Feb 15 2011

Gitley sings Gershwin !


What better on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon, than to get George the Lakeland terrier howling along with a Martin C-Melody saxophone.  Bit of Gershwin seems to have taken his fancy.   Ace the collie has seen – and heard – it all before, she’s just sleeping off lunch. Aaaahhhh….

Click on the video below, it may take a few seconds ‘buffering’, before the video starts – don’t you just love cutting-edge technology ?


This was part of a series of short videos taken on an older Nokia phone, whilst I was checking out some mouthpieces.  As I came to the conclusion that most of my mouthpieces sound the same when I play them, along with the limited sound quality and video resolution of a mobile phone, I can’t quite be sure which mouthpiece I was using.  Doh !

It’s either my favourite slimline Couf J10*S, or a rather nondescript Wagner blank labeled as “Keilwerth ToneKing Special 6″ (which plays far better than some of the much more expensive ‘big name’ mouthpieces).  At least I do know that the reed was a LaVoz Medium (tenor).  I suppose that’s something ?    I very much suspect that it was the ebonite Keiwerth, as I notice the end of a paper receipt padding out the cork – it does have a wider shank fitting,  but a smaller tip opening than I usually play.

Feb 10 2011

Lakeland Terrier just loves Soprano’s… ** now TWO videos **


As soon as I’d unpacked my lovely little Mirage Bb ‘curvie, and slipped on the closest available mouthpiece ( a very old Arbiter metal ’5′, cost almost 70 quid in it’s day…) for it’s trial run, I just knew that George the Lakie (aka Gitley) was itching to get in on the act…

Click on the ‘play’ button in the middle of the video below, to hear Terrier vocals with sax backing !


I’ll be reviewing the little Mirage soprano in depth, in a later post, once I’ve settled on a nice mouthpiece/reed combo – and given the Soprano a chance to stretch it’s little legs – favourite now seems to be my Mojobari modified vintage ebonite Meyer, plus a Rico Plasticover 2.5 reed for a little added bite . It really is a little cutie, but is a REAL instrument ! And that bronze (lacquer ?) bell just adds to it’s character. Wish they did a ‘curvie’ soprano in C.

Also coming soon will be a short feature movie entitled ‘ Gitley – The Howling ‘, of which the above is just a taster. I’ve more video clips where that came from… Not bad for a Nokia phone on default settings, eh ? Thanks CJ.

*** Addendum - by popular request, here’s ” Gitley Sings the Blues – Part Deux “…

Jan 31 2011

An Aquilasax C-Tenor review – 2010


Whilst I frantically struggle get back up to speed with such new 2011 blog topics as “The Pelham Saturday Night Special” (intriguing, eh ?), I can recommend this review, dated September 2010, of Steve Wedgwood’s Aquilasax C Tenor.  It would seem to be one of the latest models, as the reviewer talks about a ‘retro octave key’.

Steve did send me one of those keys a little while back, but I couldn’t implement it onto my Aquilasax as it would have clashed with the location of one of the cups – so there have obviously been some significant design changes along the way.

I have a great respect for Steve, who has succeeded in bringing first a new Aquilasax C-Tenor sax, and latterly a new Aquilasax C-Soprano sax, to the marketplace at a very sensible price.  Along with some much-needed c-specific accessories.  Well done Steve !

Click here for the review, and if you’d like to know more about Aquilasax, click here for the Aquilasax website.

Thanks to  Storm Gods / Alchemy Mindworks for the review.

Jan 1 2011

The Russian connection – Conn C-Melody


I’ve heard of a few C-Melody saxophones alive and well in Eastern Europe – whatever it’s called these ‘post Iron-Curtain’ days -  but this is probably the first on YouTube from Russia ?

Allowing for the relatively low quality of the recording, plus YouTube compression, this is a Conn C Melody sax being played hard (and very well !) by Andrew Krasilnikov – probably at Jazz Town Club, Moscow USSR…  ( is it called the USSR anymore, or is it now just Russia, as most of the ‘Union’ of satellite States now have independence ?)


Lovely to see a C-Mel being used, no compromises, just another sax !


Sep 11 2010

Jim Schmidt’s revolutionary new sax goes East…


  I was interested by this statement in a recent saxontheweb topic.  As you may know, a while back, Jim Schmidt was working on a revolutionary new ‘Contralto’ – in C – saxophone with a totally different fingering system, and, certainly for the Contralto,  a completely new bore design.  Subsequently Jim  stopped development and production of the C/Contralto – I don’t know if any C’s were ever actually sold – to concentrate on the Bb/Tenor version.   Now it seems that Garret L Hypes, of Las Vegas based Saxophone.com is taking the venture a step further.  Here’s the statement -

I (Saxophone.com) have just started a collaboration with saxophone inventor Jim Schmidt and our Taiwanese business associates on his new chromatic fingered saxophone (http://users.gotsky.com/jimschmidt/default.html). This is the first real change in saxophone fingering since the Boehm fingering system patent (1847). Jim is just now finishing up marking the tone hole locations on three custom Schmidt spec body tubes manufactured and shipped to him from our Houli contracted factory. Two of these tubes will actually be finished saxophones and the third will be a tone hole guide for future production. We are also adapting his stainless steel rod, and cup technology as well as his gold dust impregnated Mylar film pads on standard Boehm system saxophones. The new saxophone will be named “AVATAR by Jim Schmidt” and will be mainly marketed in Asia. I have video of our first meeting at his workshop and I will also try my best to update the progress on Saxophone.com and Twitter (Saxophonedotcom) —Garrett

Interesting times – here’s a video showing Jim demonstrating an original hand built (prototype ?) sax to Steve Goodson and Ron Carter.  Is this the C or the Bb ?  Possibly an unfortunate coincidence that the main investor has the surname of “Hypes…”, but it’ll be interesting to see how much it will have changed as a mass-produced product.