Aquilasax alto sax review

I thought I’d start a new topic for this one, as the quality of the alto has a lot of bearing on the emergence of the new C Sax -it’s from the same factory. Out of the case –

http://www.cmelodysax.co.uk/sounds/aquilasax-setup.mp3

And here’s a longer sample of the Aquilasax alto, with one of Steve’s own Aquilasax #7 ($50, yes, $50) metal mouthpieces !

http://www.cmelodysax.co.uk/sounds/grover-aquilasax-aqmpc.mp3

and for comparison, this is my Martin Magna alto – same reed, same mouthpiece, same day, same settings.

http://www.cmelodysax.co.uk/sounds/grover-magna-aqmpc.mp3

(N.B. – edited 21 May to include the two longer samples on this ‘front page’)

Update – 22 May – Read the first draft of the review here….

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72 Responses to Aquilasax alto sax review

  1. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    uh, formatting problem? Or is it just me? And where is this sound sample?

  2. al says:

    Owen – I was still posting….. I like to check what it looks like “live”, as I go. The sound sample is there now. Patience young man, are you psychic or something ?

  3. Lewis Pelham says:

    Sounds good to me…just love the last note. Presumably it handles well also. Would it be a good comparison to slip the MPC/reed combo onto your Martin alto and do a similar recording for comparison? Same set-up, same day.

  4. Gandalfe says:

    Very nice sound. It’s nice to know that we are making progress towards the modernized C melody. I assume there were no ergo problems to speak of? :o)

  5. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    Ah, right 🙂 sorry.

    Doesn’t sound bad actually, i agree with Lewis that a comparison with the Martin would be nice…

    Intonation doesn’t seem too bad either.

  6. al says:

    Lewis/Owen – I’m out of time today, indeed for a couple of days. I need to do a sensible review of the alto – and more sounds, with my Berg on the Aquilasax, and that mpc on my Martin Magna, etc etc.. I suspect that the Martin may be the loser in brightness and intonation, but will hopefully have a wider tonal response. I should hope so, otherwise I’m off to China !

    Gandalfe (I’m honoured….) – don’t forget this is the alto not the ‘C’, and no – no real ergo problems except that I never have been a great fan of the modern ’tilting table’. But all along the way Aquilasax has been an ‘unknown quantity’ outside NZ, so it’s good to try an alto from the same factory that’s making the C. I’m realistic enough to know that the C is a completely new project, the alto has doubtless been cloned (looks very similar to the Selmer Prelude AS700), but the build quality is impressive, and it’s a solid alto. Plays well too……. Bodes well for the new ‘C’.

    Coming back to comparative sounds – I’ll probably have to play something simple’ish from sheet music. I’ve been cursed all my life that I can never play anything quite the same, each time it’s different. In the past when I’ve had the opportunity to record any sax/flute in a studio environment, I’d have to remind the sound man to record the warm-up/levels run through. Very likely to be the best (and most spontaneous) contribution ! Scares me witless when I hear “Can you do that again – don’t change a thing…..” 😦 Aaaargh ! I’m a jazzer, what do you expect ?

  7. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan. In my view, that is the only way to play a saxophone…straight from the heart. If you want to play the dots written by someone else then it must be the oboe..:-))
    Provided that a sax. player knows a few heads; viz Scrapple from the Apple etc. it should all be impro.
    Obviously, if you are a sax holder in a Soul band then you have to know their riffs. 🙂

  8. al says:

    Lewis – as I’ve probably bored you with my “tales from the Soul era”,. you’ll know that I was there, every time I hear ‘Hold On – I’m Coming’ or ‘Knock on Wood’, the feet start shuffling and the arms start swinging ! I found the synchronised movements more difficult to remember than the riffs. A bad riff can only be out of tune, but swing the sax the wrong way and it’s like a motorway collision……. Just glad I didn’t play bari often, that was a big chunk of metal to whirl like a Dervish !

    So maybe I’ll record a selection of soul riffs to compare the saxes………..(but without the movements – we were always very difficult to amplify as a section, lots of fading and doppler effects, that’s where the big Shures with a huge pickup area came in handy…..) Ah – Memories…….

