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Hi all --

I am in the process to restore a soprano from 1925 (my very first restoration project). So I disassembled everything, removed the pads, felts, springs, keys, etc, gave everything a deep clean, removed the lacquer (using gel stripper -- worked great!) and polished the keys and body. Below are "before" and "after" pictures. It had a very deep green/black finish when I got it, now it is ... ah well, rather shiny as you can see!

Q: Do you think I "over-did" it?? The horn looks like a shiny new soprano, nothing like vintage! :D Would you leave the polished brass like this and seal it with lacquer (I have Nicholas 2105), or should I let it age or even brush with fine grade steel wool to give it a mat look and then lacquer it?

Q: There are two small (dime-sized) dents. I have no idea how to remove them and have no tools for that. Shall I just leave them?

Q: Now I need new pads. I think I am going with the black Roo pads as I have them on my tenor and never had problems with them. What resonators shall I get? Do they make any difference at all?

Thanks!

 

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Since you have done all the work that you have done and have what appears to be a great looking sax, I would find a local repairman to take the dents out.
 

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That looks very much like the Buffet soprano that I own ser. no. 28,896. There are no key pearls on mine, only metal touchpieces and the sax has the Apogee key system with the trill keys for low C#, B, and Bb. On mine the key cups were so shallow that I had to use bassoon pads because every sax pad was too thick and would have required excessive key bending. I repadded mine without resonators and it has the most beautiful dark warm sound of any soprano I have ever heard or played. Good luck with your project. Soprano repads can be challenging, especially on vintage horns.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #4
jbtsax said:
That looks very much like the Buffet soprano that I own ser. no. 28,896.
Our horns are only 12 serial numbers apart! :D

There are no key pearls on mine, only metal touchpieces and the sax has the Apogee key system with the trill keys for low C#, B, and Bb.
Same here. These horns didn't come with pearls, only metal touchpieces.

On mine the key cups were so shallow that I had to use bassoon pads because every sax pad was too thick and would have required excessive key bending.
Oh boy -- that could be a problem! :x I just ordered soprano pads from MusicMedic so we'll see how that works.

I repadded mine without resonators and it has the most beautiful dark warm sound of any soprano I have ever heard or played. Good luck with your project. Soprano repads can be challenging, especially on vintage horns.
The sound is indeed wonderful! Let's hope my restoration project will be successful. It's the first time I am doing this but so far things are under control.

jazsax07 said:
Since you have done all the work that you have done and have what appears to be a great looking sax, I would find a local repairman to take the dents out.
I guess you are right, I should get the dents removed. Unfortunately this will throw my project many weeks back as my tech is totally overbooked.
 

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Gig: My take is that if the horn was originally lacquered and is now plain brass, you may want to re-lacquer, rather than see it turn like the UL Yamahas out there. Some folks like that look, others don't (I'm one who doesn't - and especially with a horn as gorgeous as in the second photo).

As to whether that would affect how the horn will sound, well . . . you know what I think about that. Besides, my best playing soprano ('28 TT) was lacquered after-market before I bought it. What a sound!!

I'd take the horn to a repair-tech to remove the dents, if you don't know how to do it.

I had my S992 overhauled by Scimonetti not too long ago. We decided on the black roo pads with the smooth rivetless domed/chromed resonators. I honestly don't know whether that was a good choice or not - the horn plays great, but who really knows about resos? Those answers to questions about resos may not be proven, just opinion. For sure, if I had to do another overhaul, I'd choose the same pad/reso set-up.

I can't comment about what John posted about the thin pad cups. I recently tried a fan's '32 Conn alto that had been re-padded without resos. Both me and the trumpet player next to me decided my Buescher Big B alto had more edge, but whether that was a lack of resos in the Conn, who knows. The Conn sounded VERY smooth.

Looks good so far! DAVE
 

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I guess you are right, I should get the dents removed. Unfortunately this will throw my project many weeks back as my tech is totally overbooked.
The dents could be taken out after it is assembled.
You could go ahead and put the pads in and the key corks on.
Depending on where the dent is, it is not a problem to take the keys back off that are in the way.


