Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at the post office at 9 sharp this morning to pick up my new Aquilasax in gold lacquer (no fancy pants finishes for me!)

It was very well packed and the case is very neat. I like the look of the thing especially the octave mechanism that starts on the bottom and ends on the top.

I ordered the Metalpro mouthpiece which looks about alto size but I don't have an alto mouthpiece to compare it with. There were 10 cane reeds and I spent a while doing the things I used to do to reeds before I went to Legere synthetics.

The resulting sound when I got it going was very alto like to my ears - not unpleasant just a bit of a different character. After ascertaining that it all worked and was in tune I swapped to my Lakey tenor mouthpiece and Legere reed. Because of the longer piece I had to move it up on the cork to get it in tune but that was OK because it was much firmer up there. Enormous difference in sound to my ears (and to my partner's). Free blowing and a fatter sound although still more alto than tenor in its timbre.

Enough for now. I'm very happy that I've got so much horn, ready to gig straight from the box, for comparatively little money and fuss. But I'm off to work now and I'll give it a more thorough going over tonight.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
So pleased that your initial experience is favourable....I have always found Steve of Aquilasax so pleasant to deal with.
It may be worth mentioning, yet again, that your saxophone was based upon the Conn, which does indeed have alto like leanings. As a tenor person I sold my Conn for that reason....hopefully however you have a predilection for altos.....although even the Conn, with the right kit, could never be mistaken for an alto.
Who knows, perhaps we will find you searching for a Martin or Buescher C tenor (or their stencils), both of which are biased more to the tenor sound....& they are so inexpensive. There is currently a very sound Martin stencil on ebay with a BIN price of £250.
However, that is the possible future....in the meantime I hope that you thoroughly enjoy your Aquilasax.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
That's the one Rooty....I have looked hard & it seems to have bevelled tone holes.
You are absolutely correct, I was wrong in the BIN department....£250 is the opening bid, but it's been there for a few days now without any offers & it does give an indication of what the buyer expects.
If I did not already have too many C tenors I would be after that one....certainly at that price bracket.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Champion of the C-Me
Joined
·
2,058 Posts
Yes I concur, that ebay horn seems to be a Martin stencil...

Pat - congratulations on your new Aquilasax. I had a couple over a two year period, no problems playing or enjoying them, nice horns at that price - but ultimately I found that they sounded a little too "big alto'ish" for me... (even with the most extrovert tenor mouthpieces)

But then, our own personal sound is such a subjective thing - we often end up beating ourselves up chasing an elusive sound, instead of possibly enjoying what we have. The C-Melody is, after all, neither a tenor or an alto.

I read somewhere recently the description of a C Melody as "a tenor trapped in an alto body..." Some say the tenor sound seems to escape from the C-Mel a little easier with Martins or Kings, others swear by (or at) Bueschers. Good luck with the quest.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
I read somewhere recently the description of a C Melody as "a tenor trapped in an alto body..." Some say the tenor sound seems to escape from the C-Mel a little easier with Martins or Kings, others swear by (or at) Bueschers. Good luck with the quest.
To some large degree I believe this depends upon the "internal acoustics" of the player. I have owned two King C tenors & whilst I admired their engineering I always had an altoish sound. I have never owned a Martin.....but have heard a very convincing tenor sound from yours.
For me, the Buescher, with the right accoutrements, has the most tenor like sound.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I did a heap more playing last night and I'm very happy with the "at home" sound, particularly with my tenor pieces, but the first proper test will come on Sunday when I play it on a gig. As for alto/tenor thing I'm not unhappy with the fact that it has a different core sound - I'm just not looking for (yet) a tenor that plays more naturally in the sharp keys.

My challenge is really in the reed department. I want to play all Legere synthetics because that's what I like now but they don't make a C-melody reed. The 10 cane reeds that came with the sax are pretty unsatisfactory really. I've ruined three of them already without even trying. I ordered a Legere bass clarinet reed on the off chance that it'll fit the metal mouthpiece that came with it. If that fails I'll stick with tenor pieces.

As for collecting more horns I'm getting pretty wry looks at the moment for the ones I've got. I have two tenors, a C-melody and 5 clarinets. I've just bought a beautiful 1923 silver plated Conn (but Pan American) metal clarinet. Pads and corks need complete replacement but the body and keywork are great. This is my first venture into the vintage-for-vintage's-sake field (as opposed to my early days when cheap old stuff was all I could afford) so I'm hoping for a good outcome. My partner was a little relieved when I missed a nice Couesnon Albert system wood clarinet by a few paltry dollars. She's trying very hard to be understanding, particularly in light of my ex-wife's open hostility to musical purchases, but it's not coming easy to her; this despite the fact that she bought 3 ugly Toby jugs on the weekend for $80 each. "Really, they're an investment. Limited edition Doulton." I have been suitably ecstatic about the kitsch, brutish objects that are, apparently, destined for the bookshelf in our lounge room.

Thanks for the warm welcome.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
Joined
·
8,322 Posts
My partner was a little relieved when I missed a nice Couesnon Albert system wood clarinet by a few paltry dollars. She's trying very hard to be understanding, particularly in light of my ex-wife's open hostility to musical purchases, but it's not coming easy to her; this despite the fact that she bought 3 ugly Toby jugs on the weekend for $80 each..
Ah, the sweet logic of the saxophonist. :mrgreen:

Careful there, mate, it's Valentine's Day! Give the girls a little scope...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
Pat.
If, as you say, you are happy with your tenor pieces then surely you have no reed problem. Use your Legeres on a familiar tenor piece....change as little as possible.....but you know that.
I fully understand the delicate balance between your hobby & that of your partner (dreadful word)....it's really a feeling of guilt.
My first wife always nagged me about my expensive hobbies.....saxophones and 1930s Aston Martins....they simply do not understand. :bluewink:
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1930s Aston Martins (plural)? You win! That's a seriously expensive hobby. For me car-wise it was owning an MGA, an MG TF1500 and an Austin Healy Sprite Mk IIIA, all at the same time. But I also sailed competetively a lot and flew gliders, both serious time and money wasters, so saxes are pretty small potatoes.

