Selmer Super (Balanced) Action Tenor

This horn came to me after having lived as a wall decoration for several decades.  It was completely rusted and seized up in a way that I have only seen in other saxes that were exposed to the weather or submerged at one point.  The kicker was it had original pads in it, so it was pristine when it got hung up- and in the before pictures, you can see a lot of the original lacquer, though so damaged by corrosion and exposure your hands would come away brown when handling it. 

This was my biggest job to date, and everything was done by meticulously by hand.  I made a decision that I would not do any sort of aesthetic cover-up work of any kind, and that whatever I would do here would stand on its own.  To not cover the history of the horn, but to make its history into something beautiful.  Therefore no buffing, no refinishing, no hot rodding, all original parts saved, and overhauled to the same standard as a mint condition example.  There would be nowhere to hide, so that meant the job was only over when there was nothing that needed it.  

When complete, the horn felt snappy and light under the fingers and played extremely well- exactly as the best of these can.  The body is clean, straight, and the numerous solder jobs I performed are largely invisible even to the trained eye.  The keywork is tight, action slick, and even the pearls feel nice.  I don’t think anyone would play it and have any idea where it had been- or that it had reached its current beautifully worn state through any other way than time.  I am very proud of this job.  This is what I can do now.    

Time spent: about 70 hours. 

Credit to my client for taking the significant risk and spending a significant sum to give this horn a new life.  


Some “before” pictures:

Pretty serious crush and bend at the top there, under the G/E/octave pip riblet.


The fuzzy look is because the rust and corrosion had built up a crusty layer about the thickness of a business card in places. It’s all there, though, underneath the crud.



The best angle of the beast.



“After” photos:














































If you read further, you can read a poem I wrote that seems appropriate here.  Sure, its corny.  Hi Dana.



There is a concept Kintsugi
it is the art of repairing things 
to be more beautiful for having been repaired:  
a bowl, dropped and broken into shards
has those shards woven together again
by lightning bolts of gold. 
The bowl, now stronger
now more beautiful
now unique, becomes an heirloom-
the history of its life not hidden, but through effort
shown to be something essential and powerful.  
this act brings a complex beauty impossible
in things that are perfect.
The cleaving of bowl and gold speaks to us. 
In its bright lines we see: I am loved.