Lovely looking 1927 Conn C-Melody, loads of work recently done on it, including a new case, but the bids just aren’t flying in for this ebay item.
It’s that relatively rare breed in the C-Mel world, a High Pitch saxophone – and has the letters HP stamped on the rear, instead of LP. So it’s an honest outcast ! Just that one letter, the ‘H’, signifies that the sax plays considerably higher (about a quarter tone higher) than the A=440 modern standard. So this sax is destined to sell (if it does at all…) at a much reduced price than it’s equivalent LP sibling, and probably only to someone who collects vintage instruments ‘for show’, and maybe likes a relatively solitary doodle…
Of course, in these modern times, most electronic keyboards could adjust their pitch to be in tune, and I haven’t met many guitarists who don’t suffer from ‘pitch creep’ – always upwards… Plus a lot of PC-based recording software can change the pitch of other tracks without affecting tempo etc. BUT, when it comes to playing in a band, alongside other A=440 wind instruments, or a ‘strung’ piano, it’s a lost cause !
I can empathise with the owner, as I rashly purchased a rather lovely C Clarinet some years ago, it turned out to be HP – still have it, but never used it outside the house. I was lulled into a false sense of security by a combination of my own naievity, and the fact that the bell had a filled hole from an electronic pickup (a pickup on an HP instrument ?). I also feel quite sad that whoever overhauled this sax – Im assuming after it’s purchase – at a significant cost to the British owner, probably didn’t ask “Are you sure ? It’s HP…”
Some ‘experts’ do say that it’s possible, with a long-shank mouthpiece well out on the cork, to play HP instruments a semitone up from LP instruments (i.e. a C#-Melody, an E-alto, or a B-tenor..), and therefore in pseudo-modern pitch – but if it’s anything like the trials I did on my HP clarinet, the intonation would be quite challenging across the length of the instrument !