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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay. I was thinking the other day, and I was curious about what everyopne would say to this. I am a Conn player, but I very much love to play Mark VI's because they are amazing horns, whereas Conns are too, but I like the sound more from Conns. I was wanting to ask all players alike, which one they think is better, and for what reasons. Or similarities that you wish the other one has. (Please only valid reasons). Or even if you like both, or don't like either one, please post your opinions. Thankyou.

1,214 Posts
i has the honor to play next to tony faro in a big band for the last ten years. he has a 36XXX BA tenor and a conn naked lady that he bought new in the 40's. he plays both from time to time . mostly because he has a problem with one or the other due to the age of the horns. the BA was overhauled by selmer in the late 40's and according to tony played better than ever. horns were put away for 30 years while he worked as an engineer,and he has been playing them since with no overhauls.

now for your question, the horns do have a different sound. the conn is has bigger, fatter , clearer tone and more volume, especially down low. sounds the best for old school jazz and our old arrangements from the greats. awesome on ballads.
now on newer songs, the selmer sounds better. it has a edge to the tone that the conn does not. it will cut through sound not with volume, but with edge.

my opinion is its the style you play that would make one better suited for you. BTW he was using the same mouthpiece/reed setup for both horns.

I think you could make the selmer bigger and darker with a neck/mouthpiece/reed change. and you could make the conn more edgy with the same. it all depends on what you hear in your head.

tony still sounded like tony with either mouthpiece, it didn't change how he played, but he did sound different tonewise.
his opinion was he liked the action and response on the selmer and the tone of the conn.he did not like the ergonomics of the conn.

3,781 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would agree SAXXSYMBOL. I think that selmer do have an advantage of being more suitable for modern music, but you were right, it all depends, really, on the set up that you have. I do rather think that Conns still can play tight and edgy like a modern horn, but like you said; the set-up is what matters. Ergonomic wise, I think that Conns could benefit with tilting table key, but that is only my opinion. Thankyou SAXXSYMBOL.:)

Please People, post your opinions.

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I think you'll find quite a bit of discussion on this topic in the Conn and "sax vs sax" threads. But I will say you can really drive yourself crazy with horn comparisons, especially if you own a MKVI and a Conn (or Buescher, Martin, King, etc). I don't have a Conn, but have played one and I pretty much agree with what saxxsymbol said. I do have a MKVI and a couple of Buescher Aristocrats. I have enough trouble just trying to decide which Buescher (pre-war "series 1" 'Crat vs Big B/156) to choose for a gig, let alone the VI. They are all great and all have their quirks.

So maybe Randy's answer is best: "Both."

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2,486 Posts
personally, i find that it is easier to get such a nice sound from a Conn than a Selmer, yet after a while they can both play just as easy as each other and as nicely.
i prefer a conn 26m over a mkVI anyday, yet now i have said that i will probably get lynched

337 Posts
I tend to prefer selmers. The ergos on Conn's never seem to agree with me. The selmer horns just feel "right" in my hands. The tone from either can be comparable. Though in every case, I always prefer the Selmer, maybe it's a slight sound difference, but I think it's just the feel.

3,781 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I believe that there are many good things that the conn has that the selmer doesn't, and a few things that the conn doesn't. For example, the split bell keys, I do not really have a problem with, because when you sit and play, it really isn't uncomfortable at all, and when you think about it, split bell keys can also prevent a barrage of dents in the side of the bell of your sax. The only un-ergonomical thing that I find about the conn, is trying to push the Bb and the low C# keys (table keys), whereas on the selmer the table keys are so much more comfortable, but it is about sound that counts, not table keys! :) The thing that I like most about the mark VI is the neck, it is extremely aerodynamic, wereas conn necks are too, but not as much. If you have played a conn, I'm sure you realized how easy it is to get altissimo out of those beasts. And the rolled tone holes, I think that if mark VI's had rolled tone holes, they would play a lot better, (not that they already don't :) ). It all really depends on the person, and to their liking; the features on the horn I guess.

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In 1993 I played my first Conn tenor on a trial from WW&BW and was
startled at how much easier I get tones like Dexter Gordon and Charles Lloyd

I was using a metal Link that I got from Bob Ackerman that had been worked
on by Ken Tubbs.

