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Saxophones Conn Transitional 6M - What's it Like?

Squawky

Member
Messages
38
I'm in need of some guidance.

I've been playing on a Bundy alto ever since I started playing sax in elementary school, and I've been wanting to get a new alto saxophone to play some jazz with. I took a trip down to my local music shop and found out that the shop is selling an old Conn alto sax.

It is a Transitional Period Alto (lacquered) with serial M252xxx, and it comes with a Brilhart Tonalin Great Neck N.Y. 3* mouthpiece and the original sax case for about USD $1100. The sax has very little lacquer wear, the bell keys are both on the left side, the naked lady engraving is on the bell, it has the additional right hand G# trill key, the keys and action feel good in my hands (at least compared to my Bundy), and I like the sound (again compared to my Bundy). I playtested it with a Rousseau JDX 6 and a Fibracell 3 reed, as well as the Tonalin with the Fibracell, but I plan to go back with a handful of Javas and Vandorens (Blue) to see what I can coax out of it. I haven't played any other professional horns before, and I want to know what this horn is capable of. I've considered getting a modern horn (a lot of people keep telling me to get a Yamaha Custom Z or even a YAS-62), but I don't have the budget for a professional modern horn. Has anybody ever had experience with Conn alto "Transitionals"? What do you think of it? What's its pros and cons? Is there any kind of music that you couldn't play with this horn?
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,950
Pro: If you like the sound it's great.

Con: It's old. So will probably need servicing more often. Can you live with the ergonomics? Tuning not as good as modern horns.

Is there any kind of music that you couldn't play with this horn?
No
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
If you listen to the recordings made on these old saxes, it should tell you all you need to know about what it's capable of. If you're really keen on an older sax, check out the competition - Buescher and Martin for instance - befoer committing. But it sounds like a goer to me. My old Kohlert has a sound to match/beat any alto, plays like a dream and I find the ergonomics better than the modern ones.

Would be worth getting feedback on what the pads & corks are like & check for play in the rods, you don't want to be shelling out for an overhaul in a couple of years time. Make sure the sellers give you a decent warranty.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Depending on how much work it needs it's a decent deal, although I have the impression the transitional altos aren't worth as much as the 6Ms. Mouthpiece should fetch a couple hundred itself if you don't like it. These Conns were well built professional horns. Set up properly, it won't need servicing any more often than any other horn, and will play as well in tune as anything (albeit with a somewhat more flexible pitch than the modern horns). If you like the sound of it, seriously consider getting it. I love the action on the Conn altos from this era, but the sound doesn't fit me as well as the slightly later horns from King and Selmer. But that's a matter of taste.

What to look out for is what kind of shape it's in. When was it last repadded, is there a lot of play in the keys, etc. does the action feel sloppy or tight. I've seen horns from this era that played like new, others that seemed pretty much worn out. If it's going to need an overhaul soon, you better budget for it.
 
Messages
509
i have played both vintage and modern saxes, and personally find older saxes suit me more,this is only my opinion but i find that the tonal qualities of older saxes are less "fixed" also i like the ergonomics of older saxes (because i have small hands the bottom bflat is often to much of a stretch on modern horns) i know that there are always "trade offs" and i you should certainly keep an open mind,but if you really like this horn and the price is right for you, then go for it!
 

stevethebeave

New Member
Messages
5
Good Morning: I am the new guy on Cafe Saxophone but have been playing for 55 years so almost done paying my dues---
Just bought a transitional 6M Alto without the Naked Lady but it is wonderful and made in '68? I think!
 

stevethebeave

New Member
Messages
5
Good Evening: I also have a 6M Transitional without the Naked Lady but have played both as well as a 28M and it plays equally!
Value is $800 to $1,000 as an estimate---
What do you guys think as I am new to the site and just trying to confirm--
Thank you,
Steve The Beave
 
Messages
509
What exactly are you asking?
If your question Is about the value ,then I would say if you like it and it plays well, then that's all that. Matters right?
Its worth hanging on too
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,874
Some very experienced players, say the Vintage Conns have more soul than modern horns. If I compare my Conn NW 11 with my Yamaha Custom Alto, I have to say, they have a point.
Jamesmac
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,950
Some very experienced players, say the Vintage Conns have more soul than modern horns. If I compare my Conn NW 11 with my Yamaha Custom Alto, I have to say, they have a point.
Jamesmac
So...

Soul? Is that bright, dull, focused, spread, smooth, rough, or what?
 
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