Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
232 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Its the simplicity and the sound.
I just had my Pan American Alto serviced by KB sax in NY and learned a few things.
[A trip to your repair shop is always an eye opener! Horn condition, set up, is essential ]

Of course I went right over an picked up one of the Selmer Mark VI altos Kim Bock has on display there.
I could feel the weight of the brass difference and the tight
key work that made keys on my Pan American seem like a loose chain on a bicycle.

Yet , the Pan American , like the old bicycle, gets you where you want to go. I don't have to worry about it so much, as long as it is
set up and in good repair. It precious because it is not so precious, you can just have liberty to take it with you and play where you are.
It is not as big and unique a voice as my Martin stencil, but solid with true tone.

Mr. Bock agreed with me that its a great horn to train on to a more accomplished level of play, and for the price very hard to beat.

He had no qualms about working on it and making it sound its best, and I am so lucky and happy for that!
[ And I have Bruce Bailey's Selmer S80 C* mouthpiece on it!!! Cool......... ]
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,207 Posts
Yes, this is where they excel, really. Basically, Conn only rolled off one body type for each sax (A,T,B) then some were RTH others not. So all specs on the body tube, bow, bellpiece, and neck are the same as their top-shelfers.

Keywork looks deceptively rudimentary, but looks aren't everything, as I have found the keys of a PanAm sit under the fingers quite nicely and with proper spring adjustment the action is snappy and responsive enough.

I say of these "everything a player needs, nothing they don't" ...basically. And their prices still remain criminally low.

Glad your tech appreciates these.

So many techs would just look at one and (tragically) suggest the owner hang it on a wall...although they would work up a Yama 23 in the blink of an eye. Go figure.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,284 Posts
Yup, good playing solid horns. Better than a YAS-23 in my opinion. :)
 

·
Fan Of Pan Am
Joined
·
414 Posts
ProfLeighton,
I am doing the serial number study of Pan American with the goal of developing a dating system. The larger the sample the more accurate the results will be. Would you be willing to share the serial number to your Pan American? Additionally does it have patent information? Does it have the standard Mercedes or "Y" key guard? Are the bell keys opposing or same side? and Finally is is silver or brass? I know it's a lot of questions, but this helps in the survey record. If you prefer a PM would work.
Thanks,
Kurt
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
232 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
No patent info . This horn is as plain as they come. Minimal logo engraving, just the numbers 130392 in the usual spot.
Pretty clean horn in nice condition, see the photos in my Album on this site,note spatula keys and no serial number on the neck?! Is that normal for Pan American neck, perhaps this is not original neck?
It came in original case w the white Olympia mouthpiece.
 

·
Fan Of Pan Am
Joined
·
414 Posts
Thanks. It is now part of the survey. Based on what I have, this is a 58M Alto with estimated vintage year at 1952.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
232 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Interesting, what is the word on serial numbers on the Pan American necks, do they have them.
I know only some have micro tuners .
How about the Martin Pan Ams? Band mommy, don't you have one of those....micro tuner or not? serial number on the neck ?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
Basically, Conn only rolled off one body type for each sax (A,T,B) then some were RTH others not. So all specs on the body tube, bow, bellpiece, and neck are the same as their top-shelfers.
This seems to be a controversial statement, I saw a lot of posts here saying the opposite, that theory says the body was different in Pan American / Shooting Stars saxophones than in 6M/10M saxophones. Personally, I think you're right, it makes no sense to use different tube designs.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,207 Posts
It might seem so, but actually....I enjoy your posts and am glad you have returned to post here more often; there have been a few discussions on this topic by other members here as well, so I am not standing here alone being particularly bold ;).

You know...people here tend to sometimes want to debate things without doing the very simple thing and confirming them for real. (This is absolutely NOT directed personally at YOU, just an observation regarding the dynamics of chat boards. Oftentimes, where it is relatively straightforward to confirm or refute internet assumptions/lore...nobody bothers doing it. It's an interesting thing).

