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Hello,

This tenor was found in a junk shop and we are having some trouble identifying it. On the bell is engraved "Conn LTD." There are no other engravings. We cannot find a serial number. The g# key is actually a pearl key, as is the register key. We are not sure whether the pearl touches were factory installed or added on later. The right side keys are unlike any design I've ever seen on a saxophone.

Some of the key configurations point to it being possibly a New Wonder, or New Invention.

Any help would be most appreciated.

This is a great forum with great discussions.

Thanks for your time,

Old10m
 

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Identify this Conn tenor?

Hello, All,
To Old 10M's inquiry, I would like to add a couple of comments.
I have also closely examined the sax in question. I am certainly not an expert on these horns, but I've identified a few things that seem unique and strange about it. The "CG Conn, Ltd." bell ingraving seems out of timeline with the design of the spatula cluster. In other words, the spatulas resemble a much earlier design than that engraving would indicate. The stop posts under the palm keys are conical and rather sharply pointed. Stop posts on every other old Conn I've seen are somewhat mushroom shaped at the top. The side keys are the strangest feature of all. They are arranged in an overlapping cluster, rather than in a straight row as we normally see them. There is no evidence of the serial number being filed off. I'm convinced that no serial number was ever stamped into this horn.
We are extremely curious about this old relic. Thanks for any info you can provide.
 

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it has a front f, yet no tandard b flat key?!?!
has a buescher elkhart style spatula, split bell keys,
early prototype? possibly?
 

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I'm thinking it is a very early Conn, possibly pre-1910. The lack of a bis key is a giveaway that this is a very old horn. If it had multiple octave keys that would confirm it, although many "multiple octave key" horns were later modified to accomodate a single octave key. Is there any other stamping. A number of Conns from the 1910 - 1914 era were stamped with a union label.
 

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Identify this Conn tenor?

I am researching this horn with Old 10M. I agree that the horn looks cobbled together, and I also agree that it might be a prototype. It was a silver plated horn, but was sloppily and brutally buffed. Very little bell engraving remains, and what remains is filled in with lacquer. There are no stampings--no serial number, no union stamp, and no indication of high or low pitch. I will try to capture better overall shots within the next few days. In one of the attachments, you will see patches of silver still on the bell. My shot of the bell engraving is very blurred, but so is the engraving. It looks very similar to the engraving on my Series I New Wonder. However, the spatulas look very similar to a 1912 Wonder Improved shown on Saxpics.com. The side keys are the most curious feature of the horn. They are an overlapping cluster, instead of a row of touches. I believe the neck is clearly a replacement. Thanks to all. Please let me know what to photograph, and I will try to get the pictures within the next few days. Again, thanks to all.
 

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The G# key is on the back side similar to the older Kings. I vote experimental. The pearl G# is like a Buescher and perhaps the Gus Buescher Conn connetion fits in. I still can't tell if it has 2 octave key levers. Note how small the F# holes is. It does appear to have a front F.
 

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I'm still inclined to believe that it is a very early Conn tenor, pre-1910, perhaps even older. Gus Buescher left Conn in 1895. It is entirely possible that this may have been one of the very first Elkhart produced saxophones. A serial number would have definitely been helpful.
 

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I didn't mean to infer that the horns looks cobbled from spare parts. Rather, I meant to infer the horn looks to have suffered some cobbled repairs. I am convinced it was assembled ONCE AND ONCE ONLY, and then suffered some dubious repairs after that. There is no evidence of posts being moved and re-soldered. there is a bad scorch where the bell brace was re-soldered to the bell. There is a label inside the after-market case that says: "Andrew Ciciotti & Son. The finest in repairing and rebuilding of musical instruments." I have a hunch that anyone who would sign his work would not do these dubious repairs. I don't think we can blame Mr. Ciciotti for the buffing or the soldering. But he might have done the very nice installation of pearl touches here and there.
SeargeantSax and OnyxSax, I agree with you that it looks like an very early experimental prototype--perhaps modified in later years. Jason, your input is respected. Thank you. I believe if you could see the horn in person, you would understand my point of view. It simply doesn't look assembled from random parts. It looks old.
 

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A pre 1910 horn would have soldered on tonehole chimneys.
The neck octave key looks like a 60's-70's version to me.
 

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Indentify this Conn tenor?

