Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I need a new horn soon, and the instrument I've found really works well for me is a Conn 6m ladyface alto made in 1950. It plays like a dream, underslung octave key, microtuner neck, original laquer, engraving stands out, pads should last a very very long time, and the owner is asking $1800 for it. Conveniently, this is the most I can pay on an instrument right now. Its just had several hundred dollars worth of overhaul on it. I want to buy it, but my parents aren't too keen on it for the following reasons.

1. Its old. They don't understand how an old instrument could possibly be better than a new one such as, say, a Jupiter XO or a Cannonball. Thats what they think is the best for me at the moment.
2. There's no recourse or "lemon law" from a private dealer.
3. If I buy it they think that it'll fall apart almost instantly and when we take it to be fixed we'll learn that it needed this, that, and the other done to it.
4. One of my teachers personally doesn't like it (He plays a Selmer Series II). On the other hand, one of my other teachers says that its in fantastic condition.

What do you all have to say about this? Any advice or pearls of wisdom that could put their minds more at ease would be wonderful. :)
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,888 Posts
It's expensive for what it is, but if the teacher who says it's in fantastic condition actually means it's in great condition, then it could be OK.

My gut feeling though would be to get a decent modern horn (but not a Jupiter or Cannonball if that is your budget). My favourite at the moment is a Bauhaus Walstein.

You should really let us know more about your experience and situation though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I've been playing for 7 years, am in a wind band, 2 jazz bands (one combo and one large ensemble) and a rock group, and I plan on going to college for music. I've been on the same instrument for all 7 years, a kohlert. My teacher actually means that its in great condition, he doesn't mess around with this sort of thing. Whatever instrument I purchase will have to take me through college and beyond. My parents are highly reluctant to go over $1800 for a new instrument, even with me paying for at least 50% of it.

I'll certainly look into the Bauhaus Walstein horns, though. :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,960 Posts
Sounds like a great horn but as Pete says, pretty overpriced. I can sell you a slightly earlier RTH version for $1200 completely worked up and poppin'.

However...and this is where he and I may disagree....putting a Bauhaus up against a classic 6M which has just received a nice tech workup ?

It's absolutely NO contest at all. You get the 6M. Superior instrument in every way.

..... and the instrument I've found really works well for me is a Conn 6m ladyface alto made in 1950. It plays like a dream....
(...as an aside, Pete ~ I am wondering then why your "gut reaction would to suggest the guy go for a modern mid-level horn...?). Sounds like the 6M speaks to him.....technically and holistically....

You playtest a horn and you feel it move you, you feel an affinity....you get that horn.

To answer your parents' (somewhat weak) concerns....

1) You are correct. New does not = "better". Simple adage: they don't make them like they used to. Saxophone world is a great place to apply that....

2) So what ? It's a 6M. You can turn it in a week, no problem. Plus...if it plays up and down like a dream, and if you have inspected it and it has no significant issues, AND you can have the owner provide a copy of the receipt for the work he/she had done and call that tech and get their opinion of the horn; ask them if they think anything significant still needs to be done to it..... OR... complete the sale on the basis/agreement that the horn gets a green light from YOUR tech....where's the risk ?

3) See #2.

4) Selmer people are snobs (I say this only half tongue-in-cheek). It's quite sad, their myopia, really.....

The 6M is one of the greatest Altos ever made. That's not just my opinion...time has bore this out. And their reputation is stellar.

If I were you, I would do this:

~ try to talk him down a couple hundred bucks; just pointing out that the instrument didn't get a complete overhaul, and market values on those are $300+ lower than what he/she is asking. Also point out the non rolled-hole models tend to fetch a bit less.

~ if that doesn't work (although it should, quite honestly.....) and you still really, really like it, do what I said in #2 above....get him to agree on a return if your tech feels it needs something done to it. Have him write a receipt and include that stipulation on it....if he won't, tell him your best offer then is $1400....(this way you put aside a few hundred for repairs which may or may not end up being needed).

 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,888 Posts
as an aside, Pete ~ I am wondering then why your "gut reaction would to suggest the guy go for a modern mid-level horn
My gut reaction would be to go for a top level horn, not a mid level horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,960 Posts
Top level BH....

Top level 6M......

Folks would argue that a 'top level' modern horn is something like a Yani 900-ish model, or a Yammy 82, or JK SX90, or the sort....

Is the BH that calibre horn ???
Because from what I have read, it's more "a great new horn for that sorta money" (which isn't much money for a new alto, really)....which isn't quite the same thing....thus my choice of semantics....
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,888 Posts
2. There's no recourse or "lemon law" from a private dealer.
This worries me a bit. There should be recourse against any dealer. (But I'm not quite sure what is meant by a private dealer)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
This worries me a bit. There should be recourse against any dealer. (But I'm not quite sure what is meant by a private dealer)
By private dealer I meant its a friend of my private teacher's (as opposed to a store owner). I can talk to him about some sort of recourse. I'm sure my parents will, if I don't or if I forget.

I will ask the owner/my private teacher who did the repairs.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,960 Posts
I am assuming he means just a regular Joe selling a hron...no biz, no storefront, no online merchant...just a local individual...who may or may not be willing to write up a receipt...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
Mine fell off of a table a few weeks ago. I bent the bell lip back to shape and kept playing.

