Conn saxophones: past and present

Conn saxophones have been around for many years. Conn is a standard name among instruments for beginning players, but historically, their saxophone line has been quite impressive. The vintage horns are noted for their ornate engraving, which makes them favorites of collectors. The Conn company, founded by C. G. Conn, manufactured the first American saxophone in 1889 in Elkhart, Indiana.

The “Wonder” first appeared at the 1893 World’s Columbia Exhibition. By the next year, the line included a straight soprano, an alto, a tenor, and a baritone saxophone. These saxophones were available with a choice of finish, including silver plate, nickel, and brass. Sales of these saxophones increased after 1892 when C. G. Conn, who had been elected to Congress, lobbied for Army bands to be established in every regiment.

Other antique Conn lines include the New Wonder, Pan American, American First, C.G. Conn, and the Victor New Wonder. The Shooting Star models are part of a newer line from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Currently, the 27M Director alto saxophone is the student model being produced by Conn. It retails for around $1600. This saxophone is equipped with kid leather key pads, nickel plated keys, and nylon tone boosters.

The 27M “Conn-tinental” is a more expensive professional model alto sax. It’s recommended for jazz and soul playing. It has an E. Rousseau professional mouthpiece and a ribbed bottom bow guard. Other features are a rocker low B-flat and an articulated low C-sharp. It’s a great sounding instrument that sells for around $3000.

Conn SaxophoneA straight-necked Conn C melody saxophone (New Wonder Series 1) dated 1922.

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