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Discussion Starter #1
I bought my first saxophone 5 years ago...a Conn Shooting Stars Alto. It has stamped key guards and serial number H968xx. Each year I take it to a tech for a "to playing condition" tune up - replace missing corks, lubricate, etc. Unfortunately, that tech retired and my sax is at the point where it may need a more thorough repair job soon.

Can anyone give me any wisdom on what kinds of pads/resonators/regulation work best on this model? As it is the first and only saxophone I've played, I don't have a lot of perspective on the subject. Also, google isn't a lot of help since this is the sax model people love to hate...

If it matters, I use a CE Winds NY Meyer copy and I play mostly jazz. Thanks.
 

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Why not look for another tech, or possibly see if your old tech is still taking work? albeit maybe not connected to any official business (as some retired techs have been known to do)? I just don't think it's a good idea to work on your only horn as a substitute for a retired technician.

Style of pads actually matter little, what matters is one's ability to install and regulate them correctly.
 

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I didn't mean to imply that I would do the work myself. I think the new tech at the place I'm planning to go (Strait Music in Austin, TX) even worked with my previous one. I asked the question out of curiosity and to sound educated on the matter in case I was asked about my preferences.
 

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It's just a sax like any other. Nothing particularly unusual. Set it up like any other. Because the mechanism design is pretty old and (if my understanding is correct) kind of an amalgamation of a couple of different top-line Conn designs, it is possible that getting the pad heights correct will require a smidge of lost motion here and there. But that can be addressed after you get the whole thing sealing tight and regulated.

Personally I would choose either the plastic slightly domed boosters or the flat metal plain boosters, simply because you generally need boosters on pads (unless you are looking for a particular sound or attempting to tame a ridiculously bright setup), and those are the two kinds most commonly used, thus most likely to be in a tech's stock in the size you need at the moment you need it. Although I actually don't think the type of booster really matters enough to tell a difference, irrationally I still prefer to keep them all the same up and down the horn.

There is no reason to "love to hate" the instrument. It's not the greatest sax ever made but there certainly is nothing wrong wtih it, either. I guess there are still some repair people who cling to that attitude that only Selmers and the highest cost Selmer copy saxes (high end Yamaha, for example) are worthy of attention; I thought that attitude had dissipated with the explosion of the vintage sax phenomenon, but I suppose it lingers on here and there. That was the attitude that brought a lot of us huge bargains back in the 70s when things like an original lacquer 1946 Conn 6M ($130!) or a King Super 20 tenor with all the pearls on the side keys ($400!) or a silver plated 12M from the short rare time when they had both rolled tone holes and the front F ($750!), were just "old crappy horns" and you could buy them for short money.
 

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I didn't mean to imply that I would do the work myself. I think the new tech at the place I'm planning to go (Strait Music in Austin, TX) even worked with my previous one. I asked the question out of curiosity and to sound educated on the matter in case I was asked about my preferences.
Oh cool, sorry to jump the gun and make assumptions.

I guess it comes down to personal tastes. Intonation willing, I don't like particularly high actions as I have short fingers and arthritis. As for pads, I'd just go for whatever your tech thinks is best. He may have brands and types he's most familiar with. No need to complicate things.

If Strait offers a selection of resonators, keep in mind that the difference in performance will be negligible. Data seems to support the idea that the shape and material of resonators do not matter, only the area they cover. Musicmedic illustrates some examples of different types of resonator on different sorts of pads:

https://musicmedic.com/mainpads/saxophone-pads/individual-saxophone-pads.html

Plastic resonators tend to be the default, though I personally am partial to the domed metal resonator with a central rivet. Flat metal might be closest to what your instrument originally came with.
 

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Joe: I agree with just doing the job without too much concern about what may or may not work on a Conn Director . . . it is a saxophone, that's all. I also agree that resonators (reflectors, whatever . . .) should be used but what they are made of and how they look is a WAG - go with what the repair-tech recommends.

I recently had my newly acquired New Wonder II soprano done and my guy used slightly domed metal resos with a center rivet. He also did my newly acquired MKVI soprano and used those tan nylon flat resonators. Both horns turned out great.

On a side note, my daughter and family live in Austin. I often visit and when there, always visit Strait Music (the southern location) - they've lightened my wallet a bit. DAVE
 

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I like to refer to my Conn as a Shooting Star. More correctly, it is labeled a 16M, and I believe that is officially a Director Model. Mine is old enough to have been made in the USA, rather than Mexico. I have 80% run of the mill leather pads, and about 20% Kangaroo pads; and I have been very happy. The Kangaroos are on the keys that are normally closed. It is said that they stick less.

Tone quality is outstanding, especially in the lower range of the instrument.

Other than the ‘roo pads I have just run of the mill leather with plastic domed resonators. I am very happy with the sound quality. I think there are other more impactful things to be concerned about with working on the horn - such as - are the pads installed evenly/properly, are the keys and the tone holes aligned, do you have leaks.....
 

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.... I think there are other more impactful things to be concerned about with working on the horn - such as - are the pads installed evenly/properly, are the keys and the tone holes aligned, do you have leaks.....
+1 +1 +1 +1 + 100. This cannot be over-emphasised.

The slightly domed plastic ones are almost universal (outside this weird world of SOTW) for good reason. They do the job just as well as others, don't leak (like riveted olnes can), are light, are cheap, and do not rust or otherwise corrode, and are not problematic in any other way.

Focus attention away from resonators.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey, thanks for all the replies! The process of dropping off my instrument is less intimidating for me if I know what to expect. It's helpful to know what factors are significant for next time.

Ultimately the tech guy only wanted to replace a few pads and fix a leak, which was less work than I expected. I thought I was going to hear that ALL the pads needed replacing. Aside from asking to have the mouthpiece re-corked, I didn't ask for anything special.

And Dave: That's where I was. My favorite times to go are on a busy days when the air is filled with random bits of music from all the people there.
 

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So how did things work out for you?
 
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