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Horns Discuss Conn Director in the Equipment forums; Hi all. I went to my local music store and they had a used Silver-plated vintage Conn Director horn. I ...
  1. #1
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    Conn Director

    Hi all. I went to my local music store and they had a used Silver-plated vintage Conn Director horn. I played around on it and it played surprisingly well. He offered $200 for the horn. Is this a good/bad price? It is in very good condition. He also had an Olds Ambassador which wasn't as nice aesthetically, but played well nonetheless. I'm just curious. Thanks!


    -heck

  2. #2
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    Re: Conn Director

    Pretty high by Ebay prices, but not too bad for a retail store. Just how much did you like this particular horn. If you were really enamored by this particular horn, then buy it. If you were just toying with the idea, wait for a better horn or a better deal.
    You can always offer the guy less, worst he can say is no.
    Listen to this, NO! Your still alive, and it didn't hurt did it ?
    Throw out a low ball offer , and see what he says. You can always find another horn.
    Good luck !

  3. #3
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    Re: Conn Director

    Quote Originally Posted by heck99 View Post
    Hi all. I went to my local music store and they had a used Silver-plated vintage Conn Director horn. I played around on it and it played surprisingly well. He offered $200 for the horn. Is this a good/bad price? It is in very good condition. He also had an Olds Ambassador which wasn't as nice aesthetically, but played well nonetheless. I'm just curious. Thanks!


    -heck
    You haven't told us enough about the Director.

    Does the serial number compared to the list at
    The Conn Loyalist
    indicate that it is from the 50's or 60's or 70's?
    (Print out the list and take it to the store with you, or call the store and ask them to read the serial number to you.)
    The older Directors of the 50's and 60's were much better quality.
    Does it have a copper bell or brass bell under that silverplate?
    Copper under the silverplate is better.

    Look at the list at
    The Conn Loyalist
    It could be a 14B or 18B from the 1950's, the 18B is better because the bell is made of copper.
    It could be a 15B or 17B from the 1960's, the 17B is better because the bell is made of copper.
    Directors made after 1969 are not considered as desirable because the Conn company was sold and the Conns made after that were lesser quality.

    Although there is a slight chance that there is a copper bell under the silver, in the absence of proof otherwise you will have to assume that there is a brass bell under the silverplate.
    Even if it is the 1950's 14B with brass bell in excellent condition, they sell for a maximum of $100, usually less (mine was $56 plus $16 shipping, but I think mine was an unusual bargain).
    But you would then need to add to the value however much the silverplate would be worth ($50? $75?).

    It is rare to see a silver Director in eBay.
    The only one I could find in a search just now was a 1971 cornet that went unsold at $200.
    I suspect that much of the price of your trumpet is due to the silverplate, but statistically I think that the silverplated Directors tend to be the newer models from after 1969, so the added value of the silver tends to be cancelled by the fact that the trumpet itself is from the latter years when Conns were not made as well.

    I think the best point I could make is this:
    Look at the Conn quality comparison chart at
    The Conn Loyalist
    Directors are very nice student trumpets.
    But the much better quality professional 22B's are often seen in Ebay for around $200.

    A 1951 in beautiful condition went for $256:
    eBay: VINTAGE CONN 22B TRUMPET (item 280123139041 end time Jun-14-07 19:10:48 PDT)

    My 1952 22B in need of a re-lacquer job was only $93 plus $18:
    eBay: Antique Working C.G. Conn Ltd. Brass Trumpet +Case&More (item 260124047793 end time Jun-06-07 18:57:10 PDT)

    My 1956 Director 14B in excellent condition was $56 plus $16:
    eBay: Conn Director Trumpet 649235 With Case L@@K NO RESERVE (item 170103751139 end time Apr-26-07 18:00:00 PDT)

    So for $200 you can by a silverplate student Director or a lacquered professional 22B.

    - morris

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    Re: Conn Director

    eBay: 1940 Conn 22B Trumpet .438 bore GOLD BRASS Bell!!! (item 110139803308 end time Jun-19-07 16:07:58 PDT)

    I found this 22B I like on ebay. It looks nice, and looks like it's in pretty good condition. Any thoughts?

