Contrabass Digest

To subscribe or unsubscribe, email



Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 20:08:50 EDT
Subject: 1897 Evette-Schaeffer contrabass (was Re. gagging)

Aaron Rabushka writes,
>Is your fictional sax player looking to make a magical deal with the Devil á la Paganini (or at least á la the Paganini bubba misa)?>

Nicholas Truffa, stage name Nicodemus, went from being an out-of-work clarinetist to the world's first contrabass sax virtuoso awfully fast . . . faster than most talented musicians could get there by the mundane "practice, practice, practice" route, anyway.  At his recitals, at a waaaay off-Broadway dive known as the Teatre Velvet DeLuxe (the kind of place where you don't want to stand too close to the curtain because it's full of fleas), on a stage dimly lit with black pillar candles, he tosses magicians' flash-powder into a big censer as he makes his grand entrance, just before he twitches off his long, black opera cape and flings it on the floor.  His dressing room stinks of sulfur.  The other regulars at the theater aren't totally convinced that his act is as fake as it looks.  There are other sinister forces out there besides Old Scratch, however.  Nicodemus might know about some of those, because he hails from Arkham, Massachusetts.  In fact, he probably met Abner Waite, who engraved his sax, when they were fellow students at Miskatonic University, where they graduated near the bottom of their class in1889.  Abner's from Innsmouth.

Jack Silver wrote,
>>Sounds like a worthy cause; maybe I can come up with something that will satisfy
the PEN award judges.>>

The PEN award people don't read the half-penny-per-word markets I write for! ;-)

 Jack continued,
>>As for never having heard a CB sax, you are missing one of the true musical delights.  Paul Cohen has put out a CD with a duet by Henry Cowell for soprano and Contrabass saxes.  A real gem. Steve Lederman has a web site on which he has a picture of me playing (or looking like I'm playing) Scott Robinson's CB sax.  Also Scott has made a CD on Arbor Records with his playing a contrabass. Now, as for Danielle Heberling...>>

Though I've never *seen* a contrabass "live," I've *heard* them, on Nuclear Whales recordings and on that Paul Cohen recording you mention, which I own and enjoy a lot.  You know, I thought your name looked familiar--I've seen that great photo of you on Steve Lederman's site.  In fact, I found his Six Brown Brothers site from a link on while I was reading through the back issues, just before I signed up for this list last year. Small world.  I haven't heard the Scott Robinson recording, though, and will look for it.  Thanks for the information!


Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 17:50:25 -0700
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Literature alert!


I've finally gotten around to reading the current issue of TUBA Journal
(vol. 26 No. 3), and discovered a great article by Arnold Myers about the
difficulties of brass instrument nomenclature.  The article includes
pictures of a BBb Monster Bombardon (a BBb tuba), an armeeposaune (upright
valve trombone), and what looks to me like a 4 valve alto trumpet in F.
Maybe its an alto flugelhorn?  The oddest thing is that the article ends
abruptly on the second page.  Was it supposed to end there, or was it a
printing error (like truncating it to fit the space available...)?


Grant Green  

From: Robert Groover <>
Subject: Re: 1897 Evette-Schaeffer contrabass (was Re. gagging)
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 18:05:57 -0700 (PDT)

Wow!  I want to read this.

>             I need to surround it with reassuringly mundane,
> realistic details as camouflage.

If a gold-plated contrabass WITH naughty engravings falls into the
realm of the mundane, I'm really curious to read what you might come up
with from the realm of wish and fantasy!

Question for collectors: do you see used horns with "curious" custom
decoration?  I.e. beyond the naked lady?

Robert Groover   (PGP key on request)
Member ECS, AVS, ACM, OSA, Sen.Mem.IEEE, Reg'd Patent Atty
        "All men by nature desire knowledge."


Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 21:50:31 EDT
Subject: Re: [Contra digest]

In a message dated 4/28/99 10:22:14 PM,
> Jack Silver wrote,
> >>I am extremely curious about why you are interested in the 1897 price of a new
> gold-plated E-S contrabass sax.  By any chance do you have such a thing or do you
> have a lead on one?>>
> I wish!  The owner of this 1897 contrabass is a fictional character, the
> antagonist in a horror story set in 1905.  I've never even seen a contrabass
> "in person," much less bought one.  (My biggest sax is a bass.)  The climax
> of the story is an impossible event, so in order to make some lame attempt to
> foist it off as credible, I need to surround it with reassuringly mundane,
> realistic details as camouflage.  The probable value of this sax would help,
> because I assume it would have been expensive.  The sax also has an
> elaborate, after-market custom engraving by someone who'd recently been fired
> from Tiffany & Co. (Evette-Schaeffer refused to provide the requested
> engraving, because it's pornographic), so it would help to know what that
> might have cost in 1897, too. Readers understand "The love of money is the
> root of all evil," even if they don't know much about Satanism or music.  The
> concept is that it's not wise for a musician to indulge his curiosity to the
> point of breaking into a warlock's room and playing his prized possession.
> Thanks for any info anyone can contribute to this irresponsible cause--
> Lelia
> >>

In my article(s) on the contrabass saxophone, I quoted the price of an
Evette-Schaeffer from the 1920s.  I believe I have a price list for the 1910s
as well.  Those might be good departure points.
Paul Cohen

Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 00:21:33 EDT
Subject: Used Contrabassoon

Does anyone where i could theoretically (That is, if i had money) find a used
Contrabassoon at a reasonable (yeah right!) price.  I would be interested in
any info.  Thanks!

Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 00:34:33 -0400
From: arehow <>
Subject: Re: Used Contrabassoon

International Wind and Brass in NYC has a used contrabassoon.  Ask for
Hartley. 212-840-7165

RObert Howe

Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 09:53:45 +0100 (BST)
From: A Myers <>
Subject: Re: Literature alert!

Grant Green wrote (28.4.99) about the latest of my series of articles in
TUBA Journal:-

> ...  The oddest thing is that the article ends
> abruptly on the second page.  Was it supposed to end there, or was it a
> printing error (like truncating it to fit the space available...)?

It does look a bit odd, but it is correct (it ends with a URL which of
course takes no full stop).

                         Arnold Myers

Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments,
Reid Concert Hall,  Bristo Square,  EDINBURGH  EH8 9AG,  U.K.
Web URL:

Next Digest ->
Previous Digest <-