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The Conn 10M Tenor Saxophone

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A few rhoughts about this instrument.

My saxophone mentor had played in a big band with a five-piece saxophone section. (He played second alto.) He told me that the best alto was the Selmer, and the best tenor was the Conn.

Experts (of which I am not one) say that Conn's 10M is one of the best models, especially the ones with rolled tone holes. It certainly has a great sound. Dexter Gordon played one on his Blue Note sessions up to 1965 - there is a picture showing it in the booklet for the RVG CD of "Clubhouse" (1965), and pictures from earlier sessions show it. The strut on the neck is a giveaway. (The Selmer doesn't have the strut.)

I have never played one: I have always played Selmers (alto, tenor and soprano). I would like to blow one. 

There are serious problems with the design. That neck strut can puncture the neck if one pushes the mouthpiece on too hard, and it is recommended that the neck be removed when pushing the mouthpiece on. That would be a nuisance when tuning up. The strut connecting the bell section to the main body is thin, and can puncture the pipe if the bell is bumped. The Selmer is way better: there is no neck strut and the bell brace is very sturdy.

The 10M has a low Eb hole, which gives an Eb if the fourth and sixth fingers (F and D) are pressed and the E key is not pressed. It also has a G# trill key for the right hand. Those are not needed and Selmers and their copies do not have them. The low B and Bb holes are on the left side, which can muffle the low notes if the player is seated. I don't like the key cluster for the left little finger (low C#, B and Bb), but it looks as if one could live with it. The Selmer arrangement (which all makers now use) is the best.

The 10M hasn't been made for a long time, so one would have to search for a vintage one nowadays.

Well, Dex sure got great results with his 10M. It must have worn out, because he later switched to a Selmer Mark VI, which is what I have.

Edited by Shrdlu

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