Saxophone Forum


by historicsaxwhisperer
(17 posts)
7 months ago

Crazy Sax Player Loves Conn C Melody Horns

I have many years of saxophone restoration history. During my “Tenure” at the repair table, I have fallen hard for the Conn Straight Neck C Melody. All the American manufacturers made the C melody, but it is Conn that pushed it forward and developed a world class instrument in C. These horns were produced between 1922ish through 1930. The later models were actually keyed like a 6m alto or a 10m tenor, with both bell keys on the right, so post tranny horns. They came in “the poor man’s finish” of raw brass and only a stenciled makers name up to a shiny gold plate with customized engraving and complete pearl touches.

As a collector myself of fine saxophones, I was drooling at the inventory Saxquest has of these RARE instruments. The prices of some of them are very high. NO surprise to me, but probably gets a “Yeah Right” from many players who would wander through their inventory pricing horns. These wonderful horns were only produced for 8 or so years prior to the great depression. Then never again, until lately by some maker overseas.

Comparing this info with the number of horns of all types produced from 1922 through 2014, they are very uncommon indeed. The Conn straight necks are wonderful players and are very colorful additions to any saxophonist in “control of their environment”, meaning they can transpose on the spot, write the music themselves, or just has the insight to be able to juggle the 12 keys freely. I love it when I hear you cannot play along with others and they don’t write music for them. I read this as they don’t write music FOR YOU, because you are not well versed enough on the 12 keys.

When I did restoration work for Cybersax, for a fully reconstructed horn in the most common finish of satin silver with a gold washed bell, silver wear touched up with fresh silver, completely playing better than new, actually being new, cause everything worked and was as originally new, with a refurbished original case was $1500.00. That was in 2006. Prices went higher for the upper end finishes. We never stopped selling them and always had someone in wait for one.

So the next time you have the chance of picking up one of these horns for a few hundred bucks and know you will need to put 500 into it to play it well, decide based on yourself if it is a good deal or if you are a “well versed” enough of a player to make it worthwile.

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by Saxquest
    (321 posts)

    7 months ago

    Re: Crazy Sax Player Loves Conn C Melody Horns

    Greetings-

         Thanks for your post! I agree that the c-melody can be a very interesting saxophone and the straight neck Conn is one of the finest. A quick note, however. I don't think they ever made a c-melody with same side bell keys. I've seen many late vintage c-melodies. The latest one in my collection is 284xxx wich is well into the 6M/10M run. It has opposing bell keys. I've seen several others in the 250xxx, 260xxx and 270xxx range and all had flip flop bell keys. If you know of a later one with same side bell keys, I'd love to know the serial number and see some photos. That would be a new one on me.

    Cheers,
         Mark Overton
         www.saxquest.com

    Reply To Post


    1. by historicsaxwhisperer
      (17 posts)

      7 months ago

      Re: Crazy Sax Player Loves Conn C Melody Horns

      Hers's a possible Urban Legend Mark.  Barry Wilson stated he had a Conn saxophone advertisement for the 6M 10M 12M line of horns that had the bell keys on one side and had an 8m listed as a horn in this category that was available to order. There may be such an advertisement somewhere in the museum info. Maybe if one was ordered, you got a tranny instead.  We assumed if it was advertised it exsisted. I've never seen one myself. I cannot remember seeing a pic, but I may find something archived.

      Reply To Post


  2. by Gregory Butko
    (8 posts)

    7 months ago

    Re: Crazy Sax Player Loves Conn C Melody Horns

    I have quite a few C Melodies in my collection of saxophones including a few Conn straight-necks.  They are supposed to be the best C Melody.

     

    I have three or four in good playing condition, but I have never been able to get them to play in tune.  I have tried original Twenties mouthpieces, contemporary C Melody pieces, and alto and tenor pieces.  They all seem to play pretty well with the exception that middle D and E are quite sharp.  I have the idea that the low octave vent is out of position - but this can't be the case on all these horns.

    I think given a modern mouthpiece, the C Melody can compete with alto or tenor.  It sounds different, but there is nothing wrong with that sound.  Possibly, the unusually small bore could be contributing to intonation problems. 

    I would be interested in anyone's solution to my intonation problems. 

    Reply To Post