Thanks, Paul
 

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Giganova,

The soprano I have is silver plated. In this picture you can see how the thin bassoon pad's fit in the key cup. From my experience, I don't think the .165" Roo pads are going to work for you on this horn. The problem with pads that are too thick is that you need to bend the front of the key cup down to get them to seal in the front, but you still have the issue of not getting enough key opening to vent the notes properly. Paul Cohen wrote an article about these horns in the March 1994 Saxophone Journal. PM me if you would like a copy.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #9
jbtsax said:
From my experience, I don't think the .165" Roo pads are going to work for you on this horn. The problem with pads that are too thick ...
I just measured how deep the pad cups are, and they are the same as on my JK SX90R horn that has Roo pads. Then I measured the thickness of the old and leaking pads (some of which have completely disintegrated) and again saw that they are just as thick as the Roo pads. They are not as thin as in your pics. I guess I must have lucked out and the soprano was repadded and setup with newer and thicker pads at one point in its history. I will have the definitive answer when the pads arrive, so let's cross fingers!

In the meantime, I will get the two dents removed and when I get the soprano back I will polish it once more, seal the shiny brass with lacquer, put in the new springs & pads, etc. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you all for your replies which are very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In case you are interested ...
Making good progress restoring the soprano. I have polished all parts and started sealing the brass with lacquer (I decided to not let the brass age but go with a "shiny" finish). It's gonna look like like new when I am done -- let's hope it will play as good as it looks like! :D

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, that's two different cups, one before polishing, one after :D
 

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"Before and after"
Man I think your Buffing to hard! You lost the pearl and the key got smaller!
:D

Doing good keep it up.

Carl





Giganova said:
In case you are interested ...
Making good progress restoring the soprano. I have polished all parts and started sealing the brass with lacquer (I decided to not let the brass age but go with a "shiny" finish). It's gonna look like like new when I am done -- let's hope it will play as good as it looks like! :D

 

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That's funny!

They make saxes tapered so that the over-buffed keys can be used further up the instrument.
 

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Here is a brief update:

I removed all springs, pads, cork & felt, stripped the lacquer, my tech removed two little dents, then I buffed the horn, re-lacquered the keys and body, put new pads in and put everything together (see picture -- looks nice, huh? :D ). The whole paint stripping, buffing and re-lacquering was very time consuming! So I need to put in the new springs and regulate the horn -- but I already noticed a problem: :protest:

As jbtsax had warned me before, some of the pads are too thick! Interestingly, not all pads are too thick, maybe five of the 22. Most of the pads sit very well, some are even too thin! (which can be easily fixed by putting more shellack between pad & cups). The pads are the Precision pads from Music Medic.

What am I gonna do now?? Shall I "deep seat" the pads, file the tone holes so they are not as high, or shall I replace some of the pads with Basoon pads??

 

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If the pads are all the same type, and some appear to be too thin, while others appear to be too thick, this suggests to me that the alignment of key cups over tone holes needs correcting, in order to properly accommodate a standard thickness pad.

No!!!!!! Don't file down the tone holes to accommodate thicker pads!
 

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Order some thinner pads to keep things simple, or manipulate the keys to work with the pads you have, but pads are pretty cheap really. Gordon is right, it sounds like the cups have been manipulated in the past to accommodate whatever pad was used at the time.

If you have all of the keys on a main stack, and some are higher or lower that the others, with other factors such as foot cork/or none all the same, then the relation of the foot to the cup, or the cup to the hinge rod has been changed from one pad to another. This is why I don't like bending keys to regulate the closing stroke(unless it is to correct previous key manipulation). If for instance the F key is closing the f# too soon, some will bend the foot down while holding the cup down, or push the cup down while holding the foot. The problem with that approach is that the pad now will hit the front of the tone hole earlier than it did before doing this, because the bending action raised up the back of the cup. And of course the opposite happens when manipulating the key in the other direction.
So before changing pads make sure that the cups are venting even, if not see if the for mentioned manipulation might correct the problem.
 

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"The problem with that approach is that the pad now will hit the front of the tone hole earlier than it did before doing this, because the bending action raised up the back of the cup. And of course the opposite happens when manipulating the key in the other direction."

In my experience that does not happen. I think that in almost all cases, for me, the bending either occurs in the key stop, or the the pivot tube twists (and curiously almost never binds). I bend the key cup arm only for adjusting cup alignment over tone hole. I suppose it all depends on the detail of how one does the bending.
 

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I was writing about regulating for closing stroke, not key alignment Gordon. Not leveling cups front to back, or side to side, but the F key closing the F# was the example.
 
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