The biggest C-Melody Sax in the world…

Not wishing to steal one of Gandalfe’s posts (click here for his blog) or his thunder – but having examined the instrument, I have concluded that from the overall dimensions, and the fact that the bottom leg of the ‘bell B’ guard is well above the joint, that this is in fact a  giant C-Melody sax

Such taste, no other sax would do for such a prestigious display ! I’d hate to have to repad that one…  Although it’s hinted that it’s a “double e-flat contrabass sax” – I recon from the date (1924) and overall build, it’s a “C-Sub-Contra-Melody

The young lady’s legs (not that I was staring…) do look decidedly two dimensional, and she’s going to need a longer neck strap 😦 . I think she is somewhat ‘staged’- I can’t imagine anyone going on tip-toe on top of a pair of steps that high – think what ‘Health & Safety’ and ‘The Nanny State’ would have to say about that in 2009.

That’s made my day, the biggest C-Melody in the world. Any idea of shipping costs to the UK ?  Thanks to Gandalfe, and Terry Hummer, wonderful find – not, as you’d expect, from a musical paper, but from Popular Mechanics – June 1924.


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22 Responses to The biggest C-Melody Sax in the world…

  1. ukebert says:

    The crook looks more like a tenor, but the height and bore of the bell point to a Cmel. I think you’re right, but we are probably reading too much into this.

  2. lewis Pelham says:

    I remember seeing a Conn publicity photograph where a chap, playing an alto (I think) was standing alongside the most enormous saxophone. It must have been a double ultra sub contra bass (If such a thing exists!). His head was level with the split between low Eb & the low C key. Apparently it was a player, but required three people to manipulate the keywork.
    What’s the betting that Alan has that photograph to hand?   😀

  3. Alan says:

    Lewis – how well you know me…  I only have this low resolution one to hand – I’ll have to look for the big picture in a spare moment, possibly mid 2011 ? – and I think it’s a curved ‘nino, looks too small for a curved soprano ?

    Hover/Click here to be amazed…well, almost


  4. lewis Pelham says:

    Close, but not the one I had in mind. I will dig it out when I have a spare moment….probably tomorrow.   😀

  5. ukebert says:

    I know the one you mean Lewis.

  6. ukebert says:

    *sighs* Alan, I can’t find the edit function, if I have one (I thought there was one in the dashboard) and even if I could edit I have realised that I do not know by what means one may insert pictures. Could you do the honours?

  7. alan says:

    Ah – now that’s almost the same saxophone, as at the top…
    Owen – if you login, you’ll find the  Edit function in your comment, e.g. –
    March 30, 2009 at 7:58 pm (Edit)

    You had the syntax absolutely right. The quirky ‘spam filtering’ software had turned your ‘< ‘ and  ‘>’ into several ‘escape’ characters…  Just needed editing back to plain old  < and >.

  8. lewis Pelham says:

    That’s the one Alan…well done. Your archive and recall system is second to none.

  9. ukebert says:

    My archive and recall system Lewis 😉

  10. ukebert says:

    And I don’t see said edit function I’m afraid Alan.

  11. alan says:

    No, I agree, does seem a little reluctant to play unless you’re full admin… 

    I’m also testing out (yet another) plugin that allows everyone 20 minutes of editing grace, and logged-in users infinity…  I’ll let everyone know if/when it works sensibly.

    (testing edit….)

    And yes Lewis, that was Owen’s archive and recall system.

    (testing edit again… wow – it works…)

    OK – all comments (from now) now have the ability to be edited !

    Look at the bottom of the comment when you’ve posted it, you’ll see the ‘Edit’ option.

    If you’re not logged in there’ll be a twenty minute timer counting down – that’s long enough even for the slowest writer to edit – if you’re looged in you can edit your comment forever.

    If you click on Edit, you’ll get popped out to an editing screen, do whatever you need to (sorry it doesn’t have the full ability to do bold or links etc. at the moment, it’s just a basic text editor) and click on ‘Save’ or ‘Cancel’ to exit.