  9. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    How are you getting on Alan?

  10. al says:

    Owen – weekend, chill time, car boot(s), family & dogs…. Although I’m (early) retired, I still try and have the weekends off. And, more seriously, as I live in a terraced house I try and spare the neighbours eardrums at the weekend. Just a few quick ‘posts’ and listening to the rain incessantly bouncing off the conservatory roof – where has that heatwave gone that we were all huffing and puffing about last week ?

  11. Lewis Pelham says:

    Judged only by the picture of Ace and her little pal, it is about time that you cut your lawn too. 🙂

  12. al says:

    Not my lawn, I just have bark chips and weeds, and an acre of conveniently council-manicured grass just ouside the gate…. But dogs just love to lie in the long grass, every dogs home should have some handy. If you look top right at the “Blogroll”, and then click on “al’s picture gallery”, I’m in the process of putting the best of my photo’s on the web, including (of course) dog ones. Far (very very far….) from being finished, like most things in my life – but relaxing fun. I can’t ever imagine being bored…….

  13. al says:

    Comparative sound samples ( Martin vs. Aquilasax) should be available within a few days. Possibly versions of Grover Washington’s “Make Me A Memory/Sad Samba” for the high floaty stuff, and “In a Sentimental Mood” for the slow low notes ( I have backing tracks for both). I may even record the same tunes with C-Mel and C-Sop as well ! That’ll be interesting. Not full length, because of download times, but there’ll be enough to get a good feel for the differences in sound.

    But, playing both alto’s have led to some interesting revelations. i originally used Steves Aquilasax metal mouthpiece on the Aquilasax, but thought it was a bit too smooth for my Martin Magna. But then my bronze Berg (great on the Magna) was a bit too ‘toppy’ on the Aquilasax. Dilemna, as I prefer my Berg – but, after a bit more blowing on the Aquilasax metal alto mouthpiece I’m finding edgier sounds and more dynamics. Just a case of getting to know it. So, I may well go with the Aquilasax metal mpc for both alto’s – that surprises me, it’s a very usable mouthpiece. Maybe I should try the Aquilasax metal C-Mel mpc ?

    Call me a bit of a perfectionist, but I want to get settled, and happy, with the alto sounds before I bare my soul to the internet…….(pun intended). Lewis – I must take a picture of the pinkie table on the Martin Magna. It’s still the best table I’ve ever played. I’ll probably open a new posting for the sound samples, rather than bury them in this one.

  14. Lewis Pelham says:

    Left hand little finger tables must be a matter of familiarity. Personally, I could never get used to the awkward “back to front” operation of the low C# key on old saxes. Neither, it seems, could others..otherwise no-one would have followed Selmer down the road of positioning the axles down the front. There is now no maker who uses the old American system. Even on Steve’s new C Mel, a much vaunted feature is “modern keywork”. I rest my case m’lud.
    With regard to our perpetual dilemma of mouthpieces…how I envy Lee Allen, who, it is said, used the mouthpiece which came with his first sax, for his entire career.

  15. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    It seems to me that Steve’s products are surprisingly good. I may consider buying more.

  16. al says:

    Owen, well, I’ve tried his ebonite C-Mel, and the Metal alto, mouthpieces, and they are both (especially for the price) good. Like I said, probably the metal C-mel is worth trying for a brighter sound than the ebonite – which is a better version of the traditional ebonite C-mel mpc. Sound samples soon……..

