If you want the best, the most beautiful, the rarest, and the highest quality overhaul all in one soprano, then this is the one for you. You can get a ‘normal’ conn curved soprano for a lot less, but it will not be like this. This Conn curved soprano is for the connoisseur, the collector, and the discerning player.
The general rule for buying these, in my view, is to get the latest curved soprano that you can find. I only know of a few individual instruments with later serial numbers than this. You could probably count the total number that were made after this one in the single digits. This is only the second one that I have seen in person, and it is by far the nicest one I have seen. Like every Conn curved soprano it had a couple of key guard feet resoldered, and that is it for past repairs. They look good, and are not at all glaring. The neck is particularly nice. The bell flare and body tube are undamaged.
It just got a complete overhaul and gentle hand polish and cleaning done by Matt Stohrer, Conn enthusiast and my personal favorite repairman for Conn overhauls. Matt’s work needs no introduction, but you can find his website here, and his youtube channel here, complete with several Conn-specific repariman’s overview videos. I got the silver plate touched up in a couple of places where it was starting to show some wear, and I got the gold wash in the bell redone also, though there was still some gold in there to start with. The resonators are the nice, reusable, high-end TenorMadness set, flattened for an authentic look. They look great. An overhaul is a big job, and that’s now done, so this horn is back to factory fresh or better playing condition. Better, because Matt’s pad work feels better than the reso-pad job found on these originally. It’s tight, snappy, and positive under the fingers. Pad heights are just right, and all the little details that distinguish a really good overhaul from a mediocre one are present and correct on this horn.
Playing wise, this soprano is a monster. It’s warm, round, broad, and room-filling, even at low volumes. When pushed, it is almost too loud. It wants to project over a band. The tone is completely different from modern sopranos. Much more warm and medium-dark, almost like a larger saxophone voice squeezed into the small soprano body. The intonation is quite good, and this works well with a wider range of mouthpieces than many sopranos. I used my Bilger Morgan, and it sounds great. But a modern Yanagisawa HR or even a vintage Buescher will all work, so there’s a good range. This is easily one of my favorite vintage sopranos that I have ever played. If you are looking for a new dimension to add to your playing, a curved soprano like this is interesting and stimulating. A whole fresh world to explore. It also looks great on stage, and catches eyes if you’re a full time performer.
This beautiful instrument comes in its original case, also in good condition.
Just for fun, here’s a clip Dave Koz playing his silver Conn curved soprano with postmodern jukebox. Also, be sure to check out Keenan McKenzie’s curved Conn soprano playing in a 30’s swing setting. So great, and tons of fun!