Deception has 3 shows coming up over 5 days, so we have 2 rehearsals this week to go through all of the sets we’re playing. A couple of nights ago my newly restored 10M got its first workout with the band. I took it to rehearsal where it had the chance to really show what it could do… Or more to the point, what I could do with it, after having it for just under 2 weeks.
I’ve been using my regular setup so far on the Conn: a Dukoff S7 & a Fibracell 2½. BTW, the reed I was using, was a new one, and was still quite hard, because the softer reeds don’t work as well on this horn. I’ll explain more in a minute.
By the time we got through the first song, the Conn had amazed all of us. Art Panchishin, Deception’s founder and leader, thought the sound was crisp and clean, & had the ability to cut through in a way that the my Martin didn’t. (My Handcraft is my backup horn. I’ve been using it for the last 6 months because my main horn, my Mark VI, had needed its Eb keyguard resoldered. Sarge was kind enough to do that for me when I picked up my 10M from him.)
As the rehearsal went on, and I grew more comfortable with the Conn, I loved it’s sound more and more. It has a “lightness” to it, which makes it very easy to distort, and I use a lot of distortion in this band. It’s projection was phenomenal, and so was the key action. Sarge did a great job rebuilding this poor abused baby.
However, there were a few areas where the 10M couldn’t compete with either the Handcraft or my Mark VI. At this point I suspect it’s me, and I just need to get to know the horn better & possible change my set up slightly.
A couple of our songs have me utilizing a ”false” A fingering trill between it, & a conventional A2. The 10M’s false A is really weak. There is not much of a sound difference between the 2 notes, and thus the effect is totally ineffectual. I’m not sure that a change in set up will correct that. I need to do some research and see what other 10M players say about this. I’m quite curious actually. (BTW, if you’re looking for information on “false” fingerings, check out the Alternate Fingerings Page on Pete Thomas’s website. It lists them & gives a couple sound clips as well.)
The second area where the 10M was not effective was in the left palm keys. D3, E3, & F3 were weak, and difficult to hit. The key configuration is partially the issue because I’m not used to it yet, but that aside, when the notes did speak, they didn’t project well. Over the past couple of weeks at home, I’ve found when using a soft reed with my Dukoff S7, the notes didn’t come out at all, hence my choice for a new reed that was still hard.
Even worse than playing the palm keys, was trying to play the front E3 & F3 as the lead up into the higher altissimo. Front E & F were not there at least 50% of the time, and when they were, they were so weak that they didn’t matter.
I use my front E & F in almost 50 to 75% of our songs, as I work my way into the altissimo register, in order to play opposite the lead guitar. If I don’t have those notes, I can’t play the way I’m used to playing: the way I’m expected to play. And F#3, G3, G#3, were impossible for me to hit on the fly. On a sustained tone, I had a 50/50 chance of hitting them.
Having said that, the higher altissimo (D4 and above) register spoke really easily on the 10M. It took hardly any effort at all. I just heard the note I wanted in my head, and it came out. No sweat. No adjustment in fingerings required. The Conn is much easier in that regard than the Selmer, and perhaps even easier than the Martin.
So as I say, the issues I’ve run up against (with the exception of the false A) are most likely due to my not knowing the horn well enough, and having to adjust my set up slightly. However, those quirks I need to learn about aside, I love new 10M. It is a really versatile horn. Even with the Dukoff, I was able to make it sound quite mellow & very jazzy.
Although I had originally planned to make it a Blues horn, at this point I suspect that it will be the companion to my 6M, which I use exclusively for jazz. I have a number of really nice mouthpieces that I use for jazz, so I’m sure one will be ideal for the Conn.
Now that my Mark VI is back in business, for our rehearsal tonight, I’m going to take it. It will be interesting to hear how it does compared to the 10M.
The VI is a heavier horn, has greater resistance, and thus takes a bit more air, especially in order to play the way I have to in an electric Blues environment. The growl tone I use 75% of the time, of course requires even more air than a conventional tone, so playing the Conn was a nice break. Holiday’s over now though: It’s back to work.
…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info,
you should check it out too.There’s lots there!