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Hi all,
I'm looking at a vintage Conn 10M, and I'm new to the vintage horn market. I loved playing it but have a couple concerns. First I know the C# key has been discussed ad nauseum but not by me. I'm used to modern fingerings: Is this easy to get used to. I'm in an R&B band and tend to play a lot of bass riffs which means getting on and off that key a lot. Second what's the issue with the little tightening screws? How do they work and do you need to mess with them a lot. If so what tool do you use or do you have to take them in. The the keys just work loose over time?

Anyway if these technical issues have been discussed a lot before, but I'd appreciate your feedback. On a more aesthetic note, I loved the sound and feel of the horn. I was amazed at how verstaile it was with a couple different MPc. I could get an edgy sound with a high baffle and great resonant sound with my Link. It's amazing how they hold up over 60 years!
 

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The C# key tends to be oversprung by techs who aren't used to working on 10Ms, or are sloppy and impatient. One issue is that the C# spring is really fiddly to adjust because of its location right next to the C# key arm. The other issue is getting the G# lever in sync with the C# key so that the spring on the G# lever supports the C# key all the way to its closed position. If that isn't done, extra tension on the C# spring is necessary to prevent bounce and flutter, which makes the C# key heavy. So the tech needs some combination of having their moves down and patience to get it set up right. But if it is set up right, it doesn't need to be heavy. Also, the clearance between the arm beneath the B key touch that actuates the G# key off the C# key is critical. If there isn't enough, pressing the B key will open the C# key. So check out all of that action and make sure that whoever works on that pinky table is on the ball.

The tiny screws are set screws that hold the pivot screws in place. There isn't any need to mess with the set screws unless you remove keys or adjust the pivot screws to take slop out of the action.

The earlier 10Ms have a reputation for having bad intonation with smaller chambered mouthpieces, so definitely check it against a tuner with your high baffle piece. Your alternative for a bright sound is using a large chambered Link type piece with a smaller opening and/or a 2x4 strength reed.

Rock on!
 

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One problem is that techs set the springing up with the horn lying flat and over spring them. It needs to be light and with the horn in the upright position, it will open the keys well but in the flat position, the springs need to be stronger. Hold the horn like you play it and adjusted the tension lighter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for those thorough answers. Sounds like intonation and the C# spring setup are issues to check out more closely. The intonation didn't seem to be a problem on the one I played (think it was a '47), and my guardala fit on the neck well with plenty of room to move up. I'll be sure to bring my tuner when I go back.
 

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Thank you for those thorough answers. Sounds like intonation and the C# spring setup are issues to check out more closely. The intonation didn't seem to be a problem on the one I played (think it was a '47), and my guardala fit on the neck well with plenty of room to move up. I'll be sure to bring my tuner when I go back.
Let us know how your two pieces compare intonation-wise. Your experience will have value.
 

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John, aren't you also looking at Bueschers? Their sound profile is different than the 10M, not so broad and robust, but still a full throated vintage sound and no ergonomic issues to speak of.

The 10M is a wonderful saxophone, period. But, I would love to know who decided on the key spacing and the pinkie table setup. What could they have been thinking? The New Wonder is significantly better in my opinion and the Chu is one of my favorite horns. Have you tried one of those? They are available for similar money to the 10M, have rolled tone holes but, again in my opinion, better keywork and a similar great sound.

Hope you find what you are looking for and staying with the great old American makers of the Golden Age of American saxophone making is the right way to go I reckon.

Sig
 
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