When I started looking to acquire C Melody Saxophone, I had visions of looking over Suzy’s shoulder as she played the piano. You see these instruments were designed in the early 1900s (1910 – 30s) for the amateur to use in the home. So they were pitched in the key of C like the piano. The saxes you are used to are pitched in sop, tenor, bass – Bb and sopranino, alto, and bari in Eb. There were some odd balls like the F mezzo soprano sax and such too.
So a beginner could play the instrument well enough by reading the top line of a piano score. But the Depression hit in the 20s and pretty much helped kill the the instrument. I could imagine a pump organ and a C melody being the main instruments in a prairie home. Maybe with a guitar and some singing.
So I did some research and found that the Conn C Melody straight-neck arguably had the best intonation of the available instruments. I’d love to get one of the 20 or so C Melody’s that Vito made in the 60s, but that’s not gonna happen anytime soon. Well I purchased a Conn C Melody and my son liked it so much that I gave it to him. Then I started anew with another beater that I had refurbished by Sarge of Worldwide Sax in Everett. So those are the pictures you are seeing in this blog.
Next I proceeded to look for a mouthpiece that would make the instrument speak. You see I am an amateur musician and every instrument I acquire I have to learn to voice, get a great mouthpiece and figure out a good reed story. But I didn’t every really get a finish to that journey as shortly thereafter I started learning to play the bass clarinet. So this particular instrument hasn’t made it into the rotation of saxes I play on a regular basis.
The instrument has a unique sound and as such is very interesting. And there are a lot of professional musicians and hobbyists who can really make the instrument speak. So take a listen at Dan Higgins a professional reed player.
Kind makes you want to pull the ol’ C Melody sax out and give it a toot, eh? If you want to read and talk more about the C Melody instruments which include the soprano sax too, visit the ‘Home of the C‘ and say hi to my good friend Alan.
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