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Saxophones Identifying a Conn Shooting Star Alto Saxophone

musikphanatik

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The saxophone in question has a serial number: H97128. There is no other information engraved around this on the instrument itself. There is a shooting star engraving on the bell saying Conn USA. The low bell keys are on the left side. I'm mainly interested in what the letter H means before the serial number. Is this saxophone any good?
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,989
High pitch / Low pitch? I'm guessing here as I don't know how old the sax in question is.
 

musikphanatik

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thomsax

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Made in 1965-66. Probably 1966. F,G or + five digits is the serialnumber. In 1963 Conn madeConn made thier one-millionth instrument. I think they began with letter prefix beacause it would be too long numbers? Letter "I" and "O" were not used.
 

musikphanatik

New Member
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6
Made in 1965-66. Probably 1966. F,G or + five digits is the serialnumber. In 1963 Conn madeConn made thier one-millionth instrument. I think they began with letter prefix beacause it would be too long numbers? Letter "I" and "O" were not used.
Thanks thomsax. Do you know if they were good instruments? Would it have been made in Mexico do you think?
 

thomsax

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Thanks thomsax. Do you know if they were good instruments? Would it have been made in Mexico do you think?
My first sax was a Conn like this. I think they are good. They use to go for less money if you compared to a late Conn 6M alto. The tone is darker compared to a modern Asia sax. Some guys prefer darker saxes. Some prefer brighter. I like Conn Shooting Star saxes. Good saxes if you don't want to spend so much money.

I guess this saxes were made in Nogales by Conn's parent company. I don't know who owned Conn back then (mid 60's). But I'm not sure if they were made in Nogales, AZ. Threre is new facts coming all time.
 

musikphanatik

New Member
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6
My first sax was a Conn like this. I think they are good. They use to go for less money if you compared to a late Conn 6M alto. The tone is darker compared to a modern Asia sax. Some guys prefer darker saxes. Some prefer brighter. I like Conn Shooting Star saxes. Good saxes if you don't want to spend so much money.

I guess this saxes were made in Nogales by Conn's parent company. I don't know who owned Conn back then (mid 60's). But I'm not sure if they were made in Nogales, AZ. Threre is new facts coming all time.

Thanks, that's really helpful
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,988
Made in 1965-66. Probably 1966. F,G or + five digits is the serialnumber. In 1963 Conn madeConn made thier one-millionth instrument. I think they began with letter prefix beacause it would be too long numbers? Letter "I" and "O" were not used.
Correct.

This is a 50M, aka 'Shooting Star', also marketed as Director model.

Made in Nogales AZ at the former Coin-Art plant which Conn purchased. That plant had made Vito Altos for Vito, Kenosha. The 50M is basically a Vito design...which therefore is a relative of a Beaugnier, France design. (If you dig up some photos of USA-made "Vito Specials", you will see they are identical to the Conn 50M's)

Conn took over the plant....and took the horns that were still in the plant, and the ones which had yet been assembled, and just engraved them "Conn USA".... and they just kept rolling that design off the line, changing a few things over the years (but not much).
When they took over the Nogales AZ plant, they also discontinued the 14M Director model which had been made in Elkhart (and was formerly marketed under the Pan American name).

The Mexico-made ones were made in Nogales, MX starting in 1970.

Wha ? you say ? Same town name ?


Even more....

The town of Nogales is literally bisected by the border. It was in the same town, literally.... just on the MX side of it.


Is this saxophone any good?
My first sax was a Conn like this. I think they are good. The tone is darker compared to a modern Asia sax. Some guys prefer darker saxes. Some prefer brighter. I like Conn Shooting Star saxes.

I agree. Good horns. They sound great, are well designed, blow easy, and their intonation is good.

It IS the same model as the MX made 'Shooting Stars' model. Just that the US made ones were more precise and consistent in their build/fabrication.


Yours predates the move to Mexico.

Yes, it does. MX ones all had an N-prefixed serial number, all thru the 1970's up until '79 at least.

Conn serial #'s in the '60's:


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DavidUK

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5,081
But don't go paying too much for it.
I see these for sale £150-250 quite often and have bought their Pan American counterpart (had two) as low as £80.
I saw a "Pan American 10M Tenor" for sale on eBay recently for £1,200 or so. Ridiculous, trading on the 10M name which it isn't although it may have had the same body tube dimensions.
How much does the seller want for this one?
 

Jazz Is All

Member
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212
But don't go paying too much for it.
I see these for sale £150-250 quite often and have bought their Pan American counterpart (had two) as low as £80.
I saw a "Pan American 10M Tenor" for sale on eBay recently for £1,200 or so. Ridiculous, trading on the 10M name which it isn't although it may have had the same body tube dimensions.
How much does the seller want for this one?
Same sax is on eBay.co.uk for 500 pounds BIN. Maybe I should offer the seller half that and see if they are tired of waiting for a buyer. LOL Comes with a Wolf Tayne mpc 5* but no photo or info on which mpc it is.
 

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
83
It all depends on whether you want to have a decent horn for yourself or if you are looking for something you can flip. These shooting stars have a cult followership, I know a bunch of players who swear by them and they are comparable to any other vintage horn in the $500 to 600 range in terms of playability etc. Just their resale value is not that great.
 

Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
212
Noble Watts just proves what Trane said is true: "You can play a shoestring is you're sincere." Damn what chops...that might just be the best growl I've heard in a long time. However, I know that if I were playing that same sax and mpc I'd still sound just like me.

Having said that it doesn't mean I would want to try one of those to find out for myself, it's just that getting to do it is the difficult part from a monetary standpoint. :doh::doh::confused2::confused2: :cry:
 

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
83
Noble Watts just proves what Trane said is true: "You can play a shoestring is you're sincere." Damn what chops...that might just be the best growl I've heard in a long time. However, I know that if I were playing that same sax and mpc I'd still sound just like me.

Having said that it doesn't mean I would want to try one of those to find out for myself, it's just that getting to do it is the difficult part from a monetary standpoint. :doh::doh::confused2::confused2: :cry:

I bought one for $160.- nothing wrong with it other than that somebody had used it for putting practice and a golfball was lodged in the body tube, which was one tap with the handle of a wooden ladle and one of the pads needed to be refloated. I played it for ~ 1 year before I gave it away to an underprivileged student, she bought me a beer, though! The second one was in mint condition and came with a Brillhart Tonalin MPC for $150.-, the owner's wife didn't like the name Conn because she hated conn artists (I am not making this up) I offered her actually $200.- but she wouldn't take it. Like I said, they are still out there somewhere and probably the cheapest way to find a decent horn far below its "playing value".
 
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