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Discussion Starter #1
In about 1977 my parents purchased me a used Conn alto sax. It has the "Shooting Star" design on the bell but my question is the serial number is N-33843. Can anyone tell me anything about this horn. It served me well through 7th grade band till I graduated in 1983.
 

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The so called "Shooting Star" is in fact Conn's student "DIRECTOR" 14M model, not the rare, pro artist Connstellation 28M C. the mid 20th century.
 

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Did your folks buy it for you brand-new, or was it used ?

I ask because a few of use here are trying to pinpoint the N serial #'s a bit more accurately than current online charts indicate.

These can be solid players. Market value for one in good playing shape is around $300-350. Does it read "Mexico" undr the serial #? Can you post a photo ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It was purchased as a used horn. My uncle had purchased it for his daughter to play and she decided she did not like band. I do not know if he purchased it new or used but I strongly suspect he purchased it used as well. I believe he purchased it around 1970 - 1972.

There is nothing under the serial number. The SN is located on the back under the neck strap hook. I will look again more closely to be sure. I will post a photo in the next day or so.

I appreciate your questions to lead me in the right direction. I'm beginning to think that it might be a "Mexiconn" as SAXISMYAXE stated or one of the last made in the US before moving production to Mexico.
 

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The ones made in the States usually say CONN USA somewhere on them. And the Mexican version usually has Mexico on it. The N is the 1969-1970 manufacture date, I believe. Either way, it is a "Director" model. These are extremely common but usually well-made student horns.
 

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I never said that your example was a MEXI-CONN horn at all. Not all DIRECTOR models were made in Mexico during the model's production run, only a smallish percentage in fact, and post 1970. As Enviroguy mentioned, these will be marked MEXICO (thus the moniker).
 

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You may find it easier to just load them to a free yahoo Flickr account. If you have a yahoo e-mail address, it will work at flickr. Load them there and C&P a link here.
 

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silly question...how do I post pictures from my computer here
If using the hosting site present problems for you, you can email them to me and I will post them for you. I'll PM my direct email address.
 

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This IS sorta interesting...it's an N serial, fairly low, which suggests an early 70's horn, meaning '70-'72. So if your uncle bought it used, it wasn't very 'used' when he got it.

But the thing I find interesting is that it doesn't read Mexico. That doesn't necessarily mean it WASN'T made there, however. Maybe, maybe not....

BTW...it's under the thumbrest, not the straphook, yes (?)

As Enviro asked...does the Bell engraving read u.s.a. anywhere ?

I would be curious to see this horn, also.
(You don't have to use a hosting site to post pics here...you can upload 'em from your computer. Just click "go advanced" button under the reply window....and when you get to THAT page, scroll down to the "attachments" button and upload from there...)
 

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§304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 dictates that the country of origin MUST be labeled clearly on any imports. This is still very much the law, so any horns made in Mexico will be so marked.
 

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Your photo album is fully viewable. This horn appears to be a late era Best Manufacturing Plant- Nogales, AZ made Director model, not a Mexi-Conn.
 

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Thanks for helping get the pics up, Mike.

§304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 dictates that the country of origin MUST be labeled clearly on any imports. This is still very much the law, so any horns made in Mexico will be so marked.
Good point...but that doesn't necessarily translate into 'in practice'.

I am not sure you can claim that a horn which does NOT read 'Mexico' was therefore not made in MX.

You see, my interpretation of this horn is a bit different than yours: I would be more inclined to say that this is an MX horn....only because it does not read usa on the bell and it has the telltale u-shaped strap eyelet as opposed to the round one. The round eyelet and 'usa' engraving were indicators of the Best plant, az.

Again...I say "inclined".

Things got fuzzy in the '70's. Up until then there was a clear difference between a 50M and a 14M. All thru the 60's you can tell the difference between the 50M and 14M. But the 1971 catalog (of which I have an original) does not list a 14M any longer....just a "50M Director". So it could be that '71 was the year that the two models finally completed their merge into one....and the year that all physical attributes of any differences between the 2 factories finally vanished for good.

This is why I said this is an interesting horn...because the standard yardsticks which apply: the physical differences, the MX stamp, the 'usa' engraving...which are so often present and obvious....are all muddled on this one.....

