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Thread: Conn 18M soprano

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    Default Conn 18M soprano

    Does anybody have experience on the Conn 18M soprano? Are there many of those around?What are the main differences between the 18M and the previous model? Is it so the model was changed around serialnumber 227 xxx? I have seen few for sale having serial 205 xxx or 209 xxx but advertised as 18M...

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    I have an 18M, #235xxx (the latest I know of). Great playing horn - IF you can find the right mouthpiece. Neither vintage barrel chambers nor the smaller chambers made today will work. Without a very short mpc AND a "throated" (modern type) chamber, the horn will play very flat due to the longer taper of the tube and smaller bore.

    The taper and bore are the main difference between this and the earlier straight Conn (also numbered 18M, confusingly enough), which is about 3/4" shorter in length. If I remember correctly, the new model started around #220k.[/i]

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    Thanks Paulwl! That is all very interesting. I read on saxpics site that the model was changed around 227 xxx.

    Do you think an early Selmer Soloist ebonite piece would work? It has a horse-shoe (or dome) shaped chamber. Or what do you think about a Slant signature Otto Link soprano piece for this horn?

    Well, of course I should first try to find me the horn...Any of those seen on Ebay lately? Are they generally hard to find and how much is the expected average price?

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Thanks Paulwl! That is all very interesting. I read on saxpics site that the model was changed around 227 xxx.
    I've seen them as early as 221k. It's tricky, because for a while before AND during the stretch model run, they engraved a "badge" shape around the number stamp. People sometimes say the badge can be used to tell them apart, but it doesn't work. Either model can have the badge, or not have it.

    Do you think an early Selmer Soloist ebonite piece would work? It has a horse-shoe (or dome) shaped chamber. Or what do you think about a Slant signature Otto Link soprano piece for this horn?
    Try anything, but don't expect much. The best you'll probably be able to do is get the whole horn in pretty good tune, except low B and Bb will still be so flat they're unusable. Of course, if you get better results than this, report back here so I can try what you did!

    Are they generally hard to find and how much is the expected average price?
    They're rare, but not very sought after. Those in the know recognize the mpc problems. It also has a different tone quality that doesn't appeal to your typical vintage user - a little "ringy", rather than velvety-dark. And of course, those who aren't in the know just think it's another Conn sopsax...

    Prices seem to be in the neighborhood of $1,000 these days. I paid $1,200 5 years ago for my Deco engraved horn, very VERY rare (I don't know of another).

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    I have a 1925 18m I don't know the # on it it's like scratched off. I have a small silver mouth piece that came with it, and it plays right on every time.

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    Default Conn 18M soprano

    Thanks Paul,

    Useful information! There is now one gold plated Conn Chu 221 xxx on Saxquest I am interested in. How can I know it is the later model? How much is the lenght of the later model and how much is the difference in lenght to the earlier one?

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    Just to expand the discussion a bit . . . my '23 gold-plated Conn straight (ser 109xxx; purchased from Gayle Fredenburgh, vintagesax.com) plays nicely. It is the same length as my Yana S992 and other sops.

    I know it isn't one of the longer models you are discussing, but it is still a good horn. The only problem I have with it are the in-line style palm keys (similar to a MKVI), but I rarely use them. I had them bent down a bit so I didn't accidentally open them.

    I use a Selmer Super Session J-facing piece on it. Intonation is okay (not up to my TT or Yana sops, but acceptable; and the intonation doesn't improve with any of the other mouthpoieces I have - new and vintage). It has a huge voice - very focused.

    When I first started out on sop (1956), I started on a C-Conn sop and then switched to a late-model Conn Bb sop. Don't recall the serial number (or much anything else about it except that as a novice player, I didn't much care for it). I suspect it was one of the longer ones.

    I guess my point is that if you are looking for a vinatge Conn, don't disregard the older models. DAVE

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 18M soprano

    Quote Originally Posted by keuhkoman
    Thanks Paul,
    Useful information! There is now one gold plated Conn Chu 221 xxx on Saxquest I am interested in. How can I know it is the later model?
    It sure looks like one! It has several of the hallmarks:

    • Bb-bis (no pearl)
    • simplified octave key system (older model had the "seesaw" type with each vent on a short pivot)
    • "badge" engraving around serial stamp (not a sure clue; some short horns have it too, and not all long ones)

    How much is the lenght of the later model and how much is the difference in lenght to the earlier one?
    Later model is 26 3/8" long (±1/8"). This is 3/4" longer than the older model at 25 5/8" (±1/8").

    Ask Mark the length of the horn, and if you want to buy, ask him what mouthpieces he can personally recommend.

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    Default Conn 18M soprano

    Thanks for your answers Paul and Dave!

