Conn curved Soprano


This silver-plated saxophone is a curved soprano model made by Conn. This type of instrument, rather usual in the USA at the beginning of the XXth century had disapeared for a long time, until Yanagisawa decided to issue a new model during the 80’s. Probably to answer a growing demand from very young students who wished to learn to play the saxophone. In France, conservatory classes have seen younger and younger members and had to renew their pedagogical and adapt it to this new situaton. On one hand, new pedagogical methods, using more of the game attitude and music than pure technicity. On the other hand, abandonning the  tradition consisting to begin exclusively on alto sax.

These small saxophones seemed perfect in this perspective, since their ergonomy for a 7 year old was similar to that of an alto for an adult. After the famous japanese maker, many chinese brands issued copy models of curved sopranos.

A delicate point still for professors who recommend them : the standard cords available on the market are still too long for these young players, and unadapted to their morphology.










The mouthpiece presented here is a Buescher blank : I asked a specialist to adapt it to my personnal tastes. You can note that this older instrument has no mother of pearl keys : so the silver plating is gone on some of the finger contact parts. The light  curve of the neck indicates that it was probably held up to be played (or to bend the head). The Martin or Buescher models present a more pronounced  curve, and can be used like altos, supported by the player’s body.

We can note the presence of a C trill key, and of an index medium Bb, a side F#, of rollers between low Eb and C, the low B and Bb placed on each side of the bell. A funny detail : the support of the lyre (for marches) is soldered on the bell.

At the rear of the instrument, the low notes keys are aligned along the body, and no G# correspondence. The C # key is placed  under the low B, not between the two parts of the body (like on XIXth century saxophones). This alignment has maybe given the idea for the more systematic and practical Bb-B-C# on the other side on modern saxes. We can also see the clear E little key , fonctionning on this  instrument.

The mentions of making are not easy to read. I tried to retranscribe here what I could read.

The other photo lets us see the automatic octave key. We can note the corks’ curve under the high notes keys . It was probably more work than a flat cork (today’s standard). The serial number helps us date this saxophone from 1913.

At this time, a gold wash in the inside of the bell is a must for silver-plated saxes.

The inside repartition of the case is simple, but its solidity helped it to cross the time barrier towards us without problems. It’s legitimate to ask in what kind of shape nowdays cases will be in a hundred years ...

Here it is again, near his cousins the straight Bb soprano (lacquered Selmer Series III) and in C (silver plated Buescher) ; and in his other (curved) familly, with the Mezzo-soprano (Conn), the alto (Buescher) and the C-melody (Conn).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep this beautiful instrument which has been sold on october the 24th 2015. I wish it a beautiful life to come.