good playing condition'..in fact are, upon arrival.

I am so happy when one of those actually comes along...I make it a point to contact the seller and thank him/her..and ask that they pass along my praise to whoever serviced the horn last....
 

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Back to the original question- it comes down to was it represented as "play condition" or some similar characterization? Meaning, you can play it reasonably well and without problems, out of the (very well packed) shipping box.

This one issue supercedes the 'mixed pads' issue.
I recently bought a ebay horn that was 'play condition'...it wasn't, due to some obvious and not so obvious issues. I contacted the seller, explained it and worked out a fair rebate to me which was great.

Yes, $90 is a good deal (assuming good work). Keep it.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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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?
You're welcome to be skeptical, but they could and they did. Lot's of discussion on this already, and you can certainly read through to find it. Short story is that they cheapened the hell of the EBIC horns to make them attractive for student budgets, and called them Bundy's, Buescher's, and Selmer Signets. The Aristocrat of 1952 has little in common with an Aristocrat of 1972. By 1968, the last remnants of what we think of as a top-shelf Buescher instrument was gone.

The exception to this (there has to be one) is curiously enough a Bundy II. That's not to say that a Bundy II is a pro-level horn. Rather it apparently was indeed the 121 and 127 body tube designs (what we call TT's) with Ralph Morgan designed key work that mimic'd the Selmer Paris design -- sort of. Sounds like a great combination, doesn't it, but yet again, cost was the key factor and those horns were intended to be rugged and reliable marching band horns, so finesse and quality of execution wasn't something they're known for.

Any way, if you find yourself needing more serious proof, go buy one and tell us what you think of it. What I predict you'll come back with after doing so is "great sound, good intonation, primitive but reliable key work with few features, and poor execution". Once you get to the '80's, you'll be adding "thinly made body parts". I guarantee it.

BTW, it sounds like I'm really ragging on them. I'm not. It's a fairly solid instrument, reasonably consistent, in tune, and it was by far the most popular student horn of its day. The favorite of elementary school band directors everywhere at the time, until Yamaha came and killed them in the late 70's and 80's.

Again, going back to the OP's question, it's worth keeping and fixing, as long as it doesn't cost too much to fix.
 

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Selmer...was (still is, arguably) a Competition Destroyer. Make no mistake of this.

We may think of them as the finest artisans/producers in the woodwind world, but as a business entity....when they felt challenged in the market...they would try to make their competition vanish.

Drag once proud names into the student/budget dirt...or just 'disappear' many small, excellent producers by cornering the distribution arena.

They certainly didn't want to buy the Buescher name with the intention of producing top-shelf horns under that name, regardless of whether the ownership was theirs....same holds true more recently for the King and Conn names; by making the financially healthy and reasonably successful UMI corporation (producing instruments here in the US) ...an 'offer which they couldn't refuse'...
 

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Back to the original question- it comes down to was it represented as "play condition" or some similar characterization? Meaning, you can play it reasonably well and without problems, out of the (very well packed) shipping box.
This is a valid point. The OP states elsewhere that he is a beginner and has not playtested the horn himself.

He simply 'won' it, received it, and not having a mouthpiece yet nor a few lessons under his belt....took it to a tech. A reasonable course of action.

He did not, for example, ask another altoist to playtest it for him, which would have been another reasonable course of action.

The tech, being the most eagle-eyed of individuals who can examine a musical instrument, determined it needed some (really) very minor adjusting. ($90....what is that ? 1-2 hours of tech work, tops ?).

Many a tech can find 1-2 hours of work to put into a sax which actually already plays "reasonably well"....

Perhaps another sax player would have played it up and down and deemed it to be 'pretty good', as-is.

So, yeah....
 

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Selmer...was (still is, arguably) a Competition Destroyer. Make no mistake of this.

We may think of them as the finest artisans/producers in the woodwind world, but as a business entity....when they felt challenged in the market...they would try to make their competition vanish.

Drag once proud names into the student/budget dirt...or just 'disappear' many small, excellent producers by cornering the distribution arena.

They certainly didn't want to buy the Buescher name with the intention of producing top-shelf horns under that name, regardless of whether the ownership was theirs....same holds true more recently for the King and Conn names; by making the financially healthy and reasonably successful UMI corporation (producing instruments here in the US) ...an 'offer which they couldn't refuse'...
You're confusing Selmer USA and Selmer Paris in this.
Selmer USA just imports the Parises and makes student level instruments, they're separate companies.
Your point mostly still stands, however.
 

