Saxophone Forum

by mrsaxomaphone
(2 posts)
6 years ago

New or Old C-Melody

Hello all, this is my first post.

I am a professional and am interested in purchasing a C-Melody horn. My purpose is essentially to play some old school tunes, (Rudy Weidolft etc). I totally realise what sort of beast a C-Melody is and what an oddity it is. HOWEVER my question is

Do I look for one of the old Vintage Conn's from the 20's or so OR do I buy one of the New Chinese Horns.

I realise that the Chinese stuff is of not great quality at all but compared to a horn from the 20's I'd imagine they'd probably be better in tune and the machinery actually better.

Although I play, love and own many MKVI's I also have Series III horns which I love just as much. New Tech versus old is a spiral of never-ending debate!

I'm keen to hear everyone's thoughts.

BTW, I totally do not expect any C-Melody to play like a Selmer! 

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  1. by GFC
    (842 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: New or Old C-Melody

    There are new Chinese c-melody horns?  That's interesting.......


    I'd go with a Conn from the mid-to-late 1920s.  They're dirt cheap; if there's a new c-melody going for what an old Conn would go for, chances are it is a low quality horn.  There are dedicated c-melody forums elsewhere and one resident expert on this forum who can assist you on your journey into c-melody land.

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  2. by historicsaxwhisperer
    (644 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: New or Old C-Melody

    You Are Singing my Song!!, in the key of C.

    I have never played any of the cheap Asian brass C melodys, but they do interest me.


    Refurbishing Conn Melody saxess is my preferred thing. They are very unique, Way ahead of the game in sound and workmanship. Get a straight neck horn with a tuning Mechanism.

    1923 to 1930. The older ones are very common. The later years are quite rare.

    Raw Brass is the less desired, but the best vibrating and sounding.

    I just finished one up last night. Mine will be headed to ebay soon. Mine has gold plated keys with silver body, gold  touch points and a serial number just above 100XXX. 8 years ago I could have gotten a solid 1200 to 1500 for it. In todays market, I'll be lucky to get 900 for it. Bench time for a setup such as this would easily cost the regular person 800 bucks. my nitch is I do my own work and have 25 years experience. Its a hobby to my Bank Job.

     Here are the problematic issues with getting a used carcass then having it refurbed to be a true excellent playing Cadillac.

    *Shell Rollers almost always are fused into place. If they cannot be forced to turn, it is simply best to break them off with plyers, keeping the screw and replace them. There are now some very nice plastic replacements that slmost look original shell


    *Pivot lock screws are microscopic and sometimes hard to remove.


    *Use only conn Reso Pads. These pads use no glue and the correct fit is extremely tight.

    Most Techs just use a smaller size and then use glue. Bad move. The seal will not be correct.

    * Neck tuning Mech must be dissasembled and repacked. This in itself can take a number of hours unless you got the right tool.

    *Forked Eflat key. You need someone to set it up correctly.

    Finally, a correctly set up Conn straight neck wont play like a Selmer, better yet, it will play like a wonderful Conn 10M. They have a wonderful sound and a wonderful feel. If set up correctly.

    So, it comes down to you finding a tech that will man up and be honest with you. Either they do or dont know what they are doing when the refurbish a vintage horn. They definitely are not selmers.

    BTW, selmer did make one. Check out the selmer museum items here on this site.

    Selmer Paris not Selmer USA.


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    1. by mrsaxomaphone
      (2 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: New or Old C-Melody

      Thanks for the replies. 
      The Thomass C melody is about $1200 AUD delivered.
      I can pick up a  CONN NEW WONDER-II and have it restored for a total of about $1750 Australian. 

      Thoughts anyone?


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      1. by historicsaxwhisperer
        (644 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: New or Old C-Melody

        Go with the Asian horn.

        The Asian horn for Approx 860 US

        American Jewel for 1250. US

        And there seems to be no concern about an inferior made horn, with no reputation, that nobody has ever heard of. and you are a performer......


        Go Cheap. I'm sure the Asian horn will never be worth more than 500 used no matter its condition.

        The Vintage American Made Historic Horn, 

         Probably will only increase in value in the future.

        You can buy an already set up and playing wonderful Conn C Melody from Saxquest. in the 1250 range. With a guarantee. I guess you'll have imprt cost on top  with that situation.

        I myself, would prefer the vintage historic jewels that are here in the US stay in the US.

        Good Luck

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    2. by mmorzinski
      (1 post)

      6 years ago

      Re: New or Old C-Melody

      I have a Conn tenor sax and cannot find the model or serial number. Can anyone tell me where to look? The bell is engraved with stars, USA, and Conn.

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      1. by JonHuff
        (120 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: New or Old C-Melody

        That is probably a Conn "Shooting Star" model, made in the '60's and early '70's. The serial number for these is on the back side of the instrument, just below the "thumb hook". Probably starts with an N. You can google Conn Shooting Star and compare pictures to confirm that's what you've got.

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