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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I took the plunge on a 1923ish Conn C Melody. It’s silver plated, has rolled tone holes and a straight micro-tuner neck. It will need pad work and adjustments, just like any vintage horn.
This is my third vintage horn, so I know the territory. I do have a few questions:

MOUTHPIECE
The original C Melody MPC (Conn Eagle) came with this horn. But I see there are other options:

FAXX
Where do I purchase the FAXX? I see a website, but no option to purchase online…site appears to be directed towards retailers.

Caravan
Used his nino piece and did not like it (well made, however). Is the C MPC worth looking at?

Morgan or SaxQuest Tram (too expensive for me to justify)

Mystery Ebay Model (link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/C-Melody-Saxophone-mouthpiece-New-Great-Deal-Hard-Rubber/153653249532?hash=item23c67285fc:g:zUcAAOSwz05cCBmi)
Is this a viable option? This does not appear to come from China and looks to be made by JJ Babbitt.

REEDS
Yes, I have read the prior posts. So either tenor reeds or bass clarinet?

CASE
This horn’s case is falling apart. Can I order a tenor sax case and just add padding? Will contoured tenor sax cases (like Protec or SKB) work? What about the Chinese C melody shops, will their cases work, or is the split bell an issue?

Any other suggestions or recommendations? I plan to use this in a church band (Moravian Band). Thanks!
 

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Some folks experiment, and find tenor OR alto mouthpieces that work. Maybe someone will chime in with the formula, or examples. I found a tenor mouthpiece that works with mine. The case issue will be difficult because the bow to bell distance is shorter, so you'll have to dig that out, and then the left hand bell key will need a pocket, you'll have to dig that out. I found out recently that a shoe repair shop does case and luggage repair. You might check into that.
 

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As to the case, I suspect that contoured tenor cases will all have way too much room (foam rubber can fix this) and for some of them the different shape of the C might be a problem. I do successfully use an SKB "Pro" contoured case for my 10M which has both bell keys on the left. This is the one with the pocket on the outside and a neck slot inside. So I know of one case which will accommodate a left-side-key tenor. Can't promise it will fit your C.

I suspect any of the rectangular tenor cases will work fine with additional foam rubber padding. But they're going to be unnecessarily huge.

You can refit your existing case for short money but it'll take some labor - rip out all the inside padding (that never really padded anything very well anyway), repair the box with fiberglass cloth and resin, get some black velvet cloth and thick foam rubber and cut the foam to fit, wrap it with the cloth, put it in the case. You don't need to specially fit the cloth or secure it to the foam and you can simply press the foam rubber down into the case. My baritone case, done this way, continues to serve me more than 20 years after I did the repair. Hinges and latches are easy to replace with parts from the hardware store, pop rivets with proper backing washers will secure them just fine.
 

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Tenor sax gig bag, if you want to go cheap. Getting the original mouthpiece refaced might be a possibility too. The Morgan is the best I have played, but I haven't tried them all.
 

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I have the Caravan and Morgan mouthpiece. Both are excellent; the Caravan a little darker and smooth. The Caravan sopranino mouthpiece is different in feel and response from his others; it is an acquired taste (that works well on my sopraninos, both with soprano and sopranino reeds!). The Caravan C Melody responds more "normally" as his other mouthpieces.
Paul Cohen
 

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"Generic" C-melody cases are still made. Ask your local repair shop if they can get them. I got one for my Conn C-melody this past April, and it fits well. I am not sure who supplies them -- maybe Deg or Interstate Music Supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
UPDATE - Thank you for the responses! Dr. Cohen, I will try the Caravan.

So, I took a chance on Ebay and bought this Conn C Melody, and I think I lucked up:

1. The pads are really good...looks like someone did a full re-pad not long ago...modern resonators, too. However, the horn needs adjusting and new corks ($ for my technician at my local store).

2. No major plating dirt or grim! The silver plate finish is probably 85% or better. Looks like the gold wash is coming off the top of bell, but it would all still polish up nicely (I am only concerned on the bell/bow, the rest I just like it clean).

3. What I assume to be the original mouthpiece is in fair shape and no chips I can see...but I think I will get a more modern mouthpiece.

4. The case is shot...wood busted and held together by the leather facing. I like old cases, but this thing has had it. I do own a Protec contoured tenor sax case (XL), so I just did some testing. It fits in there (bell, too), but will need some padding from the neck up. I may try an alto case, too. Will also ask my store if they can special order a new one designed for C melody.
 

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Hope you enjoy the C. I have a '22. It is a great horn. The eagle mpcs are really closed and tubby. I bought the FAXX mpc several years ago and really like it. I would love to have a morgan but just cannot justify the expense especially when the horn just is not worth that much. I refurbed my oem case. It was in pretty good structural shape just musty and worn in side. SKB used to make a C mel case. Not sure if it is still available.
 

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Morgan is the best hands down for me. Really not that expensive for a hand made piece. Considering the mouthpiece is more important than the horn, I think youd do well to invest in one. Best of luck!

- Saxaholic
 

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My C-melody is a Conn NWI from 1923, which i got in as-new condition for a good price on eBay and then had completely overhauled, because the original (!) pads weren't sealing as well as they should. What follows here below comes from my own experiences after that.

Don't use a tenor mouthpiece — they're hard to get up to pitch. Conversely, alto pieces tend to play sharp — if you can get them onto the neck cork at all. Go for a dedicated C-melody piece. I have the original piece and two modern ones, as follows:

The cheapest of them is the FAXX C-melody mouthpiece. I bought one online. There's a plastic version and an ebonite one. The ebonite (hard rubber) is the one to go for; it's a good mouthpiece, and very cheap, too. Check out Dawkes & co. in England:

https://www.dawkes.co.uk/woodwind-accessories/saxophone-accessories/saxophone-c-melody

They also do C-melody cases, by the way.

The Morgan mouthpieces may be a bit pricey, but they're the best. I was lucky enough to find one 2nd hand here on SotW a few years ago.

I've been considering getting a Saxquest C-melody piece to try out, but as you noted, they're a bit expensive, too…

As for the original Conn C-melody piece: the only thing wrong with it will be that its tip is too closed for modern playing. I got mine opened out to .105 by Mojo Bradbury. He did a great job on it — I highly recommend his work.

These days I use all three — mainly the Morgan or the Mojoed Conn; sometimes the FAXX. They all use tenor reeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Alright, my sax has returned from my woodwind tech/music shop and I am playing it now:

- Mouthpiece: I went with the Caravan mouthpiece...works great! Nice tone, projection and in tune. Using a 1990's tenor Rovner ligature (the older ones with the "R" stamped on the sides) and a Java tenor reed.
- Case: I am airing the original case out now on my porch, and will attempt to repair the wood corners that have come unhinged and add some additional "L" brackets. The velvet lining is worth leaving alone, still in decent shape and not torn.
- Music: I am playing this horn in a Moravian church band, using the C soprano part. American Moravian band music is written in four parts (S/A/T/B) and the C soprano part is within an effective range to play for this instrument (not too far above or below the lines).

Love this horn! Really neat playing it. And I scored a good deal! 95% silver plate in tact, and all new pads, for $200 and shipping.
 
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