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Is my saxophone re-lacquered?

  • Yes, it has been re-lacquered.

    Votes: 12 92.3%
  • No, it has original lacquer.

    Votes: 1 7.7%
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Discussion Starter #1
So I have this Buescher Aristocrat Big B alto saxophone, serial number is 297232. It's lacquer is shiny, almost TOO shiny. And it's not that dark honey lacquer that most Buescher Aristocrat owners talk about. It's more of a Yamaha-yellow lacquer.

Also: Engraving is not dull, but not very sharp. Serial numbers are sort of hard to read.

Neck is really strange-- it's sort of multicolored. The area where the neck meets the cork is a different color than the rest of the saxophone. Brighter, less tan.

Anyways, please, look through my images.

http://profile.imageshack.us/user/jaygold14/

I really need to know whether my saxophone is a relacquer or an original lacquer.

Please request images if you're unsure, thanks for viewing this topic.
 

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It's not possible to be 100% certain from photos alone, but I would say that it is very likely a re-lacquer.

Although there are possible signs of buffing, it doesn't appear to have been done improperly, so the only real concern would be if you paid a hefty price tag for a horn that was advertised as near perfect original finish.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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It's not even a close call. Definitely a relacquer. You can tell because what should look like unbroken lines in the engraving appears as dots on parts of the bell engraving. Also, the serial number is definitely less crisp than it should be. Although lighting could play here, it also appears to be lighter in color than the original finish.

Doesn't mean it isn't a great horn, but it has been relacquered.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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So, looking at this picture -- http://img192.imageshack.us/i/mom052.jpg

On the fight hand side of the B in the corona around the B, all you see from the photo is dots. You can even see in the BUESCSHER logo, where the engraving has been reduced to dots, rather than squigly lines -- which was how they were put there. It should all look very uniform and connected, and it doesn't. It should also be darker in color.

Who ever did it was gentle with the buffer and it was tenderly done. All of my horns have been replated once. It's not a sin. :) As far as I'm concerned, you get one shot at refinishing a horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I guess you're the expert. Le sigh!

Also I paid $585 for the horn... Did I get robbed...?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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I'm a hack. But it does look like it from the pics. You, on the other hand, have the instrument in hand. If you're unsure, take it to a tech. They should be able to tell you for near certain, although I've noticed that there's some disagreement between techs on my bari's original condition.

Did you get robbed? Not neccessarily. You paid under market rate for a relacquered Big B alto in playing condition from a private seller. If you had to put another $400 in it to get it in playing condition, you got a great horn for not a lot of money. I don't think you got robbed at all.
 

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I concur. The dot effect on the engraving is one of the tell tale signs of buffing that I spoke of, as is the blurred serial number.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Does it play well? If so it's a good looking horn that plays well. As for the lacquer... why do you care?
I would care if it was buffed out to the hilt but if you need to ask... Jeeese.

ReLaqs are the best value in vintage saxophones.

Enjoy your horn, practice and don't worry about lacquer.

HUTMO
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the kind words, but some part of me still yearns for that "classic," "original" Buescher saxophone straight from the '40's!

And yes, it did sell with fresh pads, not snap-ins, but at least it was in a very playable state.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Then you got a wonderful deal and YOU DO HAVE A CLASSIC ORIGINAL BUESCHER FROM THE 40'S!! If you decide to get it refinished again, I recommend getting it plated and having the engraving restored. Plating it will last much longer (I had my tenor done in 1973 and it still looks new today), and my alto is just gorgeous. An expensive proposition for sure to get it done right, and the work will certainly exceed the street value of the instrument. That said, much of horn selection is how the horn makes you feel as a player.

Here are two Aristocrat replates. The tenor in 1973, the alto in 2008 (as near as I can tell). They make me feel much better as a player. The KM soprano in the middle is original lacquer. Does it look or play any better?

Nope.

Gayle Fredenburgh has my bari at the moment restoring it, or I'd have shared that with you too. I get to see it again in 4-6 months, and I'm sure it will be calling me to play it when it's ready.

Life with a vintage horn -- to refinish, or not to refinish, that is the question.
 

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$585 is a great price for that horn, even if it is relacquered, and I agree that it certainly looks like it was. One thing that puzzles me is the keys look nickel-plated, or is that just the lighting in the photos?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
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$585 is a great price for that horn, even if it is relacquered, and I agree that it certainly looks like it was. One thing that puzzles me is the keys look nickel-plated, or is that just the lighting in the photos?
Nice looking horn and JL is correct, for that money, who cares if it has been relacquered? The whole thing about original lacquer is a fairly recent thing. For years people did lacquer as part of a good overhaul. Pros didn't want scabby green horns on the bandstand.

Here is what original looks like from that era. I sold this one yesterday and am having serious regrets.


 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's pretty much a perfect condition horn. How much do those go for?

@JL Guess it's just the lighting.
 

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I'll likely never see another as nice again. It is an alto with older pads that seal well. It went for 1K only because I can use the money right now.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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$1900 for my alto. Still think you didn't get a good deal?

Saintsday, do you keep that thing slathered in cosmoline or something? Hard to image a lacquer finish holding up that long.
 
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