Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've had this horn in my attic for 20 years....bought it for 50 bucks from someone who thought it was an "old piece of junk", and had been in his attic for a long time, too...no idea how long. Anyway, its a Conn 10M Tenor, circa 1945. It was not really in playable shape when I got it...needs all new pads...really, a complete "overhaul", and it looks like hell.
It looks to me like someone de-laquered it...laquer being so evenly "absent". So I was thinking about having it redone...read some of the long debate threads on the subject...:shock:
let me just say, I'm not of the school that believes this will alter the sound, and certainly don't want to get into a discussion about that; I just want to pretty-up the horn, and if possible, keep it that way, and/or protect it. Most of the threads seem to focus on the merits of removing existing laquer, etc...well, here's one thats nekkid to begin with.

I took some pics of it, and on closer examination, it seems that there is laquer on the keys and rods. I found that I can just rub off some of the 'gunk' on the keys with my thumb, and it shines right up. I'm not sure about the bell/engraving area. Is that still laquered, or was it just polished more smoothly by the factory, the body being more of a "satin" finish?
Mechanically, the horn seems to be in very good shape. nothing appears bent, everything "works"...just the pads are worn nearly flat. I think I can handle a re-pad on my own. I've replaced plenty before. just never done a whole horn all at once.

So, how should I proceed with cleaning this thing up? Brasso? or other brass cleaner? I've seen comments about "buffing" being bad...I can only imagine those must be referring to a heavy industrial process, removing large amounts of metal. (?). I was thinking more on the lines of a hand-buffing. or at most, would there be any harm in a dremel tool with a light touch and the cotton polishing wheels?

any tips appreciated


thanks

-chuck
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
2,578 Posts
If you are going to have it repadded by a tech, I'd let them do the cleanup and discuss what you want and how they'd accomplish it. Since you want to do your own full repad, I'm sure there will be plenty of advice forthcoming on how to deal with the finish. I will say that there is quite a difference between replacing a pad or two and replacing everything.

If it were my horn and I intended to play it regularly or resell it, I'd be having a conversation about my options with Gayle at vintagesax.com, and/orCurt at musicmedic.com and/or Sarge at worldwidesax.com. There are other good vintage techs,those are just three I'd trust with the job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,524 Posts
Actually, judging by the glossy finish around the engraving, and the matte-ish look everywhere else, I think it might be gold plated... I'm no Conn expert though....

Steve P
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,211 Posts
There are folks that would kill for that horn! It actually looks to be in pretty good shape, based on the photos. Definitely have a talk with one of those techs awholley refers to if you want to know what options are available. You could get it silver-plated, with a complete overhaul, if you want it "like new," including looks. Here's what I'd do, but this is just me:

Take it in for a complete overhaul by a reputable tech. This will include cleaning, but not relac or re-plate. If that horn is overhauled and cleaned up it will look very good (if won't look new, but will have a nice vintage look to it) and it WILL play like new. And sound better than any new horn.

I agree with Steve; it might be gold plated, in which case it will clean up and polish up like new! Look for some worn spots--if you see silver showing through, it's gold plated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
JL said:
There are folks that would kill for that horn!
Oh, I know. I know what it is...and I knew what it was, way back when, when I aquired it. (the guy was a musician; not a sax player, though...he was gonna make it into an ash tray or a lamp. can you imagine? If it wasn't for that, I'd feel guilty for stealing it from him. actually, I DO feel guilty for stealing it! LOL!)

let me add a bit to the story. I was in college still when I bought this, and at that time, I was also in the National Guard Band...between music school and the army, I had access to lots of very fine horns. So I had no "need" to fix this one up...just "rescued" it from an unfortunate demise, with the intention of fixin' it up, "one day"...when I have the funds.
well, fast forward 20 years. haven't been playing at all, but I'd like to start again. (mid-life crisis?) and yet....I *still* don't have the funds to aquire or recondition anything. :rolleyes: I do have a fair amount of mechanical ability, and have replaced many a pad in the past. Since this horn is in otherwise good mechanical condition, with nothing appearing to be bent or otherwise buggered up, I'm hoping I can do most of the "dog work" myself...and bring it to a real tech for any adjusting I can' t manage myself.
anyway, there won't be any relaquering or (gasp) silver plating in the near future, based on the prices for those services that I've seen posted on the web.

gold plating: hadn't even considered that, but it would explain why the engraving area on the bell is still somewhat shiney. (gold doesn't tarnish...but it sure does get dirty). There are other accent pieces, too...like the reinforcing strip on the bottom. The keys have some "shine" under all the crud, too. is it possible that they were gold plated? or would that just be shiney laquer?

It looks to me like the horn would look alot like the one chu-jerry posted in this post:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showpost.php?p=547349&postcount=17

with some cleaning/polishing.
now how to go about that? wouldn't want to use Brasso on something that might be gold...what else would clean it?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,116 Posts
Gold Plate !!! A little paste silver polish and it should look like new. Have it cleaned, repadded with reso-pads and you will have one of the best Tenors ever made in a very rare finish. I'll buy this one right now!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Holy cow!
I knew it was one of the best tenors ever made...certainly, the best of its day...But I had no idea it was gold plated (under all that dirt and "old sax smell), or that this was particularly rare.
A quick browse through the recent ebay sales shows that they don't sell for all that much...but none of those had gold plating. One went for 3500, but it looked brand new, and belonged to someone famous.
So, the plating...its just on the engraving/bell area and the keys? the rest is bare brass?
regular paste silver polish, eh?
not sure if I've got anything like that on hand...I do have some mother's chrome polish. its a very fine grade...
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,211 Posts
Bariboy, if it's gold-plated, then the whole thing is gold-plated. The keys and engraving area are shiny, burnished gold plating and the body has the matte finish. If the gold plate has worn thin anywhere (and I don't see that in the photos) you'll see silver underneath (look the whole horn over to see if you can find a spot--if not, it's in really incredible condition, just needs cleaning). Gold plating is applied over silver-plate. No lacquer would have been used. You have a real treasure there. Get a Haggerty silver-polish cloth and spend some time on it. You'll soon see what it can end up looking like.

