Luckily, I have been managing to take photos of some of the cooler horns that make their way across the bench these past months, so I am thankfully able to catch you all up on what we have been up to!
I really did a double-take when I first popped open the case on this one. "Is that a C soprano?" I very likely gasped. Just as I mentioned in my 2016 post about the Buescher "C Melody" tenor overhaul, these C horns were created in the late teens and 20s to allow casual hobby players to play right off of piano sheet music in a parlour setting - both impressing their friends and enraging their enemies. This one, pitched an octave below the C tenor we did last year, came through the door needing some serious work - bent keywork, missing rollers, original 1920's kid leather pads (!), although still sporting a complete set of snap-in resonators and original springs.
The owner really wanted to get this one playing again without too much concern for cosmetics, although I couldn't help giving it a quick once over with the polishing cloth to bring out the high spots in the silver. After a bit of fabrication, a bunch of new pads, a lot of key bending and fitting, and just as much setup time, we had a single-reed-oboe on our hands. Pretty wild! These older horns do take a bit more time to get right, due to non-standard mechanical design, although they usually work great once you get them set up the way they want to be. Another tricky thing about these old C saxophones is finding the right mouthpiece for them, as the typical SATB mouthpieces tend to be a bit large or small to play the instrument in tune. There are options out there, however, and we are definitely spoiled with lots of great custom mouthpiece craftsmen today, some of whom are even willing to take this type of thing on.
Keep an eye out around the streets of Vancouver for this little firecracker bringing smiles to young and old alike as a featured squealer in East Van's own Carnival Band.