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Hello all. First post here, long time sax player hoping to get back into shape after years of not owning a horn. I haven't played in about 6-7 years, since I graduated college and began teaching elementary music. One of my co-workers had this alto at home and brought it to me and said I could just have it. I plan on giving him $200 for it if it turns out to be decent. Anyone have any knowledge or opinion about this horn? As you can see in the pics, the serial number is 991766, and the only major problem I've found with my untrained eye is the octave key pad has come off. Is it worth taking it in and getting it looked at/possibly repaired if there are major leaks, etc?

Here is a link to a few pictures, let me know if more info/pics are needed and I will do my best. Thanks!

EDIT: In looking through some old posts here, it seems the Signets with the S on the body-to-bell brace are considered pretty decent horns, and my horn has this. However, it doesn't have the left-hand bell keys, which I saw mentioned a few times as being another indicator of being a "good" Signet. Also, I should mentioned that I just got it Friday, and I haven't had a chance to play it yet, since the octave key pad is detached, and I have to dig through a bunch of boxes to find my mouthpieces/ligatures since I've moved recently.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Its a student model of course, I think around 1980, looks to be in good shape. Made in Elkhart, IN. You can just pop the octave pad off the vent and glue it back into the little cup. I don't think I would give much for it since its almost certain to need some work after sitting in a case for many years. I would play it - probably sounds okay with decent intonation. Lets put it this way - a professional alto player could make it sing. He might not want it as a lifetime partner but he could play it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You can just pop the octave pad off the vent and glue it back into the little cup.
As far as this goes, do I need to use a certain type of glue? Hot glue, Gorilla glue? Or whatever can make it stay in place?

Also, thanks for your reply!
 

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Just a clarification: the "S-brace" which folks refer to is not the brace on this horn here. It is on the earlier Signets and literally is a wire in the shape of an S, as opposed to a sheet metal brace with a stamped S. Left bellkeys and S-brace Signets were basically Bueschers relabeled and a few keywork changes. They are OK.

Your horn there...is it a 'good one' ? It was a student line instrument. If she plays, then $200 is a fair amount to give your co-worker. It looks to have been cared for. Hopefully a tech check-up will reveal only minor work necessary, in which case....sure, go for it.

If tech work starts exceeding $175...honestly, for $375 invested you can get a better used Alto.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just a clarification: the "S-brace" which folks refer to is not the brace on this horn here. It is on the earlier Signets and literally is a wire in the shape of an S, as opposed to a sheet metal brace with a stamped S. Left bellkeys and S-brace Signets were basically Bueschers relabeled and a few keywork changes. They are OK.

Your horn there...is it a 'good one' ? It was a student line instrument. If she plays, then $200 is a fair amount to give your co-worker. It looks to have been cared for. Hopefully a tech check-up will reveal only minor work necessary, in which case....sure, go for it.

If tech work starts exceeding $175...honestly, for $375 invested you can get a better used Alto.
Ok. Seems to be the general consensus that if it plays then it's good at least to start with until I can get a better horn. Thanks for your reply.

Do you have any recommendations for what models to keep an eye out for if I were to comb pawn shops and the like?
 

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If you find a horn in a pawnshop, it will need work, probably...but no harm in looking. Hard to answer your Q w/o knowing what you are willing to spend.

If you can get the Signet playing well for around $300-350 total investment, play her for awhile. It will be as solid a horn as anything else in that price range. When you are ready to step up, if the Signet eventually isn't suiting you, consider what your budget will be and take it from there. No point in suggesting a $750 used horn if you have no desire to spend more than $450.

You could browse your local craigslist and see if anyone is selling anything which is in good playing shape, also.
 

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On the glue, the traditional option is the brown glue based on shellac. The modern option is hot glue - requires a glue gun. What you have to keep in mind is how hard is it going to be in the future to remove and replace the pad without damaging anything. The repairman, knowing nothing of what may have been done, will use a heat gun on it expecting shellac or hot glue. However, in lieu of those you could use contact cement which has become very popular for corks and felts.
 
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