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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. I am impressed. Stupid me ended up with a (Now properly identified) '23 New Wonder and a '25 New Wonder II. The '23 arrived this morning and I really like it. The left hand thing is a bit tricky, but getting used to it should be no problem. If the "Chu-Berry" is as nice a player, I'll have to keep both and sell off a guitar or two to finance this mistake. I know I like this horn better than my vintage Gibson ES 175 - and my American Strat could go with no tears either..... :)


As for the tone - It's everything you folks say it is. Bold, robust, ballsy, and centered. I can't wait till Friday night to use this with the Chicago, "Jump" band I play with. I think this sounds better than my late model SA80II for this genre....

The only problems I see are: The high F is a bit flat. More than I can comfortably lip up. Same with the high C, but that one is manageable. The keywork all functions as expected except the side C doesn't seem to close properly all the time... thankfully I rarely use it, and I'm sure my tech can fix it easily. I'm just not ready to even put it down long enough to drive over there at the moment. It plays fine with both my STM Link 7* and a Van Doren T101. My Jody Jazz Classic doesnt fare as well. There was also a (presumably) original Conn Steelay Standard mouthpiece in the case. Wonder if that's worth anything. Way too closed for me. Anyway....What fun. I'll post my comparison of the two when the Chu arrives....

There was also what appears to be a removable, form fitted clarinet case inside the sax case. Anybody know the deal with that? IS that normal for these things?

Edit: In a side by side studio comparison, the New Wonder sounds virtually identical to my SA80II except it seems to "growl" more forcefully....surprising but true. My initial enthusiasm may have just had it sounding richer in my head. That's still pretty impressive considering one is 90 years older than the other and has a far lower perceived value. I'm still loving this sax though and it's certainly more appropriate for the Jump band - and I won't worry quite so much about the occasional ding as this one has a few already.....
 

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That case is a bit rare. Put up a photo and we will tell you what it is. The case may be worth hundreds if it is in good shape.
 

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Told ya they were honkers! Might want to make sure your palm keys are opening up as much as they should. You could also try the front F... what is it called, the "fork" w/ LH 2... fingering for F3 to see if that one's better.

Funny about the horn sounding the same as your II when recorded. I once did a comparison playing the same solo with my 10M with a rollover mouthpiece and my Silversonic tenor with a high baffled mouthpiece and they were pretty much indistinguishable. It would seem our personal sound is the more forceful factor when recorded. However... sometimes you just get a better feel from a horn; like you're more in tune with it somehow by the vibrations coming from it through your fingertips. I don't think that'll come through with a recording.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok - what's the cheap mod for extending that damn G# key. That's gonna drive me nutz.

As for the case (and the case in the case) they are trashed. And musty. Got that hobo - blind blues man vibe for sure. A liberal application of duct tape might give it another 6 months but the patient is terminal.
 

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Ok - what's the cheap mod for extending that damn G# key. That's gonna drive me nutz.
Epoxy putty could be one way to go. It's relatively cheap (under $10 for about a foot long stick), and it's pretty easy to work with. I've used it for key risers with great success. You just have to get the rough shape right before it sets up, and then you can sand it until it's smooth. You can get it from Lowes or Home Depot (probably could find it at somewhere like Ace too).
 

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A flat piece of brass shaped properly epoxied should work. If I was doing it, I would fashion the piece as a cover for the lever with an arm under the existing key with a set screw to attach it. Talk to martinmods here at SOTW as he can make you something. Remember though that it will still be a stretch to the other pinky keys. You also can refit the bis key.
 

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Yep, my 1923 New Wonder can whisper sweet nothings and can roar like a tigress! And the subtones are awesone on her!

And even that G# key can fit some hands - it's just right for me...

I didn't mind my STM Link on it and a Lawton was pretty good too - but I am just loving the Brendan Tibbs 'piece on mine!

A great pickup, Fader!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think so! It gets to go solo to it's first gig (with me) tonight. 3 hours of playing should give me the feel for it.

The Chu should get here Monday. By then I will have had three nights playing the New Wonder. I'm thinking the choice of which to flip will be tough.

I've already put a high-end guitar on eBay in anticipation of deciding to keep both for some extended "evaluation" ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A flat piece of brass shaped properly epoxied should work. If I was doing it, I would fashion the piece as a cover for the lever with an arm under the existing key with a set screw to attach it. Talk to martinmods here at SOTW as he can make you something. Remember though that it will still be a stretch to the other pinky keys. You also can refit the bis key.
This sounds like a good idea to me. Thanks. I'm not much liking the way the rest of the pinky table lays out either but I'll know more about how I feel about it after my gig tonight. I'm thinking I'll just get comfortable with it. If not - I'm a patient seller. I can break even at least. They both have been fully restored with the exception of the finish and even that's pretty good on both instruments considering their age
 

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I find the G# on the NW I to be a little on the short side too. Don't know why they didn't make it go all the way across the width of the table.

IMO you should use Sugru instead of epoxy. I used it to modify the thumb-ring on my Conn Soprano and it works like a charm. It's great for making custom risers and modded key add-ons, and will do the same thing as epoxy but faster, easier and less messily. In addition to being slightly cushiony when cured, it is totally removeable, which is important should you want to sell the horn later on.

Here's the Sugru webpage to buy it from: http://sugru.com/
plus Stephen Howard's turorial on making Sugru risers and thumbhooks: http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/key_risers.htm

As to the rest of the pinky keys, it's true that the B-in-the-middle layout of the vintage Conns is less than ideal, but your pinky does get used to it pretty fast. Plus you can slide between it and Bb either to the side or up and down, which clearly was the idea behind the design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the tips! As suspected, I seemed to be playing pretty comfortably last night by the second hour.

At some point I wondered what it was about the ergos I had a problem with ;).

By the end of the night I was actually inspired to step out of my box and follow some of the new ideas the horn and way it is laid out (and the way it responds) were pushing me towards. The new wonder is a keeper! What fun.

The fingering is a bit clunkier, but somehow the "response" seems quicker. Is that even possible? I was doing some staccato tounging stuff that is not in my vocabulary but somehow seemed quite natural. I've got a grueling schedule this weekend with a gig in ATL followed by a gig in Tampa with a red-eye out for a Sunday recording session and I'm actually looking forward to it just to play this puppy.

Gotta see if it fits safely in my protech contour for travel. The split bell keycups kinda worry me. I'm no more comfortable checking it in an Anvil.
 

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By the end of the night I was actually inspired to step out of my box and follow some of the new ideas the horn and way it is laid out (and the way it responds) were pushing me towards. The new wonder is a keeper! What fun.
So true. Everytime I pickup my NW I notice the keywork and the responce
almost automatically has me play differently. In a positive way. As if it steers me
towards different ideas. One more thing I love most about the NW is you'll never have to worry about your tone. It will always trustfully sound as big, full and fat.
Big Daddy horn. It never lets me down.
 
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