Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

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    Default Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Hi Everyone - I'm always scouting for a good bari and this one caught my eye. At the risk of losing it to someone :-), I'm looking for advice on this one...I love the sound of the Conn 12M and the 11M, but they are harder to find and usually priced higher. Would this be a good horn based on its age and condition? I don't know much about the Pan American.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Conn-Pan-Ame...AAAOSwjqVZHMfE
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    I wouldn't do it simply because the octave mechanism is the same as on a Conn NWI and of poor design. It was a massive improvement when they modernized the mechanism on the NWII, which is what Mulligan mostly played. On this PanAm you will have to match up the octave lever on the pigtail with the octave hole on the neck, if you understand what I mean. It is truly bizarre and prone to trouble. There are later Pan-Ams and Bundy branded saxes with 12m design that should function as well as an original, so this has nothing to do with the Pan-Am being a stencil.
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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Baritone has never been my main horn, so I'm no expert... but I know and love anything (old and) Conn... great company from the start, making beautiful instruments.
    I'm also half-heartedly looking for a baritone, but I'm a ways from knowing exactly what I'd like... was thinking 12M but not so much now - I'm thinking a more modern horn and Low A probably.
    This one is pretty old. I hope you noticed it is only keyed to high Eb. It has no pearls, like really old saxes including original Sax instruments.
    Silver plated old Conns are always cool appearance-wise... until the tarnish sets in and they look totally uncool like old greasy industrial machinery. Then it is a very big job to clean them.
    It is a Low Pitch instrument. If it weren't, it wouldn't be worth even a couple hundred on a good day.
    I'm guessing it's a mellow-sounding horn, lacking the "punch" of more modern horns, and is surely not well-suited to modern mouthpieces (with punch). 12Ms have trouble that way too. It will be best with a big-round-chamber mouthpiece ("pickle barrel"). By best I mean playing fairly well in tune. It certainly won't have a modern edgy sound, though a really tough bari player might make it speak pretty well.
    I doubt it's a horn that many working pros would play unless they are in a very traditional band doing, say, old-school New Orleans music.
    Because it's so old, its true condition is more likely to be less than optimum, since it's more likely to have a lot of miles and a lot of repairs and less than top-notch regulation down through the years. So check it out really good.
    What it's worth if it is a solid player in good mechanical condition... I'll leave to those who know the market better (like technicians/dealers). I'd guess not much more than $1,000, $1,500 tops...?? eBay may answer that question for us.

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?



    The main question is she is only keyed up to Eb (two side and palm keys, not 3). Beautiful horn, tho....
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by brasscane View Post
    I wouldn't do it simply because the octave mechanism is the same as on a Conn NWI and of poor design. It was a massive improvement when they modernized the mechanism on the NWII, which is what Mulligan mostly played. On this PanAm you will have to match up the octave lever on the pigtail with the octave hole on the neck, if you understand what I mean. It is truly bizarre and prone to trouble. There are later Pan-Ams and Bundy branded saxes with 12m design that should function as well as an original, so this has nothing to do with the Pan-Am being a stencil.
    Thanks, this is good advice. I hadn't noticed the octave lever.
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by SchlockRod View Post
    Baritone has never been my main horn, so I'm no expert... but I know and love anything (old and) Conn... great company from the start, making beautiful instruments.
    I'm also half-heartedly looking for a baritone, but I'm a ways from knowing exactly what I'd like... was thinking 12M but not so much now - I'm thinking a more modern horn and Low A probably.
    This one is pretty old. I hope you noticed it is only keyed to high Eb. It has no pearls, like really old saxes including original Sax instruments.
    Silver plated old Conns are always cool appearance-wise... until the tarnish sets in and they look totally uncool like old greasy industrial machinery. Then it is a very big job to clean them.
    It is a Low Pitch instrument. If it weren't, it wouldn't be worth even a couple hundred on a good day.
    I'm guessing it's a mellow-sounding horn, lacking the "punch" of more modern horns, and is surely not well-suited to modern mouthpieces (with punch). 12Ms have trouble that way too. It will be best with a big-round-chamber mouthpiece ("pickle barrel"). By best I mean playing fairly well in tune. It certainly won't have a modern edgy sound, though a really tough bari player might make it speak pretty well.
    I doubt it's a horn that many working pros would play unless they are in a very traditional band doing, say, old-school New Orleans music.
    Because it's so old, its true condition is more likely to be less than optimum, since it's more likely to have a lot of miles and a lot of repairs and less than top-notch regulation down through the years. So check it out really good.
    What it's worth if it is a solid player in good mechanical condition... I'll leave to those who know the market better (like technicians/dealers). I'd guess not much more than $1,000, $1,500 tops...?? eBay may answer that question for us.
    Thanks, this is very helpful. I was definitely unsure about this one, so I figured the forum members would give me some good opinions. I was looking at the 12M as well and also considering a Buescher.
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post


