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My 14yo son plays alto sax in marching and jazz bands. We own a Conn N102071 (Mexico), which I have determined to be a Director series from 1970. I have had it completely repadded and repaired.

He is borrowing a Jupiter SAS 767 (SN 600 248) made by KHS Music Intrument Co., Ltd. He prefers this saxophone to the Conn because he says it plays better and has a high (something) key the Conn doesn't have. Personally, I think he likes it because it's not so beat up. :)

Do any of you have an opinion about this matter? Is one as good as the other? Also, will I be able to recoup the money I put into the Conn in refurbishing it? I've heard him play both, and the Jupiter seems to have a clearer, less breathy sound with sharper notes.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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The Conn Director or "Shooting Star" is from the Mexi-Conn era, and as such isn't exactly the cream of the crop as student horns go. In fact, many (including myself) think it is one of the worst of the bunch.
Having had one of these models (although a later version) as a youngster myself, I feel your son's pain. And mine was brand new.

Jupiter horns will solicit VERY mixed reviews. The keywork on theses horns is definitely going to be several steps closer to a more ergonomic Selmer SA-80 "style", which will doubtless be of help to your child. The extra key he is referring to is a high F#, which in of itself is not a reason to select a horn.

I'm assuming that the Jupiter model you are looking at is the one on a popular online auction site, for under $200?

For that kind of money, and for marching band use, I'd think the Jupiter would be alright once put into good working order. I'd want a better horn for concert and Jazz band use however. But if he is NOT going to be a music major in college, an intermediate horn should be perfectly suitable.

For marching band, a used Yamaha 23 would probably be a better choice for around the same amount, perhaps a bit more.
 

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Mike, The Jupiter is a 700 series, which makes it quite a decent sax. If not the tops, it should be way better than the Mexi-Conn. Can anyone confirm (or refute) this, please?
 

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Hi Pinnman,

I believe I referred to it in an offhanded way as "Intermediate" in quality. I think that classification is squarely where it belongs, no?;)
In my opinion, virtually ANYTHING is better than a Mexi-Conn.:D

Cheers.
 

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SAXISMYAXE said:
Hi Pinnman,

I believe I referred to it in an offhanded way as "Intermediate" in quality. I think that classification is squarely where it belongs, no?;)
In my opinion, virtually ANYTHING is better than a Mexi-Conn.:D

Cheers.
I would have to disagree with that last statment. First Act horns are worse. Get a Jupitor for him, the Conn though is a very "nice" marching horn. I wouldn't recomend putting much more money into it. And it becomes no big deal if something happens to the horn. Also nothing is likely to happen becuase of the next to nothing resale value.

~Carbs
 

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For marching band your horn also has to look smart and nice (apart from sounding nice) or people will laugh at you when you march by.
Between a bright and shiny Jupiter and a battered-looking Conn I can understand your son's preference.
I play a Jupiter myself (see my sig) and I have no complains with it. It's bright red-gold finish makes it look smarter than other horns I've seen.
 

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Pinnman said:
Mike, The Jupiter is a 700 series, which makes it quite a decent sax. If not the tops, it should be way better than the Mexi-Conn. Can anyone confirm (or refute) this, please?
Ugh...every Mexi-Conn I've ever played was all over the place intonation wise. I sometimes wondered if Conn was attempting to make a high pitch low pitch hybrid. :| Their tone lacks any real depth and the keywork bends easily causing leaks.

I've had mixed feelings about Jupiters, but in recent years they've improved tremendously. IMO Jupiters fall into 3 catagories.

1) Jupiter's first horns manufactured up until the mid 90's were total garbage. The metal was so thin that they WOULD MELT IN THE SUN!!! I've seen several examples of this happening on horns ranging from Tenor saxes to Trumpets. If you come across an "old" Jupiter that happened to survive this long my advice is to run the other way.

2) Mid 90's until the introduction of the "Artist Series" 2001 or 2002 I think. The MSS "Melting Saxophone Syndrome" is corrected. The metal is reasonably sturdy. The keywork on these horns has also improved and actually feels pretty good if set up correctly. Back in High School I played on a 700 series tenor from around 1998 and actually liked the sound of it's low end up to the spoon keys. The downfall on every alto, tenor, and baritone example I've played (and my high school bought these horns exclusively, so I've played more than a few examples) is that anything above high C# is nearly a quarter tone SHARP and the tone is nasally. The notes were just too sharp to be lipped down. I've been wondering if it was a design flaw in the neck, maybe the octave tone hole was placed in the wrong spot as that would directly effects the notes mentioned. I think that the Tenors were the best examples in this catagory. If it were not for the higher tones, I would actually dig these horns. I think this is around the time when Julius Keilwerth had Jupiter stencil the STS-90

3) Introduction of the Artist series (2001 or 02?) to today. WOW, Jupiter really got their act together. The Artist series is definatly an advanced intermediate horn with good tone, good action, and much improved intonation. The XO series that was introduced earlier this year is IMHO FANTASTIC!!! There is very little (if anything at all) to complain about with the XO. This series has one of my favorite low ends of any modern horn. They are for all intents and purposes a "pro horn".

To conclude this rant, I will agree with Pinnman. A well set up Jupiter from the late 90's to present is better than most Mexi-Conns.
 

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No joke, it was only about an 85 degree day. This happened at a marching band practice and the horn was in direct sunlight for maybe 20 minutes. After the metal heated up, the horn was clearly starting to deform and was bendable with the thumb and forefinger with little pressure. Melt may have been an exagerated term, but the fact is that the metal on the horn was much softer than it should have been and reacted badly toward heat. This would not have happened to a Bundy, Armstrong, YAS-23...and one could only assume that it wouldn't have happened to a higher end horn.

Stick a horn in a furnace? That would bring a new definition to "forged keywork" :D .

Maybe that's how Cannonball developed the Excalibur series :?
 

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i bought a jupiter 587-585 tenor from brassnwoodwind here in melb.

he said as he came in late

i know they've got a mixed rep. but i tell ya, this sax is the shizzle. being a beginner i may not know what i'm talking about, but ...... i really like this horn.

it's slightly bright - not my liking - but it's consistent all through its range.
 
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