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The debate has raged on and on here on the SOTW forums - how will the lack or "lack of" lacquer (sorry, just couldn't resist the alliteration!) affect one's own tone, response, and sound? I am sure, from reading the threads, there has been at least a package of reeds kidnapped or snapped in half over some of the heated debates!

I purchased a early 1970's Yamaha YTS-61 tenor in May of 2010, with a 4-digit serial number ( #0083XX circa 1971??) and am still impressed with the tone and dynamics of this horn. I presume the horn was factory de-lacquered, or just aged naturally....a really nice, even, bare-brass finish has developed on my tenor, and through my traveling to salty climates, Europe, the Caribbean, and daily practicing/gigging, my trusty YTS-61 has developed a "antique' look. I get many positive comments about the look of my tenor alone when unpacking at gigs (not to mention the sound!)

I have enjoyed playing, gigging, and practicing on my Yammy tenor so much, I bought a YAS-61 (serial number of #026XXX puts it at about 1976-77.) The alto, while needing an overhaul, was bought on Ebay for an absolute steal, and even needing new pads and adjustments, is a real "screamer" - nice tone, even, great projection and intonation. It will be a great spring project to have done by my fantastic repair tech in Madison, Wisconsin, Kim Slava, who owns Doctor Sax Woodwinds. Great guy, great work, super gentleman and even better repairman. In addition to having the usual overhaul work done (swedging, adjusting, new corks/felts/bumpers, new pads, ect, and voicing, I am going to have Kim, aka "Doctor Sax", strip the lacquer off my YAS-61 alto with a gel...probably from Ferree's. As an audio engineer, I am going to make a few test recordings, before the overhaul, and post them in the coming weeks and months on SoundCloud.....and then the same recordings after the horn has had the lacquer stripped and is "free" from it's scratched and faded cloak. Here's hoping this experiment will cosmetically match my other bare-brass, early Yamaha horn, and will satisfy the curiousity of all you SOTW'ers! Happy New Year.....happy practicing!
 

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This is, of course, is going to go on and on over many pages of discussion and arguments.

When one completely takes apart a saxophone and then re-assembles it with new everythings, the basis for comparison will have been altered to the point were any results will be invalid. So regardless of what finish you put on it (or leave off of it), the removal of pads and installation of new ones may change the sound - somewhat. To attribute that perceived change in tone to finish alone is where we all divide.

While I will be interested in reading about the end-result, (and your project is interesting, of course), I don't believe there will be enough information to change anyone's mind about this on-going issue. DAVE
 

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what dave said!
To convince people on here, you need to get the repair done without the unlacquering. Record in multiple environments, and with different microphones. Then have the repairman unlacquer the sax. Do this using the exact same materials that were just put on it, and use the same amount of glue, and do so in an air sealed environment.
Then record again, using the various environments and microphones.
Unfortunately it will not be possible for the procedure to be double blind as you will know which version (lacquered or unlacquered) of the sax you are playing on. Thus only being single blind and skewing the comparisons.

Basically, nobody could ever prove to anyone on here whether it makes a difference. Everyone will have their own opinion regardless.

by the way, I did love your "lack or lack of" joke! nailed it!
 

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Not possible to carry out said test and show with conclusive proof that it made a difference.

Mathematics / physics tells me that yes it will make a difference, but we humans I do believe are incapable of hearing or percieving that difference with our limited sensory systems.

A lacquered sax carries more weight than a bare sax, a plated sax carries less weight than a lacquered sax, all of this contributes to any vibration sympathetic or induced.

To carry out said test and hope for any information that could be validated, the testing room would have to be humidity and temp controlled, the sound would have to be generated by something like the sax robot, where human intervention could not be brought into the equation, the reed would have to be synthetic, the sound production would have to be analysed via a computer, the list just keeps going on, and in the end, I dont think you would find anything that leads to us humans being capable of hearing.
 

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I applaud the idea and look forward to hearing more. But.....
When one completely takes apart a saxophone and then re-assembles it with new everythings, the basis for comparison will have been altered to the point were any results will be invalid. So regardless of what finish you put on it (or leave off of it), the removal of pads and installation of new ones may change the sound - somewhat. To attribute that perceived change in tone to finish alone is where we all divide.
what dave said!
To convince people on here, you need to get the repair done without the unlacquering. Record in multiple environments, and with different microphones. Then have the repairman unlacquer the sax. Do this using the exact same materials that were just put on it, and use the same amount of glue, and do so in an air sealed environment.
Then record again, using the various environments and microphones.
Cannot add anything to this. Your 'plan' is flawed from the get-go, because your intent was to record the sax NOW, then after the overhaul which would include the de-lacquering.

