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Saxophones Conn baritones

wildhenry

New Member
Messages
18
Location
Brighton UK
Hi,
I have been playing mostly tenor for about 40 years and have recently got into playing baritone.
(I can't believe it's taken me so long!)
I have a Conn Cavalier baritone dated around 1938/39, it plays great and sounds awesome!
Does anybody know the difference between the Cavalier and the Conn Pan American?
Judging by the photos I've seen they look the same apart from the engraving.
Any comments?

Cheers.
 

Chris

Well Known
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Manchester,England
Hi Henry, I can't answer your question. I would think someone around here will be able to though.. Why don't you go to the 'Dooorbell' and say 'Hi' there, feel sure that you'd get a warm welcome..

Chris..
 

rhysonsax

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Surrey, UK
Some good information on Conn saxophones at saxpics.com here: http://www.saxpics.com/?v=man&manID=3

But while it mentions Pan American and Cavalier as stencils or brands made by Conn, I didn't find any detailed information or photographs there.

Conn (non-stencil) Cross-bar / 12M baritones certainly have a great reputation for jazz, being used by many of the great soloists (Carney, Mulligan, Ronnie Ross) and still are used by players like Joe Temperley and Gary Smulyan. I really like my 1930s Conn bari, but tuning and mouthpiece selection can be a challenge.

Some more information on Conn, Pan American and Cavalier here: http://cderksen.home.xs4all.nl/PanAm-index.html which says:
"The Pan American band instrument company was a subsidiary of Conn. It was started in the early 1920's and produced more affordable instruments than the regular Conn line, geared towards students. Around 1955 Conn started producing student instruments under the Conn brand name and Pan American disappeared.

Pan American had its own "budget" brand, namely Cavalier. These were labeled along the lines of "Produced by the Pan American company", and are included here."

Can you post any pictures of your sax ?

Rhys
 
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wildhenry

New Member
Messages
18
Location
Brighton UK
Thanks Rhys,
I've checked the sites you mentioned so the info on there I already know.
There doesn't seem to be any mention (or photos) of the Cavalier baritone!
As far as I know the Cavalier and the Pan Ams of this period were made fro the same brass as the 12M's?
It seems like the main difference is.... no cross bar bell brace,no curve on the side E key and less elaborate engaving.
I'll try and send some pics.

Cheers
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,200
Location
Sweden
Most second line brands (Conn-Pan American, Buescher-Elkhart, King-American Galdiator/Standard/Cleveland, Martin-Indiana) were meant as student/beginner saxes. They often used old tools and made some changes on the keys. And there was less quality control on the second line horns. I think a Pan American didn't have rollled toneholes. I'm don't know so much about Pan Americans. I can't say if Cavalier is a second line or a stencil sax? None of the major manufactors used the same tools on thier second line saxes. So there is a different between " top of the line " and second line saxes. But you can find very good saxes among second line saxes.
 

wildhenry

New Member
Messages
18
Location
Brighton UK
Most second line brands (Conn-Pan American, Buescher-Elkhart, King-American Galdiator/Standard/Cleveland, Martin-Indiana) were meant as student/beginner saxes. They often used old tools and made some changes on the keys. And there was less quality control on the second line horns. I think a Pan American didn't have rollled toneholes. I'm don't know so much about Pan Americans. I can't say if Cavalier is a second line or a stencil sax? None of the major manufactors used the same tools on thier second line saxes. So there is a different between " top of the line " and second line saxes. But you can find very good saxes among second line saxes.

Thanks Thomsax,
I have been told elsewhere that the Cavalier is a Conn stencil.
But it really doesn't matter because it's a very nice baritone that plays great and more importantly.... sounds awesome!
It can really roar but also can whisper.....the build quality seems really good too.
True the top end tuning can be an issue but with the right m/piece some 'throating' plus pulling the m/p back off a little and tuning to the top register seems to do the trick.
These vintage horns sure do beat the modern ones (IMO)
Cheers,
 

thomsax

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4,200
Location
Sweden
But it really doesn't matter because it's a very nice baritone that plays great and more importantly.... sounds awesome!

You're right. Lot's of stencils and second lines saxes are very good. But sommetimes I see second line saxes that are sold as the "real thing". For some time ago I saw a Indiana from the late 50's that they tried to sell as a Martin. £ 1100.00 for a Indiana!
 

MMM

Senior Member
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1,024
Location
SW of London Town
The "Indiana" was the student line from Martin, essentially a less refined/ornate "The Martin" (allegedly the earlier "Indiana" with the Indian Chief head engraved on the bell are the better ones). Same as the Pan Americans were Conn's student line.

Back to the OP: I have owned both Cavalier and Pan Ams and the main difference was in the bell keys: the Cavalier had the "clapper" style bell keys (like the Conn Wonder/New Wonder), where as the Pan Ams have the left hand side bell keys. It is also true that the earlier Pan Ams had the "clapper" style bell keys. Both have no rolled tone holes but have the tiny locking screws.
It may be a different story for baritones, as baris are usually a law to themselves (probably because they are the more expensive of the models). Particularly, the Pan Am baris are very sought after as being a very close clone of the Conn 12M.
Hope this helps!
M.
 

wildhenry

New Member
Messages
18
Location
Brighton UK
The "Indiana" was the student line from Martin, essentially a less refined/ornate "The Martin" (allegedly the earlier "Indiana" with the Indian Chief head engraved on the bell are the better ones). Same as the Pan Americans were Conn's student line.

