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This is just an interest thing. Assume roughly identical value and basically flawless condition.

Which would you take, and why? I'm in the process of deciding for myself...though I do have few others on the sidelines that I'm going to have to ignore for the purpose of this question... :)
 

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Conn New Wonder Series I with Rolled Tone Holes kicks the True Tone's ***! I could find you the perfect one for sale if you like. That is what I play on.
 

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I would play both of them, and decide on which one I like more.
These were handmade horns, so they will all be different even alittle. Play 'em, and decide which one you like.
 

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I have the opposite reaction to ChuBerry47, but every horn varies. I've owned both and still have the TT. The New Wonder Conn alto I owned was among the most powerful altos I've ever played, but it didn't have nearly as accurate intonation as my TT, nor the sweetness in tone.

I've played several TT altos - all had good scales and tone. Can't say the same for Conns, but my experiences are only anecdotal. I don't think it is accurate to claim all of either brand are better. DAVE
 

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I will admit that the True tone has the Sweetest tone of the two, but as for the intonation, I think that Zephyr should be the judge of that. I exagerated it a lot when I said that it kicks ***. Don't buy it without playing it. You would not buy a car without taking a look under the hood, would you?
 

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I really like (and own) the series I NW. I've played several examples of the alto and they all have had a very BIG sound. Intonation has ranged from very good to ok. One of them was a little sharp in the lower register, though the horns action felt a little loose and was probably in need of a tech. The keywork has always felt very comfortable to me. The biggest consistant downfall on all examples I've played have been that the low B's are difficult to play.

I've only played two of the True Tone Altos, and both were silver plated. The first was an extremely responsive horn with a very rich tone. For some reason the TT's tone reminds me of the Balanced Action, meaning that the sound is somewhat spread and sweet to my ears. Intonation was the best I've heard from a 1920's era horn. The keywork was nice, but I really missed the auxillary F key. The second TT must have been kept in a moist basement for a number of years. I found it at a garage sale and the asking price was $125, and if it were a soprano I would have bought it in a heartbeat. The horn was tarnished black and smelled like mildew. The pads looked to be the original white ones, but they were dirty and turned to a dark grey/green. They were dry rotted and clearly leaking. I won't even get into the condition of the springs, corks, and felts. I was able to get my mouthpiece on the horn and I managed to play through the entire range. Surprisingly even in the horns condition, the notes were playing mostly in tune...though some were extremely airy. It would have made a fun restoration project that had real potential into becoming a players horn.

My pick is the Conn, but that is only because I typically play in rock bands and I require a horn with a bigger sound. If I were playing jazz, ballads, or perhaps even classical, I would pick the True Tone. Of course, I'd have my tech solder on an auxilary F key.
 

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Just my $0.02

I don't own a TT but I've played them. I do own a New Wonder alto and an Aristocrat alto.

I don't suscribe to the Conns being necessarily better for rock situations, I know too many good players who play Bueschers in Rock settings without a problem.

Intonation is largely a matter of getting the setup right, so again I'm not going to favour one over the other.

The Buescher Keywork fits my hands well. The New Wonder is a pain in the backside. The left hand C# is located too far back for my long fingers.

Both have been played daily for the last few years with no problems. I'd suggest trying both and seeing which one fits your hands best. I've modified my New Wonder, to fit me. It's still a pain to play the low C#, and the nail file on the G# is almost an admisssion of guilt and poor design, but in spite of that, it's my main practice horn.

Assuming you don't have a problem with either horn as far as ergonomics go, it'll probably be a choise between the more focused sound of the Buescher, or the more spread sound of the Conn.

In short, they're both good horns. Have fun.
 

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Dog Pants, out of curiousity, how did you modify your Conn? Could you also explain the mouthpiece setup for a True Tone to play rock? I was using an Ottolink STM 6* and a 7*. While they worked great on the Conn, they seemed to be lacking "grit" with the True Tone. I would agree though that a later Buescher model like the 400 would be well suited for rock (as in "I wish I had one").
If the nailfile G# is too rough for your preference, have you looked into finding an older style New Wonder 1 G# key? They are smooth and fairly comfortable. I have never tried switching the keys myself, but I do not believe that Conn changed much (if anything) with the actual mechanism in between series.
 

