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Discussion Starter #1
Reason I'm asking is that while my Conn Cavalier sounds lovely and the repair shops I've taken it into for quotes have said it's a really nice instrument and when repadded and corked will be equal to any Conn they've played, any reference to Conn Cavalier seems to get a bad reception on here.

I'm sure I've seen the guy who runs Saxpics say it's a terrible sax (the word he used was Cheezy), and another guy use it to demonstrate that it's proof that not all American saxes are better than cheap Asian saxes.

Has anyone played ones as old as mine (dated it to around 1920-23), and are they really considered to be that bad? The guy in the shop kept correcting me when I said it was a stencil - he said it was a second-line along with Pan-American, and that it was marketed under the Conn name originally.

Now you're not going to change my opinions on my tenor, as this particular example is a decent sax, but just wondering if I've just got a decent one, and they were generally rubbish. I'm not talking monetary value here, as I know they're not valuable. Just asking about their reputation/quality.
 

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Nice playing horns but not 2nd line just stencil horn but far superior to modern asian horns.
They were a budget horn (no front F etc ) but still made by craftmen that would not make rubbish. Get it re-padded and enjoy it
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Ok, I'll get on with playing it then instead of talking about it on here. Had it back in my possession for a week now, after it being in storage at my old school for 6 years, and even with all the leaks everywhere, I'm getting good at controlling it down at the bottom end again. Sounding lovely. Can't wait till it's repadded and regulated!

Repair tech said he couldn't believe it was playing so well with all the leaks. All of the altissimo side keys are leaking, he said it'll sound even better with them sorted, as were all the right hand keys - F down to C. Gsharp spring's missing - I used to use an elastic band on it when I was at school - once played in front of over 1000 people with it and the elastic band snapped - had to keep flicking the G sharp open with my finger! Fond memories...

EDIT: I can now officially say, having done lots of research, that Cavalier is a s**t make. But I got a good one for free. So there. I'm happy.

RE-EDIT: Having found out even more, I realise they're not a s**t make :) Still happy though
 

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Nothing wrong with a Cavalier. It is the same horn as a Pan-American which is a Conn without the microtuer, no rolled tone holes and without some useless keys.
 

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There used to be a running joke among the aging tech community that the horns were dubbed "Cavalier" because that's the attitude with which they were made at the factory.....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
hornimus said:
There used to be a running joke among the aging tech community that the horns were dubbed "Cavalier" because that's the attitude with which they were made at the factory.....
Yeah, I quoted that joke at the guy repairing my saxophone - he almost bit my head off! Repeated this in another thread, but probably more relevant here - he said the guys who criticise the stencils Conn made should spend 20 years buying, selling, repairing and playing them professionally before commenting on them. Says the rolled toneholes are a waste of time too - pads last ages anyway, so no real need to prolong the life, and they make it much harder to get a seal if the sax has been damaged as you can't file them.

He totally disagreed with the idea of them being assembled with less care, said they were purely so that shops would sell more saxes made by Conn, and that's the only reason for their existence - they weren't trying to sell substandard saxophones
 

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You tell 'em Firefly. I have a Pan Am from the 30s that is a totally decent horn. I have a 30m as well, and I can't confirm it, but the body tubes look very similar and might be the same (minus the RTH as you mention). The 30m feels better under fingers, but it's in much better condition too. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to play a gig with the PanAm (in fact I did just that last year).

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SactoPete said:
You tell 'em Firefly!
Pete
Well, to be honest, I don't know who these phantom Conn stencil bashers are that I'm setting straight, and I'm only quoting someone who knows more than me, but thanks for the support! Does seem to be a fair few negative things said about the American stencils. Heard lots of positive things about the Pan Ams though, I think the Cavaliers are pretty much identical. Can't wait to get it back from the repairers - I was told it'll be in "as new" condition apart from the cosmetics...
 

