Juni 2016 – I had for sale this gorgeous vintage Conn Chu Berry alto sax: as you can see the serialnumber is 223601 (1928). The famous Chu Berry horns are also known as the Conn ‘New Wonder’ Series II.
You will find loads of vintage horns on eBay and online marketplaces, often with amazing low price tags. Anyone with a lust for a prewar saxophone can be tempted to buy online. But beware and please keep in mind an unknown vintage horn overhaul may cost you more than an overhaul on a modern horn. It’s my advice to buy the best vintage saxophone you can find instead of buying something that might need work. This particular vintage horn is in excellent condition and had a complete overhaul by Dutch repair master Remy Veerman.
The Conn alto has stayed in the case for a few months before I had a chance to take it through it’s paces. It has that big phat 30s sound altoplayers are in love with. That is partly due to the used materials. The alloys from the 20s and 30s were superb to the alloys used today. You can feel it when you hold the Conn: it’s a heavy piece of kit.
The action demands some power. Compared to a Selmer Mk6 (which in my opinion often sounds too sharp and lacks that full bodied top-to-bottom richness) the action is different and needs some getting used to. From the moment I picked it up I was immediately able to play it as it was one of my own horns. Are you looking for a vintage alto saxophone to play on a frequent basis: look no further and try a similar Conn, if you can find one.
The inside of the bell has a glorious gold wash and the tonal holes are rolled. The microtuner works a treat and the G-sharp is easier to operate than on my (ex-Robert Veen RIP) 1926 Buescher True Tone. The sound doesn’t compare with my own horn though: this Chu Berry is much more full bodies and easier to play loud!
From the lowest B flat to the highest top F this horn rocks, even with my small vintage (Woodwind & Co #2) mouthpiece on.
More info on Chu Berry saxophones:
• Wikipedia on Conn ‘Chu Berry’ saxophones
• Extensive info on the New Wonder series
• Review about ‘one of the greatest saxophones ever made’
The New Wonder was unofficially labeled the ‘Chu Berry’. Leon ‘Chu’ Berry was a tenor saxophonist who played with the Fletcher Henderson band and with the Benny Carter band. Chu was known for his big sound. The Chu Berry models are famous for having an immense sound. The Chu Berry reference was never an official designation, but it has stuck to this day, referring to the Conn New Wonder models produced between 1925 to 1930.
• For sale: alto sax mouthpiece Selmer S80 size G (pop, funk)
This is an easy and very projective ebonite mouthpiece in the popular Selmer S80 series. Most saxophonists choose a Selmer S80 C or C* mouthpiece to start with. These pieces are too small to play modern music because of their lack of dynamics. The small tip won’t allow much volume.
How different when you use this ebonite size G! It will give you a straightforward modern tone and it suits pop and funk perfectly. Offer Eu 45 and send me an email.