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Thread: Conn 25

  1. #1
    Distinguished SOTW Member Jazz House's Avatar
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    Question Conn 25

    Before you read this please don't use the search button and send me a link


    I am well aware of the fact that there have been some posts on this, but they're not good enough.

    I was wondering if you could give me information regarding the characteristics of the Conn 25m alto sax.

    What i know is that it seems to be a relatively new creation and is of intermediate level. Is it any good?

    Comments about

    -Build quality
    - intonation
    - finish quality
    - tone
    -anything else


    would kindly be appreciated.
    Soprano: Jean Baptiste Deluxe Curved Soprano, Bari Gold #8,#3 Alexander Superial reeds
    Tenor: Conn 10M Naked Lady, Sakshama Shorty 7*, #3S RJS reeds

    Index of Common Questions!!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Conn 25

    better than your alleged train whistles
    YAS 62II, [Eugene Rosseau NC4],
    Choosing open holed flute or not: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=108257

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member and Great Bloke. Bootman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 25

    I would avoid it. Look for a 50's or earlier model.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Conn 25

    I hate to sound like a retirement commercial, but don't trust any conn under 50.

    The new whippersnappers are complete crap. They are nothing but pale, weak, poorly constructed mockeries to the good name of Elkhart, In.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Conn 25

    I`m 3rd yead bachelor student and I have my Conn 25M for ~6years .I`m happy with it ,intonation is not perfect but good ,lacquier - no problem ,well built,sounds rich.When I first took this horn I noticed that the keywork is uncomfortable ,after some time you just get used to it. Some older pro players tested 25M and said that its really good horn.

  6. #6
    Seeker Of A Clever Title. zxcvbnm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 25

    I second that
    Quote Originally Posted by EsbSpecial View Post
    I hate to sound like a retirement commercial, but don't trust any conn under 50.

    The new whippersnappers are complete crap. They are nothing but pale, weak, poorly constructed mockeries to the good name of Elkhart, In.
    Buescher curved soprano silver plate high F/Jicaino custom large chamber sop piece
    Buescher Aristocrat 140 silver plate /Jicaino refaced Buescher piece

  7. #7
    Forum Contributor 2014 Kenneth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 25

    Talk about coincidence! I was at my tech's place on Friday to get my clarinet repadded, and we got to talking. He's a good and caring friend of my 1933 Conn tranny alto, and I've written elsewhere in the forum about how much I love it, preferring it to my Selmer SBA. So he looks at me rather slyly, knowing how I don't think very highly about Conns made after 1950 or so, although, hey, I'm pretty open-minded and will give a horn a chance, and hands me a 21M and a 25M that some American sailors from the base in Naples had left him on consignment.

    They were in almost mint condition, and had been repadded with plastic resonators and fully serviced. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!

    My impressions:

    - build and finish quality: both look pretty well made, rather plain without any fancy engraving (those days are gone) -- the 21M has nothing but the name and number, the 25M has some shallow laser-engraved pattern-work. The lacquer appeared well-applied with no obvious runs, keywork was tight, nice firm bell brace, and surprise, surprise, rolled tone-holes on the 21M. The 21M has nickel-plated keys, the 25M has lacquered ones. Just from the physical appearance, the 25M looks more professional. Both say "Made in the U.S.A." They were lighter than my tranny, is that because the type of brass used is different? The overall impression was one of sturdiness and some quality. They seem better made than most Chinese-made instruments (haven't played the Conn-Selmer student, although some people say they're pretty decent), although that's not saying much.

    - keywork: quick action, no floppinness, but I didn't like the pinky arrangement, which seemed less intuitive than the one on the tranny, although the modern keywork is much "lighter". Palm keys were at a good height for me and easy to play with no hesitation.

    - intonation: good on both. No problems playing in tune with the Vandoren Jumbo A45, Rico Plasticover 3, Rovner Dark lig. my tech lent me. I felt the 21M had slightly better intonation (I have perfect ear, and am a classically trained pianist. My wife knows how much poor intonation bothers me, I'm almost complaining about singers on TV, for example , but I tolerate, even appreciate, the artistic use of the sharpish intonation that so many greats, like Parker, Coltrane, Gordon, etc., had), especially after high C and below low D, but nothing to worry about. In short, I don't think intonation is a problem with any of these saxes.

