Re: New to me 1924 Buescher Alto
This is an early version without a front F key. That holds its value back a bit and makes it a bit less deireable TO MOST players. It may still have its snap in resonators. That is a big plus for originality. Look closely for a metal resonator with a patent date on it.
Lower end for a top end setup would be in the 500 range.
The big guys get 60 bucks an hour (do the math), closing in on 1000 bucks.
Cleaning and hand polishing is time consuming but is not necessary to make it play perfectly.
In my shop I actually put in the effort to stabilize and clean the old case, unless it is simply dead. Polish up the metal parts (metal brush on a dremel), etc. Customers are usually amazed at what can be done with minimal effort to a beat up case. Gorilla glue and Elmers outside wood glue are necessary tools. New feet on the case if necessary. Gluing down velvet and cleaning it with a solid car interior cleaner. Recover the case handle. In no way expensive, just a little insight. I worked with Cybersax in the 1990s and a vintage case is all part of the whole picture. I do a lot of this.
So, if you simply want it to play, that is one thing. If you want it to play like new and look it, that will cost you. Ask around local music stores and find a local tech to look at it.
I'm in Cincinnati.