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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've restored a NW (90###) silver plate and NWII (M159###) lacquer saxophones with microtuners. I was able to get the NW to play in tune extending the microtuner out and not having to push the mouthpiece all the way in -- it plays and sounds great. But, I was not able to get the NWII to play in tune at all. In fact, it plays very sharp and I can't extend the tuner or mouthpiece out any further. I use high baffled mouthpieces (Drake Sanborn VR and Vandoren Jumbo Java) and thought maybe using a medium or open mouthpiece would work -- which it didn't. I then realized the mouthpipes on the two necks were different lengths The NW was much longer than the NWII, which is why I didn't need to push the mouthpiece all the way in so the shank would seat properly. I did some online searching and saw many videos and pictures of microtuners with long mouthpipe tubing. Is it possible the NWII mouthpipe was modified and cut shorter? I have another NW (83###) that I'm going to restore and I compared the neck to the other two. It also has a short mouthpipe. I'm going to clean the neck on this one and test it on the first to see the tuning difference.

If anyone has experienced or seen anything like this, please comment. If the mouthpipes are indeed short, has anyone successfully extended one?

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Sorry, but I only have one. It does play in tune with an alto mp.
 

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Two obvious questions:

1. Is the NWII stamped "L" for low pitch in the serial number area ?
2. Have you tried using the NWI neck on the NWII ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Two obvious questions:

1. Is the NWII stamped "L" for low pitch in the serial number area ?
2. Have you tried using the NWI neck on the NWII ?
Yes, all three horns are low pitch. I apologize, maybe stating "very sharp" was a bit extreme. But when the meter on the tuner shoots to the right fast as lightning without having to drop my embouchure, it's sharp.

And no I haven't done any swapping yet but I will tomorrow. I think my household and dogs have heard enough of me fighting the tuner today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Those two shorter ones have definitely been cut down.
Based on all of your experience, can you tell me why anyone would do that? Have you extended any?
BTW your videos are great! Thanks for the time and effort you put in them.
 

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Based on all of your experience, can you tell me why anyone would do that? Have you extended any?
BTW your videos are great! Thanks for the time and effort you put in them.

Thank you for the kind words!

No idea why someone would do that. I've actually never seen it before, and the chances that you would have two like that seem so low that I started to doubt myself before posting, but those are definitely cut down. Bizarre!
 

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Those two shorter ones have definitely been cut down.

I agree they are certainly cut down

microtuners are not everyones’s friend and some folks may have played these with short shank mouthpieces (popular at the time these microtuners were common) found out they had a certain length which worked for them and instead of using the microtuner the way it was supposed to e used cut it to the length which they thought was the best for the.

In the end it is all speculative,
It may be possible to extend the tube and maybe you want to do it However there are now reproductions of Conn 6M necks coming from China which include microtuners, and for the money they ask, maybe it would be better to acquire one of those.



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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree they are certainly cut down

microtuners are not everyones’s friend and some folks may have played these with short shank mouthpieces (popular at the time these microtuners were common) found out they had a certain length which worked for them and instead of using the microtuner the way it was supposed to e used cut it to the length which they thought was the best for the.

In the end it is all speculative,
It may be possible to extend the tube and maybe you want to do it However there are now reproductions of Conn 6M necks coming from China which include microtuners, and for the money they ask, maybe it would be better to acquire one of those.



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Thanks for the idea, unfortunately none of my horns are a 6m and I believe the 6m microtuners also have a single sliding guide, mine have two. I also wouldn't be able to transfer the whole microtuner due to the pip location.

I think I will get brass tubing and having a friend cut or un-solder the old slide mechanism tubing, and attach the new tubing. I just need to get some material size and taper specs.
 

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Couple points:

1) OP has New Wonder, not 6M, which has a different microtuner design. There's a sliding bar (if you will) that keeps the corked part from rotating. In the 6M this is one piece and in the NW it's two pieces.