    The main question is she is only keyed up to Eb (two side and palm keys, not 3). Beautiful horn, tho....
    I was hoping you would chime in...I did get caught up in the visual beauty of the horn.
    Either be good...or do better

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    Here's the Buescher Aristocrat I was looking at, thoughts on this one? Looks like a relacquer

    https://reverb.com/item/4617137-bues...b-baritone-sax

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Talk to a good tech about the Buescher.
    It's a relacquer, it has enough "wiggle words" and some more outspoken ("is musty smelling") to make me think it needs at least several hundred bucks in work - maybe a complete repad ($$$). So I would wonder if it is worth the asking price.
    I don't know much about Buescher baritones or their models in general. I do know that there are a lot of Bundy baritones (from the '60s, and maybe '70s?) that are actually Bueschers, and are by virtue of that said to be good horns, and by virtue of being branded "Bundy" real bargains. They are not this Buescher model shown on Reverb... They have the low B and Bb tone holes on the right side, but facing more inward toward the body of the horn, so they don't have key guards on them as I recall.

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by brasscane View Post
    I wouldn't do it simply because the octave mechanism is the same as on a Conn NWI and of poor design. It was a massive improvement when they modernized the mechanism on the NWII, which is what Mulligan mostly played. On this PanAm you will have to match up the octave lever on the pigtail with the octave hole on the neck, if you understand what I mean. It is truly bizarre and prone to trouble. There are later Pan-Ams and Bundy branded saxes with 12m design that should function as well as an original, so this has nothing to do with the Pan-Am being a stencil.
    This is correct!

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by SchlockRod View Post
    Talk to a good tech about the Buescher.
    It's a relacquer, it has enough "wiggle words" and some more outspoken ("is musty smelling") to make me think it needs at least several hundred bucks in work - maybe a complete repad ($$$). So I would wonder if it is worth the asking price.
    I don't know much about Buescher baritones or their models in general. I do know that there are a lot of Bundy baritones (from the '60s, and maybe '70s?) that are actually Bueschers, and are by virtue of that said to be good horns, and by virtue of being branded "Bundy" real bargains. They are not this Buescher model shown on Reverb... They have the low B and Bb tone holes on the right side, but facing more inward toward the body of the horn, so they don't have key guards on them as I recall.
    Those are based off of the "400" baritone which are quite good. The one the OP has is an Aristocrat "129" baritone, I have one in silver plate. These are not exactly modern saxophones - they prefer (in fact, need) a mouthpiece with a large chamber in order to make them play in tune. With a longer neck (Bundy/400 necks fit) or a Grieffenhagen double chamber mod ($60) to a favorite mouthpiece this would make a great horn, however the OP's is likely worth $500-800 and might be able to get away with simple refloating and oiling to get it playing.
    We're talking "large chamber" as in 1920s pickle barrel large, like this video -

    You can hear the intonation tendencies flying all over the place in this SaxQuest video of a very similar baritone with a much smaller chamber modern mouthpiece. Ben Reece is a very good player and he's adjusting subconsciously for much of it but you can still hear it.


    Mark Madden has lots of experience with these, this is from one of his posts in 2011

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jacob Swanson in the first video is playing on a Buescher mouthpiece on an Aristocrat "129" from the mid 30s.

