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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Discussion Starter #1
I just came to that realization. The ebay auction said "True Tone alto" and I bought it. As I cleaned it up, I wondered why the neck looked different than other TT altos. I thought maybe because it was just the ancient 1917 vintage. Then, I learned the shameful truth. My name is Mark and I'm a C-Melody owner. Everybody: "Hello, Mark!"

Since I bought it on a lark, it's not a big deal. My biggest problem is that I knew that it was missing the mouthpiece before I got it. I ordered a Morgan 5M alto mouthpiece, since that had good reviews by those who own a real honest-to-God Buescher TT alto. Am I screwed with trying to get this mouthpiece to work on a C-Melody?

On the plus side, it's in absolutely beautiful condition and cleaned up perfectly. New pads are going to cost me what I paid for it. No wear on the plating, including the keys, and I couldn't even see the couple of tiny dents until I polished it. The only "large" dent (size of a split-pea) was easily "spooned" out. I'm still kind of excited. I need to read all the posts and find out what, if anything, I can do with this horn besides hanging it on the wall.

I learned to play the clarinet in grade school many years ago because the school didn't have a sax and we couldn't afford to rent one (que the violins). I recently purchased several clarinets, including a contrabass. This purchase was my chance to finally try a sax. I've never even held a sax. This was my dream. I hope I didn't buy some Frankenstein monster horn. Advice and comment is welcome.

Mark X
C-Melody owner
 

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Have you identified the age by serial number or number engraved on the horn?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
More irony. I just bought the alto mouthpiece from junkdude.com. I may try and email and see if it's shipped yet. The Morgan mouthpiece is twice what I paid for the horn. Is it worth it as compared to the $35 C-Mel mp others are talking about?

The serial number is 35,377, which one list showed as 1917. Some of the pads looked to be the original white leather with a single stitch in the middle. Even the case is in good condition, though it had a funky smell. I gave it a shampoo.

Mark X
 

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Just what are you going to do with this horn? There is absolutely no ensemble music written for it and its voice is dated. If you just want to noodle about yourself or read piano music with it, you'll be fine. But should you want to do anything else with it... you're going to find that anything you put into this horn will be a waste of time, effort and money.
 

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My C-melody works fine with tenor mouthpieces. (Couf, Link),

You just have to push them on kind of far. I had a Morgan C-Melody and sold it. It really seemed to be just one of his regular tenor pieces with the shank shortened, perhaps with a few tweaks. I actually played his C-melody piece on tenor in a big-band rehearsal, and it worked fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Grumps said:
There is absolutely no ensemble music written for it and its voice is dated.
That's GREAT. Fantastic, really. My goal in life is to never be part of an "ensemble," play "ensemble music," or be concerned about a "dated" voice.

The sax is only 1917, not 1717, when ensembles were last in vogue. Actually, the word ensemble sounds very "dated."

. . . . . . . . . Excuse me, I fell asleep for a moment just saying the word ensemble.

Needless to say, I'm not concerned with the quirks of the instrument. I just want to maximize it's potential given the quirks.

Mark X
 

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Get the $35 Aquilasax mouthpiece. It is a good start and will make the horn easier to learn. THEN decide if you want to lay down big bucks for a C mouthpiece. A lot depends on how much you will have in the horn. In good conditiion, new pads, shine and clean case, it should be worth about $500 tops BUT these things are increasing in value so it may be a good investment.
Welcome to the rubber room. We have a 12 step program ....... C,C#,D,Eb .......
 

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Bruce I'm offended,
Are you saying the Aquilasax mpc is not a C mel mpc?

I assume it was a typo!

Welcome to the group Mark.
I now have a soprano, alto, 2 c mels, a tenor and a baritone and the C still does it for me.
I consider it the most versatile of the bunch.

And if you want to try transposing just buy some alto music!
 

