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Saxophones C melody saxophone purchase - new or vintage?

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I am a returning saxophone player (see my profile) with braod musical tastes. I recently purchased a Yamaha YAS 280 alto sax, my first sax in over twenty years. Almost like riding a bicycle - fantastic :)) Unfortunately, some of my old frustrations are starting to resurface - even increased from last time I played an alto sax. My personal opinion is that the sheet music market for alto saxofones (maybe tenor as well) is a nightmare. A relatively small selection of tunes in specific musical genre... Stan Getz' Bossa Novas can't even be had for alto sax, not to mention a very small and pre-selected selection of Santana latin-rock as well as other Latin songs (where is Vaya Con Dios, Gypsy Kings, etc?) Anyway, this isn't a rant.

I am considering purchasing a C melody saxophone to overcome some of the limitations of the sheet music market, not to mention my lack of understanding of how to transpose (x 100 songs in "C" that I already own). The question is, should I buy vintage or modern? Thomann has a C Melody sax that looks a lot like the Sakkusu C Melody reviewed on this forum (I am aware it could be a totally different sax despite looks), called the CMA-600 L. I also see that there is a Conn New Wonder from 1923 for sale on the local equivalent of Ebay for a reasonable price. The question is which should I go for? I assume that Thomann has pretty good quality control over its chinese produced horn. On the otherhand, the Conn probably has a vintage fingering pattern which would make it less atractive, despite the cheaper price.

Advice, please :)
 

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I'd suggest Modern ! . there are no intonation or other issues and the Sakkusu ones run on Alto mouthpieces

The Sakkusu is excellent apart from one handling point , it was made from an Alto design (and Alto & Tenor keywork) the side trills are further from the thumbrest than is normal - see my review of the horn here

 
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I'd suggest Modern ! . there are no intonation or other issues and the Sakkusu ones run on Alto mouthpieces

The Sakkusu is excellent apart from one handling point , it was made from an Alto design (and Alto & Tenor keywork) the side trills are further from the thumbrest than is normal - see my review of the horn here
Thanks for your view. I already read your review - at least four times :) Excellent review. I am curious with the side trill issue if it would be an advantage to have relativley large hands/long fingers?
 
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Thanks for your view. I already read your review - at least four times :) Excellent review. I am curious with the side trill issue if it would be an advantage to have relativley large hands/long fingers?

Reaching it wasn`t a problem - I use the side C a lot and play other horns mainly tenor so did find it a distraction as muscle memory has my finger going for a known position, if the Sak was the only horn It`d not be a problem ... it`s of course a non issue to those who don`t use the side C more than the main one .

TO be honest it could be fixed with a raised & stepped thumbrest mod to allow it to be positioned where it would be on the Alto, not a hard mod . My need for a better Alto outweighed my need for a C melody so I sold it to Pyrografix (poster on these forums) so didn`t get around to making a modded rest .
 
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A reply from Thomann to an e-mail from me states:

"The c-Melody from Thomann is a rebuild of the old Conn or Martin Saxophones . These are china made and we are content with the intonation. The sax is an intermediate model."

Sounds like the same as yours, doesn't it?
Reaching it wasn`t a problem - I use the side C a lot and play other horns mainly tenor so did find it a distraction as muscle memory has my finger going for a known position, if the Sak was the only horn It`d not be a problem ... it`s of course a non issue to those who don`t use the side C more than the main one .

TO be honest it could be fixed with a raised & stepped thumbrest mod to allow it to be positioned where it would be on the Alto, not a hard mod . My need for a better Alto outweighed my need for a C melody so I sold it to Pyrografix (poster on these forums) so didn`t get around to making a modded rest .

I see the Thomann version has an adjustable thumb rest. Would that solve the problem or would it simply need to be further away from the sax body?

Any difficulties with tuning?

I have seen a couple of postings in German complaining that a couple of pads leaked and the micro tuner was wobbly on the Thomann version. No issues like that with yours?
 

kevgermany

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There's a UK website called C Melody Sax (or similar). Not sure how active it still is, but I've found a lot of useful information there.
 

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the Sakkusu is basically a cross between a Yani 901 and an SA80 turned into a C Melody and nothing whatsoever like an old Conn .... the thumbrest is adjustable but not enough as there`s a tone hole in the way - hence the stepped rest .. as I said, it`d not be a problem if its your main horn OR you don`t live on the Side C like I Do ...... Sax.co chose the factory in china as they offered the best quality for the money.

the Microtuners are a bit loose on the Saks too . Tuning with an Alto piece is superb but there`s no guarantee the Thomann will be
 

Vlad

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Hate to buck the trend, but someone always does ! ...I'd personally prefer the Conn, if it's significantly cheaper to begin with you can afford to get it nicely set up too, and it'll still be around when the Chinese one has become ..err..something else !
I would think long term it would tend to hold it's value better too.
Again all just my opinion if it were ME buying..!
 

ProfJames

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I would like to disagree with Vlad. I would go for a vintage Martin C melody as opposed to a Conn! For exactly the reasons he described!
 

Vlad

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^ Touche..Prof !! Actually I'd agree, a Martin would certainly sound better ! :)
 
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kevgermany

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Thomann has the advantage of a decent mouthpiece, even if the tip is a bit narrow. The make isn't well known in the UK though.

Only Thomann sax I've seen was pretty good.
 

jonf

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I've got a vintage Conn C mel. It's been repadded with modern reflector pads, has new blued springs and I have both the original micro-tuner neck and a tenor style one. The tenor wstyle neck allows me to use a tenor mouthpiece - I use a Brilhart Level Air 9 on it, which is great. About as far from the traditional C mel parlour sound as it's possible to get. With the microtuner neck I can use a metal c mel mouthpiece I've got, or a Rico Metalite or Sharkbite tenor mouthpiece, both of which have been modified - shortened by just over 1cm - to work well on a c mel.

I find the ergonomics to be fine, certainly better than my vintage Buescher alto, and the sound is great, really beefy and full. Highly recommended.
 

Greg Strange

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Appears to be a no brainer. May as well try the Thomann C-Melody - you live in Denmark and Thomann is based in Germany. Thomann have a 30 day return policy - if you don't like it then return it and look out for a vintage C-Melody...

or the best of both worlds have a modern one and a vintage one...:rofl:

Greg S.

P.S. If I recall correctly 'Davesaxyboy' had a Thomann curved soprano and thought it was a very good sax.
 
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BigMartin

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Don't shoot me, but I think it's worth learning to transpose anyway, even if you still want a C-melody. It's good for your ear and for your knowledge of scales and chords and for when the singer says ""This is too high for me, can we do it in Bb?"
 

jazzdoh

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My choice would be go vintage,they can be picked up quite cheap and have the Conn,Martin,Buescher and King build quality,with the right mouthpiece you can get whatever sound concept you like.
 

Greg Strange

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Have a drool over this beauty...


and legendary LA session sax man Dan Higgins playing a C-Melody...


and Junkdude (Dave Hoskins) has some nice horns...

http://www.junkdude.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=JD&Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=UCSX

Greg S.
 
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