    Any problems with affecting other functionality, please let me know. Enjoy, at list now you can correct spilling mistooks….

  12. lewis Pelham says:

    Sorry Owen…good shot!

  13. ukebert says:

    No problem Lewis!

    And nice thing Alan, slight issue to functionality is that it inserts a scroll bar in all of my comments…

  14. Alan says:

    Yes, I’ve not completely worked that ‘scroll bar’ thing out – there may be an option for it – but I don’t have a scroll bar when I’m not logged in, but I do when I log in – hmmmm, strange…    😕

    Might be easier not to log in, no real advantage, or is it browser specific, this is on Opera with no sliders, I’ll check it out on all the possible permutations over the next millenium. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

  15. ukebert says:

    I’m in firefox and perpetually logged in as I can’t remember what I set my password to be.

  16. alan says:

    ukebert – email sent to your hotmail account

  17. ukebert says:

    Thanks Alan. Scroll bars still here on Chrome.

  18. ukebert says:

    …but not on IE.

  19. alan says:

    Tend not to use the Chrome browser, as it barfs on Windows XP at the slightest excuse – must be related to Firefox.  Whereas IE is related to Safari and Opera.

    It’s a nightmare finding what looks good and works on every browser, that’s one of the other reasons why I gave up on the blog that I coded myself (cblog) – by the time I’d written it so that it displayed properly on all the major browsers, and kept up-to-date with WordPress, and worked with the Internet Providers database software – I didn’t have any brain capacity left.  Never used to work that hard as a computer pro, for money…  🙄

  20. ukebert says:

    Chrome has a problem with scrolling which means that I don’t use it much. Firefox is the best by a long way of the browsers that I’ve tried.

    I’m on Vista 😦 Everything collapses at a moment’s notice. Interestingly one of the worst is Internet Explorer…

  21. Mal-2 says:

    To bring this back on topic (fancy that, ME bringing a thread back on topic) — WHY is the brace so high on a C-melody bell? It seems to me this is determined by the way the bow is built, but why was the decision made to push the C-mel bell so much higher (relatively speaking) than the alto or tenor, or a low-Bb bari? (A low-A bari has a high-rise bell for obvious reasons.) It’s a contributing factor to the C-mel looking so much smaller than it actually is.

    BTW, the edit and scroll functions appear to work nicely on Firefox here. I agree with the short edit window, otherwise the opportunity exists for people to vanish posts after they have already garnered replies.

  22. B7) says:

    Back to the orig. photo/topic:  I recently saw this used as a gig poster and it was obvious that the key-work was impossible to actually be played, which begs the question, “If it’s not playable, then what makes this an ‘instrument’?”  Also, as a sometime photographer, something about the image itself didn’t look right (though I cannot be more specific while examining this low-res. rendering), leading me to conclude that this was either a staged camera effect (where one object is actually placed closer to the camera than everything else to make it appear larger) or else it was a doctored photo/graphic (yes, that was possible in print media long before PhotoShop).  Since everything about this horn is apparently built to scale, including the gargantuan key-work I am unconvinced that this horn ever existed. 

    On the off chance that I know not of what I speak (er, write), then clearly this model was not built to be playable by other than a large giant or a small team of musicians, rendering it essentially impractical, let alone very likely unplayable, so discussion regarding which playing key it transposed to is irrelevant whether or not it ever existed.  In other words, this would’ve been a large sign, a gimmick to get people in the shop door, probably not even suitable for demonstration purposes. 

    The additional fact that it appears to be a C-Melody sax further supports my contention that this was no actual proto-type (at least in this photo), since most horns “back in the day” were in much more vigorous use by players and unlikely to be lent for a questionable photo-op that left out the professional owner.  C-Melodies, however, lost favor as professional band section horns fairly early on, so I would suppose there would have been several of these “hobby-horns” lying about unused and/or significantly cheaper to acquire even back then.  Photographers have their own budget to worry about, especially when constructing a well thought out camera effect.  Why would one spend good money for a playable band horn when they could pick up any maligned C-Mel. hanging in a pawnshop down the street?

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