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 Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Ray (---.crtntx1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net)
Date:   2003-08-06 01:32

I would like to learn more about the Conn Connstellation wood clarinet. I haven't found anything in searches here and at Klarinet. The serial number list places the date of manufacture at 1913, which is way to early.

The serial number is 280N 270XX. The clarinet has the logo with three marching players on the upper joint and the bell only. The serial number is above the register key tone hole on the upper joint and at the very bottom of the lower joint. The is an M just above the register key tone hole and also at the bottom of the lower joint.

It says Made in Germany above the serial number on the lower joint.

The word Connstellation appears only on the bell, in script, at about a 45 degree angle. Some of the clarinets (Did I mention there are three?) have a star near that word.

The wood looks very good and the keywork is of a professional, not student style. The pivot screws and rods have the infamous tiny locking screws. Many posts have locking screws also. This is not a cheesy clarinet.

I would appreciate any information about date of manufacture and the actual manufacturer, and where it fit in the Conn line of clarinets.

None is playable right now, so I would appreciate opinions about tone and pitch quality also.

Thanks very much in advance,
Ray



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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2003-08-06 18:35

Ray - There is a bit of info if you Search under Co N stellation, the nn doesnt give much! Conn sold a lot of insts with that model name, The "Shrine" [NMM@sd.edu , I think] has much Conn info. Luck, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Vytas (---.ipt.aol.com)
Date:   2003-08-06 19:46
Attachment:  Conn_280N.jpg (58k)

Professional quality instrument somewhat similar to C.G.Conn 444N

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Synonymous Botch (---.nycap.rr.com)
Date:   2003-08-06 20:31

The instrument you describe is perhaps an earlier version of the Connstellation "38"...

Conn had a progressive serial number system for clarinets, that is different than the lists you will likely find for saxophones.

The first three digits indicate the model number.

The higher the number, the more refined the model.

The Connstellation 38 was an all-out (failed) attempt to make a professional instrument for broader use, in competition with Selmer.

The Three Marchers in lockstep appeared on the Director, model 16 and other intermediate horns.

*****
Have a look at the keywork... what sort of plating do you find?

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Dee (---.qix.net)
Date:   2003-08-06 22:16

However, keep in mind that the "top of the line professional level Conn" clarinets were not on a par with Buffet, Leblanc, or Selmer. They were more equivalent to the intermediate grades of these main players.

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Mark Pinner (139.134.63.---)
Date:   2003-08-06 22:38

The Conn's with the locking screws were more than likely made by F. Arthur Uebel or some of the components were. Some of them have pot metal, ie. aluminium alloy, keys. I have compared the posts and screw threads and they are identical to old Uebel Boehm's. If it is definitely marked Made in Germany then it is probably post WWII. Most pre-war imports are marked Foreign rather than a country of origin.

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: DezzaG (---.b.002.hob.iprimus.net.au)
Date:   2003-08-07 07:48

Just remember that the Conn New Wonder and Naked Lady saxs all had locking screws too, so it is prob more likely that Conn made the keywork.
Also the Constellation Sax is meant to be really quite good,on a higher level than the Naked series supposedly.

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Synonymous Botch (---.nycap.rr.com)
Date:   2003-08-07 12:00

Gee Dee, what qualifies you to sweep them all under the rug?

Have you ever been in the same room with one of these?

The clarinets made in that period were built with much the same technique, quality of materials and skilled staff. Most of the makers turned out clarinets for beginning and intermediate players.

Conn made lots, at a reasonable price, for the domestic market.
They filled the same niche as current Vito or Yamaha student horns.

Comparing a Conn Director to the Connstellation is like comparing a
Dodge Neon to the Chrysler 'Crossfire'... same maker, different levels of build quality.

Put a clean 444N up against a LL or Series 9 some day.

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: David Spiegelthal (---.orbital.com)
Date:   2003-08-07 15:48

I have to go along with Synonymous on this one --- I did some work on a top-of--the-line older Conn clarinet earlier this year (I believe it was a 444 model) and I was amazed at how nice it was -- the quality of the wood, the keywork, the little details, and the way it played --- on par in every way with the best from Buffet, Selmer, and Leblanc in my opinion. Too bad Conn eventually became a purveyor of nothing but third-rate junk --- it wasn't always like that!

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Dee (---.qix.net)
Date:   2003-08-07 22:35

I've played Conn clarinets from the 40s and 50s and yes they were nice but simply not on a par with the top French models. I never said they were bad instruments. They are head and shoulders above the Chinese junk we see today.

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: happyamateur (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2003-08-07 23:38

I think that Dave may be referring to my '36 Conn 446 (beautiful job, Dave). Finding the right mp was a bit of a search, but successful at last and wow, what a nice instrument. Don't know how it compares with french instruments of the time but I have nothing to complain about. Wish you could see/play it Dee.

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Ray (---.crtntx1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net)
Date:   2003-08-07 23:48

Thanks to all for so much good information. This list is definitely amongst my favorite reading of any kind.

Vytas, thank you for the ad. I couldn't see a date on the ad, can you? That might give me an approximate date for the clarinets.

Thanks again!

Ray

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Vytas (---.ipt.aol.com)
Date:   2003-08-08 22:31

I think, the year is 1935.

BTW check your serial number again. Conn Connstellation from that period had 6-digit serial number. (280N B270xxxL)

Made in Germany? Ad says (A. Shaw) "The fine American clarinet that I....."

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: jbutler (---.houston.rr.com)
Date:   2003-08-09 01:09

I overhauled a nice Conn 444N which was sold a year or so ago. Currently have two 424N's. I finished one last summer and haven't gotten around to the other yet. The 424N plays just as well as the 444N, and in fact has same key design with the lower joint bridge key protector on the ring. I had a barrel made for it for tuning purposes. These clarinets play better with the older mouthpieces such as the Conn Precision or a older Brilhart Tonalin. The other 424N has a completely different key design and is a little newer serial number. I agree with SB. These instrument play with a big, fat, centered sound. Artie liked 'em! They may not be suited as well for the concert band or orchestra, but they are a delight to play.

jbutler

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: Ray (---.crtntx1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net)
Date:   2003-08-13 02:14

jbutler:

These clarinets have the lower joint bridge key protector also. They have Conn mouthpieces, but there are no other markings. I'm guessing they are not the Conn Precision mouthpiece you mentioned.

Vytas:

I triple checked the serial number. It's clearly only five digits, and there is no L at the end. When I first saw the 280N, I expected to find six digits because I had seen that format before. Maybe the fact that these are German-made has something to do with the format? Do you have any idea when they were made?

Thanks again,
Ray

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 Re: Conn Connstellation wood clarinet
Author: BbWally (---.atlsfl.adelphia.net - ISP in United States)
Date:   2007-02-07 02:55

MAYBE IT SOUNDS STUPID, BUT MY NEW CONN 444N IS IN TUNE WHEN THE BARREL IS SEATED ON THE TENNON. PROBELM IS THAT THE BRASS IN THE BAND IS USUALY SHARP. ERGO. I AM NOT IN TUNE WITH THE BAND.

THE QUESTION IS WHAT BARREL IS THE CORRECT BORE FOR MATCHING THE BORE OF THE CONN 444N CLARINET?

I GUESS THAT AT 64 OR 63 MM WOULD DO THE JOB IF IT MATCHED THE LARGE BORE OF THE 444N.

ANY SUGGESTIONS?
WALLY

telephone 561 350 9331

6773 woodbridge drive
boca raton, fl 33434

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