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Discussion Starter #1
I have a chance to buy a Conn alto from a guy for $200.00 but I can't figure out what he has. The seller's a long way from here but he agreed to meet me half-way. The problem is I can't figure out what model it is.

Serial #n172970 which according to the lists makes it a 1970 Mexiconn. But . . . the guy says the only "marks" on the bell are CONN and something else, which I may assume are Shooting Stars. He says the only other marks are the S/N. No 14M or other identifying stamps, and no Mexico stamped, either. But what really gets me is that the horn is all gold - no nickel keys or rods. He says the only non-gold are the "pearl buttons." There are 3 pics on the ad in Craigslist but no close-ups.

The case is a standard Conn rectangle, and there's all the usual cleaning stuff, mouthplece a few reeds and a strap. Anyone have a clue as to what this could be? Seems to me that the all gold finish should be some kind of a hint but I haven't found a clue anywhere about it.

For a couple hundred its a good deal but I don't want to drive 90 miles round trip just to take a look.

HELP
 

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It is likely a run of the mill, Nogales AZ produced student Director model sax. If so, at $200 for a student horn, made in the lesser desired era, and likely in need of a repad, I'd say it isn't worth the money OR the drive.

These, as well as Bundys, are available all day long at pawn shops, junk/thrift stores, eBay and Craigslist all across the country, and for less money too.
 

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It could be a Conn 7m or possibly a 20m. Just because it has a serial # starting with a "N" doesn't mean it was made in Mexico. Are the bell keys on the left or right? Posting the pictures would also make verifying what it is or isn't 1000% easier.
 

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It could be a Conn 7m or possibly a 20m. Just because it has a serial # starting with a "N" doesn't mean it was made in Mexico. Are the bell keys on the left or right? Posting the pictures would also make verifying what it is or isn't 1000% easier.
It has to be stamped MEXICO to be made there in accordance with the amended Tariff act of 1930. Any Conn pro level horn is going to be made in Elkhart, IN USA, and marked thus. So we know it isn't one of those.

The rare exception are a handful of 12M pro baritones that were assembled from leftover parts at the Nogales AZ plant after the Elkhart plant closed, C. 1970/71.

Conn marked their pro "Artist" lines 6M/10M/12M above the serial number right until the end as well.

Many rate the 20M models of this era even lower BTW.

Meth is correct that only photos will tell for certain what you are dealing with.
 

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It has to be stamped MEXICO to be made there in accordance with the amended Tarrif act of 1930. Any Conn pro horn is going to be made in Elkhart, IN USA, and marked thus.
The rare exception are a handful of 12M pro baritones that were assembled from leftover parts at the Nogales AZ plant after the Elkhart plant closed, C. 1970/71.

Conn marked their pro "Artist" lines 6M/10M/12M above the serial number right until the end as well.

Many rate the 20M models of this era even lower BTW.

Right. The poster made two statements. 1. that the seller did not see the words "Mexico" on the horn, and 2. summing up that any Conn serial # starting with the letter "N" was a mexiconn.

I was clearing the confusion that any conn with an "N" serial # had to have been made in Mexico, and thus labeled such.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll go back to the site and take a look at what's posted. There are 3 pix but as I said, it's hard to figure out what the guy has. Back in a minute. Bell keys on right side (from playing position).

I tried to copy the pix but no luck. I guess I could show the website location though. It is public info. The ask price is $250. I said $200 max, maybe less. Be right back again.

Here's the url; http://bakersfield.craigslist.org/msg/2207236118.html
 

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I'll go back to the site and take a look at what's posted. There are 3 pix but as I said, it's hard to figure out what the guy has. Back in a minute.
The differences are so broad that even fuzzy photos will likely tell the story.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
20M, yeah. There's another guy closer to me selling a 20M. I told him I'd give him $100. He's asking $450. Loony Tunes time there, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So, did you get a look at the URL and the pix of the horn? I asked the guy again to examine the horn to find some further info. Nothing. I have to wonder if the guy know what he has. I'd sure like to know. Were any of the 20M's made with gold lacquer covering everything? I need to hook up with the guy or turn him down pretty soon.

Thanks
 

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That C'list ad is either a 20M or an 18M...the 2 most dreaded saxophones (at least up until the late 80's) ever to have the Conn name engraved on 'em. They were the bridge models between the 14M/50M horns and the 21M/24M/25M's.

It has been suggested (and correctly, I believe) that these weren't even manufactured by Conn, but rather by a student-model american company such as Reynolds, Blessing, Armstrong, etc. I have, unfortunately, had a few of these through here (one was enuff, thank you) and indeedy....as my techs have pointed out...these do not have any specs or details which put it in the Conn lineage/evolution. Keywork ? Different . Body ? Different. Neck ? Completely foreign to any other Conn neck. I firmly believe these to have been subcontracted to another maker.

