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Is playing a Conn for classical music even possible, or is it just too powerful? I have yet to try one, but I'm looking into it. I'm just wondering how "specialized" these things are, and how limiting they might be when thinking about that style of music.

If such a thing isn't all-out blasphemy...have any mouthpiece recommendations? I love my E. Rousseau Classic, but I'm just curious...
 

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Powerful?

I think any sax can be used to play any kind of music. It's 90% the player 5% the mouthpiece/reed. You can make any brand of instrument sound the way you want it to. Could you imagine if someone said 'you must play this violin because it's designed for classical music.'?

Some pieces may be difficult because of ergonomics, and I know some teachers have a preference/predjudice.
 

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Well, Conns are supposed to have a HUGE sound. I mean, I don't know if I could ever play my Zephyr for classical, no matter what mouthpiece or reed I stuck on it. It just doesn't seem to have a sound that would work for classical. I mean, if I plunk down a bunch of cash and buy everything possible to darken and quieten its sound up, well...maybe then it would work. But I'm not positive.

And I read this in the vintage saxophones article on this site, which suggests that maybe a Conn is a bad idea for other styles of music. Could just be the mouthpiece choice, though, I suppose.

"Big Band Music, Full Sound
Conn 6/10/12M. Best years/finish/mouthpiece: early 1940's. Lacquer. Otto Link mouthpiece.
Advantages: big sound with this setup. Rolled tone holes to "prolong pad life." Connqueror (26/30M) models available as a step up. Very popular.
Disadvantages: IMO, a boomy sound that's hard to control. Somewhat hard to keep in tune. If body tube is damaged, tone holes are difficult to repair (or, it's difficult to find a repairman that's worked with them). "Vintage" keywork. Can be expensive for good examples ($2000+).

Runner up: Conn New Wonder ("Chu Berry")"

I'm just wondering :) Any thoughts?
 

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I'm with Hakukani. I have a Conn 30m, a Buescher TH&C, and a Selmer VI, and while there are some tonal differences, I don't think you could say that you could only use one for one type of music or another. Switch the MP and reed, and your technique a bit, and you change the whole character.

Listen to Pete Thomas' horn comparison that he did recently (it's on his site), including both a 10m and VI (as well as some other horns). You can hear how by far the dominant item that effects the sound is the person breathing into it...

Pete
 

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Go immediately to davidwrightsaxophone .com He Plays Conn Transitionals, which are THE most powerful Conns there are. Listen to his music. He has played in over fourty countries, and is has played with so many professional jazz and classical groups. I think he will really turn your head around. Last year's WV first Chair Alto saxophone player, was his student, and played a Chu. I play them for classical as well, and if these aren't good for it, I do not know what is!

Oh, and he plays on an R. Caravan, as I do, and they are hand made, if you do not like those, might I suggest a rascher mouthpiece, or an old Buescher mouthpiece.
 

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It's the player, not the horn. A good player will sound good even on a Bundy. A bad player will sound bad on any horn.
You can set the horns up for the different styles of music, but the player is the ultimate factor in the equation.
Classical players will usually like the key heights a little lower than Jazz or rock players.
 

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I'm also not sure why having a huge sound would be thought of as not working in classical music.

Apparently you have never heard James Houlik or Jean Lansing play live!
 

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awholley said:
I'm also not sure why having a huge sound would be thought of as not working in classical music.

Apparently you have never heard James Houlik or Jean Lansing play live!

I haven't heard Jean in a few years. How's she doing?
 

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Hey everyone! Visit Davidwrightsaxophone.com, and here a great classical conn player. But the music plays on the front page. Sort of like the Rascher Quartet, who he has played with, all of their horns have the same designer.
 

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hakukani said:
I haven't heard Jean in a few years. How's she doing?
I don't know her, but have heard her play live twice -most recently at a regional NASA (http://www.saxalliance.org) conference in Arkansas about 18 months ago- and she was great both times. About as big a sound as I've ever heard anyone get out of an alto.
 

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awholley said:
I don't know her, but have heard her play live twice -most recently at a regional NASA (http://www.saxalliance.org) conference in Arkansas about 18 months ago- and she was great both times. About as big a sound as I've ever heard anyone get out of an alto.
I certainly know her sound! It is big and dark--even though she's a Rousseau student;). I studied with her from 78-80 when she replaced Yosh Maezawa at Wichita State U.

