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The Conn Director 14M & 16M

This model appears to have been officially called the "Director" by Conn1, although it is commonly called the "shooting stars" model.

The Director is an "updating" of the 1930's Pan American model (similar keywork, bore size, etc.). This is an intermediate model and was marketed and priced as such.

I somewhat dread including this horn here because, since I originally posted this page, I've gotten approximately 100 e-mails from folks with 50M or other student model horns: folks, if it has the same engraving it's NOT necessarily the same horn. Notice where the toneholes are. Notice that the keywork's different.

Anyhow, I am unsure as to the exact end production date of these horns. It does appear that they were first introduced in 1955 when the "Finish 25" (brass lacquer body with nickel-plated keys) and "Finish 56" (silver plated body with nickel-plated keys) were introduced -- but the similar 11M was introduced in 1968 and manufactured until 19742, and the "last Conn in America" (a 50M) was made in 1971. Considering that the 11M was considered a pro model and Conn stopped producing "pro" horns in the early 70's, it is likely that all these horns were produced until at least 1974 and, at most, until 1980 when Daniel Henkin bought the company.

There are also conflicting model numbers: I've seen some altos that look identical to the ones pictured below that some people say have no model number engraved3 or are incorrectly called "18M Director models", rather than "14M". I believe the former case is because Conn had produced a few 14M's and couldn't decide on what model number to use and I attribute the latter to people being connfused (puns always intended) -- me included -- by Conn model numbers, some of which were recycled with the introduction of the 11M baritone (11M was the model designation for a high-pitch tenor and 14M was the model designation for a low-pitch bass).

As with the 50M, if it says "Made in Mexico", take a pass on the horn.

Footnotes & References

  1. Many thanks to John G. Ripley for finding an original January 1960 catalog for me listing model names, numbers and prices. Amusingly, the 14M is $70 cheaper than the 6M - $295 compared to $365.
  2. See Paul Cohen's Vintage Saxophones Revisited article in volume 18, number 6 of the Saxophone Journal.
  3. Most recently mentioned in an e-mail to me from SOTW poster mutha potamus, concerning his 1958 alto.

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