Posted on July 25, 2013
1940 Conn 26M VIII, Original Lacquer
This is a 1940 Conn 26M with the VIII stamp on the body and neck, in original lacquer with original case. It came to me with original pads, and will be overhauled for sale. The overhaul is included in the price.
This saxophone- as evidenced by the fact that it came to me wearing its original pads- is in very, very good physical condition for a pre-war 26M. All of its parts are present (rare for a 26M or 30M- usually at least one of the “permadjust” adjusting feet has gone away or been damaged) and everything moves freely. I am not typically interested in owning a 26M/30M to overhaul and sell as they usually- unfortunately- are in pretty rough shape and the work needed to get them going again can be daunting. And therefore in the case of owning one to sell, not very profitable! But this is an exception to the rule. It is a rare survivor, one who has come through the decades in the condition in which is was built, and the genius of the designers at Conn shines through brightly.
The 26M was Conn’s spare-no-expense version of the 6M- already one of the best altos ever made, and the rare and sought-after VIII stamp (although nobody is certain *exactly* what it means) denotes an even further specialness, and in my experience the VIII stamp (and the forerunner STD’D, METRO, NAT’L stamps on earlier horns) mean a saxophone that is the best of the best. So this saxophone was the best Conn could do in its pre-war heyday, a rare version of a rare horn in rare condition- and that is special indeed.
The differences between the 26M and the 6M are mechanical in nature- the bore remains the same (with the possible exception of a slight difference in the VIII neck, but nobody is certain), but the keywork has been modified. Every key touch that is not a pearl has a thick sterling silver inlay, and the left hand pinky table has been completely reworked for straight up-and-down motion, and each key touch on the left hand pinky table has been slightly enlarged- it is quite different from other saxophones, but also quite comfortable once you get used to it. And finally, every possible adjustment on the horn has a screw-in adjustable foot with a locking screw. This means that relationships between keys and key heights can be adjusted at the turn of a screw. All of them. When in non-working order (typically as a result of a relacquer or poor repair in the past) these adjustments are crazy difficult to get to work right, and most of the Connqueror horns I have seen do not have them in proper working shape and require long hours remaking parts. But on the rare occasion that one of these is both physically correct (as this horn is!) and overhauled well (as I intend to do!) the design works perfectly, and is truly an example of the absolute apex of American saxophone design and craftsmanship.
This saxophone currently has its original pads, and it will be overhauled for sale. The overhaul is included in the price, and if catch me before I complete the work (if you are reading this sentence, then it has not yet been overhauled) you can buy it and have it overhauled to your exact specifications. This horn is going to be a truly beautiful and special example of the saxophone when it is done, and with proper care, will still be making music generations from now.
It comes in its original case, which is pictured.