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Where I Bought Mine

Where I Bought Mine

It seems the bass I bought once belonged to the University of Oklahoma band. The lettering worn off the case is just barely visible now.

Wayne Shell, Helen Kahlke, Paul Coats, New Orleans.
Wayne, Helen, and Paul in the hotel lobby. Photo by Travel Lodge desk clerk.

The people I bought the horn from, Paul Coats and Wayne Shell, of the Bayou Sax Ensemble, got it from the Junior High School in Bunkie, Louisiana.

The school had owned the horn since the 1950s. It was played for some years there, and then languished on the top shelf of the instrument storeroom for about 30 years. Wayne and Paul saved it by outbidding the other potential buyer when the school board decided to sell it. Interestingly, the school Principal who showed it to them commented, “When I was a student here many years ago, my best friend played this old sax.”

bass saxophone, water key, socket, repaired bow
This is what the bow looked like after Steve Goodson fixed it. Paul cleaned it up before I bought it! Photo by Paul Coats.

It was in bad shape, having suffered some kind of trauma at some point. Besides needing a complete overhaul, the neck socket bow was bent out, which had caused the top to collapse. Paul did most of the repairs himself, but called on the talents of New Orleans sax repairman Steve Goodson to fix the bow.

Once they had it in good shape, they decided to sell it, since the Bayou Sax Ensemble already had another Buescher bass sax.

When I got off the plane, Paul and Wayne were there to pick me up. They took me out to dinner and then dropped me off at my hotel. They were even kind enough to stick around to make sure I got settled. Good thing they did—the hotel had given away my room and it was only after some insistence on our part that they re-booked me into another hotel.

I ended up in a totally different part of town. Paul and Wayne drove me over to the new hotel before driving themselves home.

The next morning, Paul was back to pick me up and drive me over to Steve Goodson’s shop, where I tried out the bass for the first time ever.

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