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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ordered a brand new unlaquered custom z the other day, I was wondering if it comes polished or if it already has the patina on it. If anybody can give input it would be appreciated.
 

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Sure. Here are some quick ones. The lighting is different, but you can see the areas where my hands touch it the most have a matte look. Oh, and the brass has darkened a bit and is taking on more of a dark amber tone. The photos don't show it well.

I've had this horn about a month. I've had a couple of unlacquered horns, so I know this process with continue indefinitely. How far it progresses depends on different factors like how much you clean it. I am pretty fussy about wiping it down and apply a layer of Lemon Pledge once a week or so.

The extra maintenance is no biggie to me. No different to keeping my flute shiny.

I don't know if this is your first unlacquered horn, but it will accumulate some streaks no matter how much you clean it. That's the nature of the beast, but you can still keep unlacquered pretty horns clean if you don't mind a little extra upkeep.


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My YTS-82Z ATLWOFUL arrived shiny but quickly began to tarnish with distinct condensation streaks and fingermarks despite frequent wipe-downs.
I had hoped for a uniform patina but after two months it was a mottled mess. I sold it because the tone was not for me, but easy to let it go since I found it to be exceedingly ugly.
My last experiment with an unlacquered horn.
Some Jay Metcalf/Better Sax videos show his unlacquered TWO2 after a year or so. To me it simply looks grimy and corroded in many areas; not vintage, simply uncared-for.
You can arrest aging with a light wax, or more likely love how your horn changes--hope that is the case for you.
 

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In addition to care taken regarding wiping moisture off, etc, a lot seems to depend on how wet a player you are and the fact that different people's saliva has different effects on the brass. I have two unlaquered horns, an 82z tenor and a Yani sop and both look great IMO, matte and worn but not green and ugly.
 

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… and your local enviroment. If you live in a salt sprap environment, it’ll look like a spittoon in no time. It’s an acquired taste.
 
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The general vibe around unlacquered seems to be pretty divided on this site. What looks ugly to some may look great to others. And as people have said on this thread, there are so many factors at play.

I looked up the horn of Jay Metcalf that someone mentioned. While not meaning any offense to Jay, wow, that horn is hideous to me personally. That looks like it was found in a swamp rather than vintage.

My other current unlacquered horn is a tenor I have had for about 10 years, and it looks like the one in this picture. But again, it's an acquired taste. I love it, but my wife in particular hates it.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In addition to care taken regarding wiping moisture off, etc, a lot seems to depend on how wet a player you are and the fact that different people's saliva has different effects on the brass. I have two unlaquered horns, an 82z tenor and a Yani sop and both look great IMO, matte and worn but not green and ugly.
What would be a good routine to get a nice matte patina over a green mess?
 

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The general vibe around unlacquered seems to be pretty divided on this site. What looks ugly to some may look great to others…
Uunlacquered saxophones were more popular a few years ago. I’m seeing fewer of them lately. After a while, they basically turn brown and are hard to sell on the second-hand market.
 

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What would be a good routine to get a nice matte patina over a green mess?
A little consistent upkeep. No more than giving a flute a wipedown at the end of the day. Wipe the horn down thoroughly every time you are done playing. Don't leave any moisture on it.

If you want, get some Lemon Pledge or Renaissance Wax to apply once a week or so.

Here is a spare horn of mine that was played heavily every day for 10 years, a couple of which were spent on the coast. There are drip spots on the bell, since when I got it, I had no clue about keeping it clean. There is no green on the horn. My tech strips it down once a year to clean the hard to reach places and it's overdue.
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