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Saxophones Have a Conn Shooting Star Question for Ya!

Julie Lambert

New Member
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27
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Port St. Lucie, FL
I am very excited to have my son playing alto sax in his first year of band in 6th grade. I just joined forum and introduced myself in doorbell section. I would appreciate any advice.

I am looking at a Shooting Star/Director Alto Sax for my 6th grade son's first instrument. Seller says it was made in Indiana in early 60's. Gave a serial number I can't match up. #H0002XX By looking at pics, what do you think. Give me opinion on if made in Indiana and if one of "the good ones". Good for student? Trying to see if AZ, MX, or IN made and if "good one".


http://images.craigslist.org/01111_jXrEfUqtYyu_600x450.jpg


http://images.craigslist.org/00w0w_gAc7tGmc0QY_600x450.jpg

any advise would be great. Thanks.

-Julie in FLA!!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Might be worth seeing if the band director has something to say. I believe some have very strong views on which saxes they'll allow in.

Sorry I don't know enough about Conn's to answer your question. But good you're asking it.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
Vintage saxophones while having alledgedly magical tones have awkward key work when compared to a modern saxophone. I've seen members on here mention the conn shooting star. Some love them some wouldn't want them. Many vintage horns are expensive because they're rare or collectable or carry kudos with them.

My personal opinion is that a newcomer to saxophone would be better off learning on a modern new instrument.
 

thomsax

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Sweden
I also think a young beginner should play a saxophone with modern keyworks. Lots of good new saxes on market.

I know some older players who are playing on Conn Shouting Star model. And they sounds just fine.

According to the serial number I think the sax above is made around 1965-66. The letter H indicate that. Where? I don't think the sax were made in Indiana. But who knows?
 

Julie Lambert

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Port St. Lucie, FL
Thank you all for your informative replies. They have been really helpful. I wanted to give you all an update. So, we ended up buying the Conn Director, full serial is H00289. Made in Indiana. For the price, I couldn't beat it. Turns out, the seller is a famous tenor saxophone player, Miles Reese, who was the sax for The Five Satins. This sax has a real legacy attached to it. This guy was cool as a cucumber and demonstrated all the keys beautifully. This was an alto sax. When he busted into g flat I got goosebumps. It was really awesome. He gave my son tips. It was great. It's everything it looks in the pictures. Cool clamshell case with awesome logo inside. A real conversation piece and a great sax.
 

saxismyaxe

Honored SOTW Ambassador
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Native of the Lone Star state.
Your Director model (the correct Conn name for this line. Shooting Star is a modern nick name) will not be a 50's era Indiana built Conn, but a Nogales, AZ ex Best Manufacturing Plant built one. Conn moved production of it's student horn range to the Nogales facility by 1961.

These horns have a mixed reputation, with the latter incarnations being subject to very sketchy quality control, in particular those c. 1970 made in Mexico versions. The earlier, 1950's and early 1960's versions are the better of the bunch.

The fact that yours has an "H" heading the serial number means that it is a 1966 made Director. This is getting precariously close to the shoddy ones, with sheet metal rather than wire key guards.

DEFINITELY get it checked out by a good tech, as these are prone to go out of adjustment quite readily due to the antiquated keywork design used on them, the minimal key rod supports, and the rather soft keys/rods.

These have a nice vintage tone, but your child might be better served in the learning process with a Yamaha YAS-23 or Yamaha made, Vito branded equivalent.

So that you can correctly ID the earlier Conn Directors by sight, you will see that the legitimately early examples have wire keyguards, and not sheet metal ones like your later example:

a.jpg
 

Ads

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4,304
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North West UK
I had a 59 Indiana made one, the upper stack was as slick as a 6M, it was the lower and the bell notes where the difference was felt - played and sound excellent, still struggled to get £200 for it even though it had been serviced - thankfully it didn`t need a re-pad or I`d have lost a mint .
 

Julie Lambert

New Member
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27
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Port St. Lucie, FL
Seeing as I spent only $300 on this one, getting another used Yamaha YAS-23 wouldn't be bad. Miles even suggested having two saxes, one at school and one at home as lugging them around gets old really fast. Of course, price is an issue, even where my dearest young one is concerned. They wanted $1800 for a 'near new' saxaphone, it was Yamaha, not sure what model. I figured, even if the Director needed work, it would beat paying $2k. . I see used ones on Craigslist and cringe when it says "I haven't played it in years". I don't want to make him not like sax because he is struggling. I have read where it can be a bad combination with a new player struggling and not realizing if it is him or the sax that is not working right. I want to set him up for success, for sure. Also, how does it usually work with Band Class, do you keep instrument there? I am a little wary of leaving his at school. It's already like part of the family. I would hate for it to get taken. I know it's corny but I really like the history and the musical kharma of that horn. How did it work in your high school if you took band. Do they expect the kids to lug the instruments around all day? I'm trying to remember back to high school but this IS Monday. lol.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jonf

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Betelgeuse
This is the problem with these saxes, and the equivalent Bueschers. When the companies tried to boost profits by cheapening manufacture, trading on a famous name, they introduced massive variability and unpredictability. The one Conn Director I've had was awful, and to be honest, my cherished Buescher Aristocrat from the 1970s (cherished is it was my first sax, bought for me 34 years ago) is really mediocre at best. However, others have obviously been better.
 

Julie Lambert

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Port St. Lucie, FL
I just started a new thread in regard to alto sax and braces on your teeth. Any tips?
 

gtriever

Member
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Western KY, USA
I've owned (3) 16M Director tenors over the years, and really have no complaints about any of them. For $300 you came out OK. As far as finding a used YAS-23, you might check around at the pawn shops in your area. Take an experienced player with you, to judge the condition of the sax. I've seen YAS-23s with missing pads and bent keywork, and I've seen YAS-23s that were next to mint. Most of them in my area sell for around $450-500.
 

Ads

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North West UK
The positive thing about the YAS23 is that they`re ALL superb by design and build, there are no dud years or serial numbers to avoid - so long as the sax is in good playing order, you`ve got an excellent horn .. you can say the same for all Yamahas, even Indonesian made YAS275s are predictably very good ..... Sure some samples will sound better than others but even there, there isn`t anywhere near the level of sample varation there is with Selmer for example ... Basically if a Yamaha is in good order, you`re onto a winner

Unless you don`t like Yamahas of course - LOL ................
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
This thread's going too far. It's rather naff pushing a different sax after the Conn has been bought. Especially when it's clearly a good one with a good history.

No more yamaha sales pitches please.:mrcool
 

Ads

Well-Known Member
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North West UK
I only mentioned it because she said this

""Seeing as I spent only $300 on this one, getting another used Yamaha YAS-23 wouldn't be bad. Miles even suggested having two""

No doubt Gtriever posted for the same reason .......
 
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