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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Local tenor sax for sale is described as a Conn Star Burst. I’m guessing the seller is talking about a Conn Shooting Star instead. Has anyone heard of a Star Burst?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As I suspected. And the first character in the serial number is N, so no doubt one of the much maligned (is that the right word if the horn DESERVES the abuse?) Nogales Dreadfuls.
Not sure what Turf is saying about Director model and 16M? Would any Conn horn have the model name AND the place or origin somewhere on the horn? Thanks.
 

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Only some have the model number. Many, but maybe not even most. The practice varied with the era. MexiConns had Mexico on them, but
maybe no model number (16m like that
in the shop), another 16m with 16m but no place label.
Maybe nothing on lots of them after the long time Elkhart labels on the bell stopped. I have a 9m with USA. And 9m. So who knows?
 

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And the N prefix to the serial number has some meaning, but internet "authorities" differ widely on what it means. At this point, having read three or four contradictory accounts of what it means, I'm inclined to discount all of them. Just play the damn thing, see how it blows, and either buy it or don't. I have a 16M Mexi-conn and it plays just about like my prized 1948 10M.

I am not sure if 16Ms had the model number stamped or not. The 10M Artist models from the late 30s through till whenever (1960s?) I think always had "10M" stamped by the SN. The pre-Artist models which we now call "New Wonder II" and "New Wonder I" may or may not have had "10M" stamped.

Conn's model numbers were 4M for soprano, 6M for alto, 10M for tenor, 12M for baritone (and odd numbers for high pitch) from the early 1900s clear through - for their top line horns. Through at least the 1940s and I think into the 50s, they didn't have a "second line" Conn; those were called Pan American. When they decided to create a second line Conn-branded horn, they called them "Director" and created a new set of model numbers 14M, 16M for alto and tenor. I don't think there were ever any Director baritones and by that time no one except Selmer were making (a very few) sopranos. At least for the 16M tenor the keywork is almost identical to the New Wonder II (with a few exceptions and cost-cuttings) and I have been told the tube is identical to the 10M Artist. There seem to have been a lot more variants of the Director alto design.

Then after the Mexi-Conn era, Conn got passed around from private equity to small company to big company like an old used car with 300,000 miles on it and they were attempting to make and sell horns in various locations to various designs while simultaneously (or so it appears now) buying horns from various makers and stamping "Conn" on them, all in attempts to keep the sinking ship afloat by rearranging the deck chairs, so the actual nature of post-Mexi-Conn horns is very difficult to tease out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Turf, and all you others for your helpful information. The horn, unfortunately, is a 90 minute drive away over a pass that was washed out by floods a week ago (now partially repaired) and petrol is being rationed because floods have seriously derailed the supply chain. I’d love to try the Conn, but I can’t do so without a better understanding of what’s for sale. If I can get there, play it, and like it, I’m assuming it will be a significant step up from my Armstrong tenor. The Armstrong is solid, has no leaks, and clunks along. The tone is uninspiring but that could well just be me. So whatever this Shooting Star/Star Burst proves to be, I’m hoping for improvement.
 

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I'll preface my comments by saying that I've never played an Armstrong tenor or a 16M. Also, there are quite a few different Armstrong models and several variations of the Shooting Star 16M.

The tone will probably be an improvement, but I'm not sure it would be a "significant step up". It might be a matter of practicing and possibly finding a different mouthpiece instead of a different horn.

Also, @JayeLID has Shooting Star tenors that have been worked up: https://2ndending.com/saxes.html

Edit:

Also, if you have a good tech and are willing to spend some, this horn has fantastic potential: https://reverb.com/item/47038394-vintage-beaugnier-tenor-saxophone-france-repair-special

I don't know how much an estimate of the repairs might be though.
 

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My first tenor was an Armstrong 3055T, which I still have. The 3055 is also the last American horn to sport rolled tone holes. It's not the most solid build, and needs a couple new pads, so I haven't been playing it.

But once its warmed up, it has a really great, raucous tone. I've not only gigged with this horn, but like it so much that I just bought an Armstrong 3070 bari. Canada seems to have a lot of old Armstrongs floating around.

Mando, I'm guessing you're in beautiful and jazzy BC, which has been just pummelled by the changing climate. Stay safe and dry, and hopefully they'll have supplies flowing again soon!
 

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From what I can tell, Armstrongs can be any of a wide variety of makers - Conn, Keilwerth, and who knows what all else. Heck, you might have a 16M Conn right there under another name already!
 

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Thanks, Turf, and all you others for your helpful information. The horn, unfortunately, is a 90 minute drive away over a pass that was washed out by floods a week ago (now partially repaired) and petrol is being rationed because floods have seriously derailed the supply chain. I’d love to try the Conn, but I can’t do so without a better understanding of what’s for sale. If I can get there, play it, and like it, I’m assuming it will be a significant step up from my Armstrong tenor. The Armstrong is solid, has no leaks, and clunks along. The tone is uninspiring but that could well just be me. So whatever this Shooting Star/Star Burst proves to be, I’m hoping for improvement.
Armstrong can be good horns and the ones I have had (1 alto 1 tenor) were copies of Keilwerths to the point that necks could be switched.

I have also had Conn “ shootinng star” not bad as players but the market doesn’t value them much, sometimes they are branded Made in Mexico , the N by the way, doesn’t mean Nogales nor M means Mexico
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My first tenor was an Armstrong 3055T, which I still have. The 3055 is also the last American horn to sport rolled tone holes. It's not the most solid build, and needs a couple new pads, so I haven't been playing it.

But once its warmed up, it has a really great, raucous tone. I've not only gigged with this horn, but like it so much that I just bought an Armstrong 3070 bari. Canada seems to have a lot of old Armstrongs floating around.

Mando, I'm guessing you're in beautiful and jazzy BC, which has been just pummelled by the changing climate. Stay safe and dry, and hopefully they'll have supplies flowing again soon!
You guessed it — “sunny” Victoria, where November is the cruellest month — REALLY cruel this year!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
From what I can tell, Armstrongs can be any of a wide variety of makers - Conn, Keilwerth, and who knows what all else. Heck, you might have a 16M Conn right there under another name already!
I’m beginning to suspect something like that! Unlike Milandro’s Armstrong, mine doesn’t have any sort of model name/number — only the serial # and Elkhart, Indiana. To my seriously untrained eye, it looks a lot like the Shooting Star Squealer has for sale, other than the guards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I’m beginning to suspect something like that! Unlike Milandro’s Armstrong, mine doesn’t have any sort of model name/number — only the serial # and Elkhart, Indiana. To my seriously untrained eye, it looks a lot like the Shooting Star Squealer has for sale, other than the guards.
Sorry, unlike ZOOT’S Armstrong….
 
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