    -heck

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    Re: Conn Director

    Quote Originally Posted by heck99 View Post
    eBay: 1940 Conn 22B Trumpet .438 bore GOLD BRASS Bell!!! (item 110139803308 end time Jun-19-07 16:07:58 PDT)

    I found this 22B I like on ebay. It looks nice, and looks like it's in pretty good condition. Any thoughts?

    -heck
    If you read the fine print, it says "York bell", although the bell in the photo says "Conn".
    But above "York bell" it says "1946 Conn 22B" which contradicts the top of the ad which says "1940".

    I remembered one of his previous eBay ads and found it at
    eBay: 1946 Conn 22B Trumpet .438 bore Tempered Bronze Bell (item 110129445286 end time May-23-07 10:40:52 PDT)

    It turns out that the selller has accidently included part of an old ad in his new ad.
    The only things I can see wrong with the 1940 one:
    It is raw brass, so you will have to have it lacquered or plated at extra expense.
    And it has no case, although that is no huge problem.
    And many Conn 22B's come with a vintage mouthpice such as the old Conn 4, and some players claim that a Conn trumpet plays better with a Conn mouthpiece.
    But if you can afford to buy it at $230 and plate or lacquer it, it looks like a great trumpet.
    You won't have to unstick 3 slides like I will have to, and you won't have to strip off ugly peeling lacquer like I will have to.
    But the "Buy it now" price of $330 seems to be quite steep for a 22B that is raw brass, since one with decent original lacquer often sells for just over $200.

    - morris

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    Re: Conn Director

    Would I necessarily NEED to refinish it? And is it a "gold-brass" bell?

    -heck

  7. #7
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    Re: Conn Director

    If you want to keep the price to no more than $200, and you don't want to wait around for a 1940's-1950's vintage Conn that will probably be more than $200 if the finish is in really good shape,
    this might be something you'd like:

    eBay: Conn Victor Trumpet 1970 w/case (item 110139815942 end time Jun-23-07 20:00:00 PDT)


    I don't know if that is a 6B Victor* or a 22B Victor**, perhaps Christine of Conn Loyalist can tell us, although the photos might not show enough.

    * The Conn Loyalist

    ** The Conn Loyalist


    The 1970 year is just after Conn was bought by another company circa 1969 and the quality started to deteriorate a little.

    But if you consult the realtive quality chart that Conn Loyalist has at
    The Conn Loyalist
    you will see that a Victor is far above a Director in terms of quality,
    even if it is one of the late Victors when quality started to deteriorate a little versus one of the early Directors when quality was still excellent.
    So a 1955 Director is an excellent quality student trumpet.
    While a 1970 Victor is a decent quality professional trumpet.

    That 1970 Victor on eBay would not need re-finishing, it comes with a case, the valves and slides would require no work, it is new enough to still have good compression, and with a price of $89 with 5 days left in bidding, I suspect it will sell for about $200.

    - morris

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    Re: Conn Director

    Quote Originally Posted by heck99 View Post
    Would I necessarily NEED to refinish it? And is it a "gold-brass" bell?

    -heck
    Many owners of raw brass trumpets have complained of skin reactions to raw brass:

    "Is there anyone else out there that is allergic to raw brass?....I can't let my skin touch raw brass for a second."
    "It is raw brass, which is why I use the valve guard. It helps keep the raw brass stench off my hands. I love the look, but hate the smell."
    - Forum: trumpetherald.com

    "I am pretty much allergic to unfinished brass."
    - Forum: trumpetherald.com

    "Raw brass poisoning?"
    - Forum: trumpetherald.com

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    Re: Conn Director

    Morris-

    You've been fantastic help and can't thank you enough for taking the time to do some extensive searching. I'm actually leaning towards that 1946 22B because I've played raw brass horns and have had no ill effects from them. I could also have it relacquered if I do find it an inconvenience or much less than silver-plate. One question I have is in regard to the "gold brass bell". Is the bell gold brass, or copper? And is it in fact a New York Symphony or just a normal 22B? Again thanks for your help.