Back to the OP: I have owned both Cavalier and Pan Ams and the main difference was in the bell keys: the Cavalier had the "clapper" style bell keys (like the Conn Wonder/New Wonder), where as the Pan Ams have the left hand side bell keys. It is also true that the earlier Pan Ams had the "clapper" style bell keys. Both have no rolled tone holes but have the tiny locking screws.
It may be a different story for baritones, as baris are usually a law to themselves (probably because they are the more expensive of the models). Particularly, the Pan Am baris are very sought after as being a very close clone of the Conn 12M.
Hope this helps!
M.

Many thanks,

I'm very happy with the Cavalier bari ...it's great horn!
I was just curious as to the history of this model and how it compared to the Conn 12M's.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
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4,200
Location
Sweden
Wildhenry,

I'm sure your bari is a good sax. I guess the strencils and second line saxes that are still playing are the good ones. I have some fine stencils myself. But I still think they price should be lower compared to the "real things" unless they are not rebuilt.

Paul Cohen wrote about stencils:

” Although stencil instruments are made by the same companies, with the same workers, and in the same factories as their brand name counterparts, they are different in many ways. The quality of the stencils varies from saxophones indistinguishable from the original manufacturer, to instruments that are at best student quality.
I was told by an old Conn factory worker that their stencils were based on earlier designs. In fact, when the day came to make stencils, they put away all the modern tooling and take out the older model material that had been retired for years. This included the tools and dies for key work, tone hole design and placement, mechanical connections and keys, and at the time the actual tubing of the horn. The Conn workers would then work fast furiously for the allotted tine (quality control not being an issue) to produce their quota. Stencils are very inconsistent in production, materials, and keywork , but there is a potential for a great horn in every one. Be vigilant in testing, playing, and looking it over before accepting a stencil for your use.”
Dr Paul Cohen, Vintage Saxophone Revisted, Saxophone Journal, vol 22, # 3, Nov/Dec 1997.

I think the same goes for second line saxes. The Indiana and the Martin were two differnt companies but owned and controlled by their parent company. As far as I know and can see the late "The Indiana" are based on the models pre Committee.
 

badenia

New Member
Messages
10
Location
California
Hi Wildhenry,

I am doing a research project on the Pan American and Cavlier lines, brass and reeds, to establish a serial number dating model. Currently the one at the Conn Loyalist only applys to Pan American Brass. To dat I have not found a baritone sax in the Cavalier documentation that I have, so this one is truly exceptional. Can you post some pictures of the sax and maybe a picture of the serial number area? This would not only contribute to the serial number study, but add to the current model knowledge.

Thanks,
Kurt Walter
 

badenia

New Member
Messages
10
Location
California
ProfJames,

Thanks, but since Cavalier is a line from the Pan American division or subsidiary of Conn Ltd, I don't think I am going to find much there. But did I look anyway . . . . and found nothing on this particular instrument.
 

badenia

New Member
Messages
10
Location
California
No apologies necessary!! Because of the stencils that exist, I have to know someting about Buescher, Martin, Holton, Coutier, etc to make a distinction for the survey. So adding to knowledge is good. Additionally many of the Martins worked at Conn Inc or Conn Ltd, during or before the establishment of Martin Band Instruments, so I'm sure there was "horse trading."
I hope someone can shed some light on the baritone as I have found one other mention that included a serial number. However, the serial number was too high for Cavalier based on what I have captured to date, but I have found several anomolies as the sample grows and these bartitones could be more examples. If I could just get some clear verification ....
 

majordennis

Senior Member
Messages
484
Location
Gone West
Hi Wildhenry,

I am doing a research project on the Pan American and Cavlier lines, brass and reeds, to establish a serial number dating model. Currently the one at the Conn Loyalist only applys to Pan American Brass. To dat I have not found a baritone sax in the Cavalier documentation that I have, so this one is truly exceptional. Can you post some pictures of the sax and maybe a picture of the serial number area? This would not only contribute to the serial number study, but add to the current model knowledge.

Thanks,
Kurt Walter
Hello Kurt, welcome to the forum, I have an alto Cavalier which I rescued and renovated for a project, it turned out to be a really nice player, it has the appearance of a New Wonder but oddly has no bisBb, it has split bell keys and no RTH, I guess it must be a 30's model. The Silver finish came up very nice giving it a nice antique look, I'm away at the moment but if you would like serial number and some pics I'd be glad to help. To the OP I think you will be pleasantly surprised just how good this bari turns out to be.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,200
Location
Sweden
I found a review? of a Pan-American and Beuscher bari when I looked for another article. I was a subscriber to the magzine "Musician" in the late 70's and 80's. They made an article about pawnshop horns. Ralph is Ralph Carney (Swollen Monkeys?). Pawnshop buying was something in the style of todays E-bay. But you had to pay cash and you could play before you paid! I bought some horns from pawnbrokers. No PayPal in those days so had to wire money over to USA. I never bought baris because they cost a lot to ship to Sweden.
 

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