Monday, April 27, 2009

C Melody Sax reeds

A frequent question we get at Rico from players relates to what type of reed to use on C Melody Sax. As many of you know, the C Melody sax is pitched in C instead of Bb for Tenor or Eb for Alto. While there is limited ensemble use for C Melody Sax (wind and military band), the fact that it doesn't transpose makes it a versitle horn for reading music written for C instruments.

The C Melody sax is larger than the alto sax and smaller than the tenor sax. With regards to mouthpieces, a true C Melody mouthpiece is similar to a tenor sax mouthpiece. With this type of C Melody Sax mouthpiece, bass clarinet like Rico Royal or Grand Concert Select reeds work well.

However many people simply use an alto sax mouthpiece on C Melody Sax. If you are using an alto sax mouthpiece then alto sax reeds should be used such as Rico Royal or Rico reeds. You can also try the Reserve Alto or Reserve Tenor reeds.


  1. I use a Rico Graftoninte B7 Tenor mouthpiece on my Buescher C-melody, so I can use normal tenor reeds.
    Some tenor (or alto) mouthpieces will not work on c-melodies, causing intonation issues.
    The Graftonite B7 has worked well for me.
    On my Conn C-melody I am using Metalite mouthpieces. The alto fits well. The tenor had to be cut a little to fit on it's neck, since it has the microtunner.

  2. Yes, I think you'll find that by far the largest number of C-Melody players use tenor mouthpieces/reeds, or modern C mouthpieces - and that (afaik) all the modern C-Melody mouthpieces are faced for tenor reeds.

    I've used Rico Royal bass clarinet reeds on 'traditional' 20's C-Melody mouthpieces, the extra brightness is needed to overcome the natural reluctance of the old mouthpieces - which are only useful if you want to sound like a 78 record...

    The C-Melody revival is gently simmering away...

  3. I use a Beechler C Melody #6 mouthpiece with Rico Jazz Select 2M reeds (Tenor Size)

  4. I bought a box of Rico tenor reeds for my C melody, and I'm wondering if I should cut the thick end off? Would it make a different tone or would there be no affect on tone quality?

  5. I recently inherited a C-Melody, Alto, and Tenor saxophone (dated to the 20's-30's) and the C-Melody's mouth piece is different from both the tenor's and alto's. I have no clue about saxophones since I play trombone so if anyone could tell me what kind of mouth piece would be bigger than an alto's but smaller than a tenor's and what kind of reed that would need would be so helpful.

  6. I am considering buying a c melody sax. I have two alto saxophones but not a Tenor as I sold it some time ago. Do you think an alto mouthpiece and reed would work okay or will I need to buy a new c melody mouthpiece if so which reed would work best on this.

    1. A tenor mouthpiece would work better. Considering the instrument is only tuned a step up from a tenor and two steps down from alto. It makes more scence to use a tenor mouthpiece if you don't have a c mouthpiece. Iv'e seen someone play an a c with a tenor mp/reed.

  7. Nice and great for sharing this information. Love to collect this type of information. Now please have a look at Conn mouthpieces

  8. I have a 1924 Conn New Wonder C Melody and I use a modern C-Mel mouthpiece by Runyon. Bass clarinet reeds work great and produce an awesome smokey sound.

    I have the original mouthpiece and tried both Rico Bass Cari and Tenor Sax reeds and to get any real volume I had to blow waaay to hard. Using an Alto mouth piece was a very tight fit and actually made it sound like an out-of-tune Alto. Same thing with a Tenor mouth piece, out-of-tune Tenor.

    Try the Runyon mouthpiece, you'll be happy.

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  10. I also have this question.What type of reed to use on C Melody Sax? but now i know.Thanks For the post.
    Saxophone Lessons