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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #1
In another, parallel, thread there have been outmoded, historical, inaccurate and disparaging remarks made with regard to the sound of the C Melody saxophone. It's sound being described as "Crying platypus in a sleeping bag" and similar calumnies.
In the 1920s, the tenor, a dance band instrument, was described as a flaccid, flabby, syrupy, wimpy farty gurgle. An accurate description because of the style, the hardware & requirements of the period.
Coleman Hawkins shewed the cojones of the instrument, & because of him it developed the sound that we know today.
The contemporary C Melody, also of the 1920s, suffered to a greater degree...not only a dance band instrument but played at home, it's player looking smugly over the pianist's shoulder with slicked down hair & a mouthpiece lay which was designed not to awaken Granny from her slumbers in front of the parlour fire.
The C Melody died in 1929, a victim of the Wall Street Crash, therefore having no Coleman Hawkins figure to display it's nasty side.
I would ask those whose views on the sound of a C Melody have been passed, unquestioned, down through the generations, to listen to this clip
This is a Buescher TT C Melody.
I stole this from an ebay listing (No. 260724769768) which is advertising a mint, original to the level of white pillow pads, gold plated Buescher TT...a lovely horn & worth a look.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
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very contemporary........not dead, although some that I've seen , definitely smell funny
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Champion of the C-Me
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I think you'll find that the sax player is Al Mclean, loads of him on YouTube, also under "Chateauguay Tenors". Based in Canada.

I've collected [rolleyes] a few clips of him playing C-Mels, he sounded great on a Martin C-Mel as well. Considering he uses a large chamber alto mouthpiece he gets a good sound.

If you want to compare the sounds Al and fellow sax player Cameron Wallis get on alto, C-Mel and tenor, so you can also tell how they sound on 'regular saxes', take a look/listen to this YouTube offering -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6VCAwXFHZ4

From about 2:15, Cameron seems to be playing a Buescher (?) with what almost looks like a 'stock' 20's mouthpiece... Much meatier sound than the Conn C-Mel that Al played
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #5
No surprises there cmelodysax. We both know the difference between a Buescher & a Conn C Mel.
That "stock" mouthpiece that Cameron is playing is probably stock only on the outside.

P.S. How do you know all this stuff? :)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
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wow very wicked Capn...

yep i get a hell of a lot of sound out of my 1923? Bouscher TT c mel which has been rebuilt with music medic pads and plastic resonators... the mouth piece that I am using is a modern Runyon c-mel size 8.
 

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C melody saxes can definitely be lively (as opposed to not stirring grandmother from her nap!), and are fun to see in a modern setting. I can't remember the name of the group, but I once saw a big band from Germany that had a saxophonist exclusively playing a C melody through the performance (a Conn straight neck I think...although a bit fuzzy on that since it was probably 10 years or so ago). It was a nice change of pace to see/hear someone soloing on a C melody (and it screamed!).

That Buescher C mel has been on my watch list since it came up...it is a very beautiful horn indeed (although based on the serial number it's actually a '23, and not a '25). It's always really neat (well, to me at least) to come across a 20's sax that has been so well preserved, and is still playable on such old pads. If I were looking for a C mel, that one would make the perfect companion for my original '25 alto.

But I'm quite happy with my '23 Conn! As far as C melodies go, I actually lean towards preferring the sound of a Conn.

When it comes to mouthpieces, generally I use older pieces...but I've been curious about the modern mouthpieces out there for C mel's. Fremont, what do you think about the Runyon?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
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Fremont, what do you think about the Runyon?
Not only do I, a rank amateur, love it but the tech who is a professional sax player here in the sf bay area loves the combination. My only complaint is the plastic ligature that comes with it. For as much as it costs I would think they could have provided a better one.

To make the story longer....

I brought the sax into Gabe Eaton at allegro Music in Fremont and Gabe looks it over and claims... I can rebuild it and make it beautiful, but it will still sound like sh*t. But I persisted and he rebuilt it and while he did I found the mouth piece and then dropped it off so that Gabe could set the horn up for it.

result... when I went to pick it up it was.... Gabe "I don't want to give it back to you this thing sounds great"..... "bring back in a couple of weeks to recheck" which I did and again when I came to pick it up...it was... "I don't want to give it back"......
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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I bought a Morgan C (large-ish chamber, but uses tenor reeds). No baffle to speak of, so there's sort of a Victrola sound to it (Grumps description).

Picked up an Aquilasax large chamber metal for the C and their C-mel reeds. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit over the neck ring of the Buescher TT series 3, which is a problem on an instrument I"d rather not butcher (prefer not to permanently modify any of mine). Doesn't look like there's enough meat on the Aquilasax mouthpiece to route it out to fit over the neck ring, so unless you have a straight neck Conn or a horn without the neck ring (curl) or are willing to permanently adjust the neck, then I wouldn't go this route.

