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What do I do with this horn?

Hi Everyone,

I have a Silver Alto Conn Wonder, 72,xxx serial number. I have no clue what to do with this thing. It's horribly out of tune, it's relacquered, the mechanism is heavy. I got it a while back when I was stuck for a horn, suffered with it for a while, but I got the money for a YAS-82Z and have no need for it anymore. Any suggestions?
 
Hi Everyone,

I have a Silver Alto Conn Wonder, 72,xxx serial number. I have no clue what to do with this thing. It's horribly out of tune, it's relacquered, the mechanism is heavy. I got it a while back when I was stuck for a horn, suffered with it for a while, but I got the money for a YAS-82Z and have no need for it anymore. Any suggestions?
That serial # would make it a New Wonder I looks like. The first horn I every played was my Dad's New Wonder I, silver alto. It had a gorgeous sound that made the Mk6 alto players envious (in school band), and later I discovered that it had great intonation that rivaled any horn anywhere, using an acoustically complimentary mouthpiece (just like any other horn). The mechanism has it's problems, but, those are the easiest things to fix on a horn, if you like the sound. Sell it. Someone will buy it. Not everyone likes Yamaha.
 
I'm gonna check the intonation again. Last time I played it, it was on a beechler, and I just wasn't a fan of that mouthpiece. Now I'm playing a Vandoren A17, so completely different side of the spectrum.

The 82Z is fantastic for me. Some opinions may differ, but my setup does everything I ask it to do. Soft low tones without subtone. Not a perfect line, but its consistent. Great tonal character throughout. As a doubler I just can't afford 4 Mark VIs, plus for me they're not worth the price difference when you're playing 80% clarinet in the pit.
 
I'm gonna check the intonation again. Last time I played it, it was on a beechler, and I just wasn't a fan of that mouthpiece. Now I'm playing a Vandoren A17, so completely different side of the spectrum.

The 82Z is fantastic for me. Some opinions may differ, but my setup does everything I ask it to do. Soft low tones without subtone. Not a perfect line, but its consistent. Great tonal character throughout. As a doubler I just can't afford 4 Mark VIs, plus for me they're not worth the price difference when you're playing 80% clarinet in the pit.
Yamahas are good horns. You gotta use what works for you. That is the solution.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Don't give up until...

...you try it with a original Conn mouthpiece, or a modern equivalent. That makes all of the difference in the world, and (assuming that you can live with the horrid key work arrangement and the killer thumb hook) you will end up with an "American" horn with tonal quality that is unrivaled.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'd say that the #1 thing to check is if it says "H," "HP," or "High Pitch" under the serial number. If it does, it's out of tune because it's using the old intonation standard. There's nothing you can do to make it play in tune.

After that, I'd go on with investigating mechanical issues.

These horns were originally sold as bare brass. If you do have lacquer on it, it's not necessarily RElacquered, it was just lacquered at some point. If the engraving's sharp and the toneholes are level, it's probably just "lacquered" and you shouldn't worry about it.

I've mentioned, elsewhere, that I used to loathe Conns. I owned and played several horns from the New Wonder era and hated them all -- and I used a mouthpiece that's very close to period-correct, a Sigurd Rascher. I also owned an overhauled tenor. Hate, hate, hate.

All of this changed when I played a 30M, but that's a different story.

The point is that it just may not be for you. However, other folks love 'em, as MM indicates. If it's low pitch (i.e. modern standard) and isn't totally shot, someone will buy it.
 
Well, I spent some time with it today, and it must have been my old mouthpiece, cause it wasn't terrible. F#s are a bit flat, D and E in the staff are sharp, but that's not uncommon. Low Bb is sharp, but low B is actually only sharp by a few cents. I love the tone of this horn. Anyway, I'm gonna get a case for it, then ebay it. If I get $200 for it, I'm happy, although it's worth more.

Thanks for the help.
 
I just worked on New Wonder I soprano. It was bought locally for less than $300 which is a steel here. It needed some work, but it was possible to put it in decent condition with a relatively small repair (which is all the owner could afford). Intonation isn't as good as any soprano, but it's not bad either. Mechanics are pretty good for the time, although it is not that good in comparison with everything developed since then. Sound is just great. I don't know if the alto is similar or not, since I haven't tried that specific model alto.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I took a chance and bought a used Morgan Vintage mouthpiece to go with the True Tone soprano I restored. It really helped the intonation and made it easy to produce a nice full tone.

It appears that he has produced a series of mouthpiece with a more open chamber similar to the original vintage mouthpieces, but with a greater tip opening for more volume like modern pieces.
 
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