    - Tone: well, here's the crux of the question. I sold my Yamaha YAS62 simply because, with whatever setup I used, I always preferred the sound of my tranny. Both the new Conns had a nice, round sound all the way to the top that's quite reminiscent of the vintage Conns. They were a little reluctant to be "pushed", e.g., my tranny will just give you back whatever you give it, the 21M tended to "level out", and the 25M just sounded bland at top volume.

    Still, I was very, very surprised at how much I enjoyed playing them. So surprised that I actually took the 21M home -- see, I have this nice arrangement with my tech, I give him euros, he gives me a sax, or saxes. In this case, I gave him 175 euros for 1 sax. I'm still dazed. How did my quest for a late 1930s 26M end up with an early 1990s 21M? What an extreme case of GAS.

    So, Jazz House, I don't know if I helped you at all, but I think you can do worse than the 25M. Good build quality and intonation, and a surprisingly good sound approaching, but not quite matching, a vintage Conn. And hey, the 21M, what a sleeper!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Conn 25

    My second alto is a Conn 24M which I understand is a student model. Except for the keyworks which in my opinion may not be suited for those who have shorter fingers like me, I like the way the horn sounds. Used with a high baffle large chamber mpc and a Vandoren 2 traditional reed, I get a full big sound.

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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    Default Re: Conn 25

    The problems I have seen with the Conns from the 60s and 70s are not with the actual design but more with the slppy keys and pads which can be fixed if you put enough money into the horn. This may explain why some of the military horns are not so bad as they have techs.

  10. #10
    Forum Contributor 2014 Kenneth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 25

    I played the 21M again today, with my more or less regular setup: Otto Link TE 7, Bari Star H reed, FL ultimate brass lig, and I still remain pleasantly surprised. Sound wasn't bad at all, nice and round and effortless to produce, but I still don't like the pinky arrangement at all, balanced as it may be -- could be, like for renegade, my hands are too small. Then I went over to my tranny, and boy, I was home again, especially that sound, aaahhh, and the action, much slicker, even if it's 75 years old!

    Bruce, the 21M I played was made in the early 1990s, in the US, and with RTH. Maybe Conn did try to improve on their instruments, but I guess by then it was too late to salvage a reputation long-lost with the infamous Mexiconns.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Conn 25

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce bailey View Post
    The problems I have seen with the Conns from the 60s and 70s are not with the actual design but more with the slppy keys and pads which can be fixed if you put enough money into the horn. This may explain why some of the military horns are not so bad as they have techs.
    The response of the keys of my Conn 24M is fair enough. I think the problem insofar as my shorter fingers are concerned are the location of the table keys (too far down) and the right thumb rest which is fixed and makes my right hand palm touch the side keys when I press the lower right keys. Anyway, what I did was to have a tech adjust the table keys a bit upward and bend the right thumb rest to the right and these produced an improvement.

  12. #12
    Forum Contributor 2014 Kenneth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 25

    Just to follow-up on my original post.

    I've been toying around with the 21M for almost 2 weeks now, and am still astonished by how good it actually sounds. It really likes the Otto Link TE with the Bari * reed and a BG Traditional Gold-plated lig (in preference to the FL Ultimate). Intonation was very good, and I now find even the low notes and the alts totally in tune, when controlled against my tone-generator. And the sound was big, warm and round, no thinness at all even all the way up.

    My curiosity being piqued, I looked around the web, and read that this was a pretty anomalous horn for Conns of that period -- rth, sturdy construction (it's also physically heavier than many modern horns like the Yamaha, let alone the Chinese-made ones. Perhaps an indication of the quality of the brass used?); one guy (saxmaniax.com) even thought that it was an imported French body!

    Does anybody know the design and sales philosophy behind this? I see that the later Conns, even though made in the US, lost the rth.

    They're really, really cheap, which makes them a bargain, if they all play like the one I have.

    Like Bruce says, maybe because I bought mine on consignment from a sailor, it had had care from a military band tech. It probably wasn't a band instrument, it was almost mint when I bought it, hardly looked used at all, except for the repads.

    I now use it for practicing with my Imperial-Storm-Trooper a.k.a. VAS-2 (Chinese copy of the E-Sax) mute. It fits great, better than my 1933 tranny.

    Now, if I can only find a bargain mint 26M...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Conn 25

    About the 21M. My friend plays a 20M which looks like a 21M, from our school. Weirdly, it has some visual features of a Super 21...

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