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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, slide advantage) Conn 4H, differences from 20's-50's?
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markekaylor
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« on: Apr 30, 2010, 02:42PM »

I've got a 1930 26H .500 bore Conn that sounds nothing like a later Conn 6H .500 bore from the 60's.

There's a local trombone for sale, a 4H from 1927.  How did the 4H's change over the years?  I've only played a '49 4H and I thought it was nice. 

It seems the older Conn's were heavier, they used a different formula or something?

I'm thinking of checking this '27 out, its cheap enough, its silver, but it doesn't have a counterweight which worries me.  I know on my '30 Conn its heavy even with the counterwieght to balance things out!

mark
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SilverBone
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 30, 2010, 03:09PM »

I think 4H's are nice horns.  One thing I'd watch for is that the earlier ones are friction fit without a bell lock nut. You have to guard against them falling apart on you while playing.

You can always add a counterweight.
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 30, 2010, 06:20PM »

The 4H was in production for a good long time and was the same through out in terms of specs, but you are absolutely correct, there are differences.

The earliest 4H's I know of are late teens, early 20's.  Friction fit and no slide lock those (though slide lock could be custom ordered).  They had either a 6 1/2" or 7" bell.  The metallurgy of those is unique and I think of them in three separate categories:  Red brass, silver plate with badge engraving, and trumpet brass.

The all red brass look like they have copper crooks (slide and tuning) and they have nickel trim.  The bell is actually pretty light, but the sound is super rich and warm.  It's a mini classical horn, no bones about it.

The Silver Plate job with the badge engraving is my least favorite.  Note: there were silver plate horns throughout, but these are specific with the badge engraving (a badge with a banner across it, nouveau like floral engraving around it sometimes.).  There is something weird about the metal of these horns and I don't know what it is.  They seem to light and too brittle.  Some are terrific, but they aren't as consistently good as the other eras I've played.

The trumpet brass horns are VERY rare and wonderful.  It's some sort of hybrid between gold brass and yellow brass and it lend a very unique quality to the sound, very refined.  The engraving on these is usually a very simple "C.G. Conn" in cursive with a smaller "Elkhart IND." underneath.  Very rare, very refined, very cool.

Then we get into the 30'4 and 40's.

These horns have a lot heavier gauge of metal than the earlier brethren.  Everything is heavier, the metal, the bell wire, the over nickel trim.  These are real powerhouses.  They came in silver plate or lacquer, and Artist Special engraving.  Most had the Deco style engraving, though some only had a simple "half moon" style name and that's all.  I think of them in two categories as well.  Old style slide and new style.

The old style slide had what looks like no cork barrels.  They're real narrow, and the inner slide brace is in the center of the cork barrel's horizontal line.  They are one diameter throughout, with no step before the mouthpiece receiver.  They're all great, but my favorites are the silver plate models.  The engraving is a crazy wonderful hybrid of the standard and Artist Special engraving and they play amazing, they project like mad!

The new style slides have cork barrels as we think of them today, and the slide brace is closer to the mouthpiece receiver, as is common today.They are very consistent, usually heavy, and play great.  A unique, weighty sound.  There are some lighter ones, but they're not as common, and chances are it's a result of buffing during an overhaul.

Then there's the post WW-II's.

Still great, but they get ever lighter as we get toward the end of production.  in 1955 during the Korean war there was a nickel shortage and they made the slide crook and main bell brace out of brass rather than nickel.  Some of these horns have a silver plated tuning slide (plated at the factory!!!) which I think they did to add weight.  I've seen three horns like this and the serials line up to 1955, so I truly believe it was factory.

If I was buying one sight unseen/unplayed?  I'd stick to the late 30's to 1942.  Then 1948 - 1953 or so.  I've owned about 10 4H's (and even more of the variants) an the one I've held onto is a 1952.

I think the comparison to the 26H is a bit flawed.  You'd have to play a horn with the same specs as that one and they just don't exist in other eras...it's going to be a major difference no matter what! 

I hope this all helped,
Ben
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markekaylor
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 30, 2010, 08:52PM »

Ben, wow what a lot of great info!  Very helpful.

What I wonder is, did Conn use weird metals for other silver plate horns in the 20's just for the 4H's??

And what about gold plating?  I just saw recently a gold plated 4H, needed a TON of work!

