The ideal playing position…

So, what better way of kick-starting the blog on this sunny first day of September ?

I guess this playing position may be fine for some smooth-talking, slick-haired 20’s lounge-lizard sax player, but can I possibly see myself being comfortable with that for an evenings playing ?  Nah…  Goodness knows what sort of strain his right elbow is being subjected to, let alone his forward jutting neck…

Thanks to Dan ‘soybean’ Sawyer for sending me the picture, and for his comment “You can see the apparent akwardness of balancing the horn while standing. The strap ring on most C-mels must have been placed for sitting position.”

Course, there might just be another reason.  The relatively low output of the C-Mel, mostly down to the old mouthpieces that came as standard, might need the sax bell pointing either at the pianist (so she could hear him) or at granny sitting in the corner…  Our sound these days mostly seems to go out and up  – the sax bell is ideally angled for a microphone just above the bell – whereas this position is competing with the old trumpet, trombone and clarinet players stance’s, where the sound was out and (mostly) horizontal, straight towards the audience for purely acoustic playing.

It’’d be adding insult to injury to have the already muted C-Mel sound bouncing around the ceiling (as often does a lot of ours…)   Maybe that’s also why a lot of older sax players automatically leant forwards when they played a solo, to point the bell more towards the audience ?

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7 Responses to The ideal playing position…

  1. Mal-2 says:

    It looks to me that he’s leaning in to read off the piano chart. Isn’t that a large part of the reason for playing a C-mel in the first place?

  2. alan says:

    Seems like it’s a generic 20’s ‘C’ position, or an advertising pose – this bloke must have a third eye just above his left ear, as well as having his trouser legs stitched together… 😦

    I can just hear the photographer shouting “Scrunch up more, I need more scrunch !”

  3. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan’s quote:-
    I can just hear the photographer shouting “Scrunch up more, I need more scrunch !”

    Or the saxophonist saying “Can you excuse me for a minute? I am really really desperate to go to the loo”     😳

  4. Terence says:

    I have just bought and received a Martin stencil – Concertone – in really good condition. It has the rounded neck.
    If I stand up straight, as I can with my more modern alto, just about the whole weight of the instrument rests on my lower lip – no matter how I adjust it.
    But if I let it hang under my armpit (well almost) and bend my head as in the picture, the mouthpiece leans against my upper lip, freeing my lower lip and the pressure on it.
    But yes, there is now pressure on the neck because of the weight of the head, and my right elbow sticks out funny  – any suggestions

  5. Mal-2 says:

    Have a second strap ring installed about 1 to 1.5 inches below the original. Then the horn should hang similarly to a normal alto. Some people tie a string between the existing strap ring and the cage for the alternate F#, put a loop in that string, and hook in there. This should work for a while, and to establish exactly where to put the new ring.

  6. Lewis Pelham says:

    Yours is a familiar complaint levelled, specifically, at  C Melodys & has been discussed at length in the past.
    I have a TT & have owned Conn and King C Melodys, all with the same problem.
    Mal’s solution is the best option. I carried out this modification on all my C Mels.; either unsolder the strap ring & lower it by 1.5″, or solder on a second ring in that lower position.

  7. Terence says:

    Thank you. Makes sense with the balance point being lower and thus pushing the sax forward. Will give it a try.


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