Saxophone Forum


by jushden
(17 posts)
9 years ago

taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

i have an amazing SBA tenor which has been re lacquered. the thing plays like you wouldnt believe but is ugly as sin. the engraving is still top notch so i was thinking of removing the laquer. although i would prob get someone else to do this for me, i wanted to know if anyone out there knows how this is done. what chemicals are used or what the process is to take off the lacquer. i dont want any repair guy doing something to this horn which might damage the brass in any way (abrasive or harsh chemical methods). detail is apreciated. thanks.

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  1. by bongorific
    (2 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

    I recently did a bare-brass restoration on a Buescher big "B" alto. when I bought it off E-bay it looked like a sewer pipe and was unplayable. Needed all new pads. I live near Elkhart, so i took it to blessings and had it delaquered (chemically) engraving recut(Sent -out for that) and the pads rebuilt . When I opened the case I almost fell down. It was brand new again. like going back 65 years. plays fabulous. So I guess what i'm saying is do it, but trust who does it is most important. I go to a sax on the web forumn too and there is agood tech forumn where delaquering is exstensively discussed. I think world wide sax on web discusses it quite a bit too. Pay for what you get is the key. don't do it on the cheap.

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    1. by EL Seano
      (255 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

      In addition to improving looks on the horn, what are the other advantages of delacquering? Does it improve the sound of the horn?

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      1. by Dave Dix
        (421 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

        De-laquer has no avantages at all unless you want a green horn Dave

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        1. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

          ok, I just have to comment - I was done with all these damn forums, but after doing a google search for the bach cello suites, I was directed here, ad saw this. To strip a horn of lacquer, you have to use lacquer stripper, which is some REALLY nasty stuff - it can dissolve pearls, and in addition, it must be heated to around 115 degrees. Usually, the horn has to be buffed a bit afterwards, but if ANY of the engraving needs to be recut afterwards, that means it was buffed FAR too hard and long. I would suggest sending it to anderson's plating company - they can strip it and plate it for you. I know of no existing place where a good relacquer can be done. The onyl problem with andersons, is that you will be limited to gold, silver or nickel - 3 fabulous choices I think.

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        2. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

          I ABSOLUTELY would not recommend having the saxophone plated! Plating involves adding metal to the sax, which will most definately change the tone. How noticeable the change depends on how much metal is removed and added. Depending on where you are located, I would recommend sending the horn to The Wind Works in Burton, MI to be stripped and relacquered. I have had this company relacquer my saxophones in the past. If you prefer only to have the saxophone stripped, they can do that as well. I have a few pictures of my horns that I would be happy to send to you. They are careful when buffing the horn not to leave any marks or fade the engraving. They carefully apply the lacquer in the same manner in which it was done originally, and then they bake the horn to seal and cure the lacquer. Send me an email if interested, and I can give you more information and a phone number. jimmyalber@yahoo.com

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        3. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

          before the early mid 30's nearly all saxophones were plated and for a bit after that only king lacquered their stuff. finish changes the tone...but not much at all.

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        4. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

          Anderson's plating is beautiful. I had a chance to buy a Conn 6M that was plated by Andersons and restored to look like an original silver-plated 6M. I have several saxophones that are silver plated. I'd consider having a silver horn replated, but I would not plate a lacquered horn. Relacquering has minimal changes on the sound of a horn, but replating can make a noticable difference.

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      2. by theshrinesilver
        (2 posts)

        3 years ago

        Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

        Does it have any other dis-advantages? Is it going to be an instant/drastic change in tone or intonation? I imagine doing any sort of strip or re-laquer will make a change to the sound but I am just curious, I am thinking about stripping my tenor.

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      3. by kingkoeller
        (4 posts)

        3 years ago

        Re: taking the lacquer off of brass instruments

        The best thing you could ever do for your sax is to leave it alone. If the lacquer is original, leave it as is. if it looks like a sewer pipe, it will still sound great once fixed up. Guitar players are always experimenting with ageing and distressing of the body's finish, why can't us sax players respect the wear and tear as a badge of honor the sax has earned, rather than re-lacquering the body which ruins the tone and makes the metal thin , plus it makes the engraving almost nonexistent, and the sax looks fake.

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