T-bone,
I am not qualified to identify soldered tone hole chimneys. But in this picture, you can see a ring of silver around the base of each chimney. Whether it is solder or silver plate, I honestly don't know. Note, however, that at least one of the chimneys in this shot appears to be bevelled at the top. These occur here and there up and down the horn. Also, please note that the pearl touches, and specifically the cups in which the pearls are glued, are very nicely soldered onto the horn. I think these are an after-market modification by a good craftsman. I think this is the work that was 'signed' by Mr. Ciciotti. Please note, also, the very conical and sharply pointed stop posts under the palm keys in this picture. These are unlike any Conn pictures I have found. Once again I will say that many, many features of this horn resemble a Wonder Improved model that is pictured on saxpics.com. However, that horn doesn't feature pearl touches. As I have just pointed out, this horn's pearl touches might well be an after-market modification. And NOTHING yet explains that bizarre arrangement of side keys. Thanks to all of you for your insights. Please keep chiming in. And please let me know what other pictures you would like to see.
Best regards to all.
 

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Identify this Con tenor?

Forgot to note that I, too, believe the neck on this horn is a fairly recent replacement. I believe it is from a Director of recent vintage. There is no brace under the crook, but there is that 'noose' shaped loop around the crook. An early Conn wouldn't have had this arrangement. This is a replacement neck.
Question: When you factor in this fairly recent neck, the excellent condition of the corks and felts, the good condition of the pads, etc., it seems to me that this horn was probably a player in fairly recent times.
If so, that would suggest that it might be a low pitch horn. Is it possible that the replacement neck would have lengthened the horn to lower the pitch? Can that be done? Or is it simply a new neck to replace one that was hopelessly damaged? Any opinions about that?
 

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I'm beginning to wonder if the front F was an "aftermarket" modification. The solder doesn't look as neat on that particular post, and the front F key looks absolutely nothing like anything I've seen on any Conn. If the front F was modified, one also has to wonder if this horn was originally a multiple octave key horn modified to a single key mechanism. Also, somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to recall that very early Conns (Pre 1900) did not have serial numbers stamped on them.

Perhaps you should contact Margaret Downie Banks at the University of South Dakota. She is probably the foremost scholar on the history of the Conn Musical Instruments and could be the person most likely shed some light on this mystery. I once contacted her regarding my '27 baritone, and she did reply to my query.
 

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No, this sax looks completely different than early Conns. Also the engraving on the bell is from a New Wonder, made sometime between 1925-1930. If you look at the post sadles and other parts, this sax was clearly pieced together from different sax parts. Why? Who knows. But the body looks mostly Buescher True Tone. Obviously some repair person had a lot of time on his hands.

OnyxSax said:
I'm still inclined to believe that it is a very early Conn tenor, pre-1910, perhaps even older. Gus Buescher left Conn in 1895. It is entirely possible that this may have been one of the very first Elkhart produced saxophones. A serial number would have definitely been helpful.
 

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jazzears said:
Jason, your input is respected. Thank you. I believe if you could see the horn in person, you would understand my point of view. It simply doesn't look assembled from random parts. It looks old.
I stand by my assertion that this horn is very clearly made from odd parts. First, if it was a pre-Conn Ltd. horn, it would have the Union 34 label mark on it. Second, it would not have the later decorative engraving type. Third, it would have been keyed much more elegantly. Even Worcester Conns are very sophisticated. If it were a prototype, it would not be so rough. The bell brace is obviously manufactured after the fact, most likely because the Conn bell has no business being on a True Tone body. Yet another clue is that early Conns ALL had a front F, and Bueschers did not. Therefore the need to affix a makeshift front F key. So far I don't see anything convincing me this is a Conn, or any single maufacturer. If it is experimental, it was on the part of the repairman, not a factory.
 
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I agree, my first impression was of a Frankenstein creation . Although,
I must say that I wouldn't be able to identify the nuts and bolts as
well as Jason. The various costs of producing molds to form all of the
individual parts would be cost prohibitive, even for a prototype or
experimental horn. Parts would be of a crude and basic design if they
were truly experimental . This collection of production line parts ,
IMHO , is confirmation of Jason's opinion.
 

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Identify this Conn tenor?

Hello, All,
This has been a very interesting discussion, and your insights are very much appreciated. Let's go with the "home workshop" theory for a moment. What model carcase do you think has been used here? I assume a tinkerer would start with the body of an existing horn, and begin modifying from that point. I say that because I can't imagine the average tinkerer forming a body bore, locating and manufacturing the tone holes, etc. I'll say this again: Most parts of the horn look a lot like a Wonder Improved that I found on saxpics--particularly the upper half. Does that seem like s reasonable starting point to you guys? Thanks.
 
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