Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to play a brass instrument, but I need help from the sax tribe and I hope you won't hold my history against me. ;)

My wife used to play sax but hasn't touched it for many years. She's thinking about picking it up again -- the sax has moved from the garage into the bedroom closet, so I think you can see things are getting super serious. We started learning (molesting) guitar and bass lately so I think that has rekindled her interest in playing the sax too.

I would like to get her something that will help her out but I know nothing about sax accessories and maintenance.

It seems to have a decent strap already and we have a stand, music stand and metronome. We can use a tuner app on a phone, but a clip-on tuner might be better. (We have Snarks for our guitars.)

Perhaps a decent mouthpiece and/or reeds?

Instructional materials might be good too. I honestly don't know her skill level. It is something beyond goose-honking but an online course in the fundamentals might be beneficial.

The instrument is a C Melody by King, in silver. (I have heard the jokes!) I am not sure when it was made. Knowing her "it's good enough" attitude, it has perhaps never had a proper tune up from a sax mechanic so maybe the wear items need replacing. We live in the Seattle suburbs, if there are good shops around.

I am open to any gift ideas other than "get rid of that C Melody," haha. Many thanks in advance.

(Hmm, looks like the neck is missing in this photo--but I know she has it.)

104455


104456
 

·
Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
·
4,158 Posts
Don’t use a clip on tuner. The apps and free-standing tuners are great. Reason: you’ll actually hinder progress (ear development/ learning to play in tune by ear), as staring at a tuner attached to the horn teaches you to turn off your ears and pitch center with your eyes.

Gifts: a credit/ gift certificate/ work at the tech shop is a good idea. A lesson or two with a good sax player who teaches.

Have fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Best thing you could give is probably tech attention, like gift card with decent amount of tech time or such. As a somewhat intangible thing, whether that is something that can be appreciated as a gift may depend on the person. In any case a leaking or poorly set up sax will quickly suck out the joy from playing/learning, so a tuneup/overhaul is definitely something worth considering.

King made great saxophones, right up there with the best, and I would be inclined to believe the "good enough" attitude is well deserved. Being a C-melody it may not be worth much, and some techs might scoff at the thought of putting much money and time to make it play to it's best capability. But the King is probably a good, maybe even great instrument, and sax maintenance costs what it costs no matter what the perceived resale value of the thing is.

Other than that.. As you say, reeds are good idea. It helps a lot to have wide variety of reeds to try. All the permutations of different brands and strengths can get expensive quick, so that a frugal personality may be discouraged to buy, try and experiment with many kinds of different reeds. Gifting a varied stash of reeds is a good way to get over that hurdle. Reeds do make a huge difference and experimenting is the only way to find the best fitting brand/strength.

When one's chops develop, or one wants to try out different mouthpieces, the reed preferences may very well change, and in those cases it's always helpful to have an old stash of different reeds to try. If you go this route, it might make sense to limit the reed strengths below 3.5 as anything above that is most likely never needed, and beginners typically get along best with samething between 1.5 and 2.5.

Mouthpieces are more tricky as mpc preferences are highly varied and personal, "compatibility" with the player or instrument is a consideration, and it takes a decent amount of skill and experience to be able to judge whether any given mouthpiece is a good fit, and even if it's good, it may not be what the player is looking for tonewise. It's certainly a difficult gift, unless you go for a very basic, neutral but "safe" student piece which your wife may already have (?).

C-melody may have more limited selection of reeds and mouthpieces available though, as it's relatively rare thing. I'm under the impression that many C-melody players actually use reeds not really specific to C-melody, but alto, tenor reeds or perhaps even clarinet reeds, I wouldn't know. That might make it even more crucial to have a varied stash to find which works best. Maybe someone with actual C-melody experience can chime in.
 

·
10MFAN MOUTHPIECES "Innovation over imitation"
Joined
·
15,825 Posts
Brad Wherry does fantastic work and he’s in that area. Look him up, you won’t regret it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
40,416 Posts
I understand that " throwing out the C melody “ may not be a notion that you are willing to entertain but you have to realize that fixing it may be costing more than it is worth it.

That has to enter into the considerations.

King gained popular favor after these models ( from the Voll True onwards) and generally tenors and altos of this generations go for little money , in Europe C melodies are worth a bit more , in the US sometimes they change hands for very very little indeed.

It may be better to sell this horn and buy another one adding to the money for sale what you would spend for the overhaul.

Of course if this horn is in itself of a particular significance than it may be worth saving but if it isn’t ( I doubt that your wife was the original owner) you may very well spend $500 or more to fix it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
I have been taking my horns (including a Martin C ) to World Wide Sax in Tukwila and I am very happy with Chadd's work and his knowledge of vintage saxes.
 

·
Registered
Tenor, alto, Bb Clarinet, Flute
Joined
·
2,149 Posts
If you think she's seriously going to take it up again then take her sax to the best tech you can find and have it cleaned and put into like new condition. Nothing like a sparkling silver sax even if it is a C melody. I've never held one in my hands so I have no opinion on that. To hell with "what people think." Which people? Anyone you care about.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
40,416 Posts
If one loves the C melody, per sé, then why not, but if one loves the saxophone and the C melody was just left there for no particular reason , maybe better investing the same amount of money into another saxophone.

They can be rather challenging in their own right

Intonation, mechanics and more importantly the playing position which , in the majority of C melodies with a curved neck (straight neck are of course different) bring the bow very closed to the body.

Having said this, I am fond of the sound of most C melodies.


The “ classical” sound is or can be extremely lyrical ( this is a Conn straight neck though the player is rather short end even then the bow is close to the body)

 
  • Like
Reactions: clodius

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies, I really appreciate it, especially the local references. This is a lot to think about!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Brad Wherry does fantastic work and he’s in that area. Look him up, you won’t regret it.
Brad Wherry is the only tech anyone should take any horn to. He's tough to find however, he is on Instagram and FB and that would be the way to go.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top