It was assumed that Conn, like most other American companies, had different neck specs and body tubes for their top and second-shelfers. But some folks (myself included) noticed that, indeed, the sound/tonal differences between an old PanAm and a NW...or an Elkhart 16M and a 10M....seemed to carry less than 6 degrees of separation, if that.

There's a fair amount of bad info out there on vintage horns...just speculative stuff which nobody took the trouble to look into. Stuff like:

- N serial numbered Conns were made in 1970

- split-bellkey Kings have terrible intonation

- All Shooting Stars were made in Mexico

- The Indiana Band Instrument Company used to be its own company and was bought-out by Martin.

(I can go on and on and on.....there are so many more....)


But to the subject at hand - one can simply measure up the bodies/necks of split bell PanAms and compare them to the bodies of the New Wonder I's and II's of the same period.

Then anyone can measure up the bodies and necks of same-side bellkey PanAms and Elkhart-made Directors, and compare those dimensions to 6M's and 10M's. (But - watch out for the later Director altos that were made in Nogales, az at the former Art Best facility (the ones which switched from wire guards to sheet guards)....because these were based off of a Vito/Beaugnier spec, not the Conn Elkhart spec).

The differences between the critical dimensions of the Elkhart horn models are minor; and the variances fall easily within the wiggle room of the assembly line variances/factory technology of the time they were made. The neck specs of the split-bells are slightly different (in taper; the tenons fit each other within acceptable variances, however.)

I have done this; as have some other members. Not only that, but I actually didn't initially believe it to be so. It was only when another member here (Henry) suggested that by his observations they seemed to be the same, that I decided to look into it (in order to refute him, honestly. Hehe, the opposite happened, though).

So I am confident of the statement; others thus far have concurred.

But I am all for anyone who would like to discover this for themselves.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,284 Posts
Interesting, what is the word on serial numbers on the Pan American necks, do they have them.
I know only some have micro tuners .
How about the Martin Pan Ams? Band mommy, don't you have one of those....micro tuner or not? serial number on the neck ?
I had a Martin/Pan am alto a while ago but sold it about 4 years ago. It did have the serial number on the neck and NO micro tuner. As far as I know, Conn was the only one to use the micro tuner necks. I doubt that a MARTIN stenciled horn would have a Conn neck.
I have no recollection, or record of the serial number.

I currently have a Martin/Pan Am tenor with the serial number on the neck, altough the neck is nickle and not brass.
Serial number on the tenor is 643XX and will probably follow the dates for Martin saxophones and not Conn.
Both horns were estimated to be from the mid to late 1950's to early 1960's based on cases and keywork.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
It might seem so, but actually....I enjoy your posts and am glad you have returned to post here more often; there have been a few discussions on this topic by other members here as well, so I am not standing here alone being particularly bold ;).
Thank you for your compliment.

You know...people here tend to sometimes want to debate things without doing the very simple thing and confirming them for real. (This is absolutely NOT directed personally at YOU, just an observation regarding the dynamics of chat boards. Oftentimes, where it is relatively straightforward to confirm or refute internet assumptions/lore...nobody bothers doing it. It's an interesting thing).
You're right, there's a lot of misinformation and wrong assumptions in internet forums and this is not an exception. I think it would be great to stick the myth busting threads or to create a myth busting subforum.

Thank you very much for clarifying this.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,835 Posts
My experience as well. But I won't pay the "big money" for a Pan Am stencil.
This reminds me of when I went on a "best dirt cheap tenor available" safari. Kind of like the "best dirt cheap bourbon" safari, about the same time.

As it turns out, a lot of those cheap-o bourbons are more or less "stencils" of the expensive stuff.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,284 Posts
My experience as well. But I won't pay the "big money" for a Pan Am stencil. Conn also stenciled the 6M for Bundy and those sell even cheaper. You can get three Bundys for the price of a YAS-23.

