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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I think you are quite possibly right. I'm skeptical that it's silver plated under the gold color. If it was factory silver plate, it should have engraving around the logo. This horn very likely was originally bare brass (or if plated, nickel) when it left Conn. Who knows what was done to it in the 104 years since, but I'd guess Permagold is much likelier than someone having it actually gold plated. Plus, as you noted, gold plate doesn't wear like that, with sharp edges where it's missing like on this horn. That gold coating looks way thicker than gold plate, which is very thin.
I had my tech s opinion,which also doubt very much that it s silver under this gold sort of paint on it.
I am not going to invest into this one for sure..
Looking for another one.
Thanks
All the best
Saxobari
 
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I've had one for over forty years. It was in poor shape and I really didn't get it back to true playing shape until about twenty years ago. They will play sharp with just about any modern styled mouthpiece unless you play with a really, really loose lip. Back when I got mine back in shape, a member here sent me an old Woodwind Co. mouthpiece, a large chambered "pickle-barrel", that worked well with it. Wanting something more open, I moved to a RPC rollover with an extended shank (5 1/2" total length). Yes, the horn will have that Conn bari bark & bite. Given its limited range/keywork, it'll also be the lightest bari you ever held, which makes for a great bar horn. Heck, I just use a simple Ray Hyman strap for mine.

Now even if you do find a proper mouthpiece, you may still find it a bit sharp in the midrange, from D2 up to F#2. Easily lipped down for an experienced player, but something to be on guard for until you get accustomed to the horn. Of course with the limited keyed range, it's not a good candidate for big band playing or other ensemble work with charts that may go up to high F or low A. The octave design is absolutely terrible, and you have to take care that it doesn't take a knock. Should you wish to sell it some day, even in playing shape I wouldn't expect more than $700 for it.

With all that said, it can be a great horn to play with a jazz combo or rock band. It looks like it may have its original silver plate under that gold paint, so it may turn out looking much better when stripped.
If they're virtually giving the horn away, go for it. Otherwise, you're going to be dealing with the issues that Grumps and JayeLID brought up. It's acceptable if you're just doubling for the sake of doubling in original projects where you call the shots. For specific combo work or gigs where you're learning cover tunes on the fly? No, avoid. They were great horns for the time, but the requirements for the pitch changed. Meaning that this thing will frustrate you more than help you. However, if the sax is extremely cheap, in good condition, and you are doing this in situations where you can call the shots, you can have a lot of fun. A friend of mine has 3 Conn baritones from this vintage up to 1928. They're fun horns. His favorite is the 28. Everything Grumps said applies to our experiences with them. In fact, my friend still has the Ray Hyman strap, though he prefers his Oleg. He also added a rubber gasket onto the neck tenon just under the actual neck. The extra quarter inch added to the length of the neck does help with the sax's inherent tendency to blow sharp. It legitimately does help with a few caveats. Firstly, the horn's intonation wasn't exactly designed with that particular modification in mind. Meaning that you're going to have to lip a few things in the mid and upper ranges. From his estimations, and mine, it's actually less annoying than lipping the lower notes down. The other caveat is the fact that the sulfur in the rubber gasket will discolor the brass, and eventually the lacquer. The lacquer itself didn't exist from the factory on your particular finish, so it's probably a spray furniture lacquer which will chip fairly easily. You can easily see the chipping on this horn. In most cases, this type of finish wasn't applied particularly evenly either. Not a big deal, unless it is to you, or unless the horn was really buffed out poorly before the lacquer was applied.
 

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... The lacquer itself didn't exist from the factory on your particular finish, so it's probably a spray furniture lacquer which will chip fairly easily. You can easily see the chipping on this horn. In most cases, this type of finish wasn't applied particularly evenly either. Not a big deal, unless it is to you, or unless the horn was really buffed out poorly before the lacquer was applied.
As noted extensively above, the finish on the OP referenced horn is almost certainly "Permagold" which is zinc plate with yellow dichromate conversion coating.
 

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As to intonation I'd really like to see someone with actual experience in playing Conn baritones comment on actual experience of one of these oldies vs. a later 12M type. I have long suspected, but without any data (and I don't have that direct-comparison experience either) that the Conn baritone acoustic design remained constant from the early 20s (or even earlier) till the end, but that's just a suspicion, mostly founded on the observable fact that development of the rest of the baritone - primarily keywork - lagged behind, in some cases decades behind, that of the alto and tenor.

At any rate, I know that if you put a small chamber piece on a Conn baritone of any age, you're going to be fighting the thing all the way, putting extensions on stuff and screwing up the scale by doing so. I also know that for my 1946 baritone, going from a small round chamber Vandoren to a Meyer piece FIXED all the intonation issues, plus the sounding length (from tip of mouthpiece to a registration point) decreased by a good inch or so - that's what brought the scale into line.
 

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As to intonation I'd really like to see someone with actual experience in playing Conn baritones comment on actual experience of one of these oldies vs. a later 12M type.
I'm trying to think back on the old Maryland SOTW get togethers where we'd all bring our horns and pass 'em around. I can't recall ever giving a later 12M a go at one of these events, though I did get to try a Martin Magna low A bari that was absolutely incredible. But if you're ever in Maryland, just bring your horn on by and we'll give 'em a go.
 