Definitely a big sound.

(I think she plays Yamahas though, not Conns)
 

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I have a friend who plays and teaches classical sax professionally. He loves the vintage Conns and attempted to go that route. What got him back on his Selmers was the very negative response of his peers. Since he plays in some Sax ensembles it was an affront to the other players, they constantly complained, for this reason he went back to his Selmers.
 

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I'm not much of a classical player, granted, but I would have thought that the action on modern horns is a lot quicker than (say) an old Conn or a TT. Isn't that important for at least some classical rep? Plus the pinky table on modern horns is a lot easier to manipulate. I'm saying this as a fan of vintage instruments but if someone said to me "right, you're playing a rock hard classical piece for an audition in six months" I reckon i might want to be using modern keywork. Or is it just a question of getting the set-up spot on to use vintage horns for tricky classical stuff?
 

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John Moore plays Conn tenors.

Nuff said.
 

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Kritavi said:
I have a friend who plays and teaches classical sax professionally. He loves the vintage Conns and attempted to go that route. What got him back on his Selmers was the very negative response of his peers. Since he plays in some Sax ensembles it was an affront to the other players, they constantly complained, for this reason he went back to his Selmers.
That's the only reason I'm off Bueschers, and it's a poor one at that.

The best/fastest action of any horn I've played recently was the Series I Aristocrat I just sold. That thing smokes my Ref 54. I really regret switching back to Selmers.
 

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Kritavi said:
I have a friend who plays and teaches classical sax professionally. He loves the vintage Conns and attempted to go that route. What got him back on his Selmers was the very negative response of his peers. Since he plays in some Sax ensembles it was an affront to the other players, they constantly complained, for this reason he went back to his Selmers.
Complained that he sounded too good? :twisted:
 

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I was classically trained by a phenomenal teacher (been out of practice a bit though) who played a VI (forget the mpc). I play a silver plated 1945 6M-VIII with an R. Caravan... I've pretty much been looking for this thread for years, hoping someone else was attempting classical with these great horns. I'm about to put mine in for a good tuneup/polish/etc...

The community band I play in right now has 1st alto on an 82Z with a Lakey, 2nd 1st (she just came in and said she played first part... no auditions for seats... oh well) on a YAS-23 (i think her dynamic range goes from MF-FFF... and the intonation... well... we get yelled at a bit)... I'm sitting first chair 2nd part, and the lady to my right has a 1936 6M-VIII with a metal mpc. An interesting combination... and if you notice, the only "S" in the section is at the end of "YAS-82Z" and "YAS-23"... yay for diversity!

BTW... the guy with the 82Z brought me his old Vito to borrow while my horn gets put in the shop (my backup was stolen years ago, never replaced). I asked how the Vito keywork compared to his 82Z... said the placement was about the same. I held his horn for a bit and it was a quite similar placement. I just wonder how people play these atrocities! I guess I just have CONN hands.

**BRENT**
 

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RootyTootoot said:
I'm not much of a classical player, granted, but I would have thought that the action on modern horns is a lot quicker than (say) an old Conn or a TT. Isn't that important for at least some classical rep? Plus the pinky table on modern horns is a lot easier to manipulate. I'm saying this as a fan of vintage instruments but if someone said to me "right, you're playing a rock hard classical piece for an audition in six months" I reckon i might want to be using modern keywork. Or is it just a question of getting the set-up spot on to use vintage horns for tricky classical stuff?

As long as it is not too bizzare things can work themselves out in time. I am just now discovering that my Martin has amazing low C# to low B action.
 

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I have been looking for a thread like this to build on.


I own a Conn and I know it is wonderful for jazz but I also need to play some classical.

I was wondering what sort of mouthpieces work on Conns for classical playing. I tried a C* but the intonation was ...... pretty ordinary and it messed up my instrument.

I have heard a closed rubber link is good for a conn. Is this true???

Disclaimer- I am not saying that my Conn can't play all genres. It's just that it was built for more traditional mouthpieces and the C* ruins the intonation.
 
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