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For Sale: Prof. Romeo Orsi Contrabass Saxophone Prototype

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
Prof. Romeo Orsi Contrabass Saxophone Prototype
$36,000 OBO

Standing at an impressive 6’4″ in height, this is an exceptionally rare Orsi Contrabass Saxophone. This instrument, keyed from low Bb to high F, is one of Orsi’s prototypes, making it even more of a rarity. With no serial number, it is difficult to date precisely, but it was most likely manufactured in the late 70’s – early 80’s in Milan, Italy.
It is in excellent condition, and it had a full mechanical overhaul performed by the Bellingham Wind Works repair shop in 2017. This included all new pads (including some custom oversized bell-key pads), all new adjustment materials, tonehole leveling, key refitting, and more.

The sound is enormous and bold, with a tremendous amount of projection and presence. This will fill the room with ease. It is also capable of delicacy, with a particularly sweet-sounding upper register. Audio samples are available on request.

This instrument includes original mouthpiece, custom saxophone stand, hard case, instrument strap, lyre, and Orsi polishing cloth.

 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Hmm. $36K. I could pay off a couple of very large bills I have and put a serious dent into others. Or I could put a big time down-payment on a house. Or I could buy a fully restored 72 Rivera and also get at least a year's worth of gas. With a nod to my new hobby, I could get approximately 20 of the bestest keyboards evar and pay someone to code working controller cards.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I wonder how many people own a contrabass sax or a Tubax that was built after the 1920s. Heck, I wonder how many companies currently make a contrabass or Tubax (the answer to the latter is obviously one).
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I have played this particular instrument. It is not very friendly from an ergonomics standpoint. That being said, Marcel--the owner--can play it fluently up and down. He plays it so well in fact, that he was able to use it for his performance pieces for his PhD in saxophone performance.

When I stood back and watched and listened to him play his Orsi contra, I was in awe. He is living proof--as if I needed any--that ergos are not a barrier to skill, talent, and practice. This is of course why we had saxophone virtuosos from the 20s playing very difficult pieces, on instruments that by today's standards are archaic.

Marcel's Orsi was the first contra that I have had the opportunity to try in real life, and I must say it was rather humbling. Unlike my Buescher bass the first time I tried it--when I could play arpeggios up and down the full range of the horn, and every scale I had ever learned--with this contra I was struggling. I was not able to go over the break without cracking into overtones, and the lower octave? :p:D Let's just say anything below F1 was "optional". ;)

I would be curious to try an Eppelsheim Tubax or conventional Eb contrabass should they ever have another in-person NAMM or large-scale musical trade show. I would assume that Benedikt's are easier to play on a bunch of different levels. But then they also cost $20-30K more. o_O I think for the occasional contra job, this Orsi would do very nicely.

Since I play nothing but vintage horns with ergonomically less-than-friendly keywork, I don't find them to be a problem in my day to day gigging and rehearsal life. This Orsi would be no different. It just needs a bigger car. :cool:
 
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