Buescher Top Hat alto saxophone in original silver plate
We’ve made excellent progress on this project,
especially considering the many distractions offered by the Holiday Season.
We’ve restored all the plating to our keys (all prep & plating work
is done in-house, too), replaced the missing post/snap assemblies in a
number of cups that hold our Buescher Snap-On Pads in place, done most
of the body work to the instrument, and have begun to fit our keys back
so they’re snug (a process called swedging), and seat our Snap-On Pads
(minimum rim impressions for super-quick action, of course). We start fitting
& seating with the main stacks, as you can see from the lead photo.
At this point you can start to get an idea what the horn is going to look
like -- especially considering the dire condition from which we started.
We still need to do a bit of body work, reattach the ribbon keyguards,
and do a small amount of plating work on our neck & body. Note the
drastic difference in the way this instrument looks as a result of replenishing
the gold bell wash. This is the same sort of miraculous leap in appearance
as the re-engraving work already done by Sherry Huntley of
Of course the complete play set up remains to be accomplished, as well.
This beautiful instrument will receive our custom CS 'Total Saxophone'
set up & regulation by Bear, himself. Judging by the way this alto
played before our work began it will more than live up to the Top Hat legend
once our work is completed. Some information follows on Buescher Snap-On
Pads, and on Norton scew-in springs -- both hallmarks of the famed Top
Hat & Cane Buescher 400 models.
on images to enlarge & read legends
This group of keys
had experienced their snap posts getting crudely lopped off with a pair
of nippers. After painstakingly restoring our silver plating to each key
we ground out the remaining post stub to level, matched the correct size
snap post & snap to each cup, then soldered the posts assemblies into
place. We have managed to salvage a number of Buescher snaps & posts
over the years from junk horns, but posts are especially problematic. For
a very short time at the very beginning of Snap-On Pads Buescher used a
post design that was soft soldered into place in the cup bottom. The rest
of these posts are brazed into the cup in a way that they are impossible
to remove intact. The result is that replacement original posts are extremely
scarce, and that snaps will always outnumber posts. This group of keys
represents about 40% of the pads on this particular saxophone, so we faced
a sizable reconstruction effort. Our plea to everyone out there who reads
this: Please don't be the party to cut the first post from any great old
It seems every worthwhile
project is fraught with myriad details to which to attend. Just to mention
one that came up this week: In cleaning the Norton springs our gold plating
came off of the steel spring area. Thankfully, our gold stayed on the brass
screw inserts, though. So now we have to replate these springs. Of course
gold won’t adhere directly to steel, so we must first lay down a copper
coating before we apply our new gold plating. Steel must be scrupulously
clean in order for the copper to adhere to it, which means polishing each
spring by hand using 1500 grit sandpaper. We don’t mind doing these things
at all, but it seems these projects continually present us with the unexpected.
I suppose we could simply take a pass on this detail work & try to
sell the shortfall to our clients…but no. That’s just not my way of doing
things here at CS. Click on the photo to read more about the process of
replating these Norton screw-in springs.
here to see more images from recent CyberSax restoration projects
|This beautiful Buescher
400 'Top Hat & Cane' Alto Saxophone belongs to a valued CyberSax turnkey
restoration client. It is NOT available for purchase. If you have a saxophone
in need of a similar restoration procedure we would be pleased to help
you plan and execute your own project. We do have a number of very desirable
core horns that can be purchased on a turnkey restoration basis (this was
one). You are welcome to call or email
Bear to discuss what is involved in reserving a slot in his restoration
schedule for either a horn you already own, or one we have in stock for
our turnkey program. Our work is neither fast nor cheap, but your patience
& investment will be amply rewarded.