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Value of a Conn New Wonder II Bari?

Does anyone know how much a Conn NW II Bari might be worth in today's market? There are some photos of it here. It's in good playing condition.

Saxgourmet values it at $1800 but I'm guessing this may have been at the market highs. I'm wondering how much have prices for vintage horns dropped since then. I will be selling it but am not sure how much I should list it for. Thanks.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
It's worth about a C note, but I'll give you $200.00 for it...let's finalize this deal NOW!

Seriously, I have always liked the clever workaround for the whole "table keys from hell" arrangement of the Conn horn, whereby a convoluted design of the low B key touchpiece offers a "bypass" route to any of the other keys in the cluster. As funky- and baroque-looking as a 1918-vintage Fokker E. VII "Flying Razor" in a line up of jet fighters, but very functional
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
... however, you've also got that funky octave vent on the neck -- but the key is a separate piece and on the horn.

1. The Saxgourmet list is rather general and at least 5 years old (Goodson no longer maintains that 'site)
2. Remember that "monetary value" does not = how much you're going to get for it, particularly in this economy
3. If you do list it for sale (and you can't do that here until you hit 25 posts), make sure the first thing you mention is that it's LOW PITCH. That's a good thing: it's got the same tuning standard as modern instruments
4. "Series II" was a name I gave to, primarily, altos and tenors Conn made after a specific serial number range because they were considerably different from the horns that came earlier and it was very easy to spot those differences. If you want to extend it to baritone sax, you'd have to have the octave vent AND key on the neck, as well as the "nailfile" G# key (and several other things, too). All this occurred around s/n 180xxx. So, just call your horn a "New Wonder."

As an amusing aside, there aren't that many surviving Conn baris from about 100xxx to 170xxx. Interesting that it's that specific of a range. Anywho ...

You can look at my comprehensive guide to horn value-ation and try to determine a good value for your horn that way. The bottom line is that condition is king. It looks like you need all new pads. Mechanical condition otherwise looks pretty good and I can't see any dents in the pictures you posted. I'd be a little concerned about springs, though. Re-springing and repadding a bari isn't just chump change, either. www.worldwidesax.com would say, "$1600 to $1900 for repairs." Someone here might do it for less ... or more :).

Looking at my 2-year-old data, sold horns in similar condition average around $750.

Best recommendation I've got:

If you want to sell the horn, put the horn on eBay for a $750 reserve and don't do anything at all to it -- no repairs of any kind. Don't even try to polish it. See how much it sells for. Or put a $1800 reserve on it and then contact the highest bidder after the auction to see how much he'd buy it for, because it won't reach the reserve.

If you want to keep the horn, I'd recommend doing a full overhaul with worldwidesax or another of the luminaries here. You'll get a very good older pro horn, after all is said and done, for a price that's going to be less than what most student baris cost.
 
Thanks for the detailed info pete. I will take a look at the link to your guide too.

The horn was reconditioned by a tech reputed to be one of the best on the West coast when I got it in '97, so I think the springs are fine. I don't think I ever needed to get any pads replaced so maybe it is due for some.

I got a Vito 901 bari about 3 years back and since then the Conn has been pretty much unplayed, it's just been sitting in the case. Although I like the sound of the Conn I could never get used to the action. The action on the Vito (which is a US assembled Yani) almost feels like a tenor and it has a good sound although different from the Conn.
 
As an amusing aside, there aren't that many surviving Conn baris from about 100xxx to 170xxx. Interesting that it's that specific of a range.

Weird..I have 2 in this range. The 1923 is artist engraved gold plated, but needing a full rebuild (104k serial) and the 1924 is gold plated with the floral engraving, rebuilt and in great playing condition (143k serial).

Oddly enough, there are quite a few differences between these, even though only a year apart. The largest difference is an extra vent key on the upper curl on the '24. Both are keyed up to Eb though :(
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
@ kfrank: No problem. I've been doing this kinda thing for years.