    Lewis, below is a picture of the Martin Magna pinkie table. Naturally it has the articulated G# thingy. Note the bell Bb is actuated by both the lower plate, and the roller on the far LHS (looking at the pic). I find that this ‘dual’ L-shaped arrangement works perfectly, whether I switch from a sax that has an inline Bb or one under……

  17. Lewis Pelham says:

    Yes Alan; good idea and good photograph. This covers both of the usual positions for the bell Bb. However, it is the low C# which I find inaccessible when playing quickly, and your Martin suffers from this back to front rotation….fingers do not work that way. Have you ever driven a VW Beetle? It has the pedals pivoting at the floor…ankles do not work that way. 🙂

  18. Lewis Pelham says:

    Your G# key looks as if it were made for the finger to slip off. I should mention perhaps that I use low C# even for G# in the higher register…that interlinking system saves un- necessary finger movement.
    On old horns I do it the other way round; by linking together the G# and low C#. I find the G# more ergo friendly, so again, one fingering covers G# and low C#.
    It is said that, if a new proceedure were required, Henry Ford gave the problem to the laziest chap in the shop…good thinking Henry!

  19. Lewis Pelham says:

    Forgot to add…if you look at the modified keywork of the “Impala” you will note the huge scalloped G# key (linked to low C#). Bags of leverage and no danger of fingers sliding off.
    Oddly enough, my favourite G# system on old horns is the button on the TT…in exactly the right place (or can be tweaked to be so) and concave to avoid finger slipage….unlike the low mu skating rink that of the pre Chu Conn…to each his own.

  20. al says:

    Lewis – Three posts !

    I think I must be a mutant with a back-to-front brain, and sticky fingers…… I never (ever) slip off the Magna G# (in fact Buescher went to that half-moon shape, post-pearl, and I don’t slip off those), never use the linked C# for G# (or vice-versa), and the C# key on the Martin is as big as the G# – so that long roller means I can go C#>B-nat, or C#>Bb (and back again) with consummate ease….. It is the most ‘user-friendly’ pinkie table I’ve had – and I’ve played a shedfull of different saxes. By the way, the slight pitting on the G# makes it even more non-slip, although I can’t claim it as a design feature !

    As you say, “to each his own”, be a dull world if we were all the same, because physically we all have different length digits etc.. On which point, I really enjoyed driving a RH-drive Beetle during one of my extended stays in Germany, even that strange semi-auto gearbox was curiously satisfying – yep, I must be wierd…. 🙂

  21. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan, I drove Beetles exclusively for ten years and became as used to the pedals as you have become used to the Magna table. I heavily modified one of those semi-autos as they were the safest of all Beetles with their torsion bar front suspension and semi trailing (as opposed to swing axle) rear. Binned the semi auto box though. The modified two litre engine hung out of the trunkated rear with a pair of rearward facing Gattling Guns for exhausts. It used to frighten horses and set off car alarms.
    Do you know, I believe that I have, yet again, gone off topic. 🙂

  22. al says:

    Lewis – That’s probably why I’m going to start a new topic for the sound samples and the review. However, I have the feeling that those interested in the new ‘C’ have already surfaced…

    Remember that I’m comparing the Aquilasax alto to a relatively recent (and top model) Martin alto, and the Aquilasax alto acquits itself very well ! But to compare a better quality 2007 C-Sax from the same factory to the 20’s C-Mels, means the difference should be immediately noticeable and a great improvement ! I’m happy that the Chinese factory produces to a very good build quality, and, given that the intonation and design are fine, the rest is in the hands of the player…..

  23. al says:

    Just started on the sound samples, this is my Martin Magna alto with Steve’s Aquilasax #7 ($50, yes, $50) metal mouthpiece. Whether I buy the alto or not, the mouthpiece is staying !

    [audio src="http://www.cmelodysax.co.uk/sounds/grover-magna-aqmpc.mp3" /]

    (just need to fade the ending…. Aquilasax alto later this afternoon !)

  24. al says:

    And here’s the other sound sample, the Aquilasax alto, same reed, same mouthpiece, same day, same settings (well almost….).

    [audio src="http://www.cmelodysax.co.uk/sounds/grover-aquilasax-aqmpc.mp3" /]

  25. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    The aquilasax is more ‘conventional’ to my ear, I personally prefer the Martin, more ‘soul’ 😉 but I can understand why some would like the aquilasax, very impressed.

  26. ken says:

    Totally agree. Wow! I admire the playing too. Lovely subtle glissandos.

