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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1916 Conn New Wonder 1 Tenor

Freshly out of quarantine it’s time to give this salty old tenor a good look.
I have no idea what I was expecting when I gave it a customary honk. It kind of sounded like a goose being strangled. Yep room for improvement.
Just think of walking into the Ludwig Music House in St. Louis 1916. Put $120 on the counter then $12 for a case. 10 minutes later walking out with a beautiful shiny silver tenor saxophone.

Meet “ The Goose”
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
General overview is looking very positive. Not seeing any bad damage. Adequate TLC over the last 104 years. Everything moves and I don’t see one rounded or broken screw head. Yay ! I’m hoping the only repairs are the tenon screw and the nasty blob metal on the neck joint. A nice fresh set of pads and cork The Goose should be ready to honk ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looking down inside the neck joint I don’t see anything alarming. There is a possibility the neck was pulled loose or down. Surprise repairs are no fun. But that’s part of the game.
 

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That neck looks like it was done by a stained glass repairman! Got the job done but... wow.
 

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Looks like a fun project. I'm sure after your done, it will be a pain in the *** to play but sound pretty nice :).
 

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The tenon probably popped off the neck and Doofus resoldered it with his big soldering iron.

I had a tenon pop off the neck once. But I had a professional re-solder it, almost no visible trace remained.

That horn's been played a lot, look at the pearls. That degree of wear plus a minimum of damage implies long term playing by an adult. So it may be a really good one. (I am always leery of an old horn with no visible wear - why didn't this thing get played? Maybe it's not that good of a horn.)
 

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Looks like a fun project. I'm sure after your done, it will be a pain in the *** to play but sound pretty nice :).
No, if my experience with Conns is any guide (I've only been playing Conns as my primary on alto tenor and baritone since 1978, so someone with longer experience than me can comment) it'll play like butter. The round high Eb key takes a little getting used to. The LH table on this horn is the superior of all the Conn LH tables - the same as 12M but unfortunately 10M and 6M deviated to a slightly less convenient table. And the Conn LH tables (of whatever vintage) are the best out there, followed closely by Martin Handcraft and King Zephyr.
 

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No, if my experience with Conns is any guide (I've only been playing Conns as my primary on alto tenor and baritone since 1978, so someone with longer experience than me can comment) it'll play like butter. The round high Eb key takes a little getting used to. The LH table on this horn is the superior of all the Conn LH tables - the same as 12M but unfortunately 10M and 6M deviated to a slightly less convenient table. And the Conn LH tables (of whatever vintage) are the best out there, followed closely by Martin Handcraft and King Zephyr.
The only Wonder Improved I played was an Alto, and it was a massive PITA to voice correct intonation (using a large chamber MP). I very much like NWI & NWII's, but granted have had very limited experience with pre-rolled tone hole Conns. Looking closer at the horn, it does look like NWI key work, cool.

To PigSquealer:
Not trying to talk down the restoration at all! I love the fact that you document (and put in the time!) the restoration-including the historical pricing/marketing material.
 

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I would suggest using some kind of adhesive (contact cement works for me) to secure the plastic tube on the arm, too. Those arms aren't cylindrical and I've had the little plastic tubes work their way off.

In a perfect world with infinite time I'd go all-out and machine the arm to put a little metal roller there. Rolling friction will beat sliding every time, but I've never actually done it - too much time and trouble.
 

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On those types of bell key closing linkages I have good success using tight fitting teflon tube on the extension from the key and thin synthetic felt or ultrasuede on the arm.
That leaves you no choice but to bend parts to make adjustments. The touch points on both keys are flat. A piece of Teflon sheeting on one and thin cork on the other seems a better alternative.

But then, you're the pro.
 

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I would suggest using some kind of adhesive (contact cement works for me) to secure the plastic tube on the arm, too. Those arms aren't cylindrical and I've had the little plastic tubes work their way off.