I'll have to give this 1927 4H a try, just to play it. 

To this day I still have never played anything I like more than my 1930 26H, but I keep on trying other horns anyway, just to see.

mark
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sabutin

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« Reply #4 on: Apr 30, 2010, 10:19PM »

---snip---

The trumpet brass horns are VERY rare and wonderful.  It's some sort of hybrid between gold brass and yellow brass and it lend a very unique quality to the sound, very refined.  The engraving on these is usually a very simple "C.G. Conn" in cursive with a smaller "Elkhart IND." underneath.  Very rare, very refined, very cool.---snip---

I will buy without testing...if I can afford to do so, of course...any passable condition Conn with these characteristics. Any model, any size. I cannot say that about another model or type of horn I have ever played. These bells are nothing short of magnificent. Every one that I have ever played.


Quote
Then we get into the 30s'4 and 40's.

---snip---
'
Not so sure that the "very simple 'C.G. Conn' in cursive with a smaller 'Elkhart IND.' underneath" bells ended in the '20s. I have some from the '30s, myself.

S.

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sly fox
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 30, 2010, 10:25PM »

I own a 1940ish Conn 4H Artist here is one of several pictures from the gallery:

http://tromboneforum.org/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=1412

are you familiar with the connloyalist web site?

http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/ConnTrbHFull.html

4H #2 Bore Artists' Medium Bore with 6" or 7" Bell (Wurlitzer Special) - 1919 1939
4H #2 Bore Artist Special with Nickel Trim  1936 - 1941
4H #2 Bore Artist 1940 - 1954
4H #2 Bore Artist with Light Weight Slides  1940 - 1954
4H #2 Bore Medium Bore Artist Special with Light Weight Slides  1940 - 1941
4H #2 Bore Victor 1954 - 1958
4H #2 Bore Victor with Light Weight Slides 1954 - 1958




http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/Conn4H1924image.html

http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/Conn4HS1940image.html

http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/Conn4H1949image.html

http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/Conn4Hdraw1956image.html
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Allen
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 04:29AM »

http://www.whiteelephantshop.com/

These guys are in Essex, MA.  The often have horns, sometimes unusual ones.  Currently they have a 318xxx 4H that's in pretty decent shape.  Slide is workable totally dry.  Has some Conn rot on the end of the inners, though.  Chrome grip.  Engraved bell.  Case is bashed.  $100 or whatever you can get them down to. 
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sly fox
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2010, 04:42AM »

sounds like a good deal, here is the approximate dates based on serial number  from the Connloyalist web site:

307996 1936
315575 1937
322650 1938
324859 1939


http://www.xs4all.nl/~cderksen/ConnSerialsConnBrass.html
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Allen
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griffinben

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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 09:30AM »

Quote
Not so sure that the "very simple 'C.G. Conn' in cursive with a smaller 'Elkhart IND.' underneath" bells ended in the '20s. I have some from the '30s, myself.

S.

Sam I think I know of the engraving you are talking about, if it is cursive and not printed in a half circle (or half moon as i like to call it).  I was speaking mainly in general terms because there are SO many variations and details, it would take a very long tome to accurately hit all of it. 

That said i think that the 20's cursive I've seen on the trumpet brass is different than the later cursive from the 30's.  The 20's almost looks like the same engraver that did Holton Model numbers int he 40's and 50's, almost print, almost cursive, looking like it's been put together from several different arcs than one single line.

I'm probably wrong, I just know what I've seen

Ben
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baileyman
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2010, 03:51PM »

http://www.whiteelephantshop.com/

These guys are in Essex, MA.  The often have horns, sometimes unusual ones.  Currently they have a 318xxx 4H that's in pretty decent shape.  Slide is workable totally dry.  Has some Conn rot on the end of the inners, though.  Chrome grip.  Engraved bell.  Case is bashed.  $100 or whatever you can get them down to. 

I thought if they still had the horn I should go get it and keep it around for a kid to use.  Sometimes I'm playing with one who has a nearly unworkable horn, and an old 4H would temporarily cure that.  So I took the horn and the Olds coffin case to the front to ask for a package price, the Conn case being torn up quite a bit.  "How much for these as a package, since the horn case is pretty well shot."  "Well, let's see, price of $100 on the horn, $28 on the case--make it a hundred."