  27. al says:

    Owen, I’m grateful for that…. I’ve gone out of my way (over the years) to enjoy, indeed compare, the ‘quirkiness’ of vintage saxes – so I found the Aquilasax somewhat too predictable – but only because the intonation was fine, the keys fell to hand, and the acoustics were even across the sax. Exactly what a saxophone student (and that is where this sax aimed) requires ! In fact I had to make many recording ‘takes’ because I was automatically compensating where it wasn’t needed, for sharp high (and flat low) notes that weren’t sharp or flat on tha Aquilasax – you can hear me doing it ! I’ve been doing it so long with vintage saxes that it’s now second nature.

    So, it answers the question about the new C-Sax, assuming the factory gets it right, which I have no reason to doubt. It’ll almost certainly be built well, in tune, and playable. And I suspect the majority of players would put that first, even leap for joy – playability above character, that intangible thing “soul”, and quirkiness….. And if I compare the Aquilasax Alto with a 1920’s Alto, which I have also done (but I woudn’t like to record with that 20’s alto, in all honesty), then the noticeable difference is very much more. And that’s where the 2007 C-Sax will be judged, against 1920’s C-Mels. Has to be a winner. And this Aquilasax alto is worth ever penny of the couple of hundred pounds it sells for. And as for the Aquilasax metal mouthpieces – I wouldn’t be surprised if I was still using this $50 (£25) one in years to come. It really is growing on me…

  28. al says:

    Ken – that wasn’t really glissando’s, or at least not meant to be – just me lipping the notes too far…. 🙂

    Amazes me what can be produced with a cruddy old PC, some ‘hooky’ software, an East German mic, and a free backing track. I must record C-Mel and C-Sop over the same track, that’d be revealing ! Playing that Martin alto, and the Aquilasax one, has been a real trip down memory lane, I’m sure the lip muscles will stop aching soon ?

    If you could see my scruffy little ‘studio’ area (or ‘bijou studio-ette’) you’d grin, just an overfilled bureau really – plus a PC with all the covers off, makes it easier to fix, and upgrade with bits from the local car boot sales ! Oh, how I long for the spaciousness and luxury of a broom-cupboard…. One day !

  29. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    “In fact I had to make many recording ‘takes’ because I was automatically compensating where it wasn’t needed, for sharp high (and flat low) notes that weren’t sharp or flat on tha Aquilasax – you can hear me doing it ! I’ve been doing it so long with vintage saxes that it’s now second nature.”

    I did hear as it happens, I have a god ear.

    My Uncle plays a MVI sop proffessionally, as well as other saxes, but the intonation is terrible. He likes the sound, and so has worked hard on lipping the notes up and down. When he tried to play a modern Jupiter he fell down completely, couldn’t get a note in tune out of it. I’ve played that Sop, it’s a horrible thing, but it does produce a nice sound.

    Still, although the sound of the Aquilasax isn’t quite comparable to the Martin, it seems a well-built, playable sax, which must be very nice for Steve 🙂

  30. Lewis Pelham says:

    Very interesting comparisons of sound. The Martin is far more colourful with it’s low end harmonics emphasising the lower partials…however played in the higher register it is contrastingly bright with the absence of the low partials; it sounds like a different instrument.
    The Aquilasax is far less rich at the bottom but is consistent in sound throughout the range. What harmonics it has are distributed evenly throughout.
    For jazz and Blues there is no doubt whatsoever that the Martin is the horn which can add timbre and colour to the sound. Perfect for the sort of music in which the sax excels. However, for so called “clasical” saxophone I can imagine some stern and proper band directors hearing it as too colourful, & prefering the somewhat bland, but consistent, sound of the Aquilasax as “more suitable”.
    It is clear from the recordings that your house is graced with a dedicated sound studio with a wall to wall desk and every available FX board. 🙂

  31. Lewis Pelham says:

    PS. That mouthpiece seems to tick all the boxes…very good.

  32. al says:

    Lewis – (I think you are making fun of me ?) – no studio, just an old version of ‘Cool Edit Pro 2.1’ software on my PC, which went on to become Adobe Audition (but as usual, sometimes the old versions are better) and an Audio Technica PRO22 microphone.