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Mark Fleming said:
I just came to that realization. The ebay auction said "True Tone alto" and I bought it. As I cleaned it up, I wondered why the neck looked different than other TT altos. I thought maybe because it was just the ancient 1917 vintage. Then, I learned the shameful truth. My name is Mark and I'm a C-Melody owner. Everybody: "Hello, Mark!"...Mark X
C-Melody owner
My name is Rob and I'm a C-Melody owner.....too. ;) I knew a Mark Fleming in Anaheim, CA a few years ago who came from TX. That wouldn't be you, would it? The world can't be that small.

As for the c-mel, I doubt you're the first unwary buyer to get a c-mel when he thought he was buying either a tenor or an alto. I lost count of how many times I've sent a note to sellers who, most likely inadvertently, misrepresent their c-melody sax as an alto or tenor. Sometimes they change their description, sometimes not.

If you didn't sink a lot of money into the c-mel, you might not want to throw good money after bad, IMO. It might be better to either try to get your money back in a re-sale, or cut your losses and go for a genuine alto in decent playing condition.

If I didn't already have my SATB collection, I would not have bought my c-mel. I bought it just to mostly fool around with since I can't think of any current practical application for it. The most commonly referred to advantage of a c-mel is being able to play piano/hymnal parts (in church) without having to transpose. And I'm not engaged in any church gigs at the moment.

I play in four music organizations each week, two swing bands, one concert band and a pops band, and none of them have, or will ever have, parts for a c-melody sax. Of course, the c-mel could play any "C" instrument part, but why? when it's already being played by the instrument for which it was written. I think this is the primary reason c-melody saxes have been rendered into mere curiosities and have little chance of making a comeback.

Just my opinion.

Rob Fleming
C-Melody Owner
 

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Welcome to the C-lub (CA)

Mark,
Some of us are brave enough to say we bought that first C-mel because we wanted it and now live with the addiction. Keep attending your meetings and work the 12 steps of recovery. In the meantime, you'll have fun with the C!
I bought my Conn to play a wealth of C-music that I owned and so that I could easily play along with my wife and sons who all play various instruments. It's been great for that. I don't expect to be 'playing out' except at the occaisional recital.
First of all see what options are with JunkDude. You could easily change order with Dave to a Morgan C-mel. My Morgan #4 C-mel MP arrived this week but took over 3 months from date of order. Ralph is still making them, but not fast.
During my long wait for Ralph, I fell in love with a French wood MP. Ooh-la-la! The tone is exactly what my ear had been waiting for but I still have some 'motorboating' with the lower notes. I drop a couple of corks down the bell and it helps. I also own an Aquilasax and the original Conn Eagle MPs that came with my horn.

'Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine...'
When I opened the Morgan #4, my first thought was it would be a very nice standby MP since I had found my dream MP. I had to use some teflon tape to wrap my cork as the Morgan was sized to fit a fatter cork. A bit of a bummer, but for a standby..this would work.

Well blow me down! This Morgan is PERFECT for my Conn. The motorboating is GONE. I cannot believe it. This MP is a miracle worker. I can play right thru the low end with ease. Not the same tone as the wood Mp but this Morgan#4makes my Conn as easy to play as any other of my horns. It has lifted the shame and stigma of being a C-melody player!!! Now I'm considering getting my neck recorked for this will have to be my MP of choice.

If you think you will stick with the C-mel ( and it sounds like you might - you handled those 'grumpy' comments with grace and style) then a Morgan C-mel piece would be a very good investment. A long wait, but get one whle you can.
In the meantime -months - the Auilasax is great choice -easy to play and very affordable. I'd be happy to sell you mine for very little $ as I am not using it. I've bought reeds from Aquilasax as well.

Welcome to the club!
 

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Mark Fleming said:
That's GREAT. Fantastic, really. My goal in life is to never be part of an "ensemble," play "ensemble music," or be concerned about a "dated" voice.
Okay, forget the word "ensemble" then, and replace it with "band".
And instead of "dated" voice, instead think of sound that no modern band wants and no one is recording with. There is a reason they stopped making these horns. I regularly gig with a sax made in 1917 (and 1920, 1928, 1936 and 1940). The difference with those horns is that they're keyed to either Bb or Eb and I can play them with a community band, school band, big band, jazz ensemble, concert band, small combo, ska band, blues band, rock band, fusion band, dixieland band... you name it. None of those groups however, are going to welcome you and your C Melody. I say this to protect you because you made a very common mistake on Ebay. And yes, despite how an incredibly small niche of players feel about these horns, it was a mistake.