Mark

View attachment 56824 View attachment 56823
I didn't pay 'big money' for my Pan American.
I got my tenor for $199 seven years ago off from ebay. Put another $350 in to it for a repad. It's got ~80% of its lacquer and only a couple of minor dings.
I don't know if I could have gotten a Martin Indiana tenor in the same shape for less than that.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,607 Posts
$199!! You were ripped off! I paid between $114 and $140 each for the Bundys. And they all came with a bonus selection used mouthpieces and used reeds. I was kidding about "big money." It's just that the Bundys are even cheaper. I've stopped lurking on Ebay, but if I were to go stencil hunting again, it would be for a Silvertone, the only Conn 6M stencil that I've seen that had all the Conn bells and whistles (except for rolled tone holes.)

I've often wondered if the Conn stencils are made from the standard Conn body tubes where the rolled tone holes have imperfections. It seems like completely rolling the edges would cause a certain number of factory blemished tone holes caused by the lip splitting during the rolling process. If the edges split while being rolled over, it wouldn't be a problem as the "normal" tone hole leveling procedure would still produce a perfectly functional horn. Having a line of horns with rolled tone holes (RTH), and a line without, would allow a simple recovery of materials on those RTH horns that were "defective."

Mark
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,284 Posts
But Mark, my Pan Am is a MARTIN, and not a Conn. ;)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,835 Posts
[ . . . . ] I've stopped lurking on Ebay, but if I were to go stencil hunting again, it would be for a Silvertone, the only Conn 6M stencil that I've seen that had all the Conn bells and whistles (except for rolled tone holes.)

I've often wondered if the Conn stencils are made from the standard Conn body tubes where the rolled tone holes have imperfections. It seems like completely rolling the edges would cause a certain number of factory blemished tone holes caused by the lip splitting during the rolling process. [ . . . ]Mark
The RTHs do have a pretty tight curl. I don't know much about machining, I would like to see how they did it.

I'm trimming down my sax herd, but I want to add a baritone at some point. Once I won a Conn-made Pan Am bari off eBay, but the seller bungled the packaging and it got badly damaged in transit, so I sent it back. Curses.
 

·
Fan Of Pan Am
Joined
·
414 Posts
A couple of comments from the Pan Americna Serial Number Study that may be applicable:
1) The Pan American study I am conducting confirms that the 1957 Martin stencils for Pan American are governed by the Martin serial number system. This seems to be consistent with stenciling as a process across all manufactures. I would like to include the tenor mentioned in thsi thread, but need the complete serial number. A PM would suffice.
2) It is plausible that common bodies (tenor or alto etc) may have been designed for similarity across the Conn companies and lines. However, Pan American was a subsidiary with their own manufacturing facility. Cavalier was a line of Pan American. All 3 had separate serial number systems. All 3 had their own model number systems. Are we sure all bodies are of the same materials, brass alloy? Think body by Fisher and General Motors.
3) The main visual and functional differences in the models seem to come from key design, number of keys, key placement, and possibly key material. Bracing is often different as well as the application of the micro-tuner. Pan American often used the "T" Type key guard as well as the "Mercedes" style.
4) Starting in 1919 Conn went to the RTH (1919 catalog), while Pan American stayed with STH. The Pan American factory opened in 1919. With a production of 280000 saxes, tone hole errors does not explain the design difference, but cost at the time does.
5) The 1919 Conn catalog also includes a paragraph that only a Conn is a Conn. In the study all stencils after 1919 carry Pan American serial numbers or Cavalier after 1931.
6) To truly understand the body issue a statistically valid study of Conn, Pan American and Cavalier measurements should be done. Contemporary models could then be compared. This would answer the question is 6 degrees offset significant or manufacturing tolerance. The Haynes Patent used on the Conn brand implies centered tone holes. The Hardy Patent on the Pan Americans implies offset tone holes. This would be something our technician members could take on. I can do the summarization and mathematics.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
232 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Have you seen a Pan American sax with a serial number on the neck? Apparently the Pan American/Martin did have, what about the others?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
Re all the above. :):):):) All I can tell you is this. I bought a Pan AM/ Kohlert tenor off UK Ebay for $175. I piut 4 hours a work into it (I'm a tech) and ended up with a smoking horn.! I am a busker and in the last 6 months it's made me more money that I paid for it. Wot's not to like????? :):):):)
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top