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I think we are agreeing, except on the availability of different thickness pads. I guess that's not widely accepted yet?
Pads actually only come in one or two sizes, to get special sizes you have to order from the manufacturer direct. For a repair shop, that is kinda of silly getting odd sizes just to accomodate for lack of fitting skills.

I carry approximatley in oboe pads/clarinet pads/sax pads/bassoon pads/bass clarinet pads/flute pads about 25000 on hand stock, at anywhere from 1 dollar to 8 dollars usd a pad, that is a rather large inventory just in pads, as a repairer you learn to make things work, does not overly matter the thickness of the pad, its how you make it fit.

Steve
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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No, he's not. He's talking about Selmer USA, it's very clear.
Yes, thanks. I wasn't confusing the two....I am talking USA.

But I was a bit vague in semantics. In a nod to your comment, though, TrueTone...it indeed would have been better had I written "We may think of the Selmer name as the finest...."
 

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...as a repairer you learn to make things work, does not overly matter the thickness of the pad, its how you make it fit.

Steve
Got it. But there are reputable techs out there that insist excessive key bending, or bending to avoid proper pad mounting is detrimental. I suppose you could bend a key to the point of fatigue failure, but eh, not likely. I'm good with anything you professionals utilize.
 

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Got it. But there are reputable techs out there that insist excessive key bending, or bending to avoid proper pad mounting is detrimental. I suppose you could bend a key to the point of fatigue failure, but eh, not likely. I'm good with anything you professionals utilize.
You know, I sorta think there's other information needed here, however. I mean it could be that the tech is just a brute...but it could also be that he was being confined by other parameters.

I mean...for example:

a tech is confronted with a client who brings in a leaky horn. Tech says he may be able to get the leaks out by tweaking the keys, which might take an hour ($60)...but if not, he will need to disassemble the horn and possibly refloat the existing pads or replace some of them ($120-200). Providing the tonehloes don't need leveling (add $50-75).

The customer says "NO...don't disassemble the sax...just do your best on getting out the leaks cheaply, or at least making the horn leak less."

Or the tech says : "I am backlogged two weeks...I can put an hour into the horn now and make it better for $60, or you can leave it here for 2-1/2 weeks and I can do a more thorough job for $200".

Customer says " I can't be without the horn for two weeks !".

a Year later, the horn ends up at another tech, or maybe another player..who looks at it and says :

~ "jeez....who worked on this last ?!"

~ "Murray Smith did ".

~ "Gawdd, what a friggin' hack !"

A week later, a thread appears on some sax chatboard, entitled "Beware of Murray Smith".

Stuff like this. So, you come upon a horn serviced by a reputable tech, and some odd things appear...there may be other reasons besides the tech is a hack.
 

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Great scenario/analysis; that's why some techs pretty much refuse to bend keys to fix leaks?

(Customer says " I can't be without the horn for two weeks !"..... you forgot to add " So just do it cheaper and quicker, thank you") (this edit might be obvious but .... around here, you can't assume anything)

Yours,

Murray Smith
 

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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. You aren't advocating bending keys to make them seal are you? I thought that was taboo?
The "right thickness pad" should not be much of a variable thing on any given sax. The really vintage Bueschers, for example, came with proprietary pads that accommodated their special resonator system. Those were pretty thick. Now, imagine that you're replacing a pad, such as the E. If the key's bent/misaligned, you might need to install a thinner pad. This is going to do several things. First, the key will feel different because the pearl will sit lower. And, with less felt in the pad, it will feel firmer. Which, by itself, can be a nice thing, but it will not match the rest of the setup. So the excellent featherweight keywork and action becomes compromised. And, of course, the regulation with the rest of the right hand stack will need adjustment.

I do believe, in general, that a sax should have pads of the same general thickness throughout. I hate seeing horns with a mix of .160" and .185" pads, for example. And the techs who bend keys inappropriately to compensate for this mismatch are the ones giving key bending (otherwise known as straightening, adjusting, or unbending) - which is a perfectly legitimate and essential technique, when done right - a bad rap.
 
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