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Oooh. That's a darn shame. Really interesting, too.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
http://bassic-sax.info/pix/index.php?/category/14720. Link to the closed ebait ad.

The "darn shame" part: it's a really, really nice looking 1911 Bb bass. I think it's about 95% perfect, with a bit of pitting and scratching on the bow guard. I'm pretty sure it has an automatic octave key. However, it's high pitch. That's why you didn't get bids, dude!

Here's the "really interesting" part: as mentioned, it's from 1911. It's engraved "CG Conn, LTD." That name didn't come into existence until Carl Greenleaf bought the company in 1915. It should be engraved just, "CG Conn." It looks like a Wonder Improved model. (You can argue it's a New Invention model. I don't mind.) It's got the Union label. No pearls (i.e. the reason why I think it's probably just a Wonder model). My opinion is that the school wanted a high pitch horn and CG Conn, LTD didn't have any New Wonder basses around, so they sold a "new, old stock" or something like that.

I also noted that the horn doesn't have a Bb "bis" key. I took a look at the New Wonder basses I have pix of and some do and some don't, even from the same years, so either it was an option from the factory (probably) or they were all added aftermarket. Maybe the bis key became standard when Conn switched from the "straight neck" to the curved one. I know I've mentioned the date when that occurred, but I don't remember it, ATM. I don't remember if the bass I played about 30 years ago had a bis key, but I remember the curved neck. Hey, I was more concerned about trying to make it play in tune.
That engraving is wierd-what you said makes the most sense, although there's the possibility of it being replaced later, although that would probably look a lot rougher of a horn if it needed that! I know much later HP Conns generally looked like a mishmash of different era parts, in some ways.
Also of note to me: that school isn't that far from where I'm from! The city mentioned is a suburb of Birmingham!
I'd have to check harder than I want to, but I'm pretty sure that Conn probably didn't do any engraving on basses until they were ready to ship, as Conn and Buescher basses were stencils for all US manufacturers, except for an odd Holton here and there and maybe an HN White. I also don't remember if any Conn basses had anything other than the Haynes patent stamped on them, but I'd have to wade through a bunch of pics and I'm lazy and/or medicated. Or both.
Well its HP build explains the condition... Much like the Evette & Schaeffer HP bari I got nearly a decade ago that is from 1886. (You should remember that horn fairly well Pete.)

I remember seeing that horn on eBay and thinking to myself that the seller is going to have to adjust his/her price. 6K for a HP horn is just simply not going to happen. Why? B/C for 6K you can get yourself a LP bass. Sure it won't be as minty as this one, but at least you will be able to play it with others.
I immediately thought of your horn when I saw that Conn :D.

However, one would expect a large horn -- especially one that was used in a school -- to be severely beat after a couple years. It doesn't even have tarnish. That means it was kept in a good environment.

I wouldn't terribly mind having an HP horn from the 19th century that had a design closer to A. Sax's, like your Evette-Schaeffer, Helen. If I had extra cash lying around not earmarked for something else, that is.
Using old stock isn't uncommon. I have an old Stanley #5 jack plane that has right hand threads on the depth adjustment but the shoe is from the first model that switched to left hand threads. I forgot what year that makes it (around 1890-1895) but it was common for Stanley to use up all their old parts before fully shifting to the new design.
Wow, that's gorgeous. But the Lister is right - a Museum is where it rightly belongs.
I've thought about contacting Dr. Margaret Downie-Banks at the Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, which is definitely the museum that would love this instrument. However, when other people or I have contacted her in the past, she hasn't been exactly ... nice.
I have found Dr. M D-B a bit abrupt. She left a comment on my website years ago though, when I linked to their site in an article about Adolphe Sax saxophones. However, when I sent an email to her about the C-pitched tenor that I had (still have actually) the chance to buy locally, she never replied. Maybe she never received it? B/C if anything would have drawn a response from the museum, you would think it would be an email about a C-pitched tenor by A.E. Sax.
Well, it was only an AE Sax :D.

I think we have most of the extant AJ Sax horns listed on our pic gallery and several others that aren't on anyone's list. We're a little thinner on AE Sax, but, again, we've got several that aren't on museum lists (check here and here). Hey, I've even organized the AE Sax horns by feature set.

(FWIW, I try to collect pictures of ANY bass sax that's not terribly beat, AE or AJ Sax horns, Claude Laurent flutes, contrabasses, Conn-made F instruments, Selmer low A altos, Sarrusophones, Rothophones, colored lacquer vintage horns, and a couple others that slip my mind. I also generally do Conn Artist Special or Virtuoso Deluxe horns that aren't beat.)

IIRC, Dr. MDB made some comment about not giving out information because she was writing a book, which does not yet exist, and I think it's been at least 10 years, if not more, since I contacted her. Also, I don't particularly care about company history, unless there's an impact on horn production, which is kind of obvious for Conn in the time period we're talking about.
Yah, that thought crossed my mind as well. If it was an AJ horn, she probably would have replied. :p
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