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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a 1970 Conn 7M Alto (Mexico) from www.2ndending.com

This really is a fabulous saxophone. It's a pro spec horn from Conn's Mexico factory w/ the same bore geometry as the vaunted 6M. The action is quite slick with a "modernized" LH pinky table and the bell keys on the right side. It's different from the Selmer-style keywork I am used to, but actually very comfortable and fast.

Some claim these instruments are prone to falling apart. Not this example. It has as sturdy of a build quality that I have seen on any saxophone. I do not expect anything to fall off, unless I throw the horn across the room.

Paired with my new Warburton EF .085" mpc, I can finally get the tone I have been aiming for the last couple of years. The intonation is excellent (seriously.) The scale is very even up and down. Also, the dynamic range is EXTREMELY wide. I can get a variety of tones from this horn, which is of course a strong suit of the Conn saxes, and this particular case is no different. The tone is very broad & dark, but brightens very nicely when pushed. This is a very powerful Alto.

Verdict: The 7M is a very cheap route to the classic Conn Alto sound.

*Do not be swayed by those that say these Mexican Conns are all pieces of junk. The quality of my 7M proves to me that this is merely an urban legend.

Many thanks to SOTW member JayeSF for hooking me up with my "new" favorite Alto!!! :mrgreen:
 

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I recently purchased a 1970 Conn 7M Alto (Mexico) from www.2ndending.com
Do not be swayed by those that say these Mexican Conns are all pieces of junk. The quality of my 7M proves to me that this is merely an urban legend.
I'm glad you are happy with your horn, and this example proved to be a good one for you. However the issues with the Mexican made Conns is no urban legend as you put it. A fortuitous experience with one example does not an expert make.

Those of us who have had many of these pass through our hands over decades of playing and repairing can confirm the shaky and many times shoddy quality control and workmanship one finds with horns made during Conn's sunset years as saxophone manufacturers. Most definitely when one compares them to their golden era of production.
 

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Check out this 7M ad from 1975.

Former 7M owner Jason DuMars said they're "prone to falling apart, but the geometry and key design is fabulous. It's essentially based on the 28M with most of the doodads removed."
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Former 7M owner Jason DuMars said they're "prone to falling apart, but the geometry and key design is fabulous. It's essentially based on the 28M with most of the doodads removed."
I read this but spoke to SOTW members Les Arbuckle, JayeSF, and others (off-site) who are knowledgeable about Conns. JayeSF said he has had a few of these 7Ms through his shop and they have not been "prone to falling apart." Les told me that Mexi-Conns can be good horns. After much deliberation, I made the decision to get this 7M. This is most definitely one of the good ones.

Also, I really don't care what anyone says b/c they have not played or held mine. That being said, I am friends with Jason and very much respect his opinion. His example might have been mistreated through the years.

Anyone else ready to rain on my parade? :( :bluewink: :mrgreen:
 

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A fortuitous experience with one example does not an expert make.

Those of us who have had many of these pass through our hands over decades of playing and repairing can confirm the shaky and many times shoddy quality control and workmanship ...
Fair enough as a general overview of how things changed w/ Conn from the golden days to the 80's. No point in arguing that, and as you state there have been enough examples of many a late-model Conn exhibiting problematic characteristics.

However, keep in mind that the 7M was not intended to be a churn-'em out ,second shelf model...it was intended to replace the 6M.

Very few people (if any, really) have spent time working on (and working up) numerous 7M's....so their basis of judging them isn't particularly rock-solid, as it is with the '60's-and-beyond Directors and maybe some late, late Artist series horns. There is really almost nil info on the 7M....

I have had three here...one's now Thad's...the second is going to RClosson. The third is on the "to do" shelf.

Rather than consider this as one particular horn deviating from the standard, and suggesting that Thad 'lucked out' or such; and given that there is so LITTLE info and so FEW reviews available about them...I suggest that Thad's review serves as a useful reference for those in the future.

Personally, with the 3 here, I feel the reputation should deservedly start moving towards Thad's rave... as opposed to "a horn which falls apart".

I have been playing Closson's off and on for a year now, and it has held regulation well and doesn't show some of those typical signs of poor assembly which the late-model Directors do.

Having pulled two apart thus far, the construction of them has proven to be quite respectable and solid. Of what I have examined on the third one thus far, the same can be said. I am not seeing those typical attributes (loosy-goosey keywork, badly-cast keys, poorly-placed posts, odd keyheights not as a result of poor adjustments but rather from factory-casting, etc...). I am seeing a pretty darn well-made Alto with some really novel keywork engineering....and they do sound huge. The horn may well be what it was intended to be...a solid, modern successor the 6M.