Price is way high - weren't we seeing these for well under a grand?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
I agree with those above who say the Conn seems a bit pricey and is probably negotiable, however ----. The most important aspect is: will you like at at any price. In my limited experience with Lady Face Conns, they seem to be very well built top line horns of their era and I have a few friends who would play nothing else; but they're not comfortable for me. The erogonomics are not bad, but I prefer more modern horns. There are alot of choices in the price range you're talking about. You should try the Conn and compare it some other choices and see what you like. If I were looking close to your price point for a used horn, I'd probably lean toward a Yanagisawa. I can't speak about the modern Taiwanese and Chinese horns, since I've never tried one. A lot of guys like them. If you like the Conn, go for it, but try some of the other options. One thing you can say about the Conn: It's quality and durability is well proven. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
I saw a very good deal for Conn 108M DJH Modified from SOTW member recently. Hopefully it's still available for you to consider. Yes it's not a 'vintage' Conn, though it still has the naked lady on it. [rolleyes] Built like a tank (I have Superba I) and is a relatively modern horn that your parents may not object to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You should try the Conn and compare it some other choices and see what you like. ...I can't speak about the modern Taiwanese and Chinese horns, since I've never tried one. A lot of guys like them. If you like the Conn, go for it, but try some of the other options.
I have tried the conn in comparison to several instruments, including 5 different selmers, and 5-10 taiwanese/chinese horns. I still favor the conn, although those others are quite good as well.

I saw a very good deal for Conn 108M DJH Modified from SOTW member recently. Hopefully it's still available for you to consider. Yes it's not a 'vintage' Conn, though it still has the naked lady on it. [rolleyes] Built like a tank (I have Superba I) and is a relatively modern horn that your parents may not object to.
If it was made before the 1980's my parents will object to it. :p This 1950 one that I'm referring to is also built "like a tank." Thats actually what I first thought when I saw it. :)

As a side note to everybody giving their input, I think it was Les Arbuckle who did the repairs. (I'm waiting for a confirmation from the owner.) I know very little about him, except that he adores Conn saxophones. Does anybody know more about him?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Search Les Arbuckle here in SOTW. I believe he gets good reviews on his repairs. $1800 seems kind of high, but if it speaks to you and it just got overhauled it should play good for you a long time. These Conn 6M's are well built.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,030 Posts
Waaaay overpriced. These are good players but not in that range. I have a customer with a 1953 one like that with decent pads that is around $700. I'll call him if you are interested. You can do better for $1,800. Even a gold plated Chu or a really nice RTH 6M VIII will be less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
My Son is a sophomore in High School. And over the years he (we) have owned several instruments. Currently he has two backup alto's because some lame technician told me his Pan Am needed a total rebuild. I set it aside and bought him a different backup (Selmer Bundy I). Since then I found a great tech, and he put it back online and working very well for like $20. His primary alto is a Kessler Custom, and he likes it a lot. Here he is playing it:
So where am I going with this?
Here we go, my son plays first tenor in the high school jazz band, and plays on a fully restored 1926 Chu Berry, and the horn sounds fantastic! Here's a clip of him playing Take the A Train:
http://soundcloud.com/wwjdwithca/take-the-a-train
Those two clips (at least in my mind) demonstrate how clean (and bland some might say) modern horns play, and how completely unique and powerful a vintage horn can sound. The lower register on his Chu gives a person goose bumps, but the upper register can give you them in a bad way:tsk:
The Chu is also finicky with mouthpieces. Aggressive baffled pieces sound wretched.

My point here is that I think I uniquely understand your situation because I'm living it with my Son. Here's why all teachers love Selmers, they sound very good, but not good enough to make you unique. But Jazz is almost all about creating your OWN identity, so vintage horns absolutely rule the day IMO. And Selmers are so expensive, why would someone do that, when you can have two that meet your needs?

Is the 6M a fantastic horn, even at the high price of $1800? YES, YES and more YES! But will it meet all of your needs if you plan to play legit music? Probably not. Most vintage horns do not naturally play up and down the scales well enough, so you'll be fighting issues with classical pieces that you shouldn't be when you have enough problems to worry about.

I've got $1100 into my Son's Chu and it's completely overhauled, and it's a tenor! His Kessler was $800, brand new. The truth is that most people pay way too much for their horns, and I think your looking at doing the same.

Personally, I like the sound of a Tranny better, and you could buy one in fine shape with YOUR half of the money. Take your parents half and get yourself a nice bland axe for classical. Solve both problems.

Next[rolleyes]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
To all the people who said $1800 is too expensive for it, I should be able to talk the owner down a couple hundred dollars.

Is the 6M a fantastic horn, even at the high price of $1800? YES, YES and more YES! But will it meet all of your needs if you plan to play legit music? Probably not. Most vintage horns do not naturally play up and down the scales well enough, so you'll be fighting issues with classical pieces that you shouldn't be when you have enough problems to worry about.
I must disagree here...I played this horn in all of the groups I am in at school (the owner was kind enough to lend it to me for 2 weeks to test it out), and it sounded fantastic no matter the group. I got compliments on it in my jazz combo, compliments on it in my jazz big band, and compliments on it in wind band. I've had no issues so far with it in a classical setting. What do you mean "legit music"?

As a side note, my private teacher (friends with the owner of the conn) said that if he had money to buy another instrument he would buy this one, and he plays a selmer mkVI.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
I really don't think you should pay what this person is asking for this 6M. Many experts have chimed in here and stated that its value is WELL under $1800 or even $1500.

Keep your search going & don't pull the trigger too soon. There are literally millions of saxophones.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
7,866 Posts
Most vintage horns do not naturally play up and down the scales well enough,......
Hahahaha!
Seriously, have you ever listened to the many recordings of classical pieces that were done on vintage instruments? Obviously not.
Go listen to some Rascher stuff and then tell me his Buescher does not play up and down the scales well enough.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top