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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a silver plated series 2 TT C-Melody #177xxx. I plan to refurbish it for my own use, but someday I might decide to sell it to finance some other interesting horn. Consequently keeping the horn original factors into the restoration, but I might stray from original just to satisfy my own tastes.

The problem is that I don't know what was original regarding the color of pads and felts. I've looked through SaxPics but the colors are not all the same and it's not always obvious whether what I'm seeing is original. I thought the pads on my horn were original until I took one off.

My horn has tan snap on pads and I will retain the snaps although I may need to up my game on pad replacement. I think they have been replaced because they do not have a metal backing disk and I needed heat to get them unstuck from the cups. SaxPics shows a couple horns with white pads, but most with tan.

The felts on my horn are red under the keys and green on top of the key cups. Red seems to be the most frequent color on SaxPics, but there are some green and white.

So if you are reasonably certain what color pads and felts Buescher used I would like to hear from you.

Also, just for fun feel free to vote on pad color (tan, white, black, plaid...)

And finally, the horn has a couple little posts like the one in the picture. They limit the travel of key levers. I would assume they had something on them to keep the lever from clanking, but what? Cork? Clear plastic tubing would probably work, but it would be nice to know what was used originally.

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Examined my 1926 Buescher TT straight soprano #196xxx to see if anything about it might aid your inquiry. There's not a single piece of felt anywhere; all potential clanky parts have been cushioned with thin slices of cork. Pads are reddish-tan replacements, some snap-in, some not; I've been told that the appropriate pads looked similar back in the day. Resonators are flat & silver-colored; I've seen other horns with wavy resonators. This horn, 50+ years old when I got it 40+ years ago, has been serviced & modded by me & various sax techs over the years, so I doubt that any perishable parts are original.

FWIW, WorldWideSax sold a C-Melody similar to yours -- see pics at https://worldwidesax.com/other/buescher-1923-true-tone-c-melody-lacquer-over-silver-143k/. Green or black felts, reddish-tan pads, silvery(?) dome resonators. Any original? Dunno. Doubt it.

Might some finicky collector of C-melody saxes value your horn more highly for looking true to factory spec? Don't even think about the after-market. Outfit your horn to suit your own aesthetic, & enjoy playing it.
 

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...someday I might decide to sell it to finance some other interesting horn. Consequently keeping the horn original factors into the restoration, but I might stray from original just to satisfy my own tastes.

The problem is that I don't know what was original regarding the color of pads and felts. I've looked through SaxPics but the colors are not all the same and it's not always obvious whether what I'm seeing is original. I thought the pads on my horn were original until I took one off.
A couple of points. With the caveat that I'm not a collector, but I still think what I'm going to say is factual.

Putting on new pads, felts, and corks, no matter what color they are, has nothing to do with keeping the horn 'original.' And it certainly won't affect retail value. On the contrary, if you have new(ish) pads in good condition, the horn will fetch a much better price than if you had the original, worn out, rotting, leaky pads on there.*

So bottom line, when it comes to replacing those items that tend to wear out on a sax, you are not devaluing the horn in any way, and it's still an original horn if you haven't done something like alter the key work or re-plate/re-lacquer the horn. And for a C-mel, a re-plate or relac wouldn't have any major affect on the value either, for that matter. Put whatever pads & felts on there, and of whatever color, that you want.

*One possible exception would be if you had a horn that was kept in some sort of vacuum or sealed chamber where the pads and everything else on it somehow stayed pristine. Good luck finding something like that, but if you did it might have some additional value due to extreme rarity.
 

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In the ‘20s you could get Buescher’s Snap-On pads in tan or white. I’ve had a couple of mid-20s horns that had white Snap-ons. Don’t know when they stopped offering the white pads; probably the early ‘30s sometime, and maybe because they don’t look as nice on a lacquered horn & people weren’t asking for them.
 

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Like sopsax said, all parts that are "regulated" with stops or posts use cork and not felt. The felts, including bumper felts are typically green on Bueschers and the pads need to be the thin pads, otherwise they won't fit. Music Medic and Ferree's tools carry them (B58 series) but they are tan. They are predrilled blanks which should install (snap in) very easily with your snaps as long as you clean the cups. There is a lot of discussion about the need to use shellac or leave them floating, I'm advocating just snap them in and leave them floating.
You should be able to get the thin white pads at Music Medic.

Last, metal backing was not universally used with the snaps, certain years apparently had them but others had just cardboard backing. Functionally it won't matter.

