Contrabass Digest

To subscribe or unsubscribe, email



list                           Sun, 2 Aug 1998            Volume 1 : Number 48

In this issue:


Date: Sun, 2 Aug 1998 02:55:34 EDT
From: <>
Subject: Re:  sarrusophones

Mike, my postings to the Contrabass list are always rejected, so I would
appreciatd your forwarding this there.  I have a Conn Eb CB
Sarrusophone, with 3 playing reeds.  These are not here now but I will
be happy to send you dimensions etc, they are substantially bigger than
c-bassoon reeds.  The Early Music Shoppe in England sells a contrabass
sordune reed which can be used.
The Early Music Shop <>

My Sarrusophone plays at appx A440, consistent with US pitch of A435
during the period of its manufacture.  My index card on it is below.

Bill Fetcher in Steamboat Springs CO knows everything about
Sarrusophones, he published a paper in the IDRS journal about 10 years
ago.  Also below is an earlier posting on Sarrusophone reeds.  Paul
Cohen and/or Marge Downey Banks at the Shrine for Music (they have a
website) can advise you with the Conn issues.

Enjoy, Robert Howe

Eb contrabass Sarrusophone
Maker: Conn
Site of Manufacture: Elkhart
Serial: 272.
Year of manufacture:  1925ish
How obtained:  purchased from Brian Charles, 1997
System: like a simplified Saxophone
Body: gold laq on brass.  May have been relaquered.
Keys: same
Pitch:low pitch
Condition: excellent
Case:original and excellent
Repair history: received in excellent condition
Comments: Marked USQMC (United States Quarter Master Corps), made for US
Military bands.  Serial number refers to Sarrusophones, not to all Conn manufacture.

Dear Michel and all others interested,

        Sarrusophone reeds should be very different from contrabassoon reeds.
The Eb bass sarrusophone reed should be 23mm wide at the tip, blade
length of 41mm, a tube length of 53mm, 16 mm between the first and
second wires, and a bocal size of 8.5mm.  The scrape should be more like
a French style reed than like a German style reed.  The BBb contrabasss
sarrusophone reed should be the same but with a blade length of 54mm.
Good sarrusophone reeds can be purchased from Jack Spratt Woodwind Shop,
11 Park Avenue, P.O. Box 277, Old Greenwich, CT 06870, Tel. (800)

        With best wishes,       Henry Skolnick


Date: Sun, 2 Aug 1998 07:00:55 -0200
From: (Timothy Tikker)
To: <>
Subject: Re: list V1 #48

I was interested to read about the sarrusophone stamped "USQMC" for United
States Quarter Master Corps.

I know this is NOT a contrabass instrument, but I have a Cundy-Bettoney Eb
clarinet with just "U.S." stamped on the bell and case in large letters.
It's metal, BTW.  It's actually an excellent intrument, about the best
in-tune Eb I've played with fine, strong tone and good facility.  It's
certainly professional-quality, and I'm guessing that "U.S." means it was
made for military band use.

Anyone able to confirm this?

- Timothy Tikker


Date: Sun, 2 Aug 1998 16:18:40 EDT
From: <>
Subject: Re:  list V1 #47(Contrabass Sarrusophone)

     My Conn Contra Sarrusophone has the serial # V279 but no usqmc marking.
I am assuming that this means it was not manufactured for the government.  Of
its two bocals, one looks like it was made all in one piece, while the othe
looks like it was made in three pieces.  The third piece looks as if it widens
the diameter for the reed rather than narrowing it as in the case of Michel's
(it does not widen the bore of the bocal however).  The three piece bocal is
the longer of the two bocals, but the extra length seems to be in the curve of
the bocal when compared to the smaller bocal, and not on the end of the bocal.
Both bocals seem to have the same intonation.  They play in tune over the full
range of the instrument except for the bottom three notes (Bb,B, and C) which
play very flat (as a matter of fact, I can easily lip down the low Bb to an A.
Not necesarrily a bad thing!).  If anyone has a solution to the intonation of
these three notes, I would love to hear it.  Also, the fourth line (written) D
is very difficult to produce.  The instrument has the right hand thumb third
register key on it, which plays all other notes which use it just fine.
However, the D can't make up it's mind which octave to be in no matter what I
do.  If anyone out there has a solution to this, I also would be interested to
here it!
Jonathan Carreira


End of list V1 #49

Next Digest ->
Previous Digest <-