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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I brought home an example of the dreaded "Mexi-Conn" tenor sax the other day.

Initial inspection says this thing is way better than its reputation.

All the pads are toast and it needs a good total cleaning and regulation, so I thought (as if anyone's interested) I would periodically post the results of repadding and re-regulating the thing. I am predicting that this will turn out to be a much better horn than the reputation of the Mexico-made Conns would imply.

I'm also contemplating mounting a pickup and using an octave doubler. No one will freak out if I drill a hole in the neck, like they might if I did that to my silver plated 1948 10M.

First thing, I gotta strip it down, do a good general cleaning, and measure for a pad set.
 

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I have one of these.

My tech went through it and did some tinkering.

For example, he was unhappy with one or two rods, which he thought were too loose, and he replaced them.

He made other adjustments I do not recall, but the total cost was pretty low, under $100, I think.

Big sound. Works good. Very solid.
 

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Yeah...exact same design as the Elkhart made ones, with exception of re-shaped pinky table and neckbrace. I used to refurb these and sell for around $550-575 when the market was stronger - and every new owner was pleased as pie with the horn. Once cleaned, set up, swedged, regulated, all that...really played as well as a USA one.

But as you intimate, Mexiconns are SO maligned that it appears they will never be able to shed their rep. Perfect example of internet lore crushing reality....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
On this one, the LH table is exactly the same as a late New Wonder, except the G# key is smooth without the crosshatching. The neck brace is the flat one not the wire. Octave mech is not a 10M mech with all the little square sliding blocks, I expect it's the New Wonder mech but I coulnd't say for sure. It has the octave key like a 10M. The LH thumb rest is weird, it's like a little plate standing on a post. There are even a couple of posts with the little set screws. The right hand side keys look like New Wonder, no little ski-jump on the E; but the alt. F# key is a different shape than 10M or Chu. All the little fittings like the bands at tube joints, or the neck receiver, that have a subtle degree of turned shapeliness on a 10M, are just totally flat and plain (which has no effect on function, of course).

I'll post some pix when I can. Maybe later this weekend.

Like I said earlier, when they moved the assembly, first to Arizona, then across town from Nogales Ariz. to Nogales Mex., things would not have changed immediately. Certainly when (as I expect) the majority of plant personnel simply stopped going to the plant on the Arizona side one Friday and the next Monday showed up to work at the Mexico side on Monday, Friday's and Monday's production would have been essentially identical except for being stamped "Mexico". Changes would have occurred over time as vendors and plant personnel changed, especially the supervisory and quality control staff.
 

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But as you intimate, Mexiconns are SO maligned that it appears they will never be able to shed their rep. Perfect example of internet lore crushing reality....
And that's the second best thing about them - hidden treasure for the knowledgeable. Best thing about them - VOLUME and 10M tone. Hey, aren't we supposed to go for the tone? ;)
 

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So, if the Mexi-Conns ever get generally accepted as being more worthy than they've originally given credit for, that would mean the later year Elkharts (50's and 60's) will be even more highly thought of, than they have been......right?
Right now, it seems like there are two general groupings; those with rolled tone holes, and all the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, if the Mexi-Conns ever get generally accepted as being more worthy than they've originally given credit for, that would mean the later year Elkharts (50's and 60's) will be even more highly thought of, than they have been......right?
Right now, it seems like there are two general groupings; those with rolled tone holes, and all the others.
To me it breaks down like this, in roughly descending order of perceived value:

- Rolled tone hole Conns
- 10Ms post rolled tone holes, with the ones right after the end of RTH higher, decreasing with each subsequent year, and dropping off further when the keys were nickel plated.
- Shooting Star (16M) made in USA
- Mexi-Conns at the bottom of the barrel.
 

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The less than stellar internet rep these horns have had reminds me a lot of the mid 70's Porsche 911 series 2.7L cars any flavor. In the mid 90's these cars were seriously shunned as the also rans due to a high rate of engine failures at the time. A buyer could find these cars all day long in the very low teens for an excellent example to the basic 4 figures for a daily driver. Today the value of these cars has risen dramatically as people realize that problems which plagued the product from the factory have been or can be dealt with to ultimately reveal a stellar performer. Surprisingly the 911SC which has a bullet proof 3.0L motor and a host of other reliability improvements is still waiting for it's day in the sun.

I believe the 'Mexiconn' horns will in short order reveal that any of the minor issues that may have plagued the instrument at its arrival have long since been dealt with or can be dealt with, without spending massive dollars to correct. Myths are hard to bust, but eventually word gets out and opinions change.
 

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The less than stellar internet rep these horns have had reminds me a lot of the mid 70's Porsche 911 series 2.7L cars any flavor.
You're not kidding. Everyone was puckered about the 2.7. You couldn't give them away. Similarly, I could have picked up a 1976 930 for under 20k about 25 years ago, but it was a lowly air-cooled 6 banger, guaranteed to be a bad purchase. I think they are bumping 200k now.

Chalk it up to urban lore, what is now cyber legend.
 

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Yeah...exact same design as the Elkhart made ones, with exception of re-shaped pinky table and neckbrace. I used to refurb these and sell for around $550-575 when the market was stronger - and every new owner was pleased as pie with the horn. Once cleaned, set up, swedged, regulated, all that...really played as well as a USA one.

But as you intimate, Mexiconns are SO maligned that it appears they will never be able to shed their rep. Perfect example of internet lore crushing reality....
Agreed on all counts. I've read that their QC was terrible after UMI purchased Conn, but have never come across an example that was terrible. They usually play very well with a little TLC, and I haven't come across anything that would lead me to believe that they come out of regulation quicker than any other sax. That said, I prefer the older Director models. They just seem to have a bit more character, but that's just my opinion based upon the examples I've played.
 

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I had an alto that I could not play in tune to save my life. I'm sure that there are good ones but mine wasn't one of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had an alto that I could not play in tune to save my life. I'm sure that there are good ones but mine wasn't one of them.
I think there were multiple generations of design that came out of the Conn Mexico factory. I checked this tenor against a tuner and it's basically spot on.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think it's gonna be a good one. Man is the action ever gummy. Get the key heights set at normal and I think it will have a heavier action than the usual 10M, more like Selmer, but quite playable. The lacquer looks better in the picture than it is, but still quite good from five feet away. This is obviously the Conn thermonuclear-blast-resistant lacquer. Also thinking about putting a pickup in the neck and playing with an octave doubler for that late-Sixties Eddie Harris vibe.
 

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Actually looks good. Love them goo lube rods. Just float some silicone caulking on top of those pads they’ll be fine.
On that neck. One with wire brace is match to the two 16m’s I have. A ‘58 & 61. I don’t think they changed. I’ll get you a picture of what the thumb rest looks like.
The white plastic MPs in pictures are the original mouthpieces they came with.
 

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I got my 16M Mexiconn off ebay for $100, because the case was very nice.

My tech likes these, and does not consider them much of a step down from the 10M, especially soundwise.

I do not suppose that I would pick it to perform concert music for professors.

But it was said to be a favorite Southwest bar horn.

Mine loves an STM.
 

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Maybe the MC had a different thumb rest ? This is a ‘58 USA 16m
 
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