Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
Been reading around on the forums for a while, but this is my first post. Been playing saxophone at a kind of intermediate level for a few years now, and made the switch to tenor as my main instrument about 7 years ago when I was still at school. Had an amazing old saxophone that was battered to hell, but I could get a great sound out of it when I played it loud and overcame all the leaks at the bottom end. Anyway, it was on loan from the school, so when I finished, I had to give it back. Broke my heart.

Fast forward to September 25th, 2007. Final year of medical school (in Nottingham, UK). Saxophone teacher from school rings up, offers a direct swap of this now unplayable saxophone for my cheap but decent condition Pennsylvania sax (a cheap Czech knock-off from the 60s apparently with some distant connection to Selmer). I jumped at the chance, and consequently I now have my ancient and very tatty-looking tenor back - reunited at last!

Well it looks pretty much identical to a Conn Series I New Wonder - non cross-hatched Gsharp key, Mercedes Benz C key etc. But it says Cavalier on it, no mention of Conn anywhere on it. On the back it says

PAT'D SEPT 14. 1915
1153489 - Patent no?
T - Tenor?
02103 - Serial no? Anyone know of a chart to date this?
L - Low pitch (phew!)

But that's all the info I have about it. Does anyone know of the quality of Cavalier horns, and their value? All I can find is that they were a Conn stencil, which seems borne out by the fact that it's got a lot of Conn features but not the rolled tone holes or elaborate engraving.

As regards what I'm going to do with it, I'm thinking of taking it to Stuart at the Woodwind Exchange in Bradford - any reviews of his work would be very welcome! He quoted me £300+VAT to get it back in "as new" condition mechanically - or less if not everything needed replacing. He said they can be worth well over £1000, purely as it's made by Conn. I'm not sure about that, but if I'm keeping it the value isn't actually that important.

Anyway, it plays beautifully, except for the leaks down the bottom end, and the lack of a couple of springs! Maybe I should rephrase that. It plays terribly. But when you get the notes out of it, it sounds beautiful. So much more toneful and well-rounded compared to the other sax.

I know that was a long first post, but any comments very welcome, specifically:
Opinions on whether I was right to swap from a decent condition cheapo sax to a knackered stencil that sounds beautiful but is very hard to play at present
Whether Stuart at Woodwind Exchange is the right guy to trust
Whether I'm better sticking with a sax I know, rather than trying to find a real Conn - should I go off in search of a brand name?
And does anyone have any idea of the age from the info I gave? I'm thinking early 20s.

Thanks a lot, look forward to hearing from you!
Ian
:wave:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Dave dix said:
Its a conn stencil but not valuable. These often come up on ebay around $350-500.
Dave
Would it still be worth that little if it was in perfect playing condition? I'd imagine Ebay significantly deflates the price - I'd be unwilling to pay decent money for a name I didn't know without playing the instrument

I'm sure you have lots of people questioning the low value of their stencils, but for that lovely sound it seems crazy for it to be worth that little. I'm guessing the archaic keywork doesn't help, but if it sounds as good as a Conn, plays like a Conn, was made by Conn, to my mind it pretty much is a Conn. I suppose it just comes down to the brand name when valuing it though, not the actual saxophone?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Cerot said:
Hi,
Ive got an old Cavalier alto that matches your description of your tenor exactly, id be willing to bet they are of the same vintage. You can see mine here:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=63991
btw, mine is:
PAT'D SEPT 14. 1915
1153489
A
6739
L
If you enlarged your alto by about 30%, changed it to 80% missing lacquered brass, and bent the crook a bit more, your alto would be my tenor!

Yours looks in much better condition - very pretty. Did you end up repairing it in the end? You seemed to have similar views on the quality of the instrument. As far as I'm concerned the sound out of them is amazing.

Will get some photos up in the next day or so.

Thanks for the answers so far...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
711 Posts
Firefly2005 said:
Would it still be worth that little if it was in perfect playing condition? I'd imagine Ebay significantly deflates the price - I'd be unwilling to pay decent money for a name I didn't know without playing the instrument

I'm sure you have lots of people questioning the low value of their stencils, but for that lovely sound it seems crazy for it to be worth that little. I'm guessing the archaic keywork doesn't help, but if it sounds as good as a Conn, plays like a Conn, was made by Conn, to my mind it pretty much is a Conn. I suppose it just comes down to the brand name when valuing it though, not the actual saxophone?
There's a certain amount of truth in what you are saying but its not the way the market works. Except in a few cases (maybe Bundy Specials by Keilwerth) stencils are often undervalued on the open market - there just isn't the brand recognition. This is can be good or bad depending on how you look at it - the chances are your teacher wouldn't have swapped you the horn if it was vintage 10M!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Havent gotten it fixed up yet, though yes, it sure is pretty :)
I dont know what these are stencils of, they are different than any of the other Conn horns (not saying they arent from Conn, just that they are different...) The 3 big things I notice are the simplified keywork, the bell brace, and the G# Pinkie Key. Someone told me that these are the same as the Pan Americans (although I cant find many pics of really old pan americans...)
I definetely dont have the time to fix this, and im about to bring my bari into a local guy, so if anyone out there wants to repad and regulate a shiny old alto horn, send me a pm :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
docformat said:
There's a certain amount of truth in what you are saying but its not the way the market works. Except in a few cases (maybe Bundy Specials by Keilwerth) stencils are often undervalued on the open market - there just isn't the brand recognition. This is can be good or bad depending on how you look at it - the chances are your teacher wouldn't have swapped you the horn if it was vintage 10M!
That's a fair point. I'll just have to swap in the bell off a knackered Conn to bump it's value up if I ever have to sell it :)

