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My daughter is a freshman in college & a music ed major. Last year I bought her a Yani tenor & later a Keilwerth alto. Paid over $3500 for each of them. Even though the tenor is her preferred horn, she's been asked to play alto in the college jazz ensemble. Here's the issue... she picked up her roommate's vintage Conn alto & fell in love with it. Now she's looking to trade (down?) to the Conn which I'm not too thrilled about. My question is... since the Keilwerth is practically brand new, would it make sense to trade the Keilwerth & look for a vintage Conn? I've seen prices online for the Conn - about $1800. If that's true I could trade the Keilwerth for the Conn & still have money left over to but her a soprano - or not? What are the advantages/disadvantages in purchasing vintage horns?
 

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The main advantage is what your daughter probably found out: they have character :)

I'd say, let her go for the horn that she really wants, regardless of the value or the brand name.
 

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If you've already bought the Keilwerth, you'll be sad to find out the resale/trade value will not likely hold up to anywhere near what you paid. They're great horns none the less.

Vintage Conns values are based on the year made, model and condition. It can be a wide range. Do your research and make sure your child likes the one you're looking to buy just as much as her friend's sax.
 

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bruce bailey said:
Just buy a Conn outright. They are around for under $1,000 with new pads. What year Conn does she want?
Agreed, although not necessarily with the price quoted. If you can get a good playing Lady Face for between $1000 - $1600 and can afford for her to hang onto both altos at the same time, it would be to her advantage because she could be certain after about 6 months which of the two she really wants. After she's experienced the Conn for a while she may want to go back to the JK and if it's sold, well ...

Regarding resale of the JKs one of our forum members had a bad experience with that. Since he posted his misfortunes (and I believe him completely BTW) others have repeated that JKs have bad resale values and yet I haven't noticed that any of these folks have, themselves, owned nor tried to sell one...FWIW.
 

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gary said:
Agreed, although not necessarily with the price quoted. If you can get a good playing Lady Face for between $1000 - $1600 and can afford for her to hang onto both altos at the same time, it would be to her advantage because she could be certain after about 6 months which of the two she really wants. After she's experienced the Conn for a while she may want to go back to the JK and if it's sold, well ...

Regarding resale of the JKs one of our forum members had a bad experience with that. Since he posted his misfortunes (and I believe him completely BTW) others have repeated that JKs have bad resale values and yet I haven't noticed that any of these folks have, themselves, owned nor tried to sell one...FWIW.
FWIW, my experience is first hand as I a bought a mint condition three month old SX90R tenor for about 35% off the lowest price I shopped for one brand new. I since resold it for about what I paid. So the "taking it off the lot" cost is pretty steep IMO.

I agree that just buying another horn would make more sense. Being an owner of a 1935 Conn alto myself I can tell your daughter has good taste indeed.
 

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If she "fell in love" with her friend's Conn, why don't you tell us the serial number and model number and anything else you know about that particular horn. That way you will get better information and advice from members of the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
WOW... thanks for all your responses. I've emailed my daughter for the make/model/serial/year info of the Conn & will post as soon as I can.
 

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OK, here's the one she's interested in - it's similar to her roommates horn:
Conn New Wonder Alto Saxophone - SN 176923
https://junkdude.com/ProductDetail.aspx?id_product=391

But she really just wanted to try out a couple different ones to see which one(s) she liked. I live in PA & have purchased her tenor & alto @ Washington Music in MD. I didn't see any vintage horns when we were there to try. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the difference is between Wonder, New Wonder, Transitional, etc. Looks like these are in the neighborhood of $1300 to $1900. Can we go wrong with any of these?
 

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I have a few of the Conn New Wonder models and they are quite good horns for the money. That one in gold plate is priced about right. If she could take a silver one, it would be a lot less (about half). If you want one, PM me and I will call you. These were the models before the 6M and have a great resonant sound. I am playing on one for my main alto (gold plated just like the photo) and it is my choice of the over 20 altos I have. She will really like having the Keilwerth AND a vintage horn!
 

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That Junkdude horn is purty. IMO gold plate is overkill for a high schooler. Save your $$$ and get a lacquered or silver one like Bruce said.

What you or your daughter may not know is, the JK SX90R saxophones are designed to be very like those old Conns with modern style keywork. Just today, I played a black nickel SX90R in a Sam Ash store that they've been trying to sell used for $2,500 for over a year. I really liked the horn and I was trying with no luck to get them to come down on the price. In the end, I felt it wasn't that much different for better or worse than the 1935 Conn I already have.

So make sure who ever you by from has a return policy if your daughter comes to the same conclusion I did. Since you live in PA (like me), you might what to take a trip up to northern New Jersey and check out USA Horn. There will be lots of Conns and other horns to check out there.

www.usahorn.com
 
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