Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know that the 30M has more adjustments than the 10M and silver key touches (not really sure what else it has that the 10M doesn’t have), but do they sound the same? Other than cosmetics and mechanics, is the geometry of the horns the same? Any tonal distictions?
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,951 Posts
Back some years ago when I did an A to B of a 10M and a 30M they sounded identical to me. I believe the tubes are identical and the only difference is the keywork.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
4,684 Posts
Essentially yes, but the 30M I had was overall an exceptional tenor and I really miss that one

Swapping its neck onto other Conn tenors('37 10M & '28 NWII) I had at the time really improved their sound also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Cool. Thanks, guys. Intertesting about the neck. Same necks? Just some natural variation amongst identical necks? I wonder if they came off the same line in the factory, or perhaps Conn had different techs making the 30M.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
29,343 Posts
Cool. Thanks, guys. Intertesting about the neck. Same necks? Just some natural variation amongst identical necks? I wonder if they came off the same line in the factory, or perhaps Conn had different techs making the 30M.
I'm sure that a 30m compared to a 10m is as identical as a 10m compared to another 10m, ie not necessarily exactly the same but not that different. Bit like MKVIs.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
4,684 Posts
Cool. Thanks, guys. Intertesting about the neck. Same necks? Just some natural variation amongst identical necks? I wonder if they came off the same line in the factory, or perhaps Conn had different techs making the 30M.
Neckwise I'd say probably the natural variation, yes.. but who really knows .

I had a 1940 10M prior to acquiring the three I mentioned that was also exceptional so I think it's always down to
individual horns, and some necks have more(or less) to offer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,951 Posts
Let's not get too caught up in rose-colored retrospective views of what the Conn factory was like.

It was a factory. There were big wheeled racks of parts everywhere. The neck forming guys made a week's worth of bent neck tubes, then that rack went over to the hardware attachment station where most of them got 10M bits soldered on and a few got 30M bits soldered on. The whole set went off to the finishing area and got buffed, sandblasted, lacquered or silver plated.

Racks of necks with plating and lacquer on, went to the neck assembly station where people put 10M or 30M bits on, in the matching finish. Then racks of necks with octave keys and tightening screws went to the final assy area. When a 10M in lacquer came down the line ready to have a neck put on it and play tested, they grabbed a 10M neck in lacquer and shoved it onto the horn. If the next tenor down the line was a silver 30M, they grabbed a silver 30M neck and ditto.

The idea of Old World craftsmen carefully matching this neck to that horn and trying various combinations before finally pairing each horn with its best neck, is simply fantasy.

Same thing with things that twist the internet up into knots, like someone found a 1946 tenor with keyguards typical of a 1935 horn. Guess what? They found a bin of old ones somewhere, and a decision was made that they'll work just fine, so use them up rather than scrapping them. The plant manager has among his assignments to reduce scrap. If that can be done by using outdated parts that will still work just fine, that's what he does. Same thing with the occasional weird finish combo like - who knows? Nickel plated body with gold plated keys, or whatever. Same thing with other anomalies - like a couple of tone holes didn't get rolled? Final QC sees it. Plant manager is behind on monthly production and ahead on scrap. Scrap the body? Not on your life. Pack that baby and get it shipped before the bean counters close the month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
656 Posts
The 30M was clearly Conn's most ambitious project to produce the best tenor saxophone possible by American manufacturing. It only makes sense to pick the best components to assemble the final product and put in extra care during the entire process. The number of 30Ms produced was relatively small compared to 10Ms, so this would make it easier to spend more time on them.

American manufacturing in the 1930's operated with a different mindset and production methods. A luxury car made in the 30's was clearly better built than the basic Ford. It was the Depression and labour rates were low, so it was more feasible to put in extra work on luxury items.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,951 Posts
And how, in a mass production factory, exactly, do you think this was done?

You do realize that the 30M has a totally different set of neck fittings, don't you? So do you REALLY think someone took a bunch of neck tubes, soldered 30M bits on, corked them, tried them all out, picked the best, then took the rejects, took the corks off, unsoldered the 30M mountings, soldered 10M mountings on the rejected ones that were good enough for 10Ms, and sent them to finishing?

Do you really think someone built a bunch of horns up as 10Ms (complete to pads and corks!) and tested them and then decided to convert the best ones to 30Ms, including a complete change of mechanism, and unsoldering the non-common fittings (for example all the left hand little-finger-key posts and all the fittings on the neck), soldering all 30M fittings on, taking all the springs out, and then sending to finishing?

Have you ever worked in a factory?

I'm sure my description of the process isn't completely accurate, but I've been working in manufacturing for 35 years and I have a darn good understanding of how to lay out a process. If the actual process deviated much from what I've described, I'd be very surprised. The idea of selectively testing individual instruments and then stripping them completely down and changing them to something else simply does not stand the test of feasibility. Same with the myth that certain levels of plating or engraving were reserved for the "best" horns. A silver plated instrument, for example, is engraved before it's plated. There is absolutely no way to assess its quality at the point where it's a bare body, unplated, without even the springs installed. No factory management would sit still for a process that required them to completely assemble the product, test it, then completely disassemble it and do all the finishing work. Anyone who would propose such a process would be unemployed almost immediately.

Why don't you tell us how the process flow of "selecting only the best" for the 30M as opposed to the "run of the mill" for the 10M would go? Not in general terms like "spend more labor hours on it" but with some specifics, like explaining when the pads and corks get installed, and when you strip the horn down that you've just assembled, and what it is you change and when, and so on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
656 Posts
For a person who has worked in manufacturing for 35 years, I am surprised that you would even suggest such an obviously absurd scenario that a factory might make a bunch of 10Ms and then take all the fittings off and convert them to 30Ms. And, yes, I have worked at two factories, but not at saxophone factories.