Haven't tried the Runyon, but I'd love to here comments on it -- particularly regarding whether or not it fits the Buescher neck.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
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Haven't tried the Runyon, but I'd love to here comments on it -- particularly regarding whether or not it fits the Buescher neck.
It does. Inside diameter of the Runyon neck is a tad over 17 mm. The neck metal is 16mm and the cork is setup to a tad over 17 mm.

If you want a photo I can send you one?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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I think you'll find that the sax player is Al Mclean, loads of him on YouTube, also under "Chateauguay Tenors". Based in Canada.

I've collected [rolleyes] a few clips of him playing C-Mels, he sounded great on a Martin C-Mel as well. Considering he uses a large chamber alto mouthpiece he gets a good sound.

If you want to compare the sounds Al and fellow sax player Cameron Wallis get on alto, C-Mel and tenor, so you can also tell how they sound on 'regular saxes', take a look/listen to this YouTube offering -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6VCAwXFHZ4

From about 2:15, Cameron seems to be playing a Buescher (?) with what almost looks like a 'stock' 20's mouthpiece... Much meatier sound than the Conn C-Mel that Al played
I thought the bass player was going to bite off his tongue.
 

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I bought a Morgan C (large-ish chamber, but uses tenor reeds). No baffle to speak of, so there's sort of a Victrola sound to it (Grumps description).

Picked up an Aquilasax large chamber metal for the C and their C-mel reeds. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit over the neck ring of the Buescher TT series 3, which is a problem on an instrument I"d rather not butcher (prefer not to permanently modify any of mine). Doesn't look like there's enough meat on the Aquilasax mouthpiece to route it out to fit over the neck ring, so unless you have a straight neck Conn or a horn without the neck ring (curl) or are willing to permanently adjust the neck, then I wouldn't go this route.

Haven't tried the Runyon, but I'd love to here comments on it -- particularly regarding whether or not it fits the Buescher neck.
Maddenma,
if you didn't like the Morgan, I don't believe the Runyon will be your choice. I had one (without the optional baffle), and although it played well in intonation on both my Conn and Buescher Cs, it is limited on sound projection and pallete.
I like the Morgan better myself. It's more free blowing and gives me a wider range of choices between subtones and screaming.
Depending on what kind of sound you are looking for, Tenor pieces will be your best choice.
 

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I prefer the classic 1920s sound of the Goldbeck MP, which was used by Trumbauer, Wiedoeft, etc.. It is sweet, but has a metal edge to it. My son-in-law has an original brass Holton C melody with the original soft white pads. It is surprisingly lively even without resonators. I just sold a gold Martin on Ebay. it plays with a big sound (for a C) and looks gorgeous. if I were playing aggressive jazz, I would go with the Martin.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Maddenma,
if you didn't like the Morgan, I don't believe the Runyon will be your choice. I had one (without the optional baffle), and although it played well in intonation on both my Conn and Buescher Cs, it is limited on sound projection and pallete.
I like the Morgan better myself. It's more free blowing and gives me a wider range of choices between subtones and screaming.
Depending on what kind of sound you are looking for, Tenor pieces will be your best choice.
On the Morgan, I found myself wanting to put a baffle of some kind in it -- at least a roll-over. Core sound is good, really just lacks any edge.
 

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Regarding the old white pads. I have 3 similar Conns, a gold plate with whites, silver with gold keys, also white and a Virtuoso gold plate with new resonator pads. The best player is the silver/gold. Somehow the white pads add a bit of darkness to the sound and using an alto mouthpiece it is a nice balance. I have a Martin with the new pads and it is a nice horn. I am selling my Holton that is all original as the white pads are too far gone and I just don't have the time to redo it however, the thread here at SOTW may make me fix it up as many consider the Holtons to be quite good.
 

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Thanks for posting that! Makes me want to get my old Buescher C-melody refurbished. I had no idea they had such potential.
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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Well I've read an awful lot about C-melody saxes on this forum. I have harboured a yen to own one for years and years. While they crop up on US and UK eBay all the time, they are very rare in Australia. I don't know anyone that owns or plays one here and I've never seen one in over 40 years of playing. So, I've read that opinion seems to come down on the side of vintage models properly set up and refurbished.

Well, I've taken that advice and filed it. Instead I've just ordered an Aquilasax as a 61st birthday present to myself. Don't flame me - I felt I needed to buy a new horn with dealer back-up. NZ is not far away. I'll let you know how I fare. Fingers crossed!
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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What a brilliant clip.

Nonetheless I find this thread annoying in the sense that it makes me wish i hadn't traded in my TT c-mel. Hmm..

Anyone know what mp the guy's playing in the clip? Modified or something? I always found that the mp issue was the most off-putting thing about c-melodys.

Ebay 260724769768 is way too expensive for a cmel, I think. I mean it's hugely above market value.

Idea light goes on: see sig.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
My bet is that is a tenor RPC.
I, and others here, use modern Bb tenor pieces...the horn seems tolerant to mouthpieces....anything you require from soft & mellow to the sound on the initial clip.
Apparently alto mouthpieces work well too.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Well I always found Bb tenor mps were great for tone but troublesome for intonation. But hey, my intonation's troublesome at the best of times so what does that prove?
 
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