Relisted on Ebay. Hoping she finds a good home.
Relisted on Ebay. Hoping she finds a good home.
I had one when I was a kid, very much like this one, but my fork Eb wasn't corked shut. I loved the fork Eb because it allowed me to play double stop Eb's which was popular when playing R&B and rock solos back then. I never had a problem with the fork Eb even though the split fingering Eb wasn't quite as clear as the common fingering we use today. But sometimes I didn't want a crystal clear Eb, and the fork fingering would give me the dirty sound I wanted.
I also remember back in the day, older players saying that if you played a "nekked lady," the more of the lady that was exposed in the engraving meant more quality in the playing of horn. In other words, just the face and shoulders meant an average quality horn, and the more of the frontal features shown meant that you had a better quality instrument. So, if you had the whole lady exposed on your horn, you had a rocket ship, a horn that practically played by itself.
But I never could figure out how this myth worked. Did someone at the factory blow the horn before engraving then take the horn to the engraver and tell him or her how much lady to expose on the horn? Or did the engraver just do how they felt, just the face, or face and shoulders, face shoulders and breasts, or the whole body. This chapter in engraving history has always been somewhat fascinating to me.
I have heard that old myth as well. It ranks up there with the best Mark VI's logos on the neck getting a blue background, and the best Mark VI's being made from the brass of spent artillery shells. There's even the tale that the best Mark VI's were assembled in the morning before the workers had their lunch break which included several glasses of wine. Pete probably knows more of the saxophone lore than anyone with the research he has done.
There is the theory that only Conn's horns that were of the best quality, according to their quality control folks, were sent off to be gold plated. However, this would be someone evaluating the horn's body to make sure that the rolled tone holes were in perfect shape and possibly test some internal and external measurements to see how close to spec they were. I doubt Conn assembled a full, bare-brass horn, gave it to a player and had him actually play 'em, then disassemble the entire horn, rip out the pads, corks and felts, have it plated gold, (re)engrave it, then reassemble it. I think it's possible that Conn did this, but I just think it's very unlikely.
I think it's more probable that, because of the addition expense of gold plate, the players that owned these plated horns took better care of them. In other words, in a fight between a beat-up horn and a well-cared-for horn, the well cared for one will always win.
I also think that it's possible that a big-name player was allowed to go to Conn, play-test a few horns, then hand it back to the seller and say something like, "I like this one. Gimmee the gold plate and custom engraving."
Yes, I'm the Artist Formerly Known as Saxpics.
Check out my photoblog! Updated on September 7, 2014: Yanagisawa (a work in progress).
...access to a digital camera back in 1995 or so when I decided to have my Conn 'artist' grade horn rebuilt. The decrepit condition that it was in had to bee seen to be believed - missing keys, missing fittings, mouse devoured pads, peeling corks, gunky dark brown finish, and a worn and scratched spot on the back of the horn where the finish had been worn completely through.
The horn was encountered in a group of horns that someone had bought from a small county school district in southern IL, and who was trying to make a profit on his limited investment. He had a "new" Conn baritone (which was trashed completely) that caught my eye, and in the process of going through the rest (a bassoon with the wing joint completely split up the bore, several rancid clarinets and some other odds and sods, and I originally planned to make the horn into a lamp, based upon the unique engraving on the bell.
(I bagged the rancid smelling instrument up and stashed it in the basement, and almost pitched the thing when we moved down here. It smelled horrible...)
I took a leap of faith (based upon playing a friend's Conn horn, a silver plated one) and had it rebuilt from the basement up, opting for silver plate in place of the original gold plating. I was seriously tempted to go with the gold (after seeing the bell with the gunk buffed off), but could not justify the expense for a horn that was only an occasional indulgence.
Today, the gleaming silver "ugly lady" (mine has a portrait of someone named Helen Willson engraved in place of the usual slightly risque "naked lady") is a source of complements whenever I haul her out.
When dealing with junked instruments, you never know what you're going to run into.
What is Helen wearing?
Typical 1920s woman's headwear, a cloche (sp?) hat, a loose fitting dress or coat. Alas, no nudity, but then again (from her face), she's not really all that hot.
She looks something like this:
...but nowhere near as attractive.
Using the internets, we spent a considerable amount of time looking for Helen Willson. No matches turned up that would have helped track her down.
I knew a Helen Wilson. She resembled Jane Hathaway.
Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.
The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to broken.
...was the pride of Iowa, Meredith Willson. My father had met him somehow, and we met during a swing up through New York when I was a kid. (I think that he was the musical director for George Burns and Gracie Allen back when they had a television show, and we had some sort of connection with Burs or Allen.)
I check his wife; it wasn't her...
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