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I have long suspected, but without any data (and I don't have that direct-comparison experience either) that the Conn baritone acoustic design remained constant from the early 20s (or even earlier) till the end, but that's just a suspicion
I guess I'd say given the tube, bow, neck specs of the Altos and Tenors did change from the 20's to the Artist series horns, I would suspect the opposite. Particularly if, as Grumps has noted, intonation can get squirrelly on these old splitbells.
Yes intonation can get squirrelly on a 12M too, but not in the same places he noted.

I do agree with you on the keywork, though. Am refurbing two 12M's now and I always am reminded by their stack mechanisms - being about as old-school as old-school can get....all the way into the 80's....
 

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I guess I'd say given the tube, bow, neck specs of the Altos and Tenors did change from the 20's to the Artist series horns, I would suspect the opposite. Particularly if, as Grumps has noted, intonation can get squirrelly on these old splitbells.
Yes intonation can get squirrelly on a 12M too, but not in the same places he noted.

I do agree with you on the keywork, though. Am refurbing two 12M's now and I always am reminded by their stack mechanisms - being about as old-school as old-school can get....all the way into the 80's....
And I always thought my 1965 12M is a modern horn :unsure:
 

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I looked at some pictures a while back and it seems if memory serves, that the "front bar" layout of the stacks came in about the same time the octave key moved to the neck. Personally I think it's a suboptimal mechanical layout. It may be that theoretically that layout puts the forces from the bar in line with the forces from the fingers (details not known) so as to minimize the effects of keywork wear, but if so it's not working very well; mine has a lot of slop in the keywork and getting the upper part of the lower stack regulated is a basket of compromises so that no one note leaks too very much. What it does do, is to make adjusting the regulation a right pain in the rear. I added adjusting screws to mine some years ago. It also negates the most common fingering for altissimo Bb, because if you put down any RH finger it also closes the C#-venting key up top, which rear-bar mechanisms don't do.

I'll tell you what I see for intonation issues on the 12M that I have:

1) As with so many older saxophones, a small chamber piece plays sharp, and when you pull out to try to get it "sort of" in tune, it throws the scale off.
2) If you're using a very pulled-out MP, I find the following:
  • middle E and F are wicked sharp. I open the low C# on held notes to (counterintuitively) bring them into tune.
  • front high E extremely sharp, almost not distinguishable from F, but front high F is in tune.
  • low Bb somewhat sharp, but low B a little bit flat.
3) If you use a decent sized chamber (I'm using a Meyer, a LInk would probably be similar), the tuning anomalies get a lot better, but they don't totally disappear (would they totally disappear if I used a very large chamber piece? I don't know. I do have a Meyer piece that I enlarged the chamber a lot, as an experiment, but I had to shove it in so far that it created a new set of anomalies, and I didn't pursue the investigation much further.).
4) For the sharp front E, I put a crescent in the high F tone hole, then I raised the high F pad (when using palm key fingering) and now both front E and F, and palm E and F, play well in tune. I have a theory that when those two toneholes were added, they were positioned "by guess and by golly", and the front fingerings were not considered; then when they added the front F key they did not adjust anything. Again, this all plays into the narrative of minimal to zero development on the baritones.

So on the old ones, what intonation anomalies (with a decent size MP) are y'all experiencing?
 

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And I always thought my 1965 12M is a modern horn :unsure:
About the only thing that's different on yours is nickel plated keys and maybe some of the wee set screws were replaced by standard pivot screws. Do you have the fork Eb?

I've seen no evidence that there were any changes after the front bar mechanism except to move one bell tone hole around (and the reason for this is unclear, since now both of them have a linkage - it's not like the 6M and 10M where they replaced the linkage with direct action), and then to add the front F key. And late in the run they eliminated the fork Eb. Oh, and they dropped the rolled tone holes around 1948 or so. But none of that stuff is acoustical.

A direct one to one comparison by an experienced baritone player, or comparison of known intonation anomalies, or measurements, would provide the answer. I will point out again that my belief on this is founded on impressions (that for sure the development of the mechanism was trivial once they went to the front bar stacks, so I suspect that acoustical development was also trivial/nonexistent) but NOT on actual data.
 

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About the only thing that's different on yours is nickel plated keys and maybe some of the wee set screws were replaced by standard pivot screws. Do you have the fork Eb?

I've seen no evidence that there were any changes after the front bar mechanism except to move one bell tone hole around (and the reason for this is unclear, since now both of them have a linkage - it's not like the 6M and 10M where they replaced the linkage with direct action), and then to add the front F key. And late in the run they eliminated the fork Eb. Oh, and they dropped the rolled tone holes around 1948 or so. But none of that stuff is acoustical.

A direct one to one comparison by an experienced baritone player, or comparison of known intonation anomalies, or measurements, would provide the answer. I will point out again that my belief on this is founded on impressions (that for sure the development of the mechanism was trivial once they went to the front bar stacks, so I suspect that acoustical development was also trivial/nonexistent) but NOT on actual data.
Correct, the only difference seems to be the nickel-plated keys and the bell keys on one side instead of split-bell. And I do have the fork Eb as well. I love the horn, it looks like somebody drove over it but plays like a dream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Usually on the back near the serial #
That H ,is usually near that serial numbers..
From those L ones,,that where it was..
Regards
Saxobari
 
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