Saxophones C G Conn Conn-O-Sax

AlanU

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Enfield, North London
Hello chaps, just thought I'd point this out to anyone who is curious.

If you look on www.gumtree.com (sorry, I'm not smart enough to know how to give you the link) one of these peculiar instruments is offered for....................£16,600!

For the serious collector only, I think, but they are very rare.
One went for $42,000 not too long ago.
www.cybersax.com have a page about them with sound clips.

I understand that Conn, mistakenly, hoped they would catch-on as part of the craze for saxophones in the 1920s.
The result was that the run was very small and they were left with unsold instruments.
The same old story now comes out that they were thrown at the wall etc. and damaged so that the apprentices could learn on them.
Apocryphal or not it seems there are about thirty of them known to still exist.

I hope you enjoy this little diversion.
 

thomsax

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3,401
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Sweden
The Conn-O-Saxes are very rare. I tried to get one in the early 80's but they just appeared in USA so I was always to late to geet one. Before internet and PayPal!!

The R&B saxophonist Willis "Gatortail" Jackson played on a Conn-O-Sax. He used to call and talk to gators with that horn. He didn't do the wild honking with the Conn-O-Sax, he used it more for ballads. BTW, Jackson also did some recordings with an "electric harp" in 55-57. So the self designed "Gatorhorn" is a Conn-O-Sax.

A saxcollector who I bought saxes from told me some day: I bought the Conn-O-Sax from a jazzplayer who lives just a few blocks from me! The jazzplayer was Willis "Gatortail" Jackson. They both lived on upper Manhattan. I tried to buy that horn but without success. I'm a big fan of "Gatortail.

The F saxes were meant to fit into orchestral works. The rumour says that he the beginning of Ravels "Bolero" should be played with a sopraninio sax in F!! The sax was not found! Maybe a Conn-O-Sax could work fine?

Thomas
 

ilovebech

Member
Messages
143
The conn-o-sax was put before the public just as the 1929 crash happened, so no-one was selling many saxes.There are sounds on you tube, and the horn sounds very much like the mezzo-soprano in F made by the Dane, P Jesson. This sound is also on Y.T.
 

thomsax

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3,401
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Sweden
I think the rare American saxes (bass, C-soprano, sopranino, Mezzo-soprano, Conn-O-Sax ...) were built in small quantities comparing to the more common sizes. I think these saxes were more or less handmade. I don't know how many Conn-O-Saxes Conn Company manufactoried. For example, Beuscher made about 500 C-sopranos. My C-soprano was made on September 10, 1923.

Peter Jessens saxes are fine. I don't know if he is still manufactoring altos and tenors , but his Mezzo-Soprano in G is still available.
 
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AlanU

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628
Location
Enfield, North London
Thomsax, you know your instrument was built on that day?
How nice! I hope you play Happy Birthday on it every year. I would, 86 and counting.

Yesterday I finished re-building a 1925/6 True-Tone alto that I bought for $230 from New Jersey.
What a struggle with the snap-in pads though! I could have thrown it at the wall, out of frustration, myself.
 

thomsax

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Location
Sweden
Play Happy Birthday for my C-soprano!! I leave that to my friend who is using my C-saxes in Swedish Folkmusik!. I still own the sax but I think it's better that the sax is played and used in the right genre (IMO)!!!

The Beuscher C-soprano was the first rare saxophone I bought. A std version (bare brass). I bought the the C-soprano from Paul Cohen, NY/NJ (Vintage Saxophone Revisted, Saxophone Journal). A great person. I learnt a lot about old saxes during the years I bought saxes from him. Beside fine saxophones, I also got information about the saxes and how to play them to get the best out of the saxophones. Paul Cohen testplayed all saxes and they were also served by a tech in NJ before he shipped to Sweden.

The information about my C-sopranos birthday I got from Vincent Bach International, Elkhart in the early 80's. They were very helpful and sent me a letter with pricelist and and other info (sales ad, brochure,) of the C-soprano (Beuscher and King always answered questions. Conn and Martin didn't have so much info to share). I guess the the birthday is the day that the sax was ready for the market (testplayed, adjusted, stamped). That's why I assume that Beuscher made all tubes and keys at the same time. And they "just" did the last finish (plating, engraving, padjob, stamp, .... ) when the sax was heading for the market/buyer. I don't know this for sure. It's my own speculations.

The Snap-On pads are tricky. To be frank, I think the sax is better with "glued" pads. On my other Beuschers I have modern pads with brown plastic resonators. I like Beuscher saxes from the 20’s, even if I think they are to "sweet" to use in rock and blues music.

Thomas
 
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AlanU

Member
Messages
628
Location
Enfield, North London
Thanks Tom, that was very interesting.
I think for general use 1st January probably should apply, as it does with race-horses.

'Tricky' is one word for the job. I lost count of the times I dry-assembled/disassembled each stack.
Some cups needed thinner, less spongy pads, while others needed packing with shims.
Once heavily shimmed the snap-ins are really hard to connect.
Then there is shaving parts of the back of the pads and partial shims etc.

I understand and had honoured the historical integrity, blah blah blah, but...
The problem is it is a historical mistake, it never caught on. It was meant to enable anyone to replace a pad almost between sets.
If I re-pad another Buescher it will be without the snaps, after all when I bought my two I didn't know how original they were.
This last one had some spuds missing, which you can't tell until you get it apart anyway.

Flip that for a game of soldiers, Roo-pads and shellac is the way to overcome this aberration and restore a fine horn to a great player.
ps. keeping the snaps in case someone should want to re-use them.

I like the sound of the True-Tone and its 'sweetness' but also its gruffness and edge when pushed.

How many True-Tone altos do I need? Probably one less than I have.
I'm thinking of selling my silver plated 1926 with front F and Buescher case, but am not sure what would be a reasonable value.
 
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