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Vintage Trumpets / Cornets Discuss re-lacquer? to do or not do to... in the Equipment forums; I've got some horns which aren't esthetically perfect at the same time they play perfectly. I'm considering reducing my collection ...
  1. #1
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    re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    I've got some horns which aren't esthetically perfect at the same time they play perfectly. I'm considering reducing my collection and know of an excellent overhauler who plates and lacquers horns.
    So I see that there are people who are very drawn to reputable horns which were overhauled to look pretty but out of spec. Then there are those like me who appreciate original horns.
    So the questions:
    A-Do you prefer horns overhauled close to spec?
    B-Do you prefer the pretty overhauled horns? (silver and gold, etched etc)
    C-Why mess with a good thing?

    Cast your vote!

    Thank you.
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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    I get horns overhauled and relacquered. My sweat is pretty acidic and it eats old lacquer, and I'm not one of those who believes that lacquer contributes enough to the sound to care about. So, modern epoxy lacquer for me and Charlie Melk puts it on very thinly.

    Not sure what you mean by "close to spec" but I don't like these brushed finishes, etc, so my horns mostly look like how they came out of the factory (I did have one sprayed in red).

    Tom


    Buescher Lightweight 400
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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    Thank you Tom,
    By close to spec I was referring to some horns had a pigment in the lacquer to give a rose or dark gold tint to the finish, the early Connstellations had a notoriously heavy lacquer layer which was touted as a contributor by Conn to tonal quality.
    Never too old to play
    Conn Vocal Wonder
    Conn Coprion
    Conn Connstellation 28a
    Getzen Pro 90
    Getzen Supertone
    Harrelson Bravura
    Lafayette
    Olds Ambassador
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    Olds Mendez

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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    If the original finish is still good, still mostly intact, and still doing its job, I prefer the horns to remain as they were built. If the finish starts looking bad, coming off, or just generally failing, it makes sense to have it redone - preferably in a visual match to the original finish (let's face it, epoxy lacquer's a big improvement over the old stuff). That's the best way to preserve its value.

    Occasionally, a modest change is actually an improvement. I still gaze longingly at a photo of a Conn 12B Mark Metzler restored (not mine, but one of these days I hope to have mine done the same way) - with clear lacquer on the brass, and tinted on the copper. That completely did away with that tell-tale "pinkie" look most refinished Coprion bells have, and made the horn look just right.

    If the horn's neither particularly valuable nor rare, that's the candidate for your more imaginative refinishing project. I'm not suggesting you alucard the poor thing, or give it a "tiger finish" that looks very much like some fool in the back room doesn't know how to buff. But there are a number of tasteful things that can be done to tart up a plain horn. Just be prepared to pay more for the work than the horn's probably worth....
    Vintage Olds and Reynolds and Selmers, yes sir, yes sir, two gazoos full.

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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    Quote Originally Posted by prcruiser View Post
    Thank you Tom,
    By close to spec I was referring to some horns had a pigment in the lacquer to give a rose or dark gold tint to the finish, the early Connstellations had a notoriously heavy lacquer layer which was touted as a contributor by Conn to tonal quality.
    Ah, I got you, now. I do happen to have original factory catalogs for Buescher horns that list how they came from the factory: gold lacquer, clear lacquer, satin silver, gold. I just happen to like clear lacquer best, is all.

    Nice thing about lacquer is that it's not permanent. If you don't like it, you can strip it and do it over.

    Tom


    Buescher Lightweight 400
    Other Buescher horns 1939--1955
    Al Cass 1-28 mouthpiece
    Humes and Berg mutes
    http://mmccband.org

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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    I prefer original finish. I used to like re-done lacquered horns, now not so much.
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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    If the original finish isn't shot, I'd leave it alone. If the horn looks like it has leprosy, I'd refinish it. I've done both - had horns refinished to look just like new, and had horns customized with different finishes, plating, and even different/reconfigured parts. The last horn I had redone (a fairly scarce one), I had the bell copper plated and the horn finished in tinted lacquer to give it a "vintage" look. I have no regrets, as it's a stunner.
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  8. #8
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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    The last horn I had redone (a fairly scarce one), I had the bell copper plated and the horn finished in tinted lacquer to give it a "vintage" look.
    I'd love to see that. Any chance you could post some pics?

  9. #9
    Utimate User Dale Proctor's Avatar
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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    Quote Originally Posted by tbaldrid View Post
    I'd love to see that. Any chance you could post some pics?
    I'll always post pictures... It's a 1962 Conn 5A Victor, .484 bore short cornet - plays like a dream.

    Here's a glamour shot


    Here's one in sunlight
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    Re: re-lacquer? to do or not do to...

    Ah, very nice. Who did the work? I have a number of raw brass horns and I've been thinking about having one lacquered as a test case with a tinted lacquer to try to replicate the deep rich amber or orange lacquer I've see in some old vintage horns.

    I feel terrible when I have to solder on an old horn and ruin the finish in the soldered area. I typically strip the lacquer at that point, but I hate destroying a nice aged finish, especially if it's mostly intact. I've been wondering lately whether you can have color-matched "patch" lacquering done on just the repaired spots.

    Tom

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