was some experimentation with different keyguards for the
tenor and different microtuner-neck and over-the-top neck
octave key designs for the alto, but the design of the 6/10/12M
remained essentially the same from 1935 to 1959.
have at least one example of the 6M model VIII, featured in
the Gallery. This is supposed to be the best version of the
6M, as are horns produced with an "x" before or
after the serial number. The former is a horn with a moderately
modified neck design and is generally accepted as the best
model of the 6M. The latter is generally considered to be
an eXperimental design (additional keywork, or vents, bore,
etc.). There are also horns that feature the standard "over
the top" octave key design -- referred to as a "New
York Style" neck.
the same pitches that were available during the age of the
New Wonder were available through the Artist years, excepting
the Sarrusophone, C soprano and straight soprano, it seems
(the F instruments and C melody were available up until the
start of WWII in 1941). However, horns other than the alto,
tenor and baritone were essentially "factory original"
New Wonder horns with different
engraving and possibly keywork modifications -- and were special
order, only. I have, at least, seen the bass in some 1960's
catalogs and advertisements.
note that the "Naked Lady" model can be broken down
Rolled tone hole models (1935 to 1947 -- generally regarded
as the best horns)
* Straight tone hole models (1948 to 1959)
* Redesigned model with wire keyguards (1960 to 1971)
* Same as above, but with sheet metal keyguards and different
bell-to-body brace (1963 to 1971)
below for more details.
"Naked Lady" Time Line
1935: The 6M design was finalized toward the end of
the Transitional period and
the 12M design was finalized even earlier -- though both horns
did have minor keywork changes -- but the tenor wasn't finalized
until about s/n 263xxx, when its bell keys were switched to
the RH side of the horn. This change announced the coming
of Conn's most famous series of horns: the M series or "Naked
Lady" model (so named for the engraving of a nude female
portrait in a pentagon on the bell). According to later Conn
catalogs (after 1959), these horns are officially called the
"Artist" or "Standard" model, but "Naked
Lady" is the most commonly used name people use.
(around s/n 270xxx): Coinciding with the introduction
of the 26M, the underslung octave key on the 6M alto is discontinued.
It is brought back the next year. The "over-the-top"
octave key ("New York Style Neck") appears to then
remain a custom option throughout the life of the 6M.
(around s/n 300xxx): Conn discontinues the 4M curved soprano
and the 14M bass. The 4M and 14M are probably still available
until Conn was bought by MacMillian in 1969, based on advertisements,
but only as special order items -- and still based on the
older New Wonder tooling.
to 1945: Conn retools for the World War II war effort.
Musical instrument manufacture slows to a crawl: appx. 6,000
during this entire period, down from almost 4,000 per year
1946 to Early 1947: Union strike at Conn that lasts for
110 days. Appx. 3,800 horns are manufactured during this time
Conn stopped using rolled tone holes. There is ancedotal evidence
that a shop worker accidentially broke the mold for the 10M,
and the replacement was refabricated without rolled tone holes,
and this design was propagated to the other Conn models (2)
1954: Microtuner necks vanish from the 6M (2)
(approximately): Conn introduced the 16M tenor and 14M
alto Director models (with the
"Shooting Star" engraving) and ushered in two new
plating choices that were probably available on all the Conn
line: lacquer body with nickel-plated keys (finish 25) and
silver body with nickel-plated keys (finish 56) (2).
It is probable that all other finish choices were considered
"custom order" after this date.
Please do NOT confuse these horns with the 50M student model!
of student models, which were introduced in the late 1950's
or early 1960's (no later than 1961), Conn's student instruments
generally have a four or five-digit number followed by a letter,
like 1338V. These serial numbers bear no relation to Conn's
Conn acquired the Best Manufacturing Company of Nogales, Arizona
and moved most student/intermediate saxophone production there
(3). The "Naked
Lady" engraving is discontinued, and while Artist
models (6/10/11/12M) are still produced in Elkhart, they have
engraving. (Please note that some 12M's still have the
"Naked Lady" engraving.)
10M's feature a redesigned double-socket neck with an
underslung octave key.
Conn introduces sheet-metal keyguards and a different
bell-to-body brace on all models, although horns with wire
keyguards and the "original" bell-to-body brace
are still available until at least 1969 (possibly 1971), as
Conn seems to be "clearing inventory" and producing
models with the "new" design when they run low on
the "old" design. (Please note that Conn horns with
sheet-metal keyguards are GENERALLY considered to be relatively
low-quality horns, with the exception of the 92/94/108/110M,
as those horns are Keilwerth-made. This may not be the case
with 6/10M's of this vintage, but watch out. Also note that
the 12M was probably never available with SMK.)
Conn introduces the 11M low A baritone. This is essentially
a 12M with an extension, different engraving and Finish 25.
Sale of the Conn company to the Crowell-Collier MacMillan
Company production starts to be completely transitioned to
The last saxophone is produced in Elkhart and the Conn-made
"pro" horns are discontinued (5).
The model numbers, however, are NOT retired.