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Discussion Starter #1
A non-musician friend of mine has inherited two 1923/4 altos. One of them is a lovely silver Conn (the other a Buescher), with gold keywork and patches of gold highlighting the engraving, and with very old (original??) white pads . It has one big problem. Someone in the distant past left the mouthpiece on for so long that it stuck to the cork, and then just pulled and pulled until the microtuner broke, leaving part of the cork stuck up in the mouthpiece.

I think it may be impossible to make playable. See the photo; the thin metal to which the cork is attached has a small chunk missing. I can't quite imagine how it could have been wrecked so conclusively!

I'm wondering what to do:

1) I own a similar 1920s alto, which plays well, but has been much played, repaired and beaten up over nearly 100 years. I could offer to buy the nicer body, get it repadded, and use my neck.
This seems the best thing to do - how much do people think is a fair price to pay a friend for a nice body in need of repadding, lacking microtuner?

2) see if the tuner can be glued/fixed so as to make it at least playable

3) see if I can locate a replacement/spare microtuner or neck, for either Conn. I realise this is a very long shot!

Photos attached. Not very good ones I'm afraid!

20190703_200241-small.jpg 20190703_200303-s.jpg 20190703_200309-s.jpg
 

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that part is fixable by a good technician which can patch it up. Some people are better than others on these things. The microtuner can be repaired too
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I feel encouraged now. I'll try phoning a couple of repairers and see what they say. Maybe I should have done that first!
 

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I think you should start with known neck repairers but you could have this done by a good goldsmith too (the soldering part only). Where are you in the world?

Microtuners can be fixed, they are notorious to give problems and their design changed much until they were done with because nobody really needed them and costed a fortune to make and in upkeep.

by the way this appears to be an “ artist” model ( on account of the two tone finish and the gold is actually gold plate)
 

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Cutting out a small section of the tube and then brazing a well fitting patch in the opening would not be too difficult, just time consuming. The trick would be to make sure the patch is flush with the inside of the tube. What is even more concerning to me than the missing section is how thin the metal in that section has become. Even after it is repaired it would be a good idea to solder a ring on the end as is found on some modern necks to give added strength and support.
 

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Well, first of all, what you've got there is a C melody (note the "C" stamped above the serial number), not an alto, but the C melody variant with the alto-looking neck. So your alto neck (or anyone else's) definitely won't fit, and it's probable that the microtuner assembly of an alto will not fit on a C melody.

That said, it absolutely can be repaired to work fine. The thinness of the metal on the tube part sticking up makes me wonder if someone disassembled the thing and somehow put it back together backward with the part that sticks into the rest of the neck pointing outward and the part that's supposed to have the cork pointing inward. The only reason I say that is that there's not the little rolled ring on the end of the neck like all the Conns I've ever seen had and that tube looks very much like the part that goes into the neck. But it probably could not be done that way.

If the thing's more or less correctly assembled, a ring should be soldered onto the end of the tube, like all Conns have. Beyond that you just need someone who is interested enough in it to spend the time to figure out how to repair it. There will be a lot of repairmen who say "it's an old Conn C melody, not worth much at all" (that much is correct) and then try to tell you it's "not worth" fixing. True, it's unlikely that you could recoup the cost of repair if you were trying to sell it for a profit, but if you wanted to use it as a playable instrument, then the whole question of "worth" becomes much less clear cut.

Continuing to look at the pictures I am not sure it's assembled completely correctly. (Even assuming my off the wall speculation in the second paragraph is nonsense, as it probably is.)

At any rate, to summarize my opinions:

1) I think you've got a C melody, not an alto. The scuttlebutt on Conn C melodies is that the ones with the alto-shaped neck are better than the ones with the tenor-shaped necks.
2) A fair price for a C melody that needs a significant metal repair on the microtuner, but probably not much else bent or dented, and needs a complete repadding, but is of one of the higher grade finishes, I would put somewhere between $100 and $300. Consider that I recently bought a Buescher True Tone soprano (one of the very best sopranos ever made, and an instrument that is instantly usable in a wide range of applications - though mine did need new pads - for about $900. Hardly anyone anywhere ever plays a C melody, so you're going to be on your own finding places where it fits.
3) The chance of finding decent parts to swap in and out isn't all that great.
4) If the damage to the microtuner is only that chunk and the end ring being torn off, it absolutely can be repaired. Honestly if it were my horn (I can do this kind of work myself) I'd probably just cut off that wee bit of neck there, and solder a new ring on in such a way as to make the neck almost as long as it was before, then put cork over it and declare victory.
5) Being that it's a C melody with a problem that will require some thought to fix and is not a problem that the repair people see all the time, you're going to have to look around to find someone who won't just dismiss the whole thing out of hand.
 

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That damaged end is really not a big deal. Just so it slides on is all you need. I have had worse and no issues.
 

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Indeed it is a CONN straight neck C melody.

The neck can be repaired and repair won’t necessarily be very expensive. The soldering is completely within the spectrum of most repairer’s capability.

Repairing the microtuner may be tricky

Read (please follow the link) this Stephen Howard article

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/ConnMicrotuner.htm

However, should you have any problem to repair the neck you could try to find an Aquilasax straight or curved neck for C melody.

Sakkusu (own brand by Sax.co.uk) have started selling the C melodies after Aquilasax closing shop. The horns and necks were and are made in China and have provided good and cheap replacements for Conn and Buesher horns.

These have microtuners

https://www.sax.co.uk/sakkusu-c-melody-saxophone-gold-lacquer.ir





The Chinese replacements probably cost way less than a repair would do


This is the curved neck (no microtuner)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/profession...149887?hash=item28804be73f:g:qzUAAOSw3eRciLsv

this are the straight (no microtuner)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1pc-profes...hash=item56c2b4f3a4:m:mPR_Ugp7Krn-ecpitabjhSg
 
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