I was originally just an alto player, but always been interested in tenors. Once I had enough money I bought a Conn 16M – but not this one. Eventually I traded it in for the Keilwerth SX90R reviewed on this site. Suffering from a long-term buyer regret, I saw this in a pawn broker shop in San Jose in 2001. I was escaped from a Sun analyst conference for an hour with my friend Peter. This was on a high shelf behind the counter, long forgotten I would imagine. Having asked the store-keeper to wash the dirty reed under water I played the instrument, which had a loud, clear tone. Having bought it, I got a real compliment, ‘I’ve often heard buyers play the saxophone, you’re the first one who proved it’.
This was named the Director by Conn, although it is more commonly known as a Shooting Stars model. Officially it is a student model, lacking the rolled tone holes and micro tuner of their top-line models of the time. It was made in 1963 in Elkhard Indianna, before production moved to Nogales, New Mexico. It comes at a very long line of fantastic saxophone manufacturing in the most important town in the world for horn production.
What Conn said in 1959:
“Professional in everything but price, this tenor designed for the student has many of the top improvements of the higher priced saxophones. Hydraulic expanded tone chamber and tapered bell bow adds to the full tone of this model. Features:
- drawn tone holes, tempered nickel plate on all keys, adjustable pivots,
- Automatic high F, LUSTRE-CONN finish.’
For a drawing from the 1959 Conn catalogue, see above.
This is a very good saxophone – a wide loud tone, unobstructed by the huge number of extra thick keys found on more modern instruments. I played it for ten years, before swapping over to my Buescher, which is heavier and more mellow. It has more ‘direct access’ than any other saxophone I’ve played.
- Make – Conn
- Model – Director ‘Shooting Stars’
- Serial Number – C71324
- Date of Manufacture – 1963
- Place of Manufacture – Elkhart, Indianna
- Finish – brass lacquer body with nickel-plated keys (Finish 25)
- Weight – 7lb 4oz
- Sound – Loud, open
- Ease of Blowing – Open, takes big lungs
- Ease of Fingering – Simple without the mass of big keys of more modern instruments
More about the Conn Director saxophones can be found currently on the Web from saxpics.