    The software comes complete with a raft of effects, I just used a little reverb, plus a tiny tiny amount of chorus. You’ve seen my house, the ‘studio’ is the old over-laden bureau in the back corner of the living room! I also sometimes use the cheapo Acoustica software (like Mixcraft) which has 90% of the functionality of Cool Edit Pro, but doesn’t require a PhD in Recording Technology to operate. It really is fun, I can see how musicians get hooked on home recording – the outlay is minimal, as most of us have a mic (or three) and a PC anyway !

    I may have to try just that little bit harder now, to make the Martin C-Mel match the sound quality of the Martin Magna alto 😦 I must record the C-Mel (and the C-Sop) playing the same sequence. But what an amazing alto mouthpiece that Aquilasax metal #7 turned out to be – I’m going to have to try the metal #7 C-Mel one.

  33. Lewis Pelham says:

    Hardly making fun Alan; simply amazed at such a good recording in what I know to be, less than professional, conditions. The principle of diminishing returns applies yet again…93.7% of the quality for 4% the price of 100% quality.

  34. al says:

    Lewis – I was being facetious too 🙂 – three things struck me immediately –

    i) Yes, it is amazing what can be achieved with such limited resources. and
    ii) The automatic things I do (like lipping to correct real or imagined pitch ‘anomalies’) sound horrendous when played back, and some of my phrasing makes me wince – I may well do a lot of doodling with the recording on, just to hear what the human ear often conveniently ignores ‘live’…… !
    iii) I mustn’t leave off playing alto for such a long period again – remembering the embouchure, combined with the relative newness of the Aquilasax mouthpiece, took an awful lot of control.

    Despite my preference for ‘C’ instruments, and their convenience, the alto is still a very useful sax…. At the risk of heresy, I could usefully go out on a gig with just the Martin alto and a C-Sop ! I used to do a LOT of work with just alto and flute, before ‘C’s came along….. I still have the Eb fake books.

    ======

    The full review of the Aquilasax alto will be available shortly, but, to not re-invent the wheel, I will be linking to a couple of Steven Howard reviews of Chinese saxophones, including one that is quite similar to the Aquilasax alto – as a professional he is far better equipped to talk about technicalities, whereas I’m coming at it from the “This is from the factory that will be building the C-Sax” angle.

  35. Lewis Pelham says:

    If only we could have the sound of your Martin with the aquilasax (Selmer) keywork combined into the new C Mel then I would place my order now.
    Does no-one else hear the huge sound differences between the two altos?
    At this stage I can say that, as I have no trouble whatever with guitar keys on tenor, I shall not be placing an order for the new C Mel because, in all probability, it will sound like the aquilasax alto….now, if it sounded like a bigger version of Alan’s Martin alto, or slightly less beefy than my R&C tenor, then bring it unto me!

  36. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    I hear a massive difference between the two, but I’d class it as taste, rather than anything else that makes me prefer the martin.

    Besides, a cmel will never sound like an alto… although it may sound similar.

    I suppose all we can do is wait and see…

  37. al says:

    Or wait and hear… ?
    😀

  38. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    Looks very good Alan, well done.

  39. Lewis Pelham says:

    An excellent review. Fair, honest, thorough, researched and competent; everything one would expect from you Alan.
    Made to the same standards this bodes well for Steve’s courageous venture. I wish him well.

  40. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    I emailed Steve, he said that he “checked the final review today. Looking good!”

    He also just got the update from the factory. They have already begun production and so they are looking on target.

  41. al says:

    Owen – thanks, I also notice there is a new link to the C-Sax page from The Student Room…. Nothing escapes all the new monitoring tools with this hosting service ! Again, thanks – let me reciprocate and say “Join the TSR MUN and the TSR Socialist Party here!

  42. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    Haha, I wondered when one of you would spot that…

    There’s been no interest so far unfortunately.

  43. al says:

    A couple of people have clicked on that link already, you never know….

