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So recently I've wanted to play the alto sax. The sax is a Conn Shooting Star. I'm pretty sure it is over 20 years old. I want to get it cleaned as well. I don't know how much it cost. Would it be worth it?
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Well, if "it plays pretty well" then you probably need a couple pads changed, maybe some basic adjustment. From your pictures it doesn't look abused. Almost certainly a good bet to have it looked at.

Be careful, a lot of techs will look down their noses at a nickel-key late model Conn and try to sell you something not as good for a whole lot more money.

Just this morning I was at the guitar shop and a fellow brought in a cheap old guitar "of sentimental value"; I knew that particular shop was going to tell him "it's not worth doing anything" because that's what they tell anyone who brings in a guitar that's worth less than a thousand bucks. I stopped him on the sidewalk outside and gave him the name of the guy I know who won't sneer at an old guitar just because it's cheap and old, but will give an honest opinion.

Same thing happens with saxophones.
 

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In my shop I charge around $125 - $150 for a clean-oil-adjust (COA) including a play condition (PC). This price includes up to 4 pads replaced. The price is higher if it needs dent work or additional pads. Conn "Shooting Star" altos sell for $200 or less on EBay so whether it is "worth it" is kind of a tossup. When in good adjustment, these saxes play quite well. They are know for mechanical and manufacturing issues---especially those made when the plant was moved to Mexico.
 

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What they both said. Counterpoint on the known issues: Lots of that can be sorted out by the first good tech who gets their hands on the thing.

I took a very similar alto to a gig a few weeks ago. I mainly play tenor, but usually bring a different alto to each gig.
Keilwerth, Selmer, Yanagisawa, Conn 6M, etc. So I show up with this $100 alto that I restored.
Keyboard player remarks at the end of the first set that the alto really sounds good tonight.
Hahaha I said. Super cheapo student alto! He knows a little about saxes. Looks at it, says "Man, it's a Conn. Sounds like a Conn. Big and bold. How is that a $100 sax??"

Well, yeah. Partly the known manufacturing issues, partly the "student horn" thing, partly the huge supply of them in a world of fewer horn players.
 

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It plays pretty well.
In your first post you said "recently I've wanted to play the alto sax." Do you already play tenor? Or did someone try this one for you. It looks to be in good condition from the pics you've supplied. Those $200 horns I've seen on ebay don't look nearly in as good condition. I would have no problem putting two - two fifty into this horn. Take it to a reputable repair tech and have it scoped out. My guess is, if it plays well now it will probably only need a few minor adjustments.
 

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Would be good to call a few places where you can get the work done and see what prices are offered for different kinds of work. As noted, this can vary a lot. Near to me some of the bigger music stores charge a lot for anything it seems. There is a guy who works alone from shed behind his house who is cheap and takes his time to look at what can be done. He is a couple of hours drive away but he will listen on the phone, then later call you if he finds something else.

I started alto on one of these Conns and it served for many years. To be honest when I finally sold and traded to a more expensive alto it was not because I no longer liked it but that I assumed its what you do. I would like to try one out now and see how it feels - one that is well set up - use it for a few days and see.

But it is also the issue with cheaper saxes as others point out. How much you invest in them. Its why its great if you can find someone who understands that.
 

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It plays pretty well.
A good tech should be able to give you a quote pretty easily on what it would need to get it to "playing" condition. Depending on what it needs, it shouldn't cost you a whole ton. If it doesn't need pads, they might actually do small adjustments for you for free.

As for getting it "cleaned," it looks like it is in good condition and pretty clean. A true cleaning would probably cost you more than it would be worth since it would require disassembly time.
 

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In my shop I charge around $125 - $150 for a clean-oil-adjust (COA) including a play condition (PC). This price includes up to 4 pads replaced. The price is higher if it needs dent work or additional pads. Conn "Shooting Star" altos sell for $200 or less on EBay so whether it is "worth it" is kind of a tossup. When in good adjustment, these saxes play quite well. They are know for mechanical and manufacturing issues---especially those made when the plant was moved to Mexico.
The other way around: what can you buy instead for the value of the horn + $150? If that's not much better than my five cents -> it is worth it!
 

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I paid $200 for my 64 shooting star sight unseen on fleabay. Came in way better shape than shown in the sale pix. I wanted to mess with alto as I never had....It is a fine instrument and has played flawlessly for 4 years....I can't say the same of myself. :)
 

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The other way around: what can you buy instead for the value of the horn + $150? If that's not much better than my five cents -> it is worth it!
There are lots of YAS-23's and their Vito counterparts selling for under $300 on Ebay with intonation and ergonomics better than the Conn Shooting Star IMO.
 

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From what I can see from the pictures it's a well maintained horn. If you can, find a technician that will put it into playing condition, just replacing the pads and corks that need to be replaced. A lot of techs don't like to do that kind of repair because it's not profitable for them. They would rather do a complete overhaul, 1. because there's more profit, and 2. because there's less likelihood you'll show up back in their shop a few months later complaining that the horn is out of adjustment. Both valid reasons. An overhauled horn is put back to like new or better condition. All sloppiness in the pivots and hinges is taken out and all new materials are used as far as pads, corks etc. One where they do just the minimum is more likely to go out of adjustment if there's slop in moving parts.

If the horn is in as good condition as it looks you may be able to get it in play condition for 150 to 200 dollars. Maybe less. The only way to find out is to take it to a couple of shops if you're able to do so locally and get an opinion. I say go for it. I play a pre-Shooting Stars Conn 10M tenor from about 1957. Its original lacquer still looks great and it has that huge Conn sound.
 

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I learned on a 1967 Conn Shooting Star tenor (new) and grew to love the sound so much that I eventually bought a 1950s Conn Pan Am that it was obviously modelled after. I have another new model modern tenor but I just love that old Conn sound and the key work was so familiar. When I went into a reputable sax shop it was the best used horn in the shop. I'm sure that is because the tech who rebuilt it is a Pan Am player himself. So, if you love it and you can find a good tech to work on it, it's worth it to me.
 

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There are lots of YAS-23's and their Vito counterparts selling for under $300 on Ebay with intonation and ergonomics better than the Conn Shooting Star IMO.
Thing is... I can pretty much guarantee any Vito-Yama 21/23 under $350 on eBay is not anywhere near play condition, however. I buy these quite a bit, around 2 a month....in my experience, $300 total will not get you a playable one. So the buyer would still need to add $150-ish to that acquisition cost.

IMHO, the 50M ("Shooting Star") is a good, solid option in the budget-price category.

My yardstick on these is usually...if acquisition + repair work = $450-500 or under, total....it's worth having serviced.
 
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