Conn 16M (1963)

The Story

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’. Continue reading

Conn Prototype Pan American 58M Alto (1953)

The Story

Neville Bonner is a professional saxophonist working around Sussex on the South Coast of England. I’m really grateful to him for allowing his horn ‘Connie’ to be reviewed here at Saximus Maximus.

He decided to respond to an advert from Ron, an American eBay seller, some years ago for ‘brand new 1953 Conn altos’. Ron owned around 2,000 prototype saxophones from all eras he had retrieved from the Conn factory in Elkhart, Indiana in 1977 – a collection he described as ‘his pension’.

Neville believes his horn is a prototype, probably a Pan American ‘stencil’ for a student line. It is possible that the acquisition of Conn by the Best Manufacturing Company of Nogales in 1960 (according to Sax Gourmet) and subsequent shift in student horn production to Arizona put paid to the potential production of this earlier design. Continue reading

Conn C Melody (1919)





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Conn Pan-American Alto (1920)

The Story

My friend Chris Ingle was travelling on business in San José and gave me a call on a Saturday afternoon. He was in one of my favourite ‘savings and loan’ shops and ran through the saxophones they had. He mentioned the Pan-American alto, so I asked him about the condition. He bought it and brought it back from the States and into work on the following Monday. It was a truly great find – a classic horn, made by Conn in 1920. Continue reading

Conn 28M Alto (1950)

The Story 

I was travelling for business in Phoenix, Texas, a few years ago and went searching for saxophones. At the time the British Pound was at a very high exchange rate against the dollar, so I had been buying quite a few horns from America. I remember visiting three or four pawn brokers (savings and loan shops). This particular one sold mainly guitars and had several hundred on show around a pretty big store. There was a glass display cabinet with six or seven saxophones in it and I had a look to see what was inside. This stood out as unusual at the bottom left hand side. The shop assistant got it out for me. I was immediately surprised that it had a plastic keyguard and was made by Conn. It didn’t look like any of the others I had or had seen. Continue reading

Conn Artist 6M Naked Lady Alto (1956)

The Story

I bought this from my saxophone technician a couple of years ago. He knows my collection very well, and wondered if I wanted to add a classic alto. There was a time when Selmer, Conn and King fought it out to be considered the best instrument for modern jazz. Specifically the Mark VI, 6M and Super 20 were the specific horns to pick. Each has their adherents and key features. For me this is in second place to my Mark VI of all the altos I have. It was made at a time before manufacturing moved from Elkhart Indiana. I’ve started playing it in concerts and am beginning to understand its many values. Continue reading

Conn 4M New Wonder Bb Soprano (1925)

The Story

I bought this beautiful silver-plated curved soprano saxophone from my friend Tony of Magginisupplies. I’d already bought a couple of horns from him and he’d asked me about other instruments I was looking for. Well he rang me up and said he had this. After looking at the photos he emailed to me I decided it was well worth acquiring. He charged me a very reasonable price – well under normal shop, or even eBay levels, at the time. As usual I had it checked over by my local sax fixer-upper. Continue reading

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