The 30M Conqueror
model is the rarest of all the great sounding vintage Conn tenor saxes.
The defining features of this model are rolled tone holes, a very heavy
construction and the complicated set screw adjusting mechanisms at every
contact point. There are almost no cork or felt buffers between interacting
keys. Cork key feet are replaced with leather discs on which tiny adjusting
mechanisms rest. Once past the intimidating mechanics of the sax the eye
is drawn to cosmetic refinements such as solid sterling key touches everywhere
there is not a pearl. There is of course, the fabled Conn 'naked lady'
nestled in the ornate engraving -- and that fabulous vintage Conn tenor
sound. This sax seems to be more refined than the robust 10M's, no doubt
due to a different metallurgical composition. From the copper bleed apparent
around the sax the alloy must have been more copper rich than the normal
zinc-copper mix that makes up brass. The 294,xxx serial number traces to
late 1940. This is too early for the war to have had an affect on metal
procurement, so whatever Conn did metallurgically with these 30M's must
have been intentional.
The old Conn
tenor still looks great, obviously carefully stored & maintained. It's
hard to gauge the extent of worn lacquer on this sax because the bare metal
hues match very nicely with the honeyed patina of the remaining lacquer.
We will say 70% remains, plus or minus. It is a very clean vintage sax
& much of the copper bleed appears to be under the lacquer. The case
is a replacement faux alligator job from the 1950's, probably from just
about the time this horn was last repadded. The real Conn Reso-Pads (another
sign of care) still seal enough to get a good idea of the fine tone &
response of the old tenor. Simply marvelous is all that can be said. More
finesse than the 10M, possibly closer to a Chu Berry in character. Since
the lacquer wear is even, the storage apparently proper & there is
little detectable in the way of dings, it follows that the sax has been
in the hands of good players. The action of these 30M's is the best of
any Conn tenor, rivaling the Selmer Balanced Action models against which
it competed. The action compares favorably to the best American saxes,
the King Super 20 & Buescher 400 "Top Hat & Cane", both of which
were introduced post-war. Ironically the 30M was a casualty of that same
war. Though the 30M is a joy to play, due to the relative rarity it is
probably best in the hands of a loving collector -- albeit one who plays
their instruments regularly ...