    I definitely do not despise the older model Conns or TTs either. I am dreaming to buy one TT and as well as an older Conn soprano in the future!
    But I think I will buy this one from Saxquest first and ask for the mouthpieces suitable for it. I have a chance to get a large chamber vintage Buescher mouthpiece and reface it to make it little more open. Right now I play a beautiful Selmer mark VI (serial 89 xxx) with a "soloist" mouthpiece C** stamped on the table. It is a nice horn, but I want to go for a sound more like my Conn 26M VIII (bare brass,serial 303 xxx)alto.

    I also have a Conn Transitional alto (satin silver,serial 259 xxx), but I prefer the sound and the protection of the 26M. For some reason (I do not know if it is visual reason only!) all the silver plated ones (altos) I have tried seem to have little less resonace and the sound being more metallic than the lacquered or gold plated ones... Do you find any differencies in resonance, sound and protection between silver plated and gold plated sopranos?

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    This may be a dumb question, but what model conn curved soprano is dave koz using. I had never given conns a second though until I saw his Live in Trindad DVD. He plays a vintage curved conn soprano and his intonation is right on -- and the tone is very good.

    Let me know.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 18M soprano

    Quote Originally Posted by keuhkoman
    I have a chance to get a large chamber vintage Buescher mouthpiece and reface it to make it little more open.
    It won't work on the long Conn - I've tried. The chamber's so big it will be 1/2 tone flat (but not in tune even then - no playing even A-clarinet parts). The best option will probably be to get an existing mpc customized by someone who's familiar with this type horn. Ralph Morgan in Ohio, USA would probably be your best bet.

    For some reason (I do not know if it is visual reason only!) all the silver plated ones (altos) I have tried seem to have little less resonace and the sound being more metallic than the lacquered or gold plated ones... Do you find any differencies in resonance, sound and protection between silver plated and gold plated sopranos?
    I believe any effect that plating might have on saxophone sound is psychological - strictly the player's perception. That said, a psychological effect can often change your playing materially. I just don't experience one myself.

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    I'm with Paul on the finish-issue. I have four straight sops . . . all have different finishes and all play equally well. Probably the best all around player is a matte-silver TT that was lacquered before I got it. Next would be a gold-plated Conn (mentioned above - clumsy palm keys and bisBb, but a bright focued sound), tied for third would be the Yana S992 (bronze) and a shiny silver TT. All four are terrific sops, capable of solid public-performance.

    I had a curved Conn sop years ago but the scale was atrocious. Only one example, though. The guy I sold it to played it well. Have you ever heard/seen Bob Wilber play his curvy? Oh my!! DAVE

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Funny, Bob and I sat in on the same group 2 years ago, and he had a straight Martin...

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    Paulwl: I suppose Wilber has a number of different sops.

    I have a video of him from about twenty years or so ago where he and his band (The Bechet Legacy, as I recall) performed a number of Bechet tunes in concert . . . all played on a curved silver sop (probably a Buescher from what I could tell). Many of his album covers show straight vintage sops (probably Martins).

    Not that I'm in Wilber's league, but I've performed on many different sops, too. DAVE

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    Default Conn 18m soprano

    Thanks for your messages. I realized there is two interesting short Martin soprano mouthpieces for sale on www.worldwidesax.com that might work with the long 18M. Or do you think the big chamber would work? Paul mentioned earlier only a "throated" (modern type) chamber would be suitable. But could you paul give me an example what brand and model do you mean exactly?

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Sadly, nothing made today. (Sorry to be so discouraging here... ) The closest I came was a rubber Link that I had shortened about 1/4". The throat was still too far forward to really tune up all thru the range.

    Modifying the throat, getting the chamber volume just right, is really a job for a custom tech. You might even need to send him the horn, as most have probably never played one.

    Those Martin pieces on worldwidesax.com are probably going to be too big in the chamber to work, no matter how short the length. I suppose you could ask Sarge if he's actually tried them on an 18M.

    Hey, I have a thought. My Sigurd Rascher soprano piece is made from a Martin blank. I'll try that on the 18M and see if I'm pleasantly surprised...

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    BTW, I don't want to accuse Sarge of dubious claims here, but one of those supposedly Martin mpcs (the longer one) is marked "Babbitt Artist"...

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    Thanks Paulwl! Absolutely great if you have a chance to find out whether that Martin type of mouthpiece works with the 18M or not. I can hardly wait...

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    Hi,

    Now i have tried many mouthpieces (incl. those vintage very short shank Martin large chamber ones) and nothing works properly. I was told only the original mouthpiece made for "stretch" 18M works... so, any suggestions where to find one?

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