Just another 2 cents to add to the (significantly empty) penny-jar....
 

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Also, I really don't care what anyone says b/c they have not played or held mine. That being said, I am friends with Jason and respect his opinion very much. His example might have been mistreated through the years.

Anyone else ready to rain on my parade? :( :bluewink: :mrgreen:

I don't think I have played a 7M yet, but I plan to as soon as I can. (I say that because I tried a new Conn that a buddy of my bought in 1972 or 73 and it blew me away! It may have been a 7M because my vague recollection was that it had modern keywork and it was from the 7M era) I have heard from anybody who has owned or played one that they are well built and very good horns. I almost hope that their sorry reputation continues. If they are as good as I suspect, they may well become the deal of the century. Over the years, I have read a lot of uninformed opinions here. After a while, you learn to filter. I say play the horn and enjoy!
 

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I wouldn't go so far as to say the horns have a propensity for "falling apart". However quality did slip many notches downward as Conn began to lose interest in making quality saxophones C. 1970 and later, and it does show. I'm not implying that one cannot find the occasional "gem" among the flotsam as Thadnolan did.

Thad, there is no reason to be disillusioned by the problem with Conn's drop in over all quality in your case, as you have stated that your horn is working and sounding great. The fact that it was inspected by Jaye prior to your purchase was an added benefit and quality assurance. He seems to have a soft spot for the 7M.
My statements weren't meant to insult you or your horn, but rather to clarify the wholesale pooh poohing of the shaky quality control and drop in quality as an "urban myth". It is not.

These made in Mexico era problems are more in regard to the Director student models than your 7M, but this distinction was not made clear in your initial review. I wouldn't want anyone to be led into believing that any Conn horn made during this time frame is as good as the next, or fully comparable to what was being offered by them years earlier, such as what the Elkhart plant was producing.

Never the less, the majority of later examples that I have examined, owned, repaired, and played left many things to be desired. Horrible bell/bow/body fit, sloppy soldered joints, flexible, poorly supported hinge tubes/rods that prevent a long lasting adjustment, poorly finished tone holes, poorly installed pads, swedging galore required for a decent fit, the list is a long one. One must DEFINITELY inspect closely any example from this era before laying down your cash as it is a gamble what you will end up with. Some treasures, some fixable, and much trash.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I was just having a good time & I'm not offended. :whistle: :toothy9: :)

I'm very aware of Conn's dip in QC during the 70s. I am just trying to make people aware that a great deal can be found in one of these 7Ms. To be a little more clear, I am not speaking of any model except the 7M. Apparently though, even with the 7M, some are better than others.

If JayeSF has had 3 great ones, then there must be more out there.

Actually, I watched one on eBay recently that went for $150. It looked to be in a little better shape than mine as I got the guy to send me a bunch of close-ups. I didn't want to take a chance on it knowing I could get one ready to play from www.2ndending.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
.....harrumph ! :bsod:
I only meant there was almost no lacquer loss. :cool:

I didn't chance it, though, b/c it might have fallen apart!!! :TGNCHK:

I love my 7M!!! I wouldn't trade it for another one, even if it was "better looking."
 

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Well, I finally received my 7M. It is a beatiful horn and looks to be very solidly built. I haven't had time to really put it through its paces, but my initial reaction is very positive. Apparently it is not the same model I played in 73 because it didn't have that same "knock me out" effect that I was hoping for. That horn seemed to play itself. This one is very very nice to play, however. I can see a little Baugnier heritage in the design, mostly because of the body/bell brace design. Keywork is very slick and comfortable. I noted that the upper and lower stack were straight line instead of offset, which was a bit of a surprise, but not a deal breaker in my case as I was already used to my beloved (and now gone) Balanced Action. It sounds very nice and, while I did not put it on a strobe, it seemed to be very even in tone and intonation. I think I can happily play this for the duration and do not really forsee any falling apart in the future.
 

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Yes I've got one of these, The octave mech's a bit iffy but nothing 'life threatening'! intonation is indeed very good. With a little foresight on the part of Conn these could have been serious challengers in the pro horn market.
 

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I've had a 7M since the late seventies and it's been a solid and great sounding horn. For those unfamiliar with this model, you'll recognize them by their floral pattern.

total sleeper horn
 

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I think it is because mine has the N prefix, no high F# and the bell brace is a simple two screw U shape. Maybe it isn't?

Harv
 

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Pictures anyone?
 
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