The Eb Contrabass Sarrusophone. Probably the most popular out of the Sarrus family. Sarruses are double-reeds, but made of metal like saxophones. Their purpose was mostly to give a double-reed sound in marching bands, because wooden double-reeds suffer tonality, can be awkward to carry, and are much more expensive if accidentally dropped… They basically compare and compete with the saxophone, though I don’t really think Gautrot (inventor of the Sarrus) planned to really give Sax a run for his money. Sax sued him multiple times for multiple reasons. The Sarrus’s fingerings are very similar to a saxophone’s of the 1800’s when it was invented, and ranges from low Bb to a high G (Saxes in those days were low B- high F) Both were promoted in marching band, and invented relatively close together, the saxophone patent was in 1846 and the Sarrus was invented in 1856.
The instrument was made in sizes similar to, and in the same key, as saxophones: Eb Sopranino, Bb soprano (these two looked like very narrow bored sopran(in)o saxes) Eb Alto, Bb Tenor, Eb Baritone, Bb Bass, Eb Contrabass, CC Contrabass (this sarrus was used quite frequently until more modern technology allowed contrabassons to be more easily made and better sounding) and also a BBb Contrabass.
The French used these instruments the most as they were invented there. However, the US army had Conn get a hold of some and make over 200 or so Eb Contrabasses for them. Conn also invented a single reed mouthpiece for it, using a smaller hole for the bocal, causing the horn to sound more saxophonish.
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