As I said in my previous post, I think the process of making 30Ms would have started with choosing the best components that are common to the 10Ms and the 30Ms. They probably used more experienced workers to assemble the 30Ms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,951 Posts
For a person who has worked in manufacturing for 35 years, I am surprised that you would even suggest such an obviously absurd scenario that a factory might make a bunch of 10Ms and then take all the fittings off and convert them to 30Ms. And, yes, I have worked at two factories, but not at saxophone factories.

As I said in my previous post, I think the process of making 30Ms would have started with choosing the best components that are common to the 10Ms and the 30Ms. They probably used more experienced workers to assemble the 30Ms.
If the body and neck tubes are the same design, how would you know which are best?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,587 Posts
And how, in a mass production factory, exactly, do you think this was done?

Have you ever worked in a factory?
I have. I was a quality control engineer.


As I said in my previous post, I think the process of making 30Ms would have started with choosing the best components that are common to the 10Ms and the 30Ms. They probably used more experienced workers to assemble the 30Ms.
Choosing the "best" components before they are assembled and play tested would be limited to visual inspection - which necks are most free of surface defects.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
750 Posts
I have. I was a quality control engineer.




Choosing the "best" components before they are assembled and play tested would be limited to visual inspection - which necks are most free of surface defects.
It would also be possible to have two ranges of allowable tolerances. One standard range for the 10M and a second tighter range for the 30M. I have no evidence that they actually did this though and it wouldn't necessarily yield a better playing horn.

Given how complicated the mechanism was, Conn would have had to allot more time to final assembly and set up of the 30M and could have used more experienced staff for the final assembly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,951 Posts
It would also be possible to have two ranges of allowable tolerances. One standard range for the 10M and a second tighter range for the 30M. I have no evidence that they actually did this though and it wouldn't necessarily yield a better playing horn.

Given how complicated the mechanism was, Conn would have had to allot more time to final assembly and set up of the 30M and could have used more experienced staff for the final assembly.
Certainly the complex machinery would have required more labor and as noted would likely have been assigned to more experienced people. However, that doesn't have any effect on the sound of the instrument.

I am going to stand by my prediction that nothing special that could affect the sound of the instrument was done for the 30M; that it was built up like a 10M from the same racks of neck and body tubes. It's speculation but I would be willing to bet that 30Ms went through the exact same process done by the exact same people right up to the point of final adjustment, at which point due to the additional complexity and small volume of 30Ms they might have been all done by "Bill" the most experienced person at the final adjustment bench, not by "Steve" or "Mike" and it would certainly be plausible that if "Bill" were out sick they would just stack the 30Ms for him to get to when he got back.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,587 Posts
It would also be possible to have two ranges of allowable tolerances. One standard range for the 10M and a second tighter range for the 30M. I have no evidence that they actually did this though and it wouldn't necessarily yield a better playing horn.
That’s an interesting idea, but of all the videos and photos that I’ve viewed regarding making necks, bodies, or bells, I have never seen post-forming measurements made. All the dimensions are a result of the mandrels.

My personal experience of playing and measuring modern Selmer necks: There exists quite a bit of variation in the inner diameter at the mouthpiece end of the neck.

Yes, there may be some that measure and adjust necks during final setup - Cannonball’s claims come to mind, but I believe that is the exception.

I am always ready to learn of direct firsthand knowledge of a contrary view.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
29,343 Posts
at which point due to the additional complexity and small volume of 30Ms they might have been all done by "Bill" the most experienced person at the final adjustment bench, not by "Steve" or "Mike" and it would certainly be plausible that if "Bill" were out sick they would just stack the 30Ms for him to get to when he got back.
I read somewhere that Bill sometimes turned up drunk, but still insisted on doing the 30Ms.

 

Attachments

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,409 Posts
Let's not get too caught up in rose-colored retrospective views of what the Conn factory was like.

It was a factory. There were big wheeled racks of parts everywhere. The neck forming guys made a week's worth of bent neck tubes, then that rack went over to the hardware attachment station where most of them got 10M bits soldered on and a few got 30M bits soldered on. The whole set went off to the finishing area and got buffed, sandblasted, lacquered or silver plated.

Racks of necks with plating and lacquer on, went to the neck assembly station where people put 10M or 30M bits on, in the matching finish. Then racks of necks with octave keys and tightening screws went to the final assy area. When a 10M in lacquer came down the line ready to have a neck put on it and play tested, they grabbed a 10M neck in lacquer and shoved it onto the horn. If the next tenor down the line was a silver 30M, they grabbed a silver 30M neck and ditto.

The idea of Old World craftsmen carefully matching this neck to that horn and trying various combinations before finally pairing each horn with its best neck, is simply fantasy.

Same thing with things that twist the internet up into knots, like someone found a 1946 tenor with keyguards typical of a 1935 horn. Guess what? They found a bin of old ones somewhere, and a decision was made that they'll work just fine, so use them up rather than scrapping them. The plant manager has among his assignments to reduce scrap. If that can be done by using outdated parts that will still work just fine, that's what he does. Same thing with the occasional weird finish combo like - who knows? Nickel plated body with gold plated keys, or whatever. Same thing with other anomalies - like a couple of tone holes didn't get rolled? Final QC sees it. Plant manager is behind on monthly production and ahead on scrap. Scrap the body? Not on your life. Pack that baby and get it shipped before the bean counters close the month.
What an excellent post! this should be a sticky......I've recently being reading an article in 'Reverb' about the cost cutting/penny pinching etc. that went on at Gibson in the 1950's which echo's the OP's remarks admirably.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top