But hey, enjoy your new horn and welcome to the community.
 

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Just for Grumps, and in case no-one noticed Steve's (aka Saxmong) marathon topic - to keep the world informed, latest prototype pics of the new C-Sax at -

http://cmelodysax.co.uk/aquilasax.htm


No connection - just admiration.......


P.S. - Mr Fleming, fine sentiments you express, and I can guarantee that these will not require the player to be part of an ensemble..........ever !

;)
 

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Mark Fleming said:
More irony. I just bought the alto mouthpiece from junkdude.com. I may try and email and see if it's shipped yet. The Morgan mouthpiece is twice what I paid for the horn. Is it worth it as compared to the $35 C-Mel mp others are talking about?

The serial number is 35,377, which one list showed as 1917. Some of the pads looked to be the original white leather with a single stitch in the middle. Even the case is in good condition, though it had a funky smell. I gave it a shampoo.

Mark X
If you decide to go for one of the $35 Aquilasax c-mel mpc's, I'm sure you could easily sell your Morgan 5M alto right here on SOTW, unless you wish to keep it in case you decide to buy an alto sax next.
 

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I think all of us C-mel owners should start our own ensemble. A big band with nothing but C-mels. 28 of them. And any of those other horns that play in the wrong key? we wont let them in. We might let the F mezzos in if any of them are around and they ask real nice, but those Bb, Eb guys are outta there.

Oh yeah and just to make sure we **** off everyone else we'll play glenn miller style arrangement of modern pop/rock tunes and call it Jazz :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Too late on the "not sink money" into the C-Mel. Besides the mouthpiece, I also ordered pads and a neck cork. And, I bought a bunch of used alto sax books off Ebay. Now, I have to transpose "Tie a Yellow Ribbon." I wouldn't want to be part of an ensemble that played the Hits of the 70s, but in the privacy of my own home . . . . . .

I can see where the C-Mel got it's reputation. Just think how many band instructors groaned when generation after generation of students brought in their newly acquired thriftshop C-Mel.

I'm not the Mark Fleming from California (I'm Mark X, remember?), though I bought the sax in Sacramento as I was driving through from Tucson to Seattle last week in my 1973 Volvo. Just happened the the Ebay seller was on the way. Seems I have a thing for funky out-dated junk. Here's me in Death Valley. Good thing it wasn't too sunny, as my air-conditioning quit working in 1996.



As to nobody recording with a C-Mel, that's kind of a coincidence that Grumps would mention it. I just saw that Athony Braxton records with a C-Mel. It's a coincidence because he also records with a LeBlanc paperclip contrabass clarinet. My last purchase/rebuild was a paperclip. My only familiarity with Anthony Braxton is that he comes up with every Google search for contrabass clarinet. Frank Zappa recordings also come up when searching contrabass clarinet. Again, small world. Several of the liner notes on his recordings state the use of a "mystery horn," which most people claim is a C-Mel sax. If Zappa was in an "ensemble," then I might be interested in that type of "band" music. As a benefit, you "must" have a C-Mel to participate.

I'll bet the paperclip has five times the mechanical and tone regulation complexity of the TT, not to mention the nightmare of posts and rods to polish around. I'm still fine-tuning the corks and pads 2 months after the repad. In contrast, if I had the pads for the C-Mel, I think that I could have completely rebuilt it in three evenings.

Here's a photo my paperclip next to my metal soprano clarinet. The soprano has plastic pads so that I can play it in the shower.



Since I already bought Eb sax music off the web, and I have an alto mouthpiece on order, I admit I have been watching the Ebay alto sax ads. I'm fairly certain that I'm in danger of becoming a sax addict. Looking at ads makes me realize what great shape my C-Mel is in. The silver is not even worn off of the thumb rest. It's going to be hard to find an alto in the same condition. I'll post pictures when the C-Mel is done.

Mark X
 
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