Just taking an (educated) wild guess that when Conn decided to pull out of Nogales and close both their MX factory and their AZ factory....they needed another company to fill the gap while they got their tooling setup for the '70's horns which began to be produced in usa again....as the 18M and 20M bear no resemblance to any of the Conn Altos which came before or after them.

They are sturdy enough...but they sorta s#ck. They sound like crap; matter o' fact, I am hard-pressed to think of a worse-sounding horn I have ever sold.....

I mean, a 14M Mexico-made pretty easily blows the doors off of any 18 or 20M.......

Pass on it, dude. Even in good playing shape they might not have a market value of $200.....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okey doke. Many thanks for the info. Just what I was looking for. When its too good to be true - well, you know. Same with the other one a guy's trying to dump but at least I know that one's a 20M fo sho.

I'll keep looking. Trying to find a horn for my kid. There's a nice looking King Zephyr in the area a guy wants $500 for. I'll probably shoot him an offer under that just to see how badly he wants to sell it. Other than that the only altos on the nearby lists are a Taiwan Vito a couple Jupiters and an Antigua Winds. No YAS23's though. I'm done with evil bay simply because I can't touch the horns. Craigslist and the newspapers have local stuff. Just have to wait on it until one pops up.

Thanks again to all who helped out a poor old cat.
 

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I say a 1990s one that will possibly need work so I would look elsewhere. The last one I sold like it was in good shape and I got about $175 for it locally. Really heavy too.
 

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Yes, you can drop 'em onto a tile floor and they'd probably be fine.....but, for another $75-100 you can usually get a usa-made 14M or 50M, which are such superior instruments it's boggling....

TF...I have a nice late '50's 14M usa-made for dirt cheap if you want. Have sent you a PM.
 

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Some of the earlier 7m's were all gold colored with no high f#. Usually, they just say "CONN" on the bell with some simple engraving, or none at all. http://www.doctorsax.biz/vito_conn.htm <- Has all the info you'd want to know about these period Conns. $200 is too high for these horns.


Just wanna clarify here....mmmmm ~ your 2 images show a 7M followed by an 18/20M...then you make a statement as to your opinion of their values....I agree regarding the 18/20M's...BUT....
It's really not accurate to lump the 7M into "these period Conns"....7M's were their own animal...... and are no $200 horn.

I have had three through here, and they were all actually excellent Altos. Don't confuse 'em with the 18M or 20M....
Conn took a gamble on producing a top-shelf, more 'modern' horn which would take over the place of their 6M....using their Mexico facility. This was the intent of the 7M.
It has the same body tube as a 6M, with different keywork and a bell section with right-sided keys. It sounds hella good. As I said, I have sold a few of these and Jason Dumars also speaks pretty well of them. They are cool horns. It appears that they were only produced in '70, however...because to date I have not seen nor heard of one which didn't have the NXXXXXX serial number on it.

Should anyone stumble across a 7M in playing shape for $500 or less...pounce on it.

(Sorry for brief digression....)

Oddly, and not apropos of anything in particular...I have a '71 Conn catalog which shows the only Altos being offered that year were the 50M and the 6M.....so, I am guessing the 18 and 20 are of a few years later.....
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, after all this, I was about to pull the trigger on a used King Zephyr but the guy selling it kept dithering. I opened a Craigslist page for a town about 25 miles south of here and while browsing the musical pages up popped a YAS23 with "a '$160 mouthpiece,' $400 OBO serious offers considered." So I seriously offered $200. The guy came back with $300. O.K, deal. So at about 8:00 p.m. last night I met the guy, looked at the horn, bought it. Got it home and examined it closely. Aside from one BB size ding in the bow and some really small scratches, it was like new. The "$160 mouthpiece" is a Jody Jazz HR. Also in the case were the usual Yamaha 4C AND a Selmer S80 C*. But no reeds - I'm thinking of calling the guy about that :) Hard shell case, 3 mpc's, padded strap, swabs, grease, etc., $300. I cleaned up the Selmer piece and stuck a tenor reed on it. Played easily top to bottom. Seems like a good deal to me, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great buy - sounds like the guy wasn't a sax player.
The seller was a recent high school grad, flipping burgers for a living - said he needed the dough. My wife said I took advantage of the kid. I told her I don't see how. I made an offer, he countered, I accepted. She said I should have told the kid what the stuff was worth. Sure thing.

BTW: My wife's name is Saint Jan ;-)
 
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