    -heck

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    Re: Conn Director

    Quote Originally Posted by heck99 View Post
    Morris-

    You've been fantastic help and can't thank you enough for taking the time to do some extensive searching. I'm actually leaning towards that 1946 22B because I've played raw brass horns and have had no ill effects from them. I could also have it relacquered if I do find it an inconvenience or much less than silver-plate. One question I have is in regard to the "gold brass bell". Is the bell gold brass, or copper? And is it in fact a New York Symphony or just a normal 22B? Again thanks for your help.

    -heck
    Since I am retired I get bored and I look for stuff like this to keep me occupied.

    Since the 1940 22B trumpet (1946 was a typo in the ad) has been stripped down to the bare metal, it is easy to see what it is made of.
    It has a brass bell instead of copper.
    No 22B's were made with copper bells.
    A 22B with a copper bell would be called a 12B instead:
    The Conn Loyalist

    (the full with-pictures list is at The Conn Loyalist )

    Conn called its copper bells "Coprion" bells.

    The Conn Loyalist
    has some copper / Coprion bells before re-lacquer and after re-lacquer.
    With original lacquer the copper bell is dark red.
    After re-lacquer the copper bell is bright pink.

    The bell in your ad at
    eBay: 1940 Conn 22B Trumpet .438 bore GOLD BRASS Bell!!! (item 110139803308 end time Jun-19-07 16:07:58 PDT)
    might look reddish, but that is just the lighting of the photo.
    The eBay ad shows that the bell is the same color as the rest of the trumpet, whereas a copper / Coprion bell is a much different color from the rest of the trumpet.
    For examples where the color difference of a copper bell from the rest of the trumpet is obvious see:
    The Conn Loyalist
    and
    The Conn Loyalist
    and
    The Conn Loyalist

    "And is it in fact a New York Symphony or just a normal 22B?"

    The non-pictures model list at
    The Conn Loyalist
    shows that the "22B New York Symphony" was made from 1922 to 1955, but that is apparently a typo that should be 1954.
    Starting in 1955 the "22B New York Symphony" changed to become the "22B Victor" which was made 1955 to the 1970's.

    The with-pictures model list at
    The Conn Loyalist
    has 4 entries for 22B so that you can trace its history.

    The link to the "22B Victor" takes you to the page which says:
    "In 1955 Conn redesigned the 22B New York Symphony, bringing its design in line with the other trumpets of the day. The result was the 22B Victor."
    Within a few years the 22B Victors had a lot of nickel plating on the valve casings, making them look quite different from the older 22B's.

    Anyway, since your 22B was made in 1940, it was by definition a "22B New York Symphony" rather than a "22B Victor".
    The only variation on the 1930's-1940's "22B New York Symphony" was the fancy "22B New York Symphony *Special*" seen at
    The Conn Loyalist

    That 1940 22B for sale in eBay does look gorgeous.
    Since you can't try it before you buy it, there is no way of knowing whether the valves are worn enough to affect compression.
    But I am such an amateur that I probably wouldn't recognize poor compression even if my trumpet had it.
    I think that if valves are worn enough to have poor compression a music shop simply electroplates the valves to add to the metal again?
    And if the valves are already good, do you know what a 22B feels like and sounds like so that you will be pleased when you get it?
    Many people love it, but other people prefer a larger-bore trumpet.
    The bore of the 1940 22B is the same as the bore size of a 1950's-1970's Director (the "Directors" since 1985 or so are totally different instruments of lesser quality and have a larger bore size), and it was unclear whether the Director you tried was the older or newer version.

    Whether that raw brass 1940 22B is the right trumpet at the right price for you is something that only you can decide.
    But you are doing the right thing in getting as much info before-hand as possible so that you can make an informed decision.

    I wish I had the money to buy that 1940 22B for $230 plus shipping plus another $100 for nice re-lacquer plus another $100 for nice case.
    But since I have a 1996 Toyota Tercel that leaks oil as fast as I can put it in... that 1970 22B Victor in eBay
    eBay: Conn Victor Trumpet 1970 w/case (item 110139815942 end time Jun-23-07 20:00:00 PDT) would be more my price range, and it has those neat-looking nickel valve casings

    BTW, 6 months ago I knew nothing about Conn trumpets.
    Thanks to Christine at Conn Loyalist for having a Web site that educates us so much.

    - morris

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