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Conn 26M Conqueror

Discussion in 'Saxophones' started by jbtsax, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I just experienced my first Conn 26M overhaul. What a fascinating saxophone with features far ahead of their time such as adjusting screws for regulation and key height. Items of interest include a "back bar" on the lower stack that goes up instead of down, set screws on every adjustment "lug", and sterling silver touches on the palm, side, low Eb/C, and LH table keys.

    Once finished one of the top alto players in Utah played it and said it was the best alto he had ever played.

    http://s162.photobucket.com/user/jbtsax/slideshow/Conn 26M alto sax
    JfW and TrueTone like this.
  2. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Stop and think a minute. Why would Conn use Sterling silver on touchpieces? They didn't. The touchpieces are nickel.
  3. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Admin and all around good guy. Staff Member Administrator

    Oh man, the picture series with this post are stellar! So much to take in. Thanks JB! I'm gonna feature this on the WF on the book of face. :)
    jbtsax likes this.
  4. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    They are, in fact, silver which cursory research will confirm.
    TrueTone likes this.
  5. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    It's always hard to tell in photos, but from the pics, the touchpieces do look silver.

    Regardless of the plating on the touchpieces, the horn is in lovely shape. What a gorgeous restoration job. Does it belong to someone? Is it for sale?
  6. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    It belongs to a customer, and I made her promise to give me first offer if it is ever up for sale.
  7. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    Good for you. It is a very pretty horn. If I were in your position, I'd likely have asked the owner for the same option.

    I have always loved the sound of the Conn altos. The tenors... not so much... but the altos... ah.... they are a thing of beauty.

    Hey, if they can make this big horn player sound convincingly like a true alto player, then they must have something magical built into them. I sound better on my 6M pawnshop special, than I do on my minty Mark VI that I got in the early 80s. Go figure! :emoji_open_mouth:
  8. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I love the sound of the altos as well. Have you played a good 10M? My current tenor set up is a 10M with a Jody Jazz Jet 7*. It has a big fat sound in the low and middle register that you can't get on a Selmer or Yamaha. I have a Buescher Top Hat tenor that is on my list to overhaul that might give it a run for it's money, but we'll have to wait and see.
  9. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    I'm not sure I've played a "good" 10M, since I haven't played nearly as many as I have say, JK's, or even Hohner Presidents. (Talk about strangely backward, huh? ;) )

    That being said, I have a 10M. Hate it. It is the only horn I own that I would consider selling. That said, other Conn owners who have played it said it sounds exactly like a 10M.... Huh??? I have long wondered: If this is what they sound like, then why are they such a big deal?

    Don't get me wrong, the horn sounds fine. It has spot on intonation. Is so free blowing, a chimp could learn how to play sax on it. It does overtones incredibly easily, thus the altissimo notes are a snap. It plays evenly across the entire range. Blah, blah, blah.... The only thing I can fault the horn for, is that its tone is very white bread.

    I have a rather eclectic--and yes rather numerous--collection of personal tenors. Nowhere near the number that Sarge from WWS had mind you, but none the less, around the neighbourhood of 10. Sarge and I often talked of our love for obscure horns, and shared stories of the interesting tone and colour that these various makes, models, and even sub-models of horns--most of which players here in North America have not played for themselves--were capable of producing.

    It is through this lens that I view the 10M as an incredibly boring horn. Yes, it does everything a horn should be able to do. That being said, it has nothing special that makes it stand out in the crowd of interesting-sounding vintage horns I own. It sounds just like any other tenor sax, with no discernible "something" that makes you say: Wow, listen to that sax! What could that be?

    I should mention, Sarge was the tech who did the overhaul on my 10M. He turned a train wreck into a great working, great playing saxophone, which in his words: "Sounds exactly like a 10M should." To which I replied: "Really?" I nearly left it with him right then and there... That's when we had our first discussion about our love of oddball horns, and why the 10M was destined to disappoint me....

    I should note, it was that same day I first play-tested what would become my main tenor: a 1950 King Zephyr. Now that is a horn with something "special"...
    TrueTone likes this.
  10. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Each of us has a concept of sound we want to achieve on each size of saxophone. Mine on tenor leans more toward the "smoky" nightclub sound of ballads and bossa novas. I don't need a set-up that takes the paint off the walls, just one with a tone that is round and full in the lower register and well controlled in the upper register. Think Ben Webster or Coleman Hawkins without the "soupy" vibrato. The sound I try to achieve when pushed as in a big band setting is close to Plas Johnson or Pete Christlieb. I have found my 10M capable of that range of expression. What more is there to say?
    TrueTone and Gandalfe like this.
  11. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    I couldn't agree more. Overall, I am an "bright", overtone rich kinda girl.:emoji_wink:

    Ah the paint... For me, that's half the fun. :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Seriously though, finding a horn that can do absolutely everything--except play classical--that I wanted/needed it to do, ended the day I found that particular Zephyr in Sarge's unrestored pile. Even leaking like a sieve, he and I could tell there was something "special" about the horn. I tried 6 that day, but the ugly duckling won my heart. It does smokey bar, blends with the sax section in the 17-piece big band I play in, and screams like a banshee in electric blues and rock.

    The only other horn I have that comes close to doing all of this, is my 198XXX Mark VI. It of course has the added benefit of being able to play classical. (Yah right... Like that's going to happen. :emoji_smile: )

    My other tenors all have their unique tonal qualities, and no 2 sound alike. (Well except the D&J and JK, but that's different story.) One thing they all have in common however, is a "complexity" in their sound. The one exception in my tenor stable, is of course my 10M. Its tone is not particularly complex.

    I completely agree with you, the 10M does smokey bar well. That being said, I have never taken it to a big band rehearsal. But after this discussion, I think a will. I have started taking my various tenors over the past few months just to get them out there. I was going to take my Martin Handcraft next (now there is a horn with killer sound), but I think perhaps I will take my 10M instead.

    I will also take it to the jazz combo rehearsal tomorrow perhaps. I don't think I will change my mind about the horn, but perhaps if I play it for a couple weeks--and no other tenor--then I will get a better understanding of what players see (hear) in them.

    I had actually planned to sell my 10M to a former member in the big band who had moved out of town, and needed a new sax. However, she didn't contact me when she came home over the Easter holidays.

    I'll give my good ol' 10M a fair shake for a week or two starting tomorrow. Then I'll report back. Who knows, maybe I'll become a 10M fan after all...
    TrueTone likes this.
  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    You didn't take pics of the whole horn, jbt! I was hoping for those!
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