I was using a mid-60's MK VI at that time and the difference in how the sound
came out was a revelation. I was unable to keep it, so back it went.

I had as my first pro tenor a Buescher 400 TH&C that my Dad had given me
about 6 years before that, so I was a little familiar w/ different makes. That
400 I had been around my whole life at that point, but, I digress..

I had to sell my VI and the 400(which had been sitting,anyway)in 1995 and
was w/ out a tenor for a year and half - the next time I was able to buy a
tenor it was a Conn 10M from a local newspaper AD.

My intention, was to [someday] re-acquire a MKVI, but this was all I could
afford at the time, and I was grateful to get it; a 1952 model [10M](no RTH)

It played great, no real complaints and soon after another 10M surfaced in
the paper, and I bought it, cheap - a 1941 model.

I played those until around 1998 when I bought my 1st PC from the sale of
one of the 10Ms, and the internet, for better or worse, opened up a world of info.

From that point to now, I've owned more than a few tenors, and at one point
had 11 tenors, at the same time.

About 6,7 years ago(8?) I had an epiphany w/ a 30M Connqueror, I got from
WW&BW to trial(kept that one !) and A/B'd w/ a SBA tenor I owned, and wasn't
really jelling with.

To put it bluntly The 30M ate the SBA's lunch(brunch,breakfast,and dinner) .

The SBA was sent packing, and I started to look cross-eyed at Selmers .

I had 2 more VI tenors during this period that basically went unplayed.

I got into the American horns; whole-hog.
I had 3 Conns(10M,Chu,and 30M) and a killer Super 20.

I just loved the open sound; the girth of tone you could get on a Conn.

I, sadly, had to sell off a bunch of stuff in recent years, and soon after
realized that I was starting to gain a big appreciation for what a choice Selmer
tenor could do.

I've had some average playing VIs, but I've also played some dangerous VIs
that I couldn't afford, and those were the one's that have my respect, and
that can stand aside of some of the better Conns

Of the 5 Conn tenor's I've owned, that 30M was in a class by itself.
It was classic Conn muscle but with a focus and presence that was amazing.

I still have 1 tenor left an Art Deco engraved Tranny, that I have disassembled
at the moment, awaiting pads.

I've actually needed to get modern tenors and have recently gotten into
Yanagisawa(s), and am really happy with those. feel they do the Selmer
thing more than adequately, as do a lot of others in the know,so to speak.

They ended my MK VI GAS, quite abrubtly.

I still have a soft spot in my heart for Conns, so I'm going to rebuild this Chu
and keep it on hand.

Now, with all that said, I recently rediscovered how great the Bueschers are.

I got a [slightly]pre-war(1940) Buescher Big B tenor, and I'll tell you this is
a great player. It has what has been described often[here] as attributes of
Conn and Selmer. Really .

The Chu's tend to be more focused than a 10M, and the Buescher is more
centered than a Chu, but more spread than, say a VI.

It has more of what you'd get from a Selmer Super(I've played those,too).

A lot of players like to have a lot raw power potential from a horn, and find
themselves easily impressed w/ what a well setup Conn or King can do in that

The Buescher is no slouch, and I dare say it's better than most Conn's in that
it is more controlled where it needs to be.

Sorry .. Back to Conn: I like the pitch flexibility I think most of all, how the
palm notes speak freely.. they just have that vibe when you play 'em.

Check out a Buescher if you ever get a chance, though;)

... and while we're at it the Martins are excellent also.:D

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I had the luck to hear Charles Lloyd (Conn) and and Bennie Maupin (Selmer) play on the same bill on Saturday. Not only was this an amazing gig but it was great to hear the two horns in the hands of two masters. Personally I prefered the Conn (which is what I play). To me it has a richer, slightly more complex sound. A Selmer is more of a pure tone. But both sound great.

I agree that Selmer (or Yani/Yamaha) is more of a modern/fusion sound, but I find that a Conn can sound great with a more projecting mpc as it has this BIG quality that stops the sound thinning out too much - kind of a modern v retro thing.

Funnily enough Charles Lloyd gave an interview on the radio here in which he said playing a Conn was like 'driving an old truck'!
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