Conn saxophone serial dating
Although the word “transitional” is a word that has been applied after the fact by saxophone enthusiasts, it may be more appropriate to refer to these saxophones as the “New Model”, because…
The Very First Transitionals- The New Model Saxophones in most moderate to large factories were produced in batches- that is, a few dozen to a couple hundred at a time of a particular type.
Both Paul and Brian are fellow Conn lovers, and this article would not have been possible without their help.
Because I have left most of what Paul wrote intact with only minor editing, I have put his name next to sections for which he is mainly responsible.
Over the next few years, features would be introduced to Conn’s saxophone line that resulted by about 1934 in a saxophone that was light years ahead in craftsmanship, mechanical design, and intonation compared to the New Wonder Series II.
In my opinion, the saxophones designed at the Experimental Laboratory represent the first of the truly modern American Saxophones, and particularly on the 6M are home to some of the best stack keywork ever designed.
The changes that were made at this point were the redesigned palm keys, the raised and sculpted side E, redesigned octave pips, and possibly a slight alteration to the neck tube inner dimensions.
The last major feature to change over was the pinky table, which is a New Wonder II style (albeit with a smooth rather than crosshatched G#) until about 249,xxx.
Conn was one of the largest saxophone manufacturers of its day, and its production volume was quite high.
Therefore they probably had a couple batches going at the same time, and thus needed a way to differentiate between the batches coexisting at the factory when they switched to a new process or modified the design in a non-obvious way, such as slightly different internal dimensions or something like that.
Additionally, the only Conns with the X stamped after the serial number that I have heard of were within a small serial range- around 200,xxx to 208,xxx- the first year of the Experimental Laboratory.
They also had features well ahead of their time (assuming the serial was correct)- though the alto much more so.
This is why there are noticeable clusters of production for horns like the Buescher Tipped Bell soprano, the King Zephyr Special, the Conn 26M, the Selmer Dorsey Special…