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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
eBay listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Conn-New-Wonder-II-Alto-Saxophone-Original-Condition/183211465576

Serial number puts the manufacture date at 1930. I've read that Conn made a neck without the microtuner ("New York" neck) as an option for the 6M, but I was under the impression that this happened later than 1930.

Has anyone seen a Conn alto of this vintage without the microtuner neck? Or is it more likely that this is not the original neck?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the link. I had actually already checked out that thread, but I am still a bit confused because it seemed like they were mainly talking about later models after the neck was changed to the underslung, double socket style neck.

Actually, after looking on saxpics (http://www.saxpics.com/?v=gal&a=574) it looks just like the NWI neck before the microtuner was added. So maybe the neck is from an old NWI?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
it is in the "transitional" period,so possibly original.
looks like a very nice saxophone.
Yeah, it's beautiful! I'm not super serious about trying to buy it because I definitely don't deserve to have such a nice horn... but one day I'd love to own a Conn from this era.
 

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personally i like the later version for the ergonomics are easier under the fingers.
these transitional saxophones with the split bell keys have a great sound though.
i also LOVE that art-deco engraving,which they only did in the early stages of the transitional period.
everyone deserves to have a nice horn!
I definitely don't deserve to have such a nice horn...but one day I'd love to own a Conn from this era.
 

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It's a beautiful horn. It has the Art Deco engraving, which is highly prized. The only transitional feature I can see is the raised high E key on the RH side. The neck without microtuner is most likely original. Unusual but not unknown. If I remember correctly, Conn altos made for export to the English market usually had no microtuner, for example.

Hey, kylem — to say you "don't deserve to have such a nice horn" is bullcrap. Anyone who appreciates the beauty of such a horn is more than entitled to own it. And the price is not exorbitant, either. I got another bari last week — if her indoors sees an alto arrive in the post she'll stick me with a carving knife, so go ahead — do me a favor and buy it before I do.
 

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The only transitional feature I can see is the raised high E key on the RH side. The neck without microtuner is most likely original. Unusual but not unknown. If I remember correctly, Conn altos made for export to the English market usually had no microtuner, for example.
That's an interesting bit of info, MikeT. I would have guessed that the neck was a replacement part from a Pan Am.

As to the high E, I just picked up NW2 alto #236952, just a few horns before the supposed 237k transition period. It has the raised high E and is , of course, fully a NW2 in all other respects. It makes me wonder when the new key style was actually introduced.

Or, can I reasonably refer to it as a tranny?
 

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237k as the marker for the start of the transition period was only ever an approximation: it's no surprise if the transition began a little earlier. For me, the transitional period began with the first modification to the existing design (which appears to have been the redesigning of the high E side key) and ended with the change of wording stamped into the serial number area (with the altos, as soon as the model is described as "6M" in the stamping). YMMV.

My own NW II alto from 1929 has SN 227299, and does not have the raised E key. However your NW II alto (SN 236952) has the raised E key. To me, that makes it a tranny — but only just ! — and a description of it should try and give the idea that it's a very early one. You might describe it as a "NW II tranny" or "very early tranny" or "NW II with transitional side E key".

What engraving does it have, Robert ?
 

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I'd bet the farm that neck is not original. Looking at the eighth picture where the neck collar meets the receiver, it just looks wrong - not a good fit/match. I think you are correct that it's probably an earlier neck, probably a NWI; could be a Pan Am neck as Stuart suggests as well. I would not consider buying this horn, especially at that price. The non-original and incorrect neck seriously devalues it; if you buy it and later want to resell it, you would have difficulty getting anywhere near that amount and probably have trouble selling it period. The fact that the seller represents the horn as all original is also a big red flag - they are either dishonest or don't know what they are talking about. Either one says "avoid."
 