As for the value for resale, it's a c-mel and it will not fetch the equivalent of a tenor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice. Best shot I've seen of white pads on silver. I was leaning toward red felts, but I might reconsider. Did you have trouble getting the last little dark spots polished out? I've been using Hagerty's and the horn has cleaned up nicely except for the small dark spots. Any tips?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all for your wisdom and advice - especially the info on the two pad choices. I just ordered white Roo pads and red felts from Music Medic although the white felts look pretty nice. I can always run over there and switch them if I change my mind. (bunch of nice people).

One last question, the octave key and the vent are too small for resonators, but when I took the pads out I found spuds underneath. I assume I can just poke a hole in the back of the pads and push them over the spuds. Anyone with experience at this?
 

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Thanks to all for your wisdom and advice - especially the info on the two pad choices. I just ordered white Roo pads and red felts from Music Medic although the white felts look pretty nice. I can always run over there and switch them if I change my mind. (bunch of nice people).

One last question, the octave key and the vent are too small for resonators, but when I took the pads out I found spuds underneath. I assume I can just poke a hole in the back of the pads and push them over the spuds. Anyone with experience at this?
Be careful, I'm not sure that they sell the white roos with a hold big enough for the snap spuds. You may have to buy their Buescher pad hole punch. (I have). https://musicmedic.com/buescher-hole-punch.html
 

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Nice. Best shot I've seen of white pads on silver. I was leaning toward red felts, but I might reconsider. Did you have trouble getting the last little dark spots polished out? I've been using Hagerty's and the horn has cleaned up nicely except for the small dark spots. Any tips?
I assume you are referring to the "bead blasted" areas of the body. One approach I have used is to make a "paste" with baking soda and a bit of water and use a stiff tooth brush on those areas. Cheap electric tooth brushes also work. Sometimes I will attack specific areas with something more aggressive than Haggertys like Simichrome or Wenol metal polish. I should add that before using Haggerty's spray polish I immerse the sax and keys in Empire tarnish removing solution---a commercial version of Tarnx, and then rinse and dry. This helps to get the tarnish out of the nooks and crannies as well. I also do silver brush plating on areas that need touch up.

As to the spuds in the octave key cups I just grind them out since they will never be used to attach a snap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks graysax. I checked with Music Medic and they will punch the larger holes at no extra charge. My horn has 4 different size spuds and they have chart so they can put in the proper size holes based on the size pad ordered.
 

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Thanks graysax. I checked with Music Medic and they will punch the larger holes at no extra charge. My horn has 4 different size spuds and they have chart so they can put in the proper size holes based on the size pad ordered.
That is cool. Music Medic has always been a great company to work with in my experience. If you do a lot of Buescher repads the pad hole punch set is a good investment.
 

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When I did my Truetone soprano, I used a 1/8 drill bit, held and spun in my fingers, to make a little hole in the back of the octave pads to clear the (functionless) spud. I think the smallest of the palm key pads might have been that way too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
PROJECT UPDATE

First of all, thanks again for all your comments, information, and advice. I went with white Roo pads and white felt. It is what I was leaning towards from early on and I'm quite pleased with the result.

The horn has cleaned up nicely. It still has some imperfections, but there comes a point when I would rather play it than obsess over the finish. The silver plating has held up well, but the gold wash in the bell has worn through in spots. And interestingly, one key has almost all the silver plating worn off.

The repad went fairly easily. I dry fitted the pads without the resos, and then snapped the resos in on the pads that looked good. This was all I needed to do with some pads. Others required some shellac so I could tweak them into place. A few pads were not thick enough (the pads that came out varied in thickness) so I tried full circle shims cut from business card stock. This did the trick in most places.

The other part of the project has been repairing a chip out of the corner of the mouthpiece. Some JB Weld, pin files, sandpaper, feeler gauges, and a Theo Wanne glass gauge combined with a lot of patience and careful work resulted in a working mouthpiece. I'm sure a professional could improve on my work, but the result has been quite rewarding. It was an interesting view on the craft of mouthpiece making/refacing.

And finally - I like the way the horn plays. Yes, there are a couple ergonomic issues, but much of that is just getting my fingers used to the keys. It has a nice, full sound. I compared the Buescher mpc with the stock mpc from an Evette Schaeffer tenor and a Brilhart Level-Air tenor. The Buescher is the least free blowing, but sounds the best.

I expect to do some tweaking as I play the horn more, but this has been a very rewarding project.

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AFTER

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I see the brass palm key. Maybe a replacement from a different horn? Or got broken and had to be silver soldered together and lost the plating in the process? Someone wanted to convert the horn from silver to brass (yes, people used to do this!) and decided after one key it was too much trouble?
 

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Looks really nice ! Good job ! I actually like the one brass key. It looks intentional. Like an artistic touch. Although if you don’t like it maybe you could try a jeweler to electroplate it silver. Very creative on the mouthpiece. I’ve done some crazy things with JB Weld. Was this food grade mix ?
 
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