So I spent the afternoon cleaning it up.  Worked ok.  Sounded pretty big.  Took lots of white vinegar to clean it out.  So I lubed up the slide.  I noticed it was actually 315xxx, so that may be end of 1936 I think in the low numbers.  Then, with more time, better lighting, and good glasses on, I saw "34H" tucked under the stockings on the slide.

Holy cow! a Burkle! 

Maybe I'll let the kids use my other 4H.

As a bonus, it fits beautifully in the Olds case, which is unusually high quality design, if not materials.  Maybe this summer I'll repair the Conn case, as it's an unusually thin French style.  I like that. 
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SilverBone
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2010, 04:43PM »

Burkles are 30H and 32H.  Conn Loyalist doesn't list a 34H.  Nowadays, Conn 34H is an alto trombone.

Anybody know what a tenor 34H would be?
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2010, 06:24PM »

My bad!  It really says 32H. 
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tmsbandman

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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2010, 09:01PM »

in 1955 during the Korean war there was a nickel shortage and they made the slide crook and main bell brace out of brass rather than nickel.  Some of these horns have a silver plated tuning slide (plated at the factory!!!) which I think they did to add weight.  I've seen three horns like this and the serials line up to 1955, so I truly believe it was factory.

Wow!  First of all, thanks for the information.  I have no idea how the 4H had evolved. 

I have a 4H with serial #425xxx, which should be 1953.  Mine has a silver plated tuning slide, but I always assumed that someone had put a 38H Connstellation TS on a 4H.  So you think it could have been factory that early?

Also-my slide crook and main bell brace are brass.  Were silver crooks the norm, and I got an odd-ball?

Can't complain either way.  It's a GREAT player and I got a great deal on it.  I am curious though.

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griffinben

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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2010, 05:56AM »

Wow!  First of all, thanks for the information.  I have no idea how the 4H had evolved. 

I have a 4H with serial #425xxx, which should be 1953.  Mine has a silver plated tuning slide, but I always assumed that someone had put a 38H Connstellation TS on a 4H.  So you think it could have been factory that early?

Also-my slide crook and main bell brace are brass.  Were silver crooks the norm, and I got an odd-ball?

Can't complain either way.  It's a GREAT player and I got a great deal on it.  I am curious though.



Nope, not an oddball, very factory!  They do play great, don't they?  I believe that the tuning slide is stock, given the age and all the rest of the brass on the horn. Check the number on top of the tuning slide and in the tuning slide receiver; there should be a one or two digit number (most likely two) that matches and in the same font (though one might be slightly larger than the other).
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tmsbandman

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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 07:26AM »

Hmm.  I've never seen a number there.  I'll check it out tonight.  Glad to know it's not a Frankenbone :).

And yeah, it plays great.  I've been wanting a 2B for years (actually working on buying one of DJ's right now) because I like my 3B so much.  A bone player friend of mine tells me I "already have the best vintage lead horn there is."  I say why does it have to be an either/or?  You can never have too many trombones, right?  Though my wife would disagree Yeah, RIGHT.

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tmsbandman

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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 09:03PM »

Part deux:  I  checked the tuning slide and bell section and found a tiny little "1" stamped on each.  I never saw it before.  The lacquer is discolored and it is obscured.

Speaking of.....and this is weird; The bell itself is bright yellow and appears to be original (engraving is nice and sharp), yet from the main bell brace back to the TS it is dark,  and very "antique" looking.  Is it possible to "clean" lacquer without stripping it.  It's not bothering me, it just looks like someone cleaned up the bell, then quit half way through.
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griffinben

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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2010, 08:06AM »

It could be a number of factors that caused the inconsistent discoloration.  the case could be cracked open in one part, the horn could've been left near an open window that only exposed the main bell brace back, it could've gotten wet only in that place, etc. etc.

As far as I know there is no way to "clean" old lacquer, especially old cellulose lacquer , which seems to get brittle with age.  Perhaps someone used a very mild solvent of some sort to strip just a bit of the lacquer away...I don't know.

I'm glad you found the "1", proves that the parts are indeed factory!
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tmsbandman

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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2010, 08:13AM »

Not really worth the risk. It's a player, not a looker.  Doesn't really bother me.  I was just curious.  Thanks again for the info.
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