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Firefly2005 said:
Well, to be honest, I don't know who these phantom Conn stencil bashers are that I'm setting straight, and I'm only quoting someone who knows more than me, but thanks for the support! Does seem to be a fair few negative things said about the American stencils. Heard lots of positive things about the Pan Ams though, I think the Cavaliers are pretty much identical. Can't wait to get it back from the repairers - I was told it'll be in "as new" condition apart from the cosmetics...
Phantoms might outnumber the old-horn detractors in the flesh.... Please realize the joke I related probably had no substance beyond a desire someone had one day to make a joke.... and it stuck due to the naming. I've worked on New-Wonder class Conns and stencils (Pan Ams and a Bruno). Aside from the toneholes and some keywork differences already mentioned, they look to share identical necks and body tubing.
 

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I have repaired saxes for over 44 years and the P-A and other stencils are just fine. The workmanship is as good or better than many Selmer Paris horns. Sometimes age has taken a toll on these but a good original one can be padded, corked and oiled to work as well as any modern horn. Keep in mind that in the 20s Conn, Martin and Buescher only made top line horns.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hornimus said:
Phantoms might outnumber the old-horn detractors in the flesh.... Please realize the joke I related probably had no substance beyond a desire someone had one day to make a joke.... and it stuck due to the naming. I've worked on New-Wonder class Conns and stencils (Pan Ams and a Bruno). Aside from the toneholes and some keywork differences already mentioned, they look to share identical necks and body tubing.
Oh don't worry, didn't take the joke seriously, and neither did the repair guy - he was just very quick to set me straight!

bruce bailey said:
Sometimes age has taken a toll on these but a good original one can be padded, corked and oiled to work as well as any modern horn.
Really looking forwards to getting it back - no more elastic band round the Gsharp key to make it play, and I'll have a range below F! Action's surprisingly good on it. The only thing I've considered doing is modifying the left hand pinky cluster - a lot of weight and an awkward angle to use, but I'll see how I go with the sax playing well before I wreck it's originality.
 

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i have a mid 20's'ish cavalier 96 M tenor that i paid 250 bucks for, and it is one of the nicest sounding horns i have played, its just a fun horn to play, it is easy to make it speak, and it loves blues. I have researched a little bit into it but i havent been able to find out much about it other than a lot of people dont like them lol, and that there worthless, but i love playing it.
 

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I'd not played my Cavalier for a couple of years and was considering getting rid of it, but my two other altos have simultaneously failed, leaving me only the Cavalier at present. Coming back to it I was surprised at how smooth the action was and how good the tone is. The only thing absent is a front F. One complaint is that the pivot screw for the D palm key is close to the octave key, causing abrasion to my left thumb - easily solved with some felt. It's a later horn than others I've seen, having two LH bell tone holes, so I guess it's from the mid 1930s or later. Overall a great horn that looks very basic and cost almost nothing.
 

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I briefly owned a Conn Cavalier tenor and it really was a nice sounding horn. I wish I still had it. I actually find it more appealing that it's sort of an underdog.
 

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Hi,

All of you who have reponded on this thread with Cavaliers could really help my serial number study, if you could send me serial numbers and descriptions. I record the complete information in the serial number area (model, patent, A or T , number, L), the finish (silver or brass), the type of key guard (yes both the Mercedes and "T" style were used) and opposing or same side bell keys. If you have anything like old sales slips, repair orders, etc that may date your horn that would be helpful to confirm or advance what I have. If you have concerns about posting the serial number in this thread, send me a private mail.
btw - I am also working on Pan American, so if you have one of those, information on that would help that study.
The results of my brass Pan American study is posted at horn-u-copia and the Conn Loyalist.
thanks,
Kurt
 

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Nice playing horns but not 2nd line just stencil horn but far superior to modern asian horns.
They were a budget horn (no front F etc ) but still made by craftmen that would not make rubbish. Get it re-padded and enjoy it
Dave
Slightly more important is that many of them have no Bb bis key. You can certainly get by without an improved high F, especially if you don't play much altissimo. But no Bb bis renders this horn obsolete for even beginner players, that is, if they want to learn modern fingerings.
 
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