Saxophone Forum


by Goldref18
(145 posts)
9 years ago

Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

Hey all just figured we'd discuss some things. I was just curious if anyone else has ever had a bad experience with a relaqed horn. I was trying out some altos and they were SBAs. They problem was that they were relaqed. I knew that relaqing made them look good facewise but what i didn't know at first is that the relaqing kills the horn. All of the horns played like a new Selmer at best. I was just wondering if this was the same type of thing anyone else has experienced.

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  1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

    A relaquer doesn't necessarily 'kill' a horn. Done correctly with an appropriate chemical de-laquer, minimal hand polishing, and competent application of the new laquer, the horn can recover to play as well or better than it was before*. The problems associated with a poor, economical relaquer are many. The horn probably will be delaquered with a buffing wheel which can remove significant amounts of metal unevenly accross the horn. This may also unlevel toneholes and cause a number of other problems. Also note that a relaquer typically necessitates an overhaul, and an economy relaquer usually means that the same type of attention to detail is paid to the rebuild. So you end up with a buffed horn that has been compromised along with a setup and repad which is subpar. Given that a relaquer that pays such attention to preserving the horn and is followed up by a competent rebuild is so expensive, it's no wonder some people foolishly opt for a cheap alternative to make their horn look shiney, and conversely it's no wonder the term 'relaquer' is a hiss and a by-word in vintage circles.

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    1. by Goldref18
      (145 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

      Makes sense. Is it safe to assume that if a horn is "Factory Relaquered" it was done well or does that mean it was delaqued beyond generically. Just to clarify i didn't buy any of the horns.

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      1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

        Goldref: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Makes sense. Is it safe to assume that if a horn is "Factory Relaquered" it was done well or does that mean it was delaqued beyond generically. Just to clarify i didn't buy any of the horns. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Not sure. I personally wouldn't automatically expect that any relaquer was automatically done well. It would need to be inspected thuroughly, playtested, and checked for minor details. I've seen just a couple relaquers myself. My repairman friend has a nice 10M that's been relaquered and to my eyes, I really couldn't tell. He got this horn from Tenormadness and it plays wonderfully for him. Last week my friend showed me a HORRIBLE relaquer. I mean, it really was poor. Worst of all, it was performed on a King Super20 Alto with nice factory engraved keys and silver neck. It made me cry! It was obviously performed by a party not concerned with the intricacies and detail that goes into fine instruments. I would guess the relaquer was done by a "lowest bidder" firm specializing in industrial applications. The laquer itself was applied okay, but you could see patterns in the brass where they buffed around some toneholes which made the finish look ugly. They even apparently buffed the nickle-plated engraved bellkeys. Why the hell would they do that!? There are much more gentle things that will remove the cloudy oxidation from old nickle than using a buffer! To top it off, the reason my tech friend had this horn is because the accompanying overhall by the first repair place was so poorly done that he had to quote the customer that a couple hundred dollars of work yet needed to be performed, yet the customer was somehow still happy with the prior work in that the horn had new laquer. ack! : (

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    2. by sgt17594
      (31 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

      Too many point of view and theroy about this topic, Actually, I try 2 nos. of relaq Selmer Mark VI before.... In fact, there have a big difference.... One sax. send to Selmer to relaq, The owner said that the relaq make the horn better than no laq. Actually, I feel good but not excellent ! The another just send to a Factory doing the brass laq.... the result is "outlook better, same as the new cheap beginner horn". So, I never take the relaq horn, may be some horn become better, But I never meet it before!

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    3. by connsaxman_jim
      (2336 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

      Right on Johnson! The problem with a lot of relaquer jobs is that they are done incorrectly. I have a company in Burton, MI called The Wind Works relaquer my horns, They've done a couple for me now and I have been very satisfied with both of them. They use a mild citric acid chemical to strip the old laquer. This chemical breaks down the laquer, but not the brass! They use another mild chemical solution to clean the horn once it's stripped. The horn body is then carefully buffed by hand, and then laquered. The horn is then baked in an oven to seal the laquer. This is the same way the horns were laquered at the factory new. The Wind Works uses only top quality laquer, pads and etc. Luke has done some custom work for me as well; such as making a keyguard for my 10M out of nickel rod (Looks just like the original only nickel) and replacing a missing ridge on the bottom of a 6M alto. He often has a few vintage parts laying around too, or knows where to find them. Their phone number is (810)743-5420. If you have a vintage horn that you're looking to have refinished, I would highly recommend them! I hope to have a web page in the next couple weeks with some pictures of my saxes, some tips, and links to other sites about Conn saxes, serial numbers, various models, engravings, etc. I'll post the link as soon as it's done.

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  2. by GenericGuy
    (5 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Relaq - Killer or Thriller.

    There are a couple problems from come from a relaq. The major one is that the new lacquer tends to choke the sound of the instrument. This is true with original lacquer as well to a certain degree, and often why you see some people totally de-lacquer a saxophone. The second thing is many relacquers worry more about the look of the instrument than retaining sound. Thus, there are 5-6 coats of lacquer (much heavier than the original factory coat) to make the instrument look like new. Those 5-6 coats reduce the vibration of the metal. I am sure there are great playing relacs out there, I haven't played one yet.

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