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 Post subject: Pan-American "Chu Berry"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:36 am 
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 6:03 pm
Posts: 210
A reader writes:

Pam American 1926-27 Chuberry in good condition. Considering for adult to learn to play. Student is fluent with bugle.
Please advice on value, student appropriate and cost.

-----Our Response -----Please log in and add your own or use our Contact link to send me your Thoughts-------

Thanks for getting in touch. Is this student new to woodwinds? I would recommend getting a postwar horn at least.

You don't say whether it's a tenor or alto. Alto requires more pressure; tenor requires more wind. If the player already plays bugle, pressure shouldn't be a problem.

May I ask why you're looking at prewar horns? Professional players sometimes choose them for their unique sounds, but they are not as easy to learn on as postwar horns.

Also, "Chuberry" is a name that technically applies to one kind of “transitional” tenor model of a Conn New Wonder II saxophone that included features that weren’t standard until the Conn 10M. Because saxophonist Leon Brown could get a great sound out of it, some players try to track down that particular model, although they'd probably have more luck with a 10M.

Because that particular configuration became desirable, some sellers began calling ANY Conn saxophone made betwen 1925 and 1935 a "Chuberry." Especially when they wanted to inflate the price. Pan Americans were Conn's student horns. They lacked features that even the standard Conn New Wonders and New Wonder IIs had. That's not to say it's a BAD horn; some can still be made very playable. And they're all better built than anything coming out of China for under, say $1500 today. But it's not a premium horn. And it's certainly not a "Chuberry" by any definition. Realizing you're not in Manhattan or anyplace where you have hundreds of horns to choose from,

THAT SAID, if I was starting a student on a sax today, and he/she wanted a vintage sax, I'd look for something made after World War II, and I'd avoid Conn. Only their top-of-the-line models after WWII had pro features. Yes, those are very nice, but they're also very expensive.

There is a rundown on vintage student horns here: http://schooloftherock.com/html/vintage ... hones.html

All other things (including cost) being equal, if I had to choose my favorite student horn from that era, it would be the Yamaha/Vito YAS-21 (alto) or YTS-21 (tenor). Beuscher Aristocrats and first-generation Selmer Signets (with both low pads on the left side of the bell as you're holding the horn) are also VERY nice for beginners (though not as ergonomic). They were pro horns in their day, but people tend to charge more for those because of the name. If you can get a Bundy or Bundy II VERY cheap and get it set up properly so that your whole expense is less, say, than $400, they are very playable and capable of good tone and volume.

Also, if I was recommending for a young person with small hands, I would stick with the ergonomically improved horns like the Yamaha/Vitos. But for an adult, the extra distance between the keys of the older layouts shouldn't be a problem.

Whatever you get, assume the mouthpiece will need replaced between 6 and 12 months. Student mouthpieces are made to help kids get started easily and not be too loud, not to produce great tones or volume.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best of luck - Paul


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:37 pm 
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I followed up again:

P.S. I went on the Jackson Craig's list.

I can see why you are looking at a pre-war student horn.

There isn't one horn on there (even if you go to Baton Rouge) worth driving across town to see. The $100 sax in Baton Rouge is likely a post-war "Shooting Star/Director" which is based on the Pan Am prewar horns. If it is all there, and you can get it repadded and set up properly for under $300, for a $400 total cost, that might be your best bet for a regional horn.

The rest are costing more used and abused than they would cost new from a mail order dealer. The Yamaha at the Pawn shop is one of my favorite models, but I can tell from the photos it has been deliberately abused. I wouldn't buy it for $50 based on the amount of work that will have to go into it.

At this point, you're better off on eBay.

Or if the fellow with the Pan American is local, the horn is playable and under $400, assume it will need another $150 worth of work, and make your decision.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Best of luck,

Paul


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