  44. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    It’s doing it’s job then 🙂

  45. al says:

    Yes, and that’s why I put links to my bits on all the postings I can (e.g.) saxontheweb. It’s not vanity, just the more links, then (theoretically) the more Google thinks of the site. Seems to work, insofar as anyone can ever tell…..

  46. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    Well you’re second on Google for ‘c melody’at the moment, below only wikipedia, and 5th for ‘c melody saxophone’ below wikipedia, the forum, saxophone.org and cybersax…

  47. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    it was probably me checking that the link worked thinking about it.

  48. al says:

    And fourth for “c-melody” and second for “c-melody sax” – but if you repeatedly hit the button, the positions all change…. Google ? More like Googlottery…..

  49. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    hmm true. Still, you’re on the first page for almost everything. One can only hope that this all filters through somehow to the people on the street, I genuinely believe that there’s a significant market for Steve’s venture if only he can market it right, and gather support.

  50. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    You still around Lewis?

  51. al says:

    I’m sure Lewis is still out there, probably a struggle for the old chap to get to the keyboard…. 🙂 But seriously – I liked the Aquilasax alto so much, I’m buying it ! Hard cash, from a man with short arms and deep pockets – that’s a recommendation ! I reckon it’ll fit in well with the feel of a new C-Mel, all I need then is one of the 2008 C-Sops…..

    It was partly something Stephen Howard said (by the way, you should read his notes – we’ve all been there…) – to quote young Mr Howard – “I long ago gave up my vintage horns in favour of nice, shiny modern horns – and I can’t say I’ve ever regretted it. I get the tone I want, I get the unstinting reliability, I get the speed and the efficiency…” Put like that, quite iresistable.

    Maybe I won’t quite give up vintage horns just yet… But it’s great not having to ‘lip’- the Aquilasax has plenty of cut, so I can waste hours/days/weeks trying all my alto mouthpieces on it to find the right balance of tone/edge !

  52. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    I have read his notes, all of them…

    it is a terrific endorsement, I’m sure Steve is cock’a’hoop.

    There’d better be an ’08 Sop. I may have to put off buying a new cmel until i’ve restored my present one. Problems justifying it 😦

  53. Lewis Pelham says:

    Owen… Yes, still around, but totally out of my depth with your and Alan’s expert references to urls and links. Simple soul really…able to join in only when you talk about saxophones, motor cars and motorcycles. 🙂

  54. al says:

    Lewis, I think you do yourself an injustice…… Good to hear from you !

  55. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan. For you to buy the Aqilasax alto when you have that delightful sounding Martin alto, is surely the highest possible accolade for Aquilasax. Your action speaks volumes for the forthcoming C Mel….I wish however that it had the balls of your Martin…not everything is possible with hairy mouthpieces.
    Owen…of course sound is a matter of taste, you are absolutely correct. With sports cars, one can choose between say, a TVR…all opposite lock, black lines and a wide grin; or choose a somewhat pasteurised and castrated oriental offering with cissy traction control and multi air bags. They both work admirably in their own way. I know my choice however and this extends to saxophones. Almost as if Health & Safety, the Nanny State and Human Rights have had an input. 🙂
    To me, a vital, raucous, element has been bred out of Oriental saxophones…just too polite and inoffensive.
    I cannot say what I need to say without that intangible timbre and grit.

  56. Lewis Pelham says:

    Just had a possibly irreverent thought. Steve with his brave move in re-introducing the C Mel could perhaps start a trend, with saxophonists appreciating the virtues of the model without having to suffer the limitations of vintage models.
    Whereas the vast majority of sales will be Aquilasax; and well deserved too, perhaps other manufacturers could be tempted to try their hand. Out of the question for the larger manufactures with their high production transfer machine methods but relatively easy for the few remaining niche hand built, makers.
    I am thinking specifically of Borgani and R&C who still adhere to the 40s big bore philosophy and cater for the vintage nuts amongst us…ooohh, a big bore C tenor. Time for a lie down I think

  57. al says:

    It only takes the realisation that there is a market. How many people thought that the Sopranino was extreme, but now there’s a Soprillo, and (at the other end of the scale) a Tubax. So, once players realise that a modern C can have it’s place, some will want a more refined or exclusive product, that’s the way of life. We’ve been accused of ‘being boring’ with all our talk of C-mels, what better than a big-bore one 😀 ?

