Aquilasax.com Limited
Beginners Info
1. Which saxophone should I choose
There are more than 9 types available (Adophe Sax originally Patented 14 types in the 1840s)  but most people start with an Alto, smaller saxophones are easier to blow but bigger saxes are easier for correct tone. Therefore the
 middle range is best. C- melody Tenors would also be a good choice as the music is easier to figure, no transposing. If you are a guitar player and want to add sax to your instrument list then C tenor is the easiest for you. If you are in a school band, check with your band leader if C tenors are ok. Some band leaders like them and others don't want complications with instrument types, they already have all the Eb music.   Altos are smaller which may be an advantage for smaller students! 
2. How do I play my Saxophone?
 A good teacher is good but good teachers are hard to find sometimes. If you have no teacher, there are some things to watch for. 
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3. How do I tune my Saxophone?
Tuning is simply accomplished by pushing the mouthpiece further on to the neck cork (to sharpen) or pulling it out further (to flatten the note) You can usually get a complete half note difference either way. Most saxes are not perfectly in tune for every note (no machine is perfect) so check your tuning against a meter and play E, A, and C through the range to get a good overall compromise. Sometimes a particular mouthpiece and sax combo don't work well and you might need to experiment to get a combo that works.
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More information in the links below(Click to view)

Frequently Asked Questions
   (Click on the questions to see their answers)

C melodies were made mostly by reputable companies and by mastercraftsmen until the early 30s. They were the same people who made the altos and Bb tenors! I’ve never heard of anyone buying a high pitch sax yet. I believe they may exist but most were sold in Australia?
Most C mels will play as in tune as any sax with the correct mouthpiece and set up. Many people over the years have tried to get away with using alto or Bb tenor mouthpieces and so the intonation problem has arisen. Wrong pad height will also affect tuning.
Maybe! I bought an early 20s Holton that had original pads and some pads that had been replaced in 1933. It played fine for some months until a couple more of the 85 year old pads died. If you buy one with white pads, they willprobably need replacing but the newer brown ones may be ok. Newer ones with resonators may not need replacing for some time.
Yes! Several companies make new pads and they are not very expensive. I recommend “Music Medic” as their pads (and service) are good and only around $60 per set.
 Yes! There are severalcompanies who specialize in vintage saxes. You can contact them by internet or phone and send it in for a refurbish.  This may cost you $400 ormore depending on the work needed. I recommend buying a pad set and taking it to your local tech. His labour should not be more than $200.
If you want to do it yourself there are some things to watch for.(apart from the sharp springs) I once got a sax re padded by a large music co. for $50. I had to get several pads redone as the worker had put too little glue on the pads and some of them had not seated properly. Namely the ones that stay open without finger pressure. It’s a good idea to hold the keys closed while the glue dries so that the pad seats in the right place. Glue? Yes! Traditionally sax pads are seated in melted shellac but a hot glue gun does the job. The biggest problem is getting the corks the right thickness (use a razor blade or scalpel) so that the keys are open the right amount.
Well that depends on your point of view. If you think a C mel is a useless old piece of junk and you want to re sell it quickly, then refurbishing will not help your profit margin. But if you want a good playing sax at a reasonable rate, the window of opportunity is now open. 
You can get a reasonable condition sax for 3-400 dollars. Try a second hand student model Yamaha and see if you can find one of those for twice that.
Yes! Most C mels were finished in Silver plate. There are plenty of products to restore silver available. Goddards silver foam  wor ks like majic to take away  tarnish (from black to silver) in seconds without ha rd rubbing. (no I don’t get royalties) The gold laquered versions may be more problematic as the laquer deteriorates in wear spots and looks grungy even when really clean. If you are really lucky, you may get a burnished gold model, gold plated! Very rare and more easy to restore!
Maybe! Why should a horn with the same bore as an alto be quieter than an alto? Originally they were fitted with large chambered small tipped mouthpieces and padswithout resonators and those two factors combined with the narrow bore tended to reduce the volume available. Since most people played them in lounges, it wasn’t a problem. However, a new metal mouthpiece or hard rubber mpc with a baffle and a set of new pads with metal resonators will have the old horn sounding significantly louder. My Conn has plastic resonators and it is louder than the Holton without res. I recommend keeping it quiet for home practices, placating the neighbours and get a mic for rock performances.
No! Well actually the reason why C mels were so popular in the 20s was because you could use piano music or any other C instrument music or Hymnals to play by but the majority of school bands use Eb amd Bb music. Very little is written for C instruments for marching bands. You can use flute music if the band leader will let you! Jazz however had a good following in the 20s and 30s (Rudy Weidoeft ) and so that era music may be available and now there are some modern jazz players putting out new  CDs in C (Scott Robinson, Nathan Haines) but the best use for C mel’s is still church or pop music which is hardly ever transposed into Eb or Bb for sax.
Old saxes have quirks that modern saxes have fixed so the choice of vintage or not must be personal. Certainly many of the great jazz players began on C mels so if they can do it, so can you. The proviso is that it is in good playing condition with the correct mouthpiece.

