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Hey everyone, I've been thinking about purchasing an old buescher true tone off E-bay, and attempting to restore it myself as a learning experience. I work in a repair shop at a music store, and the tech has said he would help me restore it. I just have a couple questions for all the techs on the forum, ( second opinions and all that)

1. how do you polish the keys? ive heard mention of using a toothbrush, but wouldn't that damage pads?

2. red rot.....would putting a clear laquer over the spots that have red rot prevent it from spreading?

thanks in advance!!!
 

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1. It depends on what the finish is and what condition the finish is in.

2. It's probably not Red Rot. It's more likely red corrosion. Again the way this is removed depends on the finish. Brass-o may work.
 

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G'day Curt,

If it's a full overhaul job, wouldn't the polishing be done when the keys are removed from the horn and the old pads taken out of the key cups? Or are we talking about final tidying up once the horn has been reassembled and regulated etc?
 

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Id never taken an instrument apart until a few nights ago, took apart an old silver '20s conn. Took all the old (nasty) pads out and used silvo and a toothbrush over the whole thing, and all of the keys, then did the whole thing again afterwards with a jewerly silver polish cloth. I dont know if this is an approved method but it did wonders for me. Oh, the silvo leaves a weird white powder when it dries, really annoying to get off, but it lets you know what spots youve missed when polishing...
 

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I read up on Silvo and it can remove plating, I used it since the sax was already missing lots of plating, so dont use it unless you are willing to risk any plating present.
 

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Cleaning

Hello C Bear, Generally if the instrument is silver plated so are the keys. Hand polishing with Silvo will take some metal off but it will be less aggressive than machine buffing or dipping in a silver cleaning solution. Depending on the condition of the plating,dipping is usually prefered, for it's less time consuming,cleans the inside of the instrument and all hard to reach areas,and depending on the cleaner can retard the spread of dezincafication which is called red rot. The finish look is cleaner and brighter as well. Dezincafication is the zinc purging out of the alloy bond with the copper on the molecular level. Remember that any cleaning even with just a silver cleaning cloth removes metal. The trick is to be quick and thorough with any cleaner that comes into contact with the instrument. Old silver plating on saxes is pretty thick and most often is plated over a flash plating of copper so the plating material lost in a proper cleaning is usually not a considerable amount. However depending on the thickness of the tanish/ patina layer and the method of cleaning the amount can be measurable so caution must be used. Using Silvo which has a fine abrasive in a cleaning solution can over polish some finishes such as old Conn's and Buescher's with the satin/glass bead finishes so check carefully for what type of finish was original to the horn. Good luck with your project.
 

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A couple other things to look for (I have learned the hard way) is to see if all the keys move because if corroded stuck you will need to remove posts, cut keys etc to remove the screws and rods. Also check out what the resonators look like. I got lucky that all the original snap-ins were ok. There's plenty of info on these resonators (and whether you should even care) if you search the forum.
 
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