Although I am really a large-horn player, I do a lot of pit orchestra work. Quite frequently the books I play have a few oboe bars in them. For this reason I thought having a C soprano would come in handy. That’s why I had toyed with the idea of getting one of these babies for about 5 years.
Then in January 2020, I took the leap and bought this Conn New Wonder Series II C soprano from my bass and vintage sax buddy, Paul Lindemeyer. Sadly, 2020 was of course the worst year to buy a horn to actually USE for a job… Oh well, I never said I was psychic.
I don’t know how long Paul had had this particular Conn C soprano, but he did tell me that he had never gotten around to getting it overhauled. It had been in his storage locker in the condition he got it—unplayable. Since I now work for my tech as his Education Rep., an overhaul was really not problematic. So we agreed upon a price, and the little C soprano made its way to me.
Conn New Wonder Series II C soprano specs
- Model: New Wonder Series II – identifiable by the nail file G# key as opposed to smooth G# we see in the Series I
- Serial #: 176XXX – circa 1926-27
- Finish: Lacquer – This looks like an very old factory relacquer job. Since lacquer was not an option when these horns were on the market, it was likely lacquered at the factory when it was sent back for some work back in the day.
- Tone holes: rolled
- Pads: Pisoni
- Resos: Flat metal with rivets
- MP: Conn Eagle C soprano MP
- Reed: Légère Signature Series Soprano 3
- Lig: Rovner
Because this is a lacquer horn, the before/after pics are not nearly as striking. That’s why I am only going to include the after overhaul photos on this page. To see what it looked like before its overhaul, check out the article about this little horn I wrote for The Bassic Sax Blog.
As I mentioned in the article I wrote for The Bassic Sax Blog about this horn, post overhaul, this little horn was horribly out of tune. Had I not play-tested a beautiful silver plated C soprano at Bellingham Wind Works, and been able to play it fairly well in tune from the get, I would have assumed it was me.
Fortunately the tech from Wind Works was able to measure the key heights of the New Wonder Series II C soprano I had tried out. Marcel then sent me those measurements. Once David compared those to what my soprano was originally set to when it came from Paul, he could immediately see the problem. Everything was out of whack.
Since key heights for Conn New Wonder C sopranos are not seemingly available anywhere anymore, I am going to provide them here now. Hopefully this will prevent any of these lovely little horns from ending up as table lamps due to tuning issues.
All heights are in mm
I am deeply indebted to Ed and Kat from Wind Works. If not for them, my little C soprano would have been remained unplayable. I don’t know if I ever would have been able to obtain these measurements.
Some final thoughts
If you haven’t yet popped over to The Bassic Sax Blog to read the article about this little horn, I encourage you to do so. I didn’t duplicate any info here, so there is a lot there about MPs, the original Conn finish options of the day, differences between the C and Bb sopranos, etc. etc.