I'm just happy to have found this one again.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
Joined
·
8,322 Posts
£300 sounds reasonable to put it in "as new" condition.

If the chap really said "it could be worth £1000" he really shouldn't have said that to you. Even in a shop, a stencil like that can't be worth more than £400-£500 and the buyer would have to be green. On the internet you'd get about £300-£350 at the outside, if it's "as new", IMHO. In the States this would be worth even less - maybe $300 (??)

But the main point is it's a horn you like, isn't it? So if it's worth something to you I would say get it fixed and play it. I've played 4 or 5 of these old Conns and they were all nice to play. But it's not worth a lot of money and never will be , especially since it's a stencil.

[EDIT: ..And, oh, most importantly, Welcome!!]
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,517 Posts
I don't think the value has anything to do with the Keywork. I have played a few vintage horns that had the old fashoned key work just fine, its really not that hard to do. But I would have to agree that the horn is not worth much, Correct me if I am wrong. But your horn (the stencil) is probably better made then the Chinese horn. Its been around probably over 80 years, again its hard to tell because of the way Conn numbered these horns. It looks like a New Wonder, but without the Conn name.
I agree get the horn repaired and have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
RootyTootoot said:
But the main point is it's a horn you like, isn't it? So if it's worth something to you I would say get it fixed and play it. I've played 4 or 5 of these old Conns and they were all nice to play. But it's not worth a lot of money and never will be , especially since it's a stencil.

[EDIT: ..And, oh, most importantly, Welcome!!]

Carbs said:
It looks like a New Wonder, but without the Conn name.
I agree get the horn repaired and have fun.
Thanks for the welcome Rootytootoot - I'm guessing that's not your real name - would be a great surname though...

And as you both say, the value isn't important as it's more sentimental value to me, and also the fact that it seems to be good build and sound quality to me as well - just started another thread asking about Conn Cavaliers and whether they're considered to be good saxes or not, irrespective of their monetary value.

So the plan is repair it and enjoy it. Thanks for the responses so far!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Get it back fully regulated, recorked and repadded on Sunday afternoon. Can't wait! I'm hoping that I'll be able to play low notes without having to go to full volume now...

He said the pads looked original, so I'm hoping for a big improvement. Will be nice just to have a Gsharp spring and not have to use an elastic band!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Got the sax back on Sunday. All I can say is... wow! It's like a different instrument! Obviously looks the same, but all the action feels equal and positive, no leaks anywhere, though somehow the A feels a bit weak when I play it, is this a common problem on Conns? Aside from that though, the sax sounds gorgeous - got Stuart to play it before he gave it back to me and I've never heard such a nice sax (got little to compare it to to be honest!) Absolutely lovely. So nice to be able to play quietly below F, without having to go up to full volume to overpower the leaks :) Anyway, thanks for the help in deciding whether to go for the repair or not, it was definitely the right decision...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
4,901 Posts
If I remember correctly, the weak A was refered to as a "buzzy A" on tenors. Saxophone manufacturers spent a long time trying to correct the problem and I don't think that they succeeded until the Selmer Balanced Action. Good find Firefly, glad to see that the overhaul worked out for you. Have you considered having your tech modify the horn with an auxilary F key?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
SuperAction80 said:
If I remember correctly, the weak A was refered to as a "buzzy A" on tenors. Saxophone manufacturers spent a long time trying to correct the problem and I don't think that they succeeded until the Selmer Balanced Action. Good find Firefly, glad to see that the overhaul worked out for you. Have you considered having your tech modify the horn with an auxilary F key?
He did offer to modify the sax to add a top F, but to be honest I'm not a good enough player yet to need it. I learnt on that sax and so I'm used to what it can and can't do. If I get good enough to need a top F I reckon I'll be good enough to just use harmonics anyway - seeing my tech play it he got it a good octave above it's normal range! Will consider it when I've got more money and more skill! He also offered to connect the Gsharp to the other pinky keys too, I'm not sure if that's a mod worth doing?

For now I'm just excited to have it back. Bought new Rico Jazz Select reeds (was playing on a 7 year old Rico - I haven't played much for years), and it sounds even better. Drowns out everyone else in my Jazz group if I try. So much louder and nicer sounding (though I don't know if they all think so :) )

Will look into the weak sounding A, I'm sure it wasn't a problem before, or maybe it's just noticeable now as everything else sounds so good....
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top