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

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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