2) OP, I believe all THREE of the necks you show have been mutilated. Conns should have a rolled ring at the end of the neck. Even the longer neck you show, in the close up, just has a ragged end to the sheet metal tube, not the proper ring. Someone really had a bee in their bonnet to mutilate three perfectly good necks. The good news is that all three could be restored by soldering extensions on, to restore them to their normal length, which ought to be similar to that of the 6M neck shown.

3) It's not clear, OP, if you are insisting that the mouthpieces be able to play in tune shoved all the way onto the microtuner, then screwing out on the tuner. For some players and some mouthpieces, you may need to position the MP further out on the cork. The purpose of the microtuner was to allow the player to pick a location on the cork that worked best for the horn being in tune with itself, tonal quality, and response; then they would always put the MP at the same place on the cork and use the screw to tune.

4) Missing between 1/2" to 1" of neck, will probably screw up tuning. I would expect it to make everything play flat, not sharp, though.

5) I have never heard of anyone having significant difficulty playing a New Wonder alto in tune, though generally people prefer more normal design pieces (Meyer, Link, Brilhart style). I think you've got some equipment issues there as indicated by the mutilated necks, and there may be more than that wrong.
 

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I also have a cut down Conn alto mouthpipe - mine was from a NWII. Probably a bit more length of cork in the two necks from OP's pic but definitely less than an original. I never had any issues with it - even played my senior recital for my music education degree on that horn/neck.

I wonder if there were some tech gurus of the time that felt they needed to compensate for something & recommended shortening the mouthpipe. Or just small cracks & lazy repair work which is more likely.

Recently sold the horn & they opted for a "backup" neck I had that wasn't cut down, so it's probably going up for sale here soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Couple points:

1) OP has New Wonder, not 6M, which has a different microtuner design. There's a sliding bar (if you will) that keeps the corked part from rotating. In the 6M this is one piece and in the NW it's two pieces.

2) OP, I believe all THREE of the necks you show have been mutilated. Conns should have a rolled ring at the end of the neck. Even the longer neck you show, in the close up, just has a ragged end to the sheet metal tube, not the proper ring. Someone really had a bee in their bonnet to mutilate three perfectly good necks. The good news is that all three could be restored by soldering extensions on, to restore them to their normal length, which ought to be similar to that of the 6M neck shown.

3) It's not clear, OP, if you are insisting that the mouthpieces be able to play in tune shoved all the way onto the microtuner, then screwing out on the tuner. For some players and some mouthpieces, you may need to position the MP further out on the cork. The purpose of the microtuner was to allow the player to pick a location on the cork that worked best for the horn being in tune with itself, tonal quality, and response; then they would always put the MP at the same place on the cork and use the screw to tune.

4) Missing between 1/2" to 1" of neck, will probably screw up tuning. I would expect it to make everything play flat, not sharp, though.

5) I have never heard of anyone having significant difficulty playing a New Wonder alto in tune, though generally people prefer more normal design pieces (Meyer, Link, Brilhart style). I think you've got some equipment issues there as indicated by the mutilated necks, and there may be more than that wrong.
Thanks for the reply and valid points @turf3.

For point 3, my intent is to not push the mouthpiece all the way to the microtuner. I would rather adjust on the cork, then make slight adjustments using the microtuner if needed. Even on my modern horns I'm only about 2/3 on the cork (standard cut).

And point 5, I have tried an Otto Link, Brilhart and Claude Lakey mouthpiece, which I consider "normal" design pieces. I'm going to get my hands on a Selmer Magnitone and a Rene Dumont from my brother and give those a test shot. They have short shanks so we'll see how they perform. I think I'm in agreement with @milandro, the short shanks were probably used for these particular horns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
So I tried the older, shorter, open chambered pieces and was able to get the NWII to play in tune and it sounds great. A rich, dark tone.

I'm in agreement with others that the tubing was probably 'custom' trimmed for the vintage mouthieces. Maybe, maybe not.

I've attached a couple of pics with vintage and modern mouthpieces on the neck where they play in tune. Notice the position of the microtuner and MP for the two types. The modern pieces barely hang on to the trimmed neck.
 

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