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StuartSax:
So you've got the full-scale bell engraving, Robert. Nice. Mine only has the text: "MADE BY / C.G. Conn Ltd. / ELKHART, IND. / U.S.A."

saxophender:
The non-original and incorrect neck seriously devalues it… The fact that the seller represents the horn as all original is also a big red flag - they are either dishonest or don't know what they are talking about. Either one says "avoid."
You make these bald assertions without having proved them. You accuse the seller of dishonesty or ignorance — in your opinion he is either a knave or a fool. This is an international public forum: please be careful of the libel laws

What you see around the join between neck and body in Picture 8 is the bare brass showing through where the silver plating has worn away, on both sides of the join. This could be seen as normal wear after many decades of use, in removing and replacing the neck. It would be quite normal, too for a minute space to develop between the top of the neck tenon and the receiver over years of wear. Remedial attention might well be required. This could range from wrapping the neck tenon with high density PTFE tape, through expanding the neck tenon to replacing the receiver.

It may possibly be a replacement neck, but, given the uniform appearance of the silver plating on both neck and body, and the fact that Conn did make NW II altos without microtuner, I'd say it is probably original. If you prefer to believe otherwise, it's your prerogative.
 

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Hey MikeT,

I had another thought. As I recall, the NW micro tuner had a single slot cut out of the threads and the 6m has 2 slots. This 236xxx has a double slotted tuner. If I am correct - it's been over 20 years since I disassembled a 6m - then perhaps this one is a tranny.
 

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You could be right, Robert. It's a while since I took the NW II microtuner apart. What I do remember is that the original NW I microtuner was a really weird mechanism governed internally by some half a dozen connecting wires, which were highly prone to breakage and were effectively irreparable once broken. Towards the end of the NW I period Conn moved to a new system governed by screw threads. Outwardly the early and late NW I microtuners looked the same as the NW II ones: all of them had the finely-tooled double tuning knurl. The trannies generally had the same double knurl. With the 6M, Conn moved to a large single tuning knurl. This cosmetic feature is one of the salient markers of the 6M.
 

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You make these bald assertions without having proved them. You accuse the seller of dishonesty or ignorance — in your opinion he is either a knave or a fool. This is an international public forum: please be careful of the libel laws

What you see around the join between neck and body in Picture 8 is the bare brass showing through where the silver plating has worn away, on both sides of the join. This could be seen as normal wear after many decades of use, in removing and replacing the neck. It would be quite normal, too for a minute space to develop between the top of the neck tenon and the receiver over years of wear. Remedial attention might well be required. This could range from wrapping the neck tenon with high density PTFE tape, through expanding the neck tenon to replacing the receiver.

It may possibly be a replacement neck, but, given the uniform appearance of the silver plating on both neck and body, and the fact that Conn did make NW II altos without microtuner, I'd say it is probably original. If you prefer to believe otherwise, it's your prerogative.
Are you a lawyer? If not, you may wish to be careful about providing legal advice in a public forum. Practicing law without a license is prohibited in most jurisdictions.

You seem to believe that no one should offer an opinion without "proving" it. Yet, ironically, you go on to unequivocally assert, without any proof, that it is a "fact" Conn did (emphasis yours) make NWII altos without microtuners. I have been collecting horns for over 25 years, vintage Conns are among my favorites and I have owned about three dozen of them, and have probably spent more time and effort studying them than most people (you may be one of the exceptions). I have never seen a NWII with an original non-microtuner neck, and indeed, had never heard of one prior to your assertion in this thread that they were made. Now, I don't claim to know everything, and am always happy to learn something new. Therefore, I respectfully request that you provide proof of your claim that Conn did make them. I assume you have a letter from Conn so stating, or a 1930 Conn catalog showing such an available option?

Bottom line is that, assuming such horns were made, they would be quite rare. On the other hand, 80+ year old saxes with replacement necks are common as muck. The odds that this particular horn has a replacement neck are probably overwhelming. As such, I would not advise someone that they could drop $1400 on this horn with confidence that it is all original and worth the asking price. Of course, it is your prerogative to do otherwise. However, if you are comfortable with these kinds of odds, perhaps you would like to go to Las Vegas and bet $1400 on the Sacramento Kings winning the 2019 NBA Championship.
 

