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Damaged C Melody


Falmouth Cornwall
Hi All

I have a damaged old C melody and I was wondering if it was worth getting repaired.

I think it may date back to the twenties. I used to play but a small bit of the keywork snapped off and now it is unplayable.

As you can see from the photos there is also some unusual keywork at the lower end of the instrument. A kind of pad within a pad sort of thing. Never seen anything like that before

Are these old horns worth spending money on

Get it playing or hang it on the wall as an ornament?



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The piece that has broken off is attached to the E key and when the E key is depressed the missing piece would have lifted a bar that closes a lot of other keys

Difficult to explain

Why did C Melodies fall out of favour so badly


Well, a few reasons really. Main one was that most band parts for sax were written for Eb or Bb. Also, most were made by US companies which were hard hit in the recession in 1929, so they rationalised their ranges a lot and concentrated on tenor and alto.

C Mels were popular for home entertainment, as they can play from the same music as a piano without transposing. The radio started to arrive about the time of the demise of the C Mel, and it could be that people sought their entertainment at home from that, rather than making their own music.

Many C mels were built to high standards, and are fun to play, but Pete's spot on about the value. You might want to get in touch with Alan at as he is a real expert on them. Incidentally, there is a mini-resurgence in interst in them, and they are now being made again by a firm called Aquilasax. It's a New Zealand based outfit, with saxes made in China.

I have a C mel, a Conn fitted with an Aquilasax tenor-style neck. I use a Berg Larsen 120/0 duckbill tenor mouthpiece on it. Great fun. Lots of people think of C Mels as having a polite, delicate sort of tone. Mine doesn't!:shocked:

Thanks dude

I do get sentimental about things and it is a shame if any instrument comes to the end of it's useful life especially one so old

I will have a look at the link you gave and see what they come up with.

I would love to play the C again

I have a Cmel by Hawkes & Son and mine plays fine. It also plays well in tune. The keywork you refer to gives an awkward spread of fingers for playing. The direct and heavy action for the bell tones makes those notes awkward as well.

Having compared my sax with pictures published on the internet I think that Evette & Schaeffer (Buffet) may have made those saxes for Hawkes & Son.

Wow Alan, that's a great sound on the youtube vid. I've only ever heard the Cmel in the rather cooller, but technically brilliant, hands of Frank Trumbauer. Didn't know that John Dankworth played one. Has anyone else well known ever done so?
Give it a go, Mamos. Could sound great.

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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