10M Neck on eBay

Steve at World Wide Sax did an amazing job rebuilding my 1965 Conn 10M. The horn had been abused before I ended up with it. The neck, with its unslung octave key, looked like it had been attacked with a ball-peen hammer. Steve managed to rebuild the neck so it works 100% correctly again, but it will never look very pretty.  

neck-left

neck-bottem

I had decided to keep my eyes open for a replacement neck for the horn, and then a couple of days ago, I noticed one on eBay. Steve did tell me that a replacement neck wouldn’t be cheap, but when clicked on the page, and the pictures appeared, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I somehow doubted that this is what he was talking about. The seller is asking $250 as a starting bid for this neck. Let’s just let the pictures speak for themselves…

right-side

    Source: eBay.com

left-side

    Source: eBay.com

under-side

    Source: eBay.com

The seller simply says:

Vintage tenor sax neck–needs straightening.

Conn 10-M with underslung keys.

Well, I’d say straightening is the least of its problems! Jeez… It makes mine look nearly minty.

I notice the seller of this 10M neck is from Louisiana. Given the red rot the neck has, I’m wondering… Are we perhaps looking at a Katrina survivor?

Coincidentally enough, there are some Katrina survivors on eBay at the moment, and none of them look as bad as this neck does.

really-katrina-surviors-currently-on-ebay

    Source: eBay.com

The seller of these instruments says:

These horns are survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and have been subjected to saltwater. I picked them from my property 3 or 4 weeks after the storm and they have been in storage since.

BTW, there are currently 14 bids on these 5 tenors, and the highest is less then the opening bid on the 10M neck alone.

Now getting back to the 10M neck…The auction ends on April 8th. My prediction: there will be 0 bids.

…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!

Sax? Guitar? Guitar? Sax?

Last night we had our last rehearsal for 2008 for Deception. It was a chance to kick back, run through some tunes we haven’t played in a while, and refresh our memories about intros, changes, and endings for songs that we’ve been neglecting for months.

Both Art (the guitar player) & I were trying out new gear, so our sound was markedly different than what our fans would be used to hearing. We’re introducing some new things, as well as new songs, for ’09, and this was a chance for us to experiment a bit.

Since I’ve opted to not use effects and distortion pedals in the electric Blues band, all my effects come through a combination of one or more of the following: my throat, embouchure, overtones, altissimo, and multiphonics. Over the years, I have developed a repertoire of effects that continues to grow the more I work with Art.

Last night my multiphonic-distortion effects sounded so much like the guitar, I was unsure were my sound ended, and where the guitar sound began. I wasn’t the only one unsure of what I was hearing. Art, Steve, & Gary were all equally confused. When we ended Buried Alive In The Blues, it sounded like we had 2 electric guitars playing, not a sax & guitar.

The horn I took to last night’s rehearsal was my 10M. I haven’t had a chance play it for weeks, not since I had it to the last rehearsal at the end of November. At the time, I really struggled with it, and couldn’t get it to play consistently in the left palm keys, nor front E3, F3, and forget F#3 and higher. D4 and up was a breeze, but up to there, the horn wasn’t going to have any part of playing altissimo notes.

I was sure I was going to have to change my set up, but I’ve been too tired, and not feeling well enough, to be able to spend the energy it takes to fiddle-f#!* around with mouthpiece/reed combinations and try to find something that works. Last night I decided to just wing it, and try my standard Dukoff S7, with a fairly new & hard Fibracell, since the horn doesn’t like soft reeds.

For some reason, certainly not because I’ve been practicing, the 10M had no problem playing all things it was giving me grief with before. Even the false A, which didn’t sound much different from the conventional A last time I played the sax, suddenly worked last night. Weird. Gremlins. Apparently these guys are not limited to living in computers. They live quite happily in saxophones too.

As I mentioned in my post of November 26th, the advantage with the 10M is that its sound is crisp and clean, and can cut through more than either my Martin or Selmer can. It is also much more “distortion friendly” than either of my other tenors, and right now the less energy I need to expend on something, the better.

Last night’s success with the 10M gives me optimism, but also makes me wonder: What’s goin’ on? Luckily I have more reeds than many music stores. I’ll have to sit down & actually try my different Dukoffs, and my other mouthpieces, as well as different reed combos. I’ve got the time. If only this neuro-related fatigue would leave me alone for a few days, I would have the energy to finally get my 10M show-ready.    

…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!

The First Road Test Of My Conn 10M

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!