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Using Brasso to clean unlaquered saxophone

4464 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  mpab111
I know the whole idea to buy a unlaquered sax is the cool patina look that it eventually gets but the greenish blotches arent' the part I like to keep. So i tried a little Brasso with paper towel and rubbed out some of the main areas on the bell just to see how it would clean. Posting a few pics to show you the difference.

I would like to hear from any others who own unlaquered horns and what the decide to do or not to do with them. this is a CE Winds pro series tenor that plays wonderfully.
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Not letting me add photos for some reason.
Yes....close......but here's the more apropos and complete article of the two: can gloss over the middle part, which is a huge ~ albeit interesting ~ digression about burnishing....

My 2 cents...if it is already bare brass, DON'T USE BRASSO. It is too aggressive. It's great for getting off really nasty stuff on vintage rot and the can even dissolve old lacquer. But if what is going on is the fact that the horn is not patina'ing the way you'd like and there is some discoloration, here is the best course of action:

If you are not gonna DIY, take the horn to tech and have him/her give the body a chem bath or sonic bath.

If you are gonna DIY and know how to disassemble a horn, start with a soap and water bath with a gentle sponge, & perhaps a biodegradable dishwashing soap. Dry it thoroughly using a microfibre cloth and hairdryer. Then use WENOL instead of Brasso. It is gentler, less abrasive yet still cuts through quite nicely.

If you encounter bad areas (red rot or the verdgris you mention) spot use Brasso there, but not the whole horn. Wenol gives a nice sorta matte shine. If, afterward, you are unhappy with the sheen of the brass, then hit it with Hagerty 100 polish, which will give it a mirror-like shine and actually will initially make it appear to be a newly-lacquered horn.

The nice thing about both products is that (more often than not) as the horns then patina, they do so in a much more uniform way.

Then it is all up to you to keep the horn dry and clean after the polishing is done. Verdgris and red rot are the results of water/spit/sweat sitting on the bare brass, oftentimes left there when you put the horn away. Proper swabbing and occasional polishing with a silverplate polishing cloth (great for bare brass because the rouge with which it is embedded with is very, very fine) is also your responsibility.

Also: 1) for future reference, do not experiment with a polish on so prominent an area as the bell. Spot apply it someplace which is not as visible.
2) using a paper towel is akin to using a cotton t-shirt rag, which is akin to using 0000 steel wool....all of which are a bad idea. Get a nice microfibre cloth for glass, available at most any hardware store and quite a few supermarkets, too. Best not to use paper products to polish your horn.
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I have done this a couple of times on used horns that were covered in grime. Otherwise, I just let my horns oxidize. There is a German product called "Simichrome", a pinkish past that easily can be purchased in the US. It is very, very gentle on the brass and leaves a fairly rugged film that prevents tarnishing. The only downside to it is that if you don't get everything polished afterwards there will be a bit of whitish residue around the post. IMO, Brasso is way over the top unless you are stripping off lacquer.
I have used a really tiny piece of scotchbrite on verdigris, to just remove it locally. The brass gets its patina back in no time. Another method is just to forget about it and practice ! ;-)
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