Vintage Saxophones

Silver Conn "Pre-Chu" Soprano

serial # 119,xxx

sold - thank you, JV!

(rolled toneholes, original silverplate, Conn Reso-Pad style set-up)

This soprano is a player. Its voice is colorful and vibrant -- the kind of voice that produces a sum greater than its parts when played in ensemble. It can be either warm, dark and round or powerful and projecting with excellent cut, depending on the mouthpiece and reed. It is a perfect mix of freeblowing responsiveness and resistance that builds to push back as you put more pressure on it; it is a very responsive soprano, with a comfortable, accurate yet flexible pitch center. This is not a soprano for a beginner, though, or someone with undeveloped tone production -- it needs to be sung through; if you don't take the reins play the horn, it will play you. It is very, very accurate and vibrant when played with good support and focus, but it is a true vintage American soprano; it will give more than anything modern to the player who understands it, but will be a bear to play for any one with underdeveloped tone production.

The overhaul work is more "ol' skool" than usual, with Conn Reso-Pads (from Ferree's) and flat metal resonators (medium-large) which I rarely use these days, as this overhaul was begun several years ago and then sat in storage for several years. I have made all the usual reductions in friction, but there is more natural cork (vise-compressed) than I tend to use today, as well. This Soprano is one of the horns that I put in 4th floor storage in the days leading up to Katrina, and that then sat awaiting to be remembered while more pressing matters and work intervened. It's back in the world now, and it is an excellent vintage American soprano.

The mechanism is nicely preserved, and the action is light and fast -- the main stacks are faster and lighter than most modern saxophones made today. The only ergonomic drawback is that the lefthand pinky table keys could be a bit larger and more spacious, and the older style ring thumbhook would be improved by changing it to a modern thumbhook and strapring design. If desired, I can address any of these items for the buyer either before or after purchase. Because this is a collectible vintage saxophone, I have left these alterations as optional add-ons, to preserve the horn's original condition. I can also add a front F key, if desired.

One curious feature of these older Conn sopranos is that they employed a true tapered pivot screw at the same time that the alto and tenors of the period were still employing a peg/column design -- a modern touch on a very vintage instrument.

Flaws/blemishes: past dentwork around neck (did not touch up as the soprano sings out beautifully, and I am concerned to not change this); soldering smear at neck (not sure why -- there were some weird and inexplicable soldering deposits on this horn, some of which I removed to find nothing underneath them, but this one was out of the way so I did not remove it); repaired bell lip (low Bb is nicely in tune with the rest of the horn); plating wear on inside of bell (plating mostly worn off, most likely from contact with a stand); some small spots of plating wear.

Original case incl.

Model Gallery - Click thumbnail to view full-size photo