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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I just joined the club! (and the group, member #16). I bought a Conn New Wonder II (made in late 1927/early 1928) from Jason Dumars. It's a thing of beauty in silver plate, made even prettier by some extra engraving by Jason. Have only managed a bit over an hour playing it so far, with only one of three mouthpieces and one of two necks that Jason included with the horn, so it's early days. But I am very happy with it. This is my first vintage horn, and although there are some differences in the keywork, I think I'll be able to get the hang of it easily enough.

I've been puzzled by the discussion elsewhere about the Conn C melodies having too much of an alto-like tone, in comparison with other C melodies which are more tenor-like. I haven't understood why sounding a bit like an alto is a bad thing. Having played one, I'm even more puzzled. Yes, it's a bit like an alto. But it has its own sound, distinct from alto or tenor (to my ears, anyway). If I want to sound like someone playing a tenor... I'll play a tenor.

When I was much younger I flew gliders for a while. I once had the privilege of flying an old WWII trainer aircraft. It had the glide ratio of a lobbed brick but there was something magical about the controls, a silky smoothness and responsiveness that I didn't find in the modern gliders I flew (admittedly my experience was quite limited). The open cockpit was part of it, but there was something about it mechanically that seemed special to me. This C Melody reminds me of that. Perhaps I'm imagining it but it seems to me that both this horn and that glider had qualities that only very long use can bring. I really like the thought that, all things being equal, I should have the chance to celebrate my C Melody's hundredth birthday.
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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When I was much younger I flew gliders for a while. I once had the privilege of flying an old WWII trainer aircraft. It had the glide ratio of a lobbed brick but there was something magical about the controls, a silky smoothness and responsiveness that I didn't find in the modern gliders I flew (admittedly my experience was quite limited). The open cockpit was part of it, but there was something about it mechanically that seemed special to me.
Hey Edwin, I knew there was probably something else we had in common. This is me in 1999 on the day I went solo in an IS28 at Benalla. I was a glider pilot for about 4 years - A, B and C badges and Air Experience Instructor rating.

 

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Where's the sax? In the cockpit?
 

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When I was involved in gliding no one knew about my other life. Also the gliding forum I was on could get pretty nasty - not loke SOTW!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Champion of the C-Me
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edwin - welcome, love the bit about "three mouthpieces and one of two necks that Jason included with the horn" - that sounds like a good deal...

Enjoy the Conn for it's qualities, other players (like me) love the 'C-Tenor' aspect, hence the frequent talk of big sound and edgy mouthpieces, but the C does have a beautifully subtle side which I also often enjoy - it's just that we all have different 'takes' on our preferred sounds, the variety of which has probably helped it's modest revival.

Again, welcome !
 

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Hi Edwin,
I have a 1920 Conn curved neck C melody, that I play just as much as my alto or tenor! Love the sound and the feel of the horn! These are great horns that seem to be making quite a following lately.
 

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I've been puzzled by the discussion elsewhere about the Conn C melodies having too much of an alto-like tone, in comparison with other C melodies which are more tenor-like. I haven't understood why sounding a bit like an alto is a bad thing.
Nothing wrong about sounding like an alto.....except if you wish to sound like a tenor!
With certain other models one has more choice.
By the way....welcome to the club.
 

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Welcome to the C Melody players! That Conn is a great horn, I like the way you describe the feel of it... And the sound can be pushed towards either an Alto or a Tenor sound depending on the mpc. reed and player. Or you could get a new C Melody mouthpiece and have it sound like a C Melody :shock:, Anyways... good luck and ask if you have any questions...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone. Yes, it feels like a good deal to me, I'm another happy Jason Dumars customer.

I've now tried the three mouthpieces but not the second neck - I think I will take both necks in and get them recorked, there's already plumber's tape on the original neck and the cork on the second neck is very tatty. One of the mouthpieces, a Yanagisawa metal tenor piece sawn off short, is clearly my favourite. The other two are another sawn-off tenor HR piece which is quite nice but not quite as good as the Yanagisawa, and an actual C melody mouthpiece - this has no markings on it and doesn't look all that old, so presumably not the original Conn piece. It has a very narrow tip opening and with a 2.5 tenor reed I can't get any sound out of it at all - perhaps I should try a harder reed but given that I'm happy so far with the other piece I guess it doesn't matter. Something to try when I get round to it.

Patmiller - sounds like in gliding as in music you went far beyond me. I only did a few hours solo over the course of about a year, all in England. The instructors were a bit bemused by the idea of an Aussie learning to glide in England - evidently it's a bit like living most of your life at Bondi and then taking up surfing when you move to Brighton. But I really enjoyed it. Mainly flew at Lasham, an old WWII airbase which in the early 90s was the base for a passenger jet servicing facility.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh yes - one thing; I am struggling a little to get the low notes (below about D) out cleanly. The horn had been overhauled before Jason sold it to me so I doubt there's a mechanical problem, although I suppose it's possible something was jolted in transit (despite being well packed). I don't know the tip opening on the mouthpiece I'm using (because it was sawn off!) so that may be a factor. Anyway, when I get the recorking done I'll ask my technician to give the horn a onceover.

Forgot to say - the pads are black (?roo pads) - they look great with the silver horn.
 

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I too have a beautiful total refurb'd CG Conn 1922 C Mel New Wonder that is having some troubles on the low end below D. The horn came with an original Conn c Mel mp, and #1 (didn't know they existed!) Rico reed. Have now worked up to a #3 reed on this mp and it did much better, but with reed break in the gurgles come back. Have also tried an alto Selmer Paris S80 C*, which has a much larder tip opening....and hence a 2.5 reed is too tough to work, although the low register seemed better. At this point I've tried a handful of suggestions on another forum thread, to no avail. Perhaps I'm asking a lot in having played the horn less than 6 days after not having played in *gasp* 30 years, but my tone sounds good, notes are there, and am running the scales decently. I do not ever recall this trouble with the new Conn Tenor I played in the 70's.

Wonder if this horn has a leak? Any further ideas from c Mel players, preferably Conn?
 

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I suggest you give it time. I've got 9 tenor mouthpieces to try on my 1925 Conn and none of them give me trouble down low. But, I did have the trouble you describe when I pick up my Conn after also not playing for 30 some years.
 

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oldsaxplayer, hello !

Try again with either a wine cork or your mouthpiece cap in the bow - nothing technical, just lob it into the bell. Also try with the mouthpiece(s) at different places on the cork - don't worry about tuning just try further on, or further out.

If the gurgles (could be dreaded 'motorboating') persist, could well be a leak - maybe a shot low-Eb pad, or the little forked Eb pad on the back. We won't talk about embouchure or breath support, eh ?
 

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Oldsaxplayer--- great horn! I have a Conn Wonder, New Wonder, and just got a New Wonder II aka "Chu Berry" C Mel. On my New Wonder (My first one) I too had this gurgling problem. I just kept trying to play and it eventually went away... I think the moisture softened the pads up a bit and they all started sealing a little better. I would suggest you use a tenor mpc. with your Conn though, my Rico Metalite M7 works awesome on all three of my Conns with a great edgy high baffled sound.

For now I would say just keep playing the horn a little more and try to use the low Eb a bunch. If it does not work itself out I suspect the forked Eb pad may be leaking... these little guys are darn tricky but it wouldn't take a tech very long to float the pad a bit and remove the leak if its still a good pad. Good luck!

Danny
 
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