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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi C Mel people, (and otherS). I recently bought a 1920 C Mel, (S.N. 68605), and am loving it! It’s a straight, alto like, neck and has the rolled tone holes. It’s very tarnished but I’m slowly getting it back to its’ shiny state. High “F” key. The case is someone’s modification and works OK.
A question for you: The“G#”, (left hand little finger), is a bit uncomfortable in that it takes real concentration or I miss it. I‘m wondering if an extension
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of some sort might be attached. I suppose my tech could bend it some. I’m currently using my alto Meyer #5 piece but haven’t settled yet on it. The octave mechanism was pinning my thumb ‘til I taped it up, (see pic).
 

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G# just looks bent to me. Bend it back or have your tech do it if you're afraid of breaking it.

You're lucky an alto mouthpiece fits. It won't fit my 1925 Conn. I use an actual C melody mouthpiece, or tenor depending on how hard I feel like working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
G# just looks bent to me. Bend it back or have your tech do it if you're afraid of breaking it.

You're lucky an alto mouthpiece fits. It won't fit my 1925 Conn. I use an actual C melody mouthpiece, or tenor depending on how hard I feel like working.
You think? Looks straight to me.
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Well, I had a bit of an issue on my Conn 6M; as I got accustomed to mostly playing baritone, I found my little finger running off the end of the G#. I spent all of 10 minutes soldering a piece of brass plate to the top of it to extend it and make it longer.

You might be able to bend your G# enough to extend it usefully; if not - for example, it starts to run into the B and Bb keys - just solder a piece of brass plate onto it. Might take a little longer than 10 min. for you as I expect you'll need to file off the Ni plate where you're going to solder. Might take 15 minutes.
 

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G# just looks bent to me. Bend it back or have your tech do it if you're afraid of breaking it.

You're lucky an alto mouthpiece fits. It won't fit my 1925 Conn. I use an actual C melody mouthpiece, or tenor depending on how hard I feel like working.
The G# looks good to me, it's the Bb key that appears a bit out of alignment. Should be very easy to adjust by an experienced tech. I should say, the general configuration of the pinky table is whacky, everything probably needs to be aligned to get the correct relative position to each other.

Different c-mels have different MPC requirements. Both my Bueschers and also my Martin require a dedicated c-mel MPC, there is just no other way to play them in tune and an alto MPC won't even get on the neck because of the bore diameter.

My Holton will not take anything but an alto MPC.

I have yet to get a King & Conn to see what they are like but if the Meyer fits (that's what I am playing on my Holton, except that mine is a #6). With Conn, it is also possible that different models will have different requirements. I'll be getting one from a friend for an overhaul in the next few weeks, then I'll know a bit more.
 

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You think? Looks straight to me. View attachment 117689
In your first pic where the tip of the G# is barely visible, it appears to not be in the same plane as the rest of the table. This picture is much better, but doesn't show how the G# is sitting behind the rest of the keys. And yes, the B also needs to be aligned. I also see a rod screw backing out of one of the posts in the pic. Have your tech check that rod for straightness.
 

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Congrats Sandster 300! (Or is it 301 now?) :)

Here's some shots of my Conn C-Mel G# key for comparison, mine's a bit later at 158,XOX.

I believe it is lined up as it should be, it's comfy anyways.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Congrats Sandster 300! (Or is it 301 now?) :)

Here's some shots of my Conn C-Mel G# key for comparison, mine's a bit later at 158,XOX.

I believe it is lined up as it should be, it's comfy anyways.


View attachment 117700 View attachment 117701 View attachment 117702
Gee, the famous nail file G# key! Your C Mel looks real comfy. Thanks for these pics. I’ve straightened my G
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key but won’t do the G# yet. I’ll have to take some keys off first. It definitely is too low.
 

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That G# key is fine. It's the same as mine (M106xxx). There was a reason why the shiny domed G# key on the NWI horns was replaced by a flat G# key with cross-hatching on the NWII ones: if your little finger is missing the key, or slipping off it, just build it up with Sugru. Nice-looking horn.