If you think about that...you will figure that you have now created one variable too many for your 'end result' to 'prove' anything one way or the other.

All you would be doing is comparing a pre-overhauled 61 to a post-overhauled, delacquered 61. Unfortunately, this would not attest to whether the lacquer changes the sound or not.....you see ?

I concur with Andre: Get the horn overhauled, with the existing lacquer left on. Then record it.

Then.... get the horn body & neck delacquered (no other work besides the delacquering), horn reassembled, nothing else changed (besides some tweaks to the regulation if needed)...THEN record it.

You now have minimized your variables.

The first recording is of your 61 with factory lacquer, freshly overhauled. Your second recording is of your 61 with no lacquer, freshly overhauled.

Now, you can reasonably state "here is the EXACT same horn, same tech setup.... with lacquer, and without".


I would be interested in hearing those clips.
 

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Likewise. The removal of a single minute leak will have more effect than removing the lacquer.

BTW, the Math/physics tells me that if there is any effect, then it is so miniscule that human ears cannot detect it, and that is backed up by the double blind testing that has been done on flute materials. As long as the wall containing the standing wave is above a certain required lower limit of rigidity, making changes (other than surface texture of the bore) makes no difference. Or so the math/physics says AFAIK.
 

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We concur Gordon.

However I do believe that its just not about the lower limit of ridigity, its also about many other factors including but not limited to a thicker material transfering and or absorbing heat from its enviroment and the player and the air stream being delivered.

There is so many variables in play, that in theory yes it is going to make a difference, but as you and I have both noted it is so miniscule.
 

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My tenor has lost all its lacquer after years of playing it and it sounds better now, or it could be that I have been playing for 35 years...
 

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if one believes that finish makes any difference in the tone produced by any saxophone.....please post a picture of your unicorn.
 

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Again, this thread just will turn into the usual merry-go-round on the subject if it becomes one-liners of doubters vs. believers......

But if you minimized the variables, it could be a very inetresting comparison. To my knowledge, in all of these threads on the subject, NOBODY has EVER come forward and said they have done that.

I say go for it.
 

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It has been done several times with flutes and their construction materials. Many quotes and links have been been regularly provided in this forum by "Kymarto". There is no reason why that knowledge is not directly transferable to saxes.
 

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I'm going to lacquer the inside of my saxophone. That will make the notes come out faster.
 

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Can we all go ahead and donate $25 to groovin so he has enough money for and overhaul AND a pad job?

That way, he can at least do something CLOSE to the experiment correctly by at least having the overhaul done, unlacquer and then replaced the same pads.
Yes, the too many factors make the experiment a bust from the very beginning. But it REALLY would be interesting to see how it goes with a closer to similar instrument pre and post unlacquering.

So I imagine all it would cost is a pad job, on a horn that is already been worked up with an overhaul. So that is only TEN people giving $25. I would donate to this experiment given at least 5 people record on the horn pre and post lacquering with the required good and same pads each time!

He should open a kickstarter.com donation site for this project!

I think this would be fun and great for the sake of science!

And Graysax, considering how many great horns you seem to have, I totally believe that you do in fact have a unicorn! lol
 

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As I said, even a single minute leak would make heaps more difference than the lacquer. And a sax is a pretty imperfect instrument. There are likely to still be minute leaks after pad work. For example for the low notes, the F key actually applies very little closing pressure to the G# pad. To achieve higher pressure, these pads would not close at the same time and would feel out of adjustment. It's all because of the flex of metal in linkages, and the squishing of silencing materials in those linkages.
 

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What a palaver!! this sax will sound so much better due to the simple fact that it'll feel easier to play.
cheers, Mark.
Yes, quite likely...that is why the lacq vs. delacq comparison must be done AFTER the overhaul is done, not before.

'Palaver'...:| thanks, I learned something new....:bluewink:
 

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About a year ago, my Buescher TT had its (re)lacquer coming off, and some deeply tarnished spots made it ugly to look at. I took the keys off, sprayed it with a couple cans of Klean-Strip aerosol lacquer remover, and reassembled it. Didn't feel much different but it sure looked better. It wasn't scientific or tightly controlled, there are no before/after sound clips, so we'll never know in my case. But it didn't feel any different to me except that it looked cleaner after being stripped and polished. No pads were replaced, just a straight disassembly and strip. Someone should just take a well playing YAS-23 and do what I did after recording some clips. Sure, the rods would stay nickel plated, but the body wouldn't be lacquered anymore. So.. have at it, everyone.
 
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