    I hope Steve does have more production runs if the current batch sells well, after all, the R&D is done already. And maybe a 2008 C-Sop will appear later on, there’s a slightly different market for a new C-Sop, after all, how much music is really written for Bb-Sops ? (not a lot…) A whole new niche market, in C, emerges…..

  58. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan….To some, we who only improvise, it is immaterial
    how much written music exists for the Bb soprano. I have often been tempted to buy one simply to cut through the wretched amplified guitars in blues bands. 😦

  59. al says:

    Lewis – The comment about “how much music is really written for Bb-Sops ?” was really to counter the anti-C-Mel argument so often heard, i.e. “band parts are scored, and a lot of music is specifically written, for alto & tenor – so a C-mel wouldn’t fit in….”. We all know that’s a load of codswallop this side of the Atlantic, as we (thankfully) don’t have shedloads of massed college/community and marching bands, and players like you and I mostly don’t bother with ‘written’ music, except (in my case) maybe as an initial guide to the melody and chord sequence !

    Bb soprano sax, on the other hand, isn’t a ‘main’ instrument, and doesn’t have the same level of ‘readily arranged parts/music’ available specifically for Bb Soprano. So it could more easily be replaced by the C-Sop as a unique soprano voice that can play the majority of flute/oboe/violin or indeed vocal parts. Or just (like us) blissfully play ‘by ear’ in the same key as everyone else.

    I still think I could have explained it better, but you get my drift ?

  60. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan….On the contrary, you explained it very well indeed. I suffered for years as a child on the piano slavishly copying the dots written by someone else (actually I did enjoy Fats Waller’s Alligator Crawl.) What a delight therefore to find the saxophone as a form of free expression.

  61. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    It’s been a while, just been walking in Wales for a week. Hi everybody 🙂

  62. al says:

    Owen – welcome back, I think it’s time for some other topics, leaving the Aquilasax C-Sax as a new topic when it surfaces.

    Although I do have an Aquilasax Metalpro C-Mel mpc (7, the most open tip…) winging it’s way to me. Bought and paid for in the interests of impartiality – it’ll be interesting to see how it fares on the Martin C-Mel, considering that the alto one was so good on the Martin Magna.

  63. Lewis Pelham says:

    Owen. Congratulations in taking just a week to walk out of Wales. I was brought up in Wales, and it took me eighteen years to walk out. My Mother still lives there and I have to pay a fiver to cross the bridge when visiting…I get out for nothing; is this fair I ask? 🙂

  64. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    The fare has gone up irritatingly.

    It wasn’t bad, even though I only got one days walking; had lots of work to do.

  65. Lewis Pelham says:

    Owen…Six days of evading the locals? One day running as distinct from walking. 🙂

  66. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    Haha. I was staying here: http://www.welshfarmholidays.co.uk/

    Nice place actually.

  67. Lewis Pelham says:

    Nice place…taken on one of the three days in the year when the sun shines….they omitted “interfering with sheep” on the list of local amusements!
    I spent my childhood in Wales; fortunately my (English) Father sent me to school in England. I have the, probably exaggerated, childhood memories of continuous rain during the school holidays and glorious sunshine on being driven back to school.
    I am visiting Porthcawl at the weekend for my Mother’s 102nd birthday …prepared to bet that both the sea and the sky will be grey….no horizon.

  68. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    In “the art of Coarse Cruising” the author states that on every occasion when he has made a crossing from France to England, he has left in brilliant sunshine, and has encountered rain and cloud hanging over England.

  69. Owen, 'the other viewer' says:

    Happy Birthday Alan 🙂

  70. ken says:

    Belated (25 minutes late….as usual) Birthday Congratulations.
    From Ken

  71. ken says:

    Mmmmmm. It’s 12.26 a.m. in Stourbridge.

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