In a perfect world with infinite time I'd go all-out and machine the arm to put a little metal roller there. Rolling friction will beat sliding every time, but I've never actually done it - too much time and trouble.
On round arms that are tapered I have been known to use a jeweler's file to make them more cylindrical to address that problem. The shape of the key in the first photo suggests to me that a snug fit will work. Early in my repair career I bought a huge amount of teflon tubing in several different wire gauge sizes. Choosing one slightly smaller than the part and then heating the part before sliding the tube on often works. Occasionally I will heat the end of an awl and put a bit of a flair on the end of the tubing to help get it started. A bit of saliva on the inside doesn't hurt either.

That leaves you no choice but to bend parts to make adjustments. The touch points on both keys are flat. A piece of Teflon sheeting on one and thin cork on the other seems a better alternative. But then, you're the pro.
Your point is well taken. My experience with teflon is that using the tubing that is pressure fit has a better chance of staying in place than a narrow strip of teflon sheet that is glued in place. Even when "etching" the back of a teflon sheet I don't always get good adhesion using contact cement. In some applications I like to use thin cork, but I like the thin felt or ultrasuede against teflon in linkages that "slide" because it has less friction than cork. As far as adjustment to the bell keys, the only need I can see to make any adjustment would be to improve the "relationships" of the LH table. Small changes to the height of those key touches can be done by adjusting the length of the felt bumpers on the bell keys. Sanding "thin" cork is not going to make much of a change regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Would probably be a good idea if I subscribed to my own thread. Duh!
Didn’t find any hidden damage underneath the big blob of metal. I think the neck got a few ounces lighter. The neck was definitely pulled down some at one point. As I started to heat the metal I heard a nice Ca *****. Obviously the support brace had some stress on it. Not sure if it’s supposed to be straight or curved. All refitted nicely the cross brace is now straight. Original or not it is what it is. I also find it interesting for a early Conn to have a serial number on the neck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The only Wonder Improved I played was an Alto, and it was a massive PITA to voice correct intonation (using a large chamber MP). I very much like NWI & NWII's, but granted have had very limited experience with pre-rolled tone hole Conns. Looking closer at the horn, it does look like NWI key work, cool.

To PigSquealer:
Not trying to talk down the restoration at all! I love the fact that you document (and put in the time!) the restoration-including the historical pricing/marketing material.
Don’t worry you didn’t hurt my feelings. I don’t set high expectations for anything. It is what it is. If it turns out better I’m good with that. If it turns out worse, oh well. The cool vintage dark smoky sound I’m looking forward to. Technology of 104 years ago. Well lightbulbs have changed some too. Maybe there is a reason only the six main keys show wear. Thank you for acknowledging the work I put into making a thread hopefully interesting. It’s very time consuming and sorting pictures is PIA. Although I feel without the pictures the conversation is lacking enjoyment. And may be a little comedy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

On those types of bell key closing linkages I have good success using tight fitting teflon tube on the extension from the key and thin synthetic felt or ultrasuede on the arm.


I’m going to try Teflon sheet and Shrink tubing covered cork. Fit cork minus thickness of shrink material. Will be learning curve. This will most likely not work everywhere. Here are some more detailed pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
The tenon probably popped off the neck and Doofus resoldered it with his big soldering iron.

I had a tenon pop off the neck once. But I had a professional re-solder it, almost no visible trace remained.

That horn's been played a lot, look at the pearls. That degree of wear plus a minimum of damage implies long term playing by an adult. So it may be a really good one. (I am always leery of an old horn with no visible wear - why didn't this thing get played? Maybe it's not that good of a horn.)
The DIY neck repair looks nothing like the rest of maintenance. All quality gentle workmanship. Not a bit swedged anywhere.
I’m not sure the neck strap ring has been replaced? Horn overall looks well enjoyed. Player had simple playing style.
If the case is original to St Louis it went to Las Vegas for a long life. That’s where I purchased it from. I have the last owners name now. research is patients event. Ludwigs Music House is now a parking structure. At one time they had five stores. This ad is from early 1950’s. The store chain opened about 1881. I found a transaction card posted online dated 1966. “80 years of service”. Also city directory listing dated 1870.
I’m still digging
 

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I like the c-clamp. Now you've got me thinking about a miniature quick release like the king on a mountain bike seat post..... A tiny over center cam bolt.
 

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