I agree with you about the tenor pieces and reeds, but I'm also of a mind to try to give the Metalpro mouthpiece a chance. In an email Steve wrote "The reeds are cheap! We are looking for a better quality manufacturer but then with synthetic reeds it might be moot, some want cheap and some want reliable at any cost. I'm sure you'll find that with a good reed the Metalpro comes into its own." I also have a friend who doesn't flog his saxes the way I do in terms of gigs who is relying on me to give him a report about how the mouthpiece performs in battle.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
Fully understood.
I think is was the concurrent 1954 Aston DB 2 when my ex finally exploded.....Oh, plus the "Chain-Gang" Frazer Nash. :cry:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
Perhaps I should add that it was not the expense....these cars were quite inexpensive back then. It was the fact that she never saw me, I was always fiddling with the cars....and the fact that her airing cupboard was always full of magnetos, stored for the winter as I feel sure you understand.
Back on track, I am looking forward to your report on Saturday's C Melody gig.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did my first gig on the C sax yesterday. Well, a couple of tunes anyway. I am determined to get the Metalpro mouthpiece working, firstly because it seems to give me a bit more volume than using my tenor mouthpiece and secondly, I paid for it and I might as well give it a chance. Steve Wedgewood assures me that if I can get the right reed it will be my first choice.

The cane reeds that came with the thing were rubbish. I don't know where I saw the suggestion about bass clarinet reeds but the Legere reed fits very well but it's a trifle harder than I wanted. I'm going to fiddle with it a bit.

Anyhow, the first tune I played was "While We Danced At The Mardi Gras" with the Metalpro. At first I was bothered by the upper register not speaking. It took me a while to realise it was because the neck wasn't properly centred - it's very sensitive in this regard. I hold my sax in front of me instead of beside and that requires a slight offset of the neck. My Barone Classic tenor has the same sensitivity whereas I could play my YTS62 with a lot of offset with no problems. Anyway, once I adjusted it all was fine. But my reed/mouthpiece combination wasn't right and I found that winding up for a hard swinging final chorus was pretty gruelling on the chops.

In the next bracket I played "Route 66" with my tenor mouthpiece and used the microphone a bit more. I was pretty happy with the way it played but it was, as can only be expected, a much smaller sound than my tenor playing (or alto for that matter). Nonetheless, I gave it a pretty good thrashing and didn't experience any chop fade.

Like all "us" C-melody players, I'm going to have to find its own sound. I guess it will be a similar journey to when I started playing soprano. I remember it took a long time to find its voice. I didn't really get a chance to play the new sax on a ballad or sweet melody, but I've got a couple of gigs this week, one in particular, where my role is not the honking tenor man, so I'll be intrigued to see how it goes.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I now have three gigs under my belt and the main issue I have is still the mouthpiece/reed. The ergonomics of the horn, compared with my Barone and Yamaha tenors, are a little uncomfortable for me when I first change to the C, but that issue fades as I struggle with the metal mouthpiece. All in all, I have to say that I'm happier with a tenor size piece in my mouth and with the sounds they produce. As you can imagine after 40 years of tenor playing, I know what mouthpiece and reed combinations work for me. But a tenor piece is loose on the cork. I've used plumber's teflon tape which has improved the fit but seems a bit down market and an agricultural solution. If I decide to keep playing a tenor piece, what should I do? Do I need to get the neck re-corked for the larger bore? Something doesn't seem quite right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
re-corking is probably the best solution.
I've been using teflon tape on my Conn, since I keep changing mouthpieces of different sizes on it, and it is not a good solution. I don't play it much, so I can live with it, but I wouldn't put up with this fix on my main horns.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
What works for one does not necessarily work for another....however, as I have been using tenor mouthpieces on C tenor for a couple of decades, it is, to me standard equipment.
Obviously I have to re-cork any "new" horns to suit.
Thanks for the up-date.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
Joined
·
8,322 Posts
I usually use a bit of paper round the neck cork. Works ok. "Plumber's tape" always seems a bit fiddly to me.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I usually use a bit of paper round the neck cork. Works ok. "Plumber's tape" always seems a bit fiddly to me.
The beauty(?) of teflon tape is that it doesn't go soggy like paper does. I have several irons in the fire and no gigs this weekend. It's a public holiday long weekend here in Victoria so we'll be hitching up the little caravan and heading up into the mountains. I'll keep you posted (on the mouthpiece issue, not the caravan holidayette.)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,715 Posts
A Grassi tenor I bought some years ago came with an Otto-Link STM....a miserable little 5* tip. However, with a suitably heavy reed, it is an absolute delight, & just as loud as some much more open pieces.
Everyone has a STM...so give yours a try. :)
On the other hand I have a 6* STM NY which is really stuffy....Hey, Ho.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Everyone has a STM...so give yours a try. :)
Well that's spooky, have you been looking in my bag of gash mouthpieces? I'm actually going to work my way through everything in my bag.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top