    Hope this helps. If you get the Big B with a huge discount, get it professionally set up and then either get a longer neck or get a double chamber modification you will have a really formidable baritone that plays in tune.
    Buescher New Aristocrat altos - 265xxx & 267xxx, True Tone alto 99xxx, Aristocrat tenor 308xxx & Aristocrat baritone 346xxx. Wooden planks for reeds and cavernous chambers

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by SchlockRod View Post
    Talk to a good tech about the Buescher.
    It's a relacquer, it has enough "wiggle words" and some more outspoken ("is musty smelling") to make me think it needs at least several hundred bucks in work - maybe a complete repad ($$$). So I would wonder if it is worth the asking price.
    I don't know much about Buescher baritones or their models in general. I do know that there are a lot of Bundy baritones (from the '60s, and maybe '70s?) that are actually Bueschers, and are by virtue of that said to be good horns, and by virtue of being branded "Bundy" real bargains. They are not this Buescher model shown on Reverb... They have the low B and Bb tone holes on the right side, but facing more inward toward the body of the horn, so they don't have key guards on them as I recall.
    I see what you mean about the "wiggle" words. Plus I listened to the guy playing it and I noticed it doesn't sound strong, so I'm sure they are some leaks. I definitely don't think it's worth the asking price. if I could get it for a good price like you said, it might be worth it. I may keep looking. I have a H Couf Superba I that is in pretty good shape, but I want to have a back-up bari now that I'm playing with a community band.
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    At $1800 for a Buescher 'Crat which needs work, that's not a good price. Beautoful horn tho, and I am one not to be scared off by relacquers, personally.

    BUT for that dollar the horn should be completely refurbed, overhauled, and poppin'.

    Buescher split-bellkey Baritones are to be avoided at all costs....but these later ones can be quite sweet. Guy just has it overpriced by at least $400.....

    Cooper, drop me a line if you seriously have $1300-1800 to spend on a BigHorn....I have several in storage I can work up on a custom basis. Not trying to be a shark, just saying...if you care to inquire....
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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post
    At $1800 for a Buescher 'Crat which needs work, that's not a good price. Beautoful horn tho, and I am one not to be scared off by relacquers, personally.

    BUT for that dollar the horn should be completely refurbed,

    ...
    I agree!
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    I would seriously consider JayePDX's offer! I can bet you'll find what you're looking for with him.
    Buescher New Aristocrat altos - 265xxx & 267xxx, True Tone alto 99xxx, Aristocrat tenor 308xxx & Aristocrat baritone 346xxx. Wooden planks for reeds and cavernous chambers

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eradium View Post
    I would seriously consider JayePDX's offer! I can bet you'll find what you're looking for with him.
    Yeah, you cannot go wrong doing that.

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by click View Post
    Yeah, you cannot go wrong doing that.
    Thanks! I reached out to him to see what he has available.
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    I have Conn's NW version of this horn, made in 1920. Yes, the octave design is poor. Yes, it's only keyed to Eb3. And yeah... it's going to play sharp with any modern styled mouthpiece. So although I make do with the bari I have, and it does have that Conn bari bite... even in working order I'd never get what they're asking for the Pan Am if I were to try to sell mine. If the Pan Am was in working order and they only wanted $500 or less for it... and you're not going to use it for section work... then it might be a deal.

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    I have Conn's NW version of this horn, made in 1920. Yes, the octave design is poor. Yes, it's only keyed to Eb3. And yeah... it's going to play sharp with any modern styled mouthpiece. So although I make do with the bari I have, and it does have that Conn bari bite... even in working order I'd never get what they're asking for the Pan Am if I were to try to sell mine. If the Pan Am was in working order and they only wanted $500 or less for it... and you're not going to use it for section work... then it might be a deal.
    Thanks Grumps. I'm playing bari in a community band, so the Pan Am probably won't work. I have a H Couf Superba but I need a back-up/travel horn (not sure whether the "new" one I buy will be the travel horn or the Couf)
    Either be good...or do better

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    Default Re: Conn Pan American Baritone - Good Deal?

    My choice would be the King Zephyr for a back up, since they are disfavored, but sound good.

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