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SuperAction80 said:
Dog Pants, out of curiousity, how did you modify your Conn? Could you also explain the mouthpiece setup for a True Tone to play rock? I was using an Ottolink STM 6* and a 7*. While they worked great on the Conn, they seemed to be lacking "grit" with the True Tone. I would agree though that a later Buescher model like the 400 would be well suited for rock (as in "I wish I had one").
If the nailfile G# is too rough for your preference, have you looked into finding an older style New Wonder 1 G# key? They are smooth and fairly comfortable. I have never tried switching the keys myself, but I do not believe that Conn changed much (if anything) with the actual mechanism in between series.
SA80,

I modified the palm and side keys, building them up. I have long "ET" style fingers and to be fair, it's a modification I make to all my horns. My issue with the G# key on the New Wonder alto, isn't with the feel of it. The nail file cross hatching is, IMO a poor attempt to make up for the fact that the G# key is located one way and operated in another.

To clarify, some G#'s seem to operate best when the (preferably curved ;) ), little finger, "pulls" on the key. Others seem to work best when the little finger "pushes" on the key. In the former, the finger is curling closer to the palm of the hand. In the latter, the finger is straightening away from the hand.
My "Chu" alto sn:171xxx has the nail file G# located in such a position, that I have to keep my little finger curled quite a bit to ensure that I hit that G#. In a natural relaxed hand position, my little finger "just" clips the end of the G# key. It's just too bloody short. Or my fingers are too long. :D
Keeping the little finger curled to such a degree is something you get used to, but ere's the stuff up. In operation, the key wants to be pushed, not pulled. I've had my "Chu" for quite a few years now, and as I said, it's my daily workhorse. Even so, I still slip when playing fast runs with the G#.

To offer a counter argument, Bootman reckons I'm full of **** because he has no problem with the "Chu." He has large hands but quite short fingers, so maybe it's a, "length of fingers," thing.

My setup for blues and rock???

This is embarrasing, but ok....Selmer soloist and 3.5 plasticovers or RJS reeds. The RJS die pretty quickly though. I know it's not a big open setup, and it isn't a high baffle paint peeler, but there you have it.
I used to play a Jody Jazz on it, but I tend to be too loud and uncontrolled on anything, so Boot made me play the Selmer for a while to learn to focus my sound, rather than just blatting away.

I really struggled at first and hated the Selmer. Now I'm used to it, I can get as gritty and bluesy a sound as you'd want. As far as volume goes, I was playing lead alto in a big band reheasal on Monday night. I thought I'd better take the Jody Jazz to make sure I had enough Oomph and Zing to lead the section.

After the rehearsal, the other horn players reckoned I got just as much volume out of the Selmer Soloist. Truly, you can get your sound out of just about any good mouthpiece. Some just do it easier than others, but your sound is in your head.

Hope this helps.
 

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Yes thank you. Bootman has an interesting theory regarding the closed mouthpiece. Oh and I can sympathize with the ET fingers. My dad used to say that I had them, and in all fairness I did. At 16, I was about 5' 11'' at 130lbs. My fingers were long and very thin, and the pinky clusters on any horn I played hurt like a b***h. Right now I am 6' 2'' and 205lbs, my fingers (sigh...in addition to everything else) have become chubbier and I no longer have problems with painful pinkies on any horn. Now if only I can get rid of this spare tire...

Well I don't feel too bad with the added weight. A drummer friend of mine recently came into town and after not having seen me for 6 months was quick to comment on the weight. Afterwards he just smirked and said, "Eh it's OK. Most of the great sax players got better after they gained a little weight." I choose to accept this as fact because it's easier than Slim Fast.
 

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I would think a Selmer USA made Buescher 400 from the 70's would be built better than a 70's Mexi-Conn. I've played on a later 400 alto from this era and it was pretty tight. Never could get into the Mexi-Conns though. Poor build quality with the intonation to match. Saschroeder, you should also get your hands on a used Cannonball, Jupiter, or Antigua Winds tenor. You should be able to find a used on for around $500 and models from the past couple years are very good horns. Welcome to the forum.
 

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Hi guys, Im kind of having the same problem. I'm thinking of selling my silver true tone alto from 1928 for a 1924 conn new wonder. Its a really cool looking saxophone. Its silver body with gold keys and engraving. Any thoughts. Which do you guys think would play better. I recently had my horn re padded and the one I am trying to buy has new roo pads. Im really debating though. My horn plays great but I want to try something new. Please help.
 
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