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Whether I am a lawyer or not is irrelevant. In fact, I made no claim to practice law: I simply reminded you that your accusation of ignorance or dishonesty on the part of the seller of this early Transitional Conn alto — an accusation made with no evidence to support it and published on this international forum — is potentially libellous and indeed does injustice to the reputation of a man who is probably an honest seller. You don't have to be a lawyer to see that ! Indeed, it's time you withdrew your baseless accusation.

No, I don't 'believe that no one should offer an opinion without "proving" it' — as long as it is presented as an opinion and NOT as fact, which is why I objected to your blackening of the seller's character.

You ask me to "prove" my assertion that in the Transitional era Conn made altos without microtuners for the British market. Very well. The following is just a small selection from the various threads on the subject here at SotW:

hi there!
i have just bought a conn tranny sn 258*** from the states with a new york neck! identical to the 6m re B and Bb valves, pinky keys etc,and naked lady,70% lacquer and really sweet playing horn! i noticed that the 'underslung' octave mech works entirely in the opposite direction to my 'overslung' new york neck! it looks as though it can be altered to accept the underslung neck though, but i am happy with my horn! any thoughts as this was right at the end of the transitional period and to all intents and purposes is a 6m and blows my yamaha that it replaced out of the water!
And from another thread, in reference to a different horn:

1932 Conn Tranny alto, 250x, left side bell keys, no microtuner. I have left the forked Eb open but removed the G# trill key, and added palm key risers. Dome metal resos. It's gold plated with full engraving on the bell, bow, and neck. Anyone else play these? How do you like yours set up? Have you had any issues with it? I sometimes get the low Bb gurgle, and have to be careful with the intonation of the palm keys (although it is totally doable.)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16919943068/

View attachment 65968
I'm guessing this horn was meant for British sale. Lafleur in London ordered Conns without microtuners and with older style engraving. Gold plate might also have been a more viable option over there than in the US, where the depression really bit down hard.
SotW member paulwl (historian Paul Lindemeyer) is one acknowledged expert in this field. Here's another: on his website, Matt Stohrer wrote about a horn he had just overhauled in June 2014:

This is a freshly overhauled Conn 6M transitional alto saxophone from 1934 with the “New York” neck. This saxophone is in nearly flawless condition and comes with its original case, mouthpiece, ligature, mouthpiece cap, and Conn pad measuring tool.
The following is one of many photographs he provided of this horn:

DSC01916.jpg

You'll find the complete article with a further 16 photographs here

And anyone interested in the history of the development of the Conn transitional alto, from New Wonder Series II to 6M Artist should read the definitive article on the matter, written back in October 2012 by Matt Stohrer and Paul Lindemeyer, with photographs provided by Brian from getasax.com. You'll find it here.

So you see, the horn offered for sale, which is an early Transitional instrument and which prompted this thread, could well be entirely original, just as the seller states.
 

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i have never seen a new-york neck,(no micro-tuner), on a single socket NWII alto.
i have seen and owned a few alto's with the "new-york" neck with the double socket though,mostly around the transitional era,and have in my collection now,a later model VIII with a "new-york" neck,which is the first one i have ever seen with the VIII on it.

anyways,i think that there is a possibility that it COULD be original, or not.
peace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi everyone, thanks for all the advice and interesting information. I ended up passing on the horn that I linked due to the uncertainty with the neck, but I ended up getting a later transitional instead! 249XXX with the art deco engraving, same side bell keys, and underslung octave mechanism. Pretty psyched!!!
 

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looks like a nice one!
can you show a photo of the G# pinky cluster/table,as i am yet to see one with the 6M keywork here even though they have the same side bell keys.
thanks in advance.
I ended up getting a later transitional instead! 249XXX with the art deco engraving, same side bell keys, and underslung octave mechanism. Pretty psyched!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
looks like a nice one!
can you show a photo of the G# pinky cluster/table,as i am yet to see one with the 6M keywork here even though they have the same side bell keys.
thanks in advance.
It's the NWII pinky cluster but with a smooth G# key. According to Matt Stohrer (http://www.stohrermusic.com/2012/10/conn-transitional-6m-saxophones-the-finer-points/), these ones with the same side bell keys but NWII pinky cluster were only made between serials 247-249k or so.
 
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