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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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I like watching the saxophones that go through eBay. Sometimes I'm looking for a bargain, something specific or I'm just looking and learning about different saxes from different time periods. And based solely from this sampling, I've noticed some interesting things about lacquer finishes.

First, Selmer Paris saxophones seem to have very poor lacquer. Even horns just a few years old will show flaking and corrosion at the sharper edges. And this kind of flaking and corrosion seems unique to the Selmer instruments. And even some older Mark VI saxes with the original lacquer in good shape show what appears to be fairly poor lacquer jobs.

True Buescher saxes from before the Selmer buyout seem to often have a crusty lacquer that has darkened with time. Usually there is corrosion where the engraving was cut through the lacquer and it then spreads, further deteriorating the crusty finish. However, the cheapened Bueschers after the buyout have a very good durable lacquer as do most Selmer USA saxes made in the 60's and 70's. And sadly, the Selmer USA lacquer seems to generally be the most durable of the American lacquer. Often beat-up Bundy school saxes will still be fairly shiny and that optional ugly metallic fleck gold finish seems to be super durable compared to the colored finished available today.

The lacquer on most Conn saxophones seems to hold up better than Bueschers over time as do the Kings. And some Martin lacquer seems to be scary good and causes the age of the saxes to sometime be estimated as much younger than is actually the case.

Early Yamaha saxes seem to have a relatively poor lacquer. But newer Yamahas seem to have a much better finish. I see just about the same thing on the Yanagisawas too. Most Taiwanese saxes seem to have good lacquer also with the newest ones having the best. And the Germans seem to do great silver plating but are usually just mediocre with their lacquer.

Again, these are just generalities I've picked up watching instruments on eBay. I would enjoy a better understanding of this from those that know more on the subject.
 
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