Actually I think I see a bit of silver peaking through on one of the wire guards. That's a pretty sure "tell."
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,116 Posts
Piece of junk, I will give you $100 shipped (be sure to pack it well). These gold plated ones are radioactive and will kill you if you try to play it! I will save your life, honest, yeah, that's the ticket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Ok, I can definately see silver peeking through. Its hard to get a good pic, but there is a scar on the bell...looks like silver inside the bell, and the rolled outer edge looks slivery, too. (probably worn off from where it touches the case).

otherwise, I can't find any scratches or dings on the thing anywhere.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,211 Posts
Hey, Bariboy, wanna triple your money? I'll offer you $150!

But seriously that is a gold-plated horn and I'm pretty sure gold-plated 10Ms are very rare. If you get that thing professionally cleaned and polished it will be about as beautiful as a horn can get. It will look far better than ANY new horn out there. More importantly, that vintage 10M is one of the best horns ever made. I believe it is in the range with rolled tone holes, which makes it even more valued.

It's easy for me to say, but if I were you I'd dig up the cash for a cleaning, polishing, and complete overhaul. Then if you decide you don't really want to play it for some reason, you could sell it for top dollar and probably quadruple your investment in the overhaul.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
JL said:
Hey, Bariboy, wanna triple your money? I'll offer you $150!
oh, boy. the deal keeps looking better and better! :rolleyes: :D

JL said:
...I believe it is in the range with rolled tone holes, which makes it even more valued.
yeah, its got rolled tone holes. serial # dates it at 1945.

JL said:
It's easy for me to say, but if I were you I'd dig up the cash for a cleaning, polishing, and complete overhaul. Then if you decide you don't really want to play it for some reason, you could sell it for top dollar and probably quadruple your investment in the overhaul.
good to know. not really interested in selling it...mainly, I'd just like to have a playable tenor, for now.

What would you vintage afficianados recommend for a mouthpiece for this beast? I don't have anything appropriate...all I can find is an old Dukoff (that I was never particularly fond of, anyway). don't think it would go well with this horn. I tend to favor an open face...I played alot of Bari way back when, and I really loved my metal Otto Link... I think it was a 7*, or maybe an 8. (can't remember for sure) Use a Meyer 5M for alto...
I know alot of tenor players favor the link...
 

·
Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
Joined
·
3,316 Posts
I definitely want to see some "after" pictures when it is done. Should be a beauty!

Thanks for posting this- I went through the 5 stages of saxophone envy in about 2 minutes!

"No way... is that gold plate???"
"That lucky b*stard!"
"I wonder if he would trade it for something?"
"No way. He's going to keep it. I'll never get it."
"Maybe he would trade it for an overhauled 10M! I've got one of those I could overhaul! And some mouthpieces! Or maybe I will win the lottery and..."
"No. I know that it is going to a good place. I will share his joy."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Ok, I got some Hagerty's polish and did a little experimenting. the engraving area shined up real nice...lots of silver showing inside the bell. Looks like the gold never went in there very deep...only a few inches.

keys will shine up nice, too. I'm a little wary, though, of doing too much. It seems like the gold plate is thin in spots. on the satin-finished area of the bell, I think I see some silver coming through. I don't want to remove anything other than dirt and tarnish. maybe its unavoidable...or is this polish too aggressive? Should I try to just "clean" it with something, first? if so, what?

also, on the engraving, it still looks like the crevasses are still full of black gunk; should I go over that gently with a toothbrush, or something else?
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,211 Posts
The black part is tarnished silver. Yeah, a toothbrush with some polish might do the trick. Even if you end up with some silver showing through here and there, the horn will look good after a cleaning/polish. The silver plate is also protecting the brass. For best results, the horn has to be disassembled and you don't want to do that unless you really know what you're doing.

How's it play right now? You said it needs new pads. If it's been sitting around all those years, it probably could use some oiling and key adjustment. I still say take it to a good tech and spend the bucks, especially if you are going to keep it and play it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
How's it play...well, its been 20 years, but from what I recall, it was actually "playable", but alot of work...very stuffy. I just concluded that it was "leaky", especially based on the appearance of the pads, and put it away for a "some day" project. Now, I see from reading up on conn reso-pads, that they are supposed to look rather flat. I didn't know this at the time, so maybe I should get a light down in there and see just exactly what is and isn't leaking. On any other woodwind I've ever played, the pads look a lot more "plump".
First thing I should do is try and locate a tenor mouthpiece and some reeds. I know there's some around here somewhere. :rolleyes:
One thing I don't care for is the action...the keys seem very high off the tone holes...fingers need to move a great distance to close the keys. I'm sure there's some room for adjustment, but exactly how much, I don't know. maybe its normal for a horn of this vintage? maybe I've just been spoiled by the fast action of the Mark VI.

sent an email to the "cybersax" guy, and he replied that it was possibly worth upwards of 10k, with a "proper" restoration. yikes. also...I should quit messing with it before I screw it up! LOL!
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top