Not necessarily disagreeing w/ you...just not ready to make as positive an attribution....

Fair enough to say this: as an early '70's Director, it's a pretty solid horn. I still feel this horn is a lot better than the vast majority of new budget horns out there today.

Their market value isn't high; maybe $300-350 in good condition if one is inclined to consider it an MX horn...although one can also say that if it IS a Best/az.-produced 50M, these go for $400-450+ in good playing shape.

Regardless...what you CAN honestly claim, should you ever sell it (and should anyone happen to ASK ~ and they WILL)....is that: "it doesn't read "Mexico" anywhere".
 

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To add more fuzz...an associate of mine in the 70s ahd been with Conn in Nogales. He said at one time they brought horns in from Mexico, filed the tone holes so that it was "finished" in the USA. May be the truth....
 

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Bruce's supposition might be possible.

A couple of years ago, I owned both a 1937 Conn 12M with RTH and a 1969 Conn 12m stamped as made in Mexico. Based on a thorough visual examination and some measurements with my cheap plastic calipers, The two horn were better than 95% identical. And most of the 5% difference were minor such as the guards for the palm key cups. The substantial difference came in attention to mechanical finish (such as grinding, buffing and fitting) and the quality of the brass.

The only likely reason I could see that the two saxes were so close is if most of the equipment used to make the 1939 12M had been transported to Mexico to make the late-model 12M. Otherwise, why spend time and money to make an almost exact copy of a 32 year-old sax if you are trying to drastically cut costs?

And if this is the case, parts and complete saxes from Mexico could have easily been mixed and matched with USA made stuff.
 

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Nice bits of info...I agree that a MX-made 12M looks like the same horn as a usa made one. And for sure the Artist series of horns was produced in MX for a time...and this was after the closing of Elkhart; they were never produced concurrently at both facilities (or I should say, there is no recordation of that anywhere). So it's relatively safe to assume the MX Artist tooling was moved from Elkhart.

I can also believe that they would actually parse the work out between the two plants.

...also, keep in mind that Nogales MX and Nogales az. are...across the street from each other.....

...the original town was cleaved in two by the border.....

now...what would be hilarious would be to find an Artist horn with an N serial which doesn't read "Mexico"....
 

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§304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 dictates that the country of origin MUST be labeled clearly on any imports. This is still very much the law, so any horns made in Mexico will be so marked.
well, this is only partly true

".....
U.S. content must be disclosed on automobiles and textile, wool, and fur products. No law requires most other products sold in the U.S. to be marked or labeled Made in USA or have any other disclosure about their amount of U.S. content. However, manufacturers and marketers and Persons who choose to make claims about the amount of U.S. content in their products must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy........."

Which means that you can have a product that is not one of those and don't say anything about the place it comes from (therefore make no claim to its American made provenance because if you do it has to be)


".........A Made in USA claim can be expressed (for example, "American-made") or implied. In identifying implied claims, the Commission focuses on the overall impression of the advertising, label, or promotional material. Depending on the context, U.S. symbols or geographic references (for example, U.S. flags, outlines of U.S. maps, or references to U.S. locations of headquarters or factories) may convey a claim of U.S. origin either by themselves, or in conjunction with other phrases or images.

In 1996 the FTC [1] proposed that the requirement be stated as:

It will not be considered a deceptive practice for a marketer to make an unqualified U.S. origin claim if, at the time it makes the claim, the marketer possesses and relies upon competent and reliable evidence that: (1) U.S. manufacturing costs constitute 75% of the total manufacturing costs for the product; and (2) the product was last substantially transformed in the United States.
However, this was just a proposal and never became part of the final guidelines which were published in the Federal Register [2] in 1997........"
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Very interesting. I do remember that when I was given the horn and compared it to the horns my friends were playing (Bundy and Yamaha) mine was heavier and took a little more breath support to produce a tone. My friends never like my horn for that reason. It is a heavier horn but always had a nice tone. Based on what I've read on here I'm going to take it to a music shop and see if they can provide any further detail and let you know, since he will be able to see the horn in person.
 
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