As for mouthpieces: I'd advise getting a dedicated C-melody mouthpiece. With an alto or tenor mouthpiece you will very likely find tuning problems at both ends of the range. You can usually find original Conn C-melody mouthpieces on eBay for a good price, but you'll need to get them refaced for modern use, which is an extra expense. The go-to modern one is generally the Morgan, but that can be a bit expensive. Faxx make a pretty good C-melody mouthpiece in either ebonite or plastic for a very reasonable price. I've heard good reports of the Caravan mouthpiece, but can't recommend it as I haven't tried it myself. Finally, Saxquest's "The Tram" C-melody mouthpiece is a knockout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In your first pic where the tip of the G# is barely visible, it appears to not be in the same plane as the rest of the table. This picture is much better, but doesn't show how the G# is sitting behind the rest of the keys. And yes, the B also needs to be aligned. I also see a rod screw backing out of one of the posts in the pic. Have your tech check that rod for straightness.
Thanks! First opportunity, I’ll have my tech straighten things out. I should be able to take care of the screw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks! First opportunity, I’ll have my tech straighten things out. I should be able to take care of the screw.
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a few pads, More tarnish removed. I might be able to put back together 🤔 and save 💲. Wish me luck, please. 🎶
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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If at all relevant... I once acquired a pre-owned vintage Conn C soprano sax. Evidently the horn's previous owner hadn't liked its G# nubbin, 'coz they'd soldered on a flat piece of metal, clumsily angled & bent. Nothing about this horn pleased me; intonation sucked. Looking back, I wonder if the bundled mouthpiece was a mismatch... Anyway, it's somebody else's problem now. Or a lamp.
 

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I must say, this thread has shown me stuff I wan’t aware of, like out of whack key groups and bent keys. Thanks!
From past experience I’ll say this. Be careful what you straighten. Things may have been bent for a reason. Understand the reasoning before straightening. It can open a can of worms.
These pinky table pictures are from my 1920 curve neck.
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This is from a 1922 straight neck
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for this!
 

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In my opinion the two-roller C# is superior. Unfortunately Conn quit making altos and tenors that way back in the 20s, maintaining it only on the baritone till near the end. Going C# to Bb on the one-roller C# is less convenient.
 

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From past experience I’ll say this. We careful what you straighten. Things may have been bent for a reason. Understand the reasoning before straightening. It can open a can of worms.
Yeah, definitely don't want to go bending keys without understanding the consequences. But yours look pretty unplayable to me. I'd have aligned those one way or another, making sure everything stayed in regulation as I went.
 

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Yeah, definitely don't want to go bending keys without understanding the consequences. But yours look pretty unplayable to me. I'd have aligned those one way or another, making sure everything stayed in regulation as I went.
We should be “ Be”….autocorrect grrrr
The 1920 is ”as found”. I haven’t begun working on it yet. Oddly the table functions quite well. I may just leave it alone. I am the third owner. Purchased from the second owners estate. He acquired this in the early 50s from the first owner. Both previous owners doubled on bassoon and oboe. No clue if there’s any correlation between the three In setup.
 

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We should be “ Be”….autocorrect grrrr
The 1920 is ”as found”. I haven’t begun working on it yet. Oddly the table functions quite well. I may just leave it alone. I am the third owner. Purchased from the second owners estate. He acquired this in the early 50s from the first owner. Both previous owners doubled on bassoon and oboe. No clue if there’s any correlation between the three In setup.
Yeah bassoonists definitely have amazing skills for awkward fingerings that I do not possess. But there's no way I could negotiate that table as-is. I'd run into big trouble the first time I tried to roll from Bb to B. G# to the rest of the table also looks like a nightmare.

But hey, whatever works. You may indeed have some incredible pinky skills that I can't even imagine. Or the other owners may never have even played low Bb. Regardless, I'd find that table unplayable and would have to fix it immediately as I did with my own Conn C melody. I can easily roll from any bell key to another very quickly. It's actually a pretty good design when aligned properly.
 
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