@ DavidW: When I first started doing the Conn stuff on saxpics.com probably about 6 to 8 years ago, I went really, really general in my break-down of the New Wonder. This was partially by design -- Conn had a LOT of models -- and partially because I couldn't really devote all that time to Conn. (It was also partially because, when I first started writing about 'em, I had so many negative Conn experiences, I wanted to do something else. :))

In any event, the end-all is that all Conn models changed a bunch throughout their run. This can be at the very macro level, such as when they discontinued rolled tone holes, or at the very micro(ish) level, when they changed just a key or a couple tone holes, as with your horns.

At some point in the future, I may revisit Conn and do a totally new writeup on them.

I also want to mention that, to a certain extent, the Artist's Special-finished horns (that's the triple gold-plate + a non-custom, but elaborate, engraving) and/or the Virtuoso Deluxe-finished horns (that's the finish with all the extra pearls) occasionally had features not found on the "non-special" instruments, the easiest example happens to be the microtuner neck.

I've also repeated a quote that I believe was from Paul Cohen: a lot of Conn stencils have some interesting things that Conn patented, but didn't want to put on their pro line until they were tested. I've seen stencils with odd microtuners and three octave vents, for instance. It's possible and even probable they found their way onto the New Wonders and/or the later Standard/Artist horns (the "Naked Lady" model).

If you get a chance, shoot me some pics. Especially for the calendar projects!

Oh. Why do you need anything more than Eb? It's high enough! (Now, it'd be nicer if they went to low A ....)
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I've always missed that extra half step, so useful on Eb instruments when structuring a chord. However, all that I have ever read is that low A altos are hard to tune overall.

I also return to the shows that I have played that call for a low A on the tenor, clearly written for that pitch as they almost always include A an octave above in parentheses at the same time. Despite this, I've never seen a low A tenor.

(I have seen and touched but not played low A altos - and, I hasten to add, there are some who would say that I have done the same with low A baritones, but they are just being mean-spirited.)

There's no question that the good Colonel (if only an honorary title, it still deserves to be capitalized in his case) was very innovation-minded. Stuff like the fork Eb (properly vented, unlike the Leblanc bass clarinet version of this - why Leblanc didn't just add the public-domain Eb lever instead of the fork Eb is one of the great mysteries of the bass clarinet), even though flawed in its execution, the improvements on the table keys, and so forth arguably advanced the technology of the saxophone. It's a shame that so much of the Conn story has been lost through the destruction of the company's files and other records.

This winter, once the skies have cleared, I'm going to have to photograph my Conn and send the pictures off to pete/whoever. As crude as an early Conn can be (and even on a top end horn there are some comparative "rough edges" to the design), they are still a visual joy to behold.

And, while a "French" horn like a Mark VI reflects the elegance of "state of the art" saxophone making, there was still something lost (the "fat" tonality, for example) when we moved away from Conn's at times funky instruments. I know that some have claimed that this horn or that horn has the Conn sound, but none that I have tried have lived up to the hype.

Everyone should at least try a Conn (a real one, from the good old days, not one of those Mexican things). They may be flawed in a number of ways (says the Conn owner, counting the problems on his fingers), but the sound is something else.

But, just what Conn (or his minions) were thinking when they came up with the thumb hooks and thumb rings will forever remain a mystery.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
There have been a couple low A tenors and C melodies, allegedly. I've not seen them, but I hear that they were probably Selmer Modele 26s or Selmer Super Series.

Much more common is the low A alto, which A. Sax, himself, made. He may have made other horns with low A, as well. I've not seen those, either.

The most common low A alto, though, is the Selmer Mark VI -- and, considering I've got pics of a Mark VII alto with a low A, it may be possible to get a low A on S80s.

Of course, the Conn-O-Sax, an F alto, has a low A.

Probably the first baritone with a low A was the Selmer Super (Balanced) Action.

There have been a couple low A (and low G) basses. All are custom, in one way or another, although the first ones were probably from Keilwerth.

Benedikt Eppelsheim and/or J'Elle Strainer might put a low A on a contrabass for you, too.

On the extreme other end, I've seen a few low A sopranos. IIRC, one was from Yanagisawa.

Personally, I can see a use for a low A on an Eb horn -- that's a low C, concert pitch. I can't see that much use for one on Bb instruments. F instruments and C instruments? Well, why not?
 
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