February’s project – which King C-Mel stays…

Click here for more info on the King

Well, decision time – I need to decide which King C-Mel stays with me…

I’ll always have my Martin , but I’ve a few Kings around. The silver ones will certainly go (unless one of them proves to be an amazing player) over the next year or three 🙂 , but the real choice is between the vintage lacquer King pictured here on the right, and my old friend, the bare-brass King stencil known affectionately as Big Ugly and engraved Lyon & Healy, pictured below-left.

King Stencil C-Mel

I’ve never been a fan of fixing “what ain’t broke“, so I’ll just do whatever is needed to bring both of them up to a reasonable playing standard – and spend some time playing both throughout February. It’s a hard life, but maybe my technique will improve in the process. Of course I’ll record some of the tests, and maybe include a few on the Martin (which still has its elderly ‘rivet only’ pads) as well. I know which sax I’d like to stay…


But I’m going into this with an open mind, and I’m hoping that by mentioning it here I will kick-start into selling a few things again – although I’ve just sent a vintage Buffet alto off to a new life in Tasmania, Australia. I guess that means that the Buffet C-Mel can go as well, as I’d been half-contemplating using both – but I know in my heart that the Buffet C-Mel would be far too genteel for an old rocker like me…

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4 Responses to February’s project – which King C-Mel stays…

  1. Lewis Pelham says:

    You say that you are going in with “an open mind”. I am always suspicious of this remark as it invariably means that your mind is already made up…the Police use the expression frequently.
    The answer has to be, whichever plays the best….but I am prepared to bet that you bias everything towards Big Ugly….anything that you have named must be the favourite. 🙂

  2. al says:

    Lewis – I fear that you may be right… 😦 But wouldn’t it be a sod if the lacquer King plays like a dream !
    I did consider giving Big Ugly a bit of beauty treatment, like this buffed bare-brass Conn tenor from saxontheweb ( I’ll give credit to the owner if I ever remember who it was… ). What do you think ? Or better left ‘in the raw’ ? Even if I do polish it up, will I keep polishing…? Decisions, decisions, decisions !

  3. Lewis Pelham says:

    It took years to achieve the patina on Big Ugly. If you polish it you will have to keep polishing it; and the bits that you cannot reach will take on the patina of Big Ugly again…resulting in something Really Ugly.
    I bead blasted the lacquer off my Grassi tenor to provide a really uniform datum…& just left it; it has taken on some of the patina of Big Ugly…it is getting there.
    With your philosophy of getting horns “to a reasonable playing condition”, you will never know which plays best. Surely they both have to be perfect in order to make an objective choice. So why not cut out the middle man and just decide to keep Big Ugly?
    The lacquered King does look nice though…..it took years to get that patina too.

  4. ukebert says:

    I think it’d be a shame to polish Big Ugly. Ultimately it’ll be which one plays better. Will be very interesting to find out.

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