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Hello everyone, recently I acquired an old alto sax from a friend who makes horn lamps. After some research I found that it should be a 1930 Conn Chu Berry sax with a serial number of 238XXX. It appears to be in pretty good condition, it just needs a repadding, some oil to the keys, and a new g# spring.

So is this a horn worth restoring and are there any specialties about this horn I should be aware of? thanks for any info
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Keep in mind that in that era, horns were either bare brass, silver plated or gold plated, so there was no "lacquered" horns. Best case scenario, it was bare brass, and then lacquered later in it's life. Regardless, that finish is a dead giveaway that its been changed, and while it may play great, the value is hurt because it is "non original"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Keep in mind that in that era, horns were either bare brass, silver plated or gold plated, so there was no "lacquered" horns. Best case scenario, it was bare brass, and then lacquered later in it's life. Regardless, that finish is a dead giveaway that its been changed, and while it may play great, the value is hurt because it is "non original"
Thanks for that info. I’m not primarily concerned in the monetary value(I got it for free so nothing to lose.. yet) but now that you mention the original parts thing some of the pads do have metal resonators which if I remember right were not on vintage horns like that. However when it was modified and lacquered and such it must have been a while ago because there are clear signs of it being stored up in some damp attic or something(lots of red corrosion on the brass and a real musty moldy smell)
 

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In the right hands, that old horn still has a lot of good music in it.
 

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Ye, it's an NWII > 6M Transitional, as can be seen from the "sculpted side high E key" noted above by pontius. It's a very early Transitional as it still has the split bell keys; the serial number dates to 1930.

Graysax is right about the finish. I'd say it was probably bare brass originally. Its pock-marked appearance, due to the way the lacquer has broken down over the years, is very like that of my 1932 Tranny tenor, which was bare brass originally. In the mid to late 1930s Conn began finishing horns in lacquer; at the same time they instituted a service whereby (for a fee) clients who already had bare brass horns could get them lacquered after-market in the Conn factory. My tenor was one of these; I believe your alto was another.

They're wonderful horns with a huge volume and tone. Matt Stohrer wrote a great article about these transitional altos a few years back. Here's the reference:

http://stohrermusic.com/2012/10/conn-transitional-6m-saxophones-the-finer-points/
 

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Great horn.

It's basically like any other saxophone to repair, except for a couple things:

1) the little set screws. Do not let the technician steal them. Insist that they be used properly to secure the pivot screws.
2) The fork Eb (if present, I can't tell from your picture). Some technicians will tell you "it's impossible to properly regulate" - BS. I would insist that it be made functional if it's been disabled, and properly regulated. The horn was designed for it.
3) The micro-tuner. I use Dow Corning High Vacuum Grease (this is about the only thing it's good for) to lube the threads and the little tube where it slides into the neck. The correct use of the microtuner is to establish the best positioning of your mouthpiece on the cork for the horn to be in tune with itself. Then you always slide the MP on to the cork to that distance and use the micro to adjust the overall pitch. A good starting point is to shove it all the way on and use the tuner to adjust pitch, but most will have the best result by experimenting with different MP positions on the cork.

Personally I like the left hand little finger layout of these better than the true 6M.

Even though I believe that the material and shape of boosters have minimal to no effect (that size is the main point), I would probably go with flat metal ones just because that's closest to the original Reso-Pads this would have been fitted with. (My 6M which I believe is acoustically the same horn, has the domed plastic ones and plays terrifically.)

Once you get used to this thing you'll have to work on playing more softly because you'll be blowing away everyone with their Selmers and Yamahas.
 
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