This Saxello had been sitting apart in another shop for who knows how long. It had a butchered low Bb key that needed to be replaced. The neck had been removed at some point and was missing gold at the solder joint. It also didn’t have pads or springs. But my customer had high expectations for this instrument. There aren’t many Saxellos out there and finding one in gold made this one even more special. Part of the trick to this project would be to match the color and feel of the original gold plating on the neck joint, the new Bb key and a couple of wear spots on the body tube. In spite of those things, it looked like a pretty straightforward restoration. Turned out it was a bit more challenging.
When I got it apart, I discovered all the rods were heavily corroded from sitting exposed for so long and each one had to be cleaned and polished. The body tube was tweaked. And surprise, four of the posts became loose when I straightened the body tube and had to be re-soldered. There were only a couple of very minor dents which completely disappeared with a little persuasion. I was able to graft on a low Bb key from a similar vintage King straight soprano which worked out perfectly. We took the restoration a step farther and put in gold-plated, small, flat resonators and Pisoni pads to replace the original pads and rivets. The photos pretty much speak for themselves. It definitely was worth all the effort.
How does it play? A pure delight with an absolutely unique and wonderful sound. Nothing quite like a King Saxello. As an aside, I happened to have three of these remarkable sopranos in the shop at the same time. Plus a Buescher straight alto. Not too often you get to see a lineup like that.