Not quite sure about this Martin finish…

Having noticed a  Martin C-Mel on ebay, with what was described as a ‘rare’ silver body plus gold keys and bell, I started bidding modestly. Asked the normal questions, ships to UK, reasonable cost.  Sax described as having had an amateur repad, will need a bit of tweaking…

But the description of ‘blotchy’ silver finish intrigued me.  Normally silver just tarnishes and/or gets rubbed away to bare-brass.  But look at how the very matt silver below the thumb-rest, and around the serial number, has worn away to a more shiny silver – more like the original silver plate.  And the matt silver ‘finish’ seems to be covering the pillar bases in a peculiar way.  Hmmm…

And, if the horn has been stripped for a repad, might not the (possibly originally silver plated) action have been sprayed gold ? Now I look at the ‘gold’ action, it looks a tad too new, too garish.  Of course I might be ‘barking up the wrong tree’, the picture of the bell engraving looks fine – but there’s enough to concern me !  Lets see what the seller replies to a question about the finish.  I wait with interest. 

To be fair, the seller does offer ‘Money back within 30 days’ – but that is of little advantage where expensive international shipping is involved.   For more pictures, hover and/or click on these links –  

bottom-1    bottom-2    top     full   bell   or   check out the listing

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7 Responses to Not quite sure about this Martin finish…

  1. Mal-2 says:

    It looks to me like a badly done re-plate (maybe an electroplating) that is now falling off, exposing the tarnished silver that was left intact. Any attempt to polish it would probably peel off more of the second coat, but the original plating might prove to be salvageable.

    I have seen re-worked brass mouthpieces that ended up like this, where some of it had been ground down to bare brass (and the re-plating stuck there), but where the silver had been left untouched, the second coat tended to peel off like this.

    I’m only about 120 miles from this seller, so if you win the auction and want someone to inspect it before it gets shipped overseas, we can probably work something out. I just put in a bid on it though. 8)

  2. Lewis Pelham says:

    Looks like a spray over job to me. 😦

  3. alan says:

    Yes, I’d tend to agree with that, I have a Buescher stencil C-Mel upstairs just like it… So, if the body is sprayed, how original is the key finish ? Not heard back from seller yet 😆

    I don’t think I’ll be bidding anymore.

  4. Lewis Pelham says:

    I would suggest that the keywork would be much more difficult to paint, even spray, than the main body. There would be runs evident.
    Anyway, it is of no use to you as it has no aux F 🙂

  5. alan says:

    I’m almost embarassed to admit that I was more interested in the (ahem!) ‘commercial aspect’ than keeping it… I could have found it a good home this side of the pond ! But that finish worries me ! I’ve had a couple of ‘gold action’ horns, and often the gold wears faster than the silver, especially on the touches – it still looks too bright (the gold) to my eyes, not at all burnished. No reply from the seller yet, about the silver finish(es) 😕

  6. Mal-2 says:

    No problem on the Front F, or lack thereof, if he intends to keep it and play it. All that’s needed is a cosmetically improved version of this:

    and he’ll have one.

    I’ll be the first to admit that while my alterations are generally mechanically sound, they don’t always look original. This one could come close with some silver plating though.

  7. alan says:

    Well, that Martin sold for just over $300 to a Swiss enthusiast, so at least it’s gone to a good home. The Swiss are passionate people, not just bankers… 😮

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