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New C Tenor by IW


Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Laksar at http://www.internationalwoodwind.com/ is already promoting his C tenor sax that is being designed by a yet to be released name designer. He sez that they won't call it a C melody because it'll have modern keyworks and some other enhancements. I've seen pictures of the tube and this is gonna be good news for collectors and those who play with church groups with low budgets for sheet music. :cool:
Matching the cost of the horn with the price of learning how to transpose at sight has transposition coming out the clear winner...

Producing an instrument specifically designed to "play well with others" was all well and good when the materials cost of the instrument was relatively high and the cost of the labor to assemble it relatively low. Now that the two have "flip-flopped" and labor is the major cost component, churning out significant numbers of an instrument with such a limited market is a "bad business decision".
See, also, the discussion about the IW new C soprano at http://woodwindforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2864

As mentioned, I've been doing research into vintage sax prices. There are an AWFUL lot of C melodies. I saw a Conn straight-neck, gold-plated, overhauled, perfect condition horn sell for $690. Last week.

Arguably, the best intonation of any common C melody would be the Buescher True-Tone. Buy one that's as late as possible. Get it completely overhauled. Hey, even get it replated (overhaul + replate < $1500 on eBay). I bet it'd still be cheaper than the IW horn will be.

The C soprano conversation was a bit different because the C soprano is much more uncommon than the C melody and one that has considerably better intonation and is "designed by" Eppelsheim might be something to at least consider at the significantly higher price.

I like the C melody sound a lot. I like not having to transpose. However, if it's gonna be in the same $3000 range as the C soprano, I'm not interested.
Terry: Well said. As much as these almost one-off saxophones (besides the new C tenor by IW, I'm thinking of the new C-sop, G-mezzo, etc.) may be neat to own (for awhile), I'm suspecting there may be all of 100 (1000?) players out there who would pop for one.

There was a time when I may have - but now in retirement, I don't spend like I used to. Could I if I wanted one? Sure, but I have no need for such horns - my standard vintage and modern Bb sopranos and Eb altos work just fine.

I added (for a while) in the first paragraph because I have owned a few novelty saxophones in my life-time . . . sopranino, straight alto, a King Saxello to name three, and eventually came to the realization that none of them did anything my regular saxophones didn't do and were basically useless to me.

Sales of 100 (even 1000) around the world does not seem like the volume I'd want to see if I were doing the marketing and distribution. No slam on Jim, I wish him only the best with his new C-sop. DAVE
Many of the musicians on this forum think like pro players. Most saxophone players are hobbyists (thus the church playing observation) can't or won't learn to transpose. I'm not sure there will ever be a market for a C-keyed instrument as there is for Bb and Eb, but that doesn't keep some of us from spending our sheckles on something new.

I know of another person on this forum who, like me, has ordered one of the Eppelsheim & Reese C sops. And he can transpose like crazy. Mine will be by the downstairs baby grand by the way, where I can play behind Suzy when she plays piano.

As most of you know I have a Conn C sop and Conn (straightneck) C Melody. But the ergos drive me crazy and fixing the intonation and stuffy notes is no fun, even after a good overhaul. I'm just sayin...
Again, Jim, if you're talking about the "hobbyist" market: it'll be extremely difficult to convince them to pay $3000 for a sax that doesn't have music specifically written for it. You're thinkin' like a guy that can afford Eppelsheim bass saxophones with low A extensions or to be able to go out and buy a new horn a week after it was announced.


The Conn straight-neck C melody is supposed to be an improvement on the curved-neck horn. YMMV. The C melodies I owned were a Martin and a Conn stencil: the former was in unplayable condition, the latter was OK. Ergonomics are in the fingers of the beholder -- and to save $1500, I'll not have as many ergonomic problems.

I think a Buescher C melody is probably better, as Buescher focused on intonation. However, I also think that some of the Conns can be made to play better than new. Or hold out for a Selmer Super Series C melody or even a Buescher Aristocrat C melody.
My only C-mel experience is with my own Buescher TT C-mel. I've been through a few C-Mel mouthpieces and finally settled on Kessler's Custom tenor piece with tenor reeds. As good as that combo is, I can't make the thing sound like Tram's (I don't know what Trumbauer's set-up was, but we all know that has little to do with making comparable sounds).

Admittedly, I haven't spent a lot of time with mine because I MUCH prefer alto and soprano, but I find the Buescher to be awkward to hold - it just doesn't feel good compared to my altos or Bb tenor - something to do with the neck angle, the strap-ring, etc. And, I like the transposed keys of Bb and Eb saxophones compared to concert-pitch.

I also have a C-clarinet (Albert) that plays well enough, but again, the old concert-pitch thing works against my desire to play it. DAVE
I have a Conn straight neck C mel. It's a minty horn, but... Where the heck do I ever play it? I took it to an old folks home once to play with a piano player on some old music. Not because I couldn't transpose, but because I wanted an old-time saxophone sound. The 70 year old + crowd loved it... That was a free gig BTW... And that horn was a Christmas gift, so I have no money into it. (It cost $600 Cdn in 2001.)

I could not see myself spending any amount on a new C pitched horn. I play in bands with no music, with guitars and bass guitars, and perhaps soon a Hammond organ. I play my tenor and my bari, and sure I play in 5 & 6 #s regularly, but I don't even think about it anymore. I just do it.

I think these new C horns are a phenomena of Internet marketing. If not for the on-line sax community, these horns would never make it out of the starting blocks.

OK, those are my virtual 2 cents, and worth every penny of paper that they're printed on. :wink:
I agree with Helen, and yet I want the new C soprano. And if the newest C melody, or C tenor, or whatever, is all that it's cracked up to be, I will be checking it out too.

Why? Partly because I collect saxes. Partly because I think all vintage C saxes are awful, and I've either owned or repaired most of them (Full disclosure - I've never played a Selmer C melody, and that's what Rudy Wiedoeft used)

These horns are not for everyone, but if they are great horns, they will appeal to more than the collectors.

And yes, I do tons of transposing - Keys, clefs, and octaves on many of my gigs. I'm getting good at it, but if I could avoid it, I would.
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