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I'm looking into a true tone alto, serial 160,xxx. The current owner says it needs "a few pads", which I always take to mean it needs a full repad, which should run me around 100 bucks at my tech. The horn's in good shape, but the only thing I'm worried about is the value; it's been relacquered, and pretty well at that. I know it can make a big dent in the value of a horn.... With that in mind, what would this thing be worth in great, ready to go out of the case condition? I'm looking to do a horn flip on this thing if I do get it, so I want to make sure that I can make some profit: I love the buescher sound, but can't really deal with the ergos, so I'm not too interested in keeping it if I get it, so I've got to be able to move this thing at a reasonable rate.
Thanks in advance, everyone!
 

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A 160XXX would make it a '24...so it should be lacking front F and the later spatula key cluster (the more notable changes that make later TT's more valuable).

They weren't originally lacquered at all, so any lacquer is not original...though yes, a heavy buffing brings the value down a little more. But, TT alto's aren't all that valuable in the first place (relative to other vintage saxes), so the relacquer issue has less to due with value and more to do with wear and tear (such as worn posts due to heavy buffing). Similarly to other vintage saxes of the era, a lacquered finish is worth less than silver and gold plating (so the top dollar figure you could expect for it is notably less).

$100 seems extremely low for a complete repad...unless you and your tech are close. A dirt cheap overhaul where I live is $150, and this is the bare minimum amount of work to get a sax playing with new pads/cork/felt. Unless you already received a quote from them (or just have taken that many saxes to them for repairs), I wouldn't automatically assume any price for repairs.

Bottom line, you're looking at a (good) but fairly inexpensive sax...which, IMO is not the thing to expect any kind of great profit on.

Since you just want to flip it, check Ebay for current prices. I wouldn't expect much over 4-500 for a heavily buffed TT alto with a fresh overhaul.
 

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I agree with VintageSaxGuy's estimate.
Unless you are buying it for close to nothing and selling it locally to avoid shipping costs, there is probably very little profit to be made.
These horns have 2 advantages:
1) can be great players if you can deal with their particularities,
2) are fairly inexpensive, since there is a lot of them available.
 

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I don't do outside sax work but if I did, a repad would be about $700. Remember that you can get a nice Buescher later TT readly to play (front F) for about $600-700 with nice original plating. Make sure the repair costs are firm before you buy.
 

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For a lacquered True Tone, don't count on anything more than 3 or 4 hundred, even with fresh pads. To get any more you would need patience, luck, or a reputation like Bruce's.
 

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AND get a return policy if you are buying on the internet. Shipping may cost you something but a bad horn will cost you a lot more (Headaches, Nervous disorders, spousal critic, etc.)
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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The current owner says it needs "a few pads", which I always take to mean it needs a full repad,
Plus body straightening, tonehole levelling, keycup levelling (especially important with those snap in pads if the ultra cheap tech is going to use them)
 

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IMO, the only reason to buy a True Tone alto is if you want a great horn at a low cost and are willing to spend what it takes to put it into good playing condition. Well worth it, if that's your goal--to play it. If, otoh, you are planning on flipping it to make a profit, forget it. You'll be lucky to recoup your costs on the repad.

And yeah, a $100 repad sounds ridiculously cheap. Even at that, you won't likely make a profit.
 

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IMO, the only reason to buy a True Tone alto is if you want a great horn at a low cost and are willing to spend what it takes to put it into good playing condition. Well worth it, if that's your goal--to play it. If, otoh, you are planning on flipping it to make a profit, forget it. You'll be lucky to recoup your costs on the repad.

And yeah, a $100 repad sounds ridiculously cheap. Even at that, you won't likely make a profit.
All too true. If the way the instrument sounds were the standard for pricing, these would be among the highest price altos on the market.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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All too true. If the way the instrument sounds were the standard for pricing, these would be among the highest price altos on the market.
Only if we all had the same opinion about sound.
 
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