Whether to buy a C mel or an alto as a first horn is a different question. C mels are easier to begin with as the music is in Concert pitch and most tunes you want to play are too. Also the bore being the same as an alto means they require no more breath, at least until you get to the lowest notes. However, if you like Charlie Parker best or intend to go marching, you might be better off with an alto. Modern C tenors are now available so the quirks thing is solved.


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Yes! There are severalcoin vimpanies who specialize ntage saxes. You can contact them by internet or phone and send it in for a refurbish. This may cost you $400 or more depending on the work needed. I recommend buying a pad set and taking it to your local tech. His labour should not be more than $200.

If you want to do it yourself there are some things to watch for.(apart from the sharp springs) I once got a sax re padded by a large music co. for $50. I had to get several pads redone as the worker had put too little glue on the pads and some of them had not seated properly. Namely the ones that stay open without finger pressure. It’s a good idea to hold the keys closed while the glue dries so that the pad seats in the right place. Glue? Yes! Traditionally sax pads are seated in melted shellac but a hot glue gun does the job. The biggest problem is getting the corks the right thickness (use a razor blade or scalpel) so that the keys are open the right amount.

Well that depends on your point of view. If you think a C mel is a useless old piece of junk and you want to re sell it quickly, then refurbishing will not help your profit margin. But if you want a good playing sax at a reasonable rate, the window of opportunity is now open. 
You can get a reasonable condition sax for 3-400 dollars. Try a second hand student model Yamaha and see if you can find one of those for twice that.

  Yes! Most C mels were finished in Silver plate. There are plenty of products to restore silver available. Goddards silver foam works like majic to take away tarnish (from black to silver) in seconds without hard rubbing. (no I don’t get royalties)

The gold laquered versions may be more problematic as the laquer deteriorates in wear spots and looks grungy even when really clean. If you are really lucky, you may get a burnished gold model, gold plated! Very rare and more easy to restore!

Maybe! Why should a horn with the same bore as an alto be quieter than an alto?

Originally they were fitted with large chambered small tipped mouthpieces and padswithout resonators and those two factors combined with the narrow bore tended to reduce the volume available. Since most people played them in lounges, it wasn’t a problem. However, a new metal mouthpiece or hard rubber mpc with a baffle and a set of new pads with metal resonators will have the old horn sounding significantly louder. My Conn has plastic resonators and it is louder than the Holton without res. I recommend keeping it quiet for home practices, placating the neighbours and get a mic for rock performances.

  • Can I get music for C mels?
  •  No! Well actually the reason why C mels were so popular in the 20s was because you could use piano music or any other C instrument music or Hymnals to play by but the majority of school bands use Eb amd Bb music. Very little is written for C instruments for marching bands. You can use flute music if the band leader will let you!

    Jazz however had a good following in the 20s and 30s (Rudy Weidoeft ) and so that era music may be available and now there are some modern jazz players putting out new  CDs in C (Scott Robinson, Nathan Haines) but the best use for C mel’s is still church or pop music which is hardly ever transposed into Eb or Bb for sax.

 Old saxes have quirks that modern saxes have fixed so the choice of vintage or not must be personal. Certainly many of the great jazz players began on C mels so if they can do it, so can you. The proviso is that it is in good playing condition with the correct mouthpiece.

 Whether to buy a C mel or an alto as a first horn is a different question. C mels are easier to begin with as the music is in Concert pitch and most tunes you want to play are too. Also the bore being the same as an alto means they require no more breath, at least until you get to the lowest notes. However, if you like Charlie Parker best or intend to go marching, you might be better off with an alto. Modern C tenors are now available so the quirks thing is solved.



 
Aquilasax.com is registered in New Zealand and began trading in 2005.
  • Our mission is to equip you to play happily in the key of C.
  • Our market commitment is to make not just money but also friends.
  • Our intention is to serve our customers with quality products at a good price and to find new products to enable our customers to express their creative freedom.

Aquilasax saxophones are all play tested and guaranteed to play out of the box. 
If not, we make it right!
 If your sax is damaged in transit or faulty due to manufacturing we give full purchase price refund upon receipt of the sax in good condition, along with the guarantee form and a repair tech's repair assessment.

We don't guarantee you will play it!

Matching set, an Aquilasax alto and C tenor in black nickel. The C tenor has a longer body but a similar bore.


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