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Conn 28A Connstellation



 
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:23 am    Post subject: Conn 28A Connstellation Reply with quote

I'm eagerly awaiting one of these obtained via a trade and wondering about how this model plays versus other horns.

I know it has a .438 bore and I know bore size is a variable some players dismiss while others find it important.

What I'm curious about are all the playability measures: response, soft vs. loud, low register vs. high, endurance factor, core sound quality and other observations those who play one might have.

I'd be especially interested to know how the 28A plays by comparison with the venerable Conn 80A which I believe has a much bigger bore.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait and find out how it reacts, in comparison, for you?
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know, I know, I'm too impatient.
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boog
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jim,

I recenty acquired one of these great long cornets back last fall. I also own a 36b Connstellation (small bell), so I have some basis of comparison.

The 36B is my go-to horn for studio work, and records well. I also have used it for big band lead playing a lot over the years. A very easy-to-play instrument (as is the 28A). I got this trumpet as a basket case back about 20 years ago, and had to put it together, so it has been somewhat of a project for a few years.

The 28A, basically a "big bell" Connstellation that takes a cornet mouthpiece, plays differently than the 36B. I have found it to have a somewhat mellow "cornet" sound, due to it's pronounced conical bore, which is visually obvious when you compare the two instruments side by side. This is especially true when I use a Denis Wick cornet mouthpiece. It tends to sound very "flugel-like" with this piece. I use my trumpet tops with cornet backbores on it and, for instance, a 3c piece makes it sound more trumpet-like (as it does on my other cornets). Very easy to blend in with the trumpet section in our community concert band.

I also find the 28A to be somewhat less free-blowing in comparison with the 36B, but a lot of this may be due to the fact that I use "big" (more open) backbores with my trumpet tops (my Bach 180 plays a bit "stuffy" to me, also). I also realize that this, too, is somewhat subjective. This may change for me when I acquire a bigger cornet backbore. Right now I use a Warburton 8 and ACB C1 cornet backbore. The high register on the 28A is very easy and it "slots" very well from F up to double C, more so than the 36B, IMO.

I think you will find the 28A to be a very versatile, easy-playing instrument that can sound like a trumpet, or cornet, depending on how hard you "push" it and what mouthpiece you use. I have been well pleased with mine. As an added benefit, they are selling for about half the price of the vintage Connstellation trumpets, FWIW.

Other advantages of the old Connstellations include tank-like construction, in particular the "Coprion" formed leadpipes (both leadpipes look absolutely new inside) and the bells, which are quite dent and peck resistant.

There is a bit of "mystique" surrounding whether the Connstellation bells, in particular, up to the mid '60's were actually "Coprion" bells (electrically deposited copper plating on a mandrel)...Conn in their literature called the Connstellation bells "Electro-D" bells, and according to what I have read online here and there, they were basically copper-plated one-piece brass bells with nickel plating on top of the copper plating, followed by the "Lustre-Conn" lacquer coating on top of it all. There seems to be some disagreement among Conn enthusiasts on this aspect of this design, though. Some say they were actually Coprion-process copper bells with nickel plating. Nobody seems to know for sure.

I also am a fan of the "wide wrap" design. I have a Courtois like this, and I really like the look and feel of these instruments.

Enjoy!
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your informative post, Dave!

I'm stitting here hoping the mailman is just down the street with my horn but with all the snow we got, maybe not.

Whenever it arrives it's going to get a good workout!
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EdMann
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had both, had the 28A for years and found it a tough blow with most cornet pieces. .438 has nothing to do with it. The bell is huge and sucks air. Very mysterious goings on there! The 80A is just flat out big, .485 and blows that way. Different sounds, for sure, but both are definitely cornets.

ed
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

28a is smaller feeling, and much more dense in tone. Not bright or dark, and not airy or fluffy, it’s just clear and dense and centered and even through the registers. Low register is not flat at all, and is very big sound and can take as much as you can give it. Playing fast the notes pop with the valves for a nice clean slotted slurred sound. Upper G at top of staff is a bit sharp. High D not flat

80a is big. Not super big but bigger feeling than 28a. Brighter and also more airy. The 80a has real good intonation except low register is flatter than the 28a. Low register is not as fat as 28a. Upper register on 80a feels great. Playing fast on 80a is its weak point. The huge bore takes a bit of the valve pop out when playing fast slurred runs etc. tonguing on 80a is better than 28a, and accuracy is also a little bit better. Both are easy to find the slot and both have good centering.

You can dial in the feel quite a bit with the tuning bell and main tuning slide. If the tuning bell is out more than about 1/2inch, it plays better with some pull on the main slide. It’s a lot different playing tuning with the main slide vs the tuning bell slide. You can find your own sweet spot.
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plp
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW.

All the .438 Conns I have owned, and played, for the most part, were awesome trumpets and cornets.

As long as I played nothing else.

They do not play well with others, at least to my amatuer skill level.

For far better players than me, that may have made zero difference, but with the exception of one horn, did for me.

Which is why I have sold them all over the past 4 years, other than one.

The one is a 1963 Conn 6B, that for whatever reason, just works.

I sold off two 28A Connstellations, 4 22B's, 1 36B (incredible horn in excellent condition, if I hadn't had the chance to sell if for a 300% profit would've never considered it) and 2 38B's, would be playing them today.

However, for me, at my ability, could either play them or a .459 bore horn.

My main player is a 1969 Conn 60-B, and the 6-B just jives with it, can do all my 'cash register' stuff on the 60-B, and the high note sick stuff on the 6B.

I have been told, by far better players than me, never sell that one, it is beyond sharp, but sound better on it for solo stuff than anything else. I trust thier judgement.
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plp
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plp wrote:
FWIW.

All the .438 Conns I have owned, and played, for the most part, were awesome trumpets and cornets.

As long as I played nothing else.

They do not play well with others, at least to my amatuer skill level.

For far better players than me, that may have made zero difference, but with the exception of one horn, did for me.

Which is why I have sold them all over the past 4 years, other than one.

The one is a 1963 Conn 6B, that for whatever reason, just works.

I sold off two 28A Connstellations, 4 22B's, 1 36B (incredible horn in excellent condition, if I hadn't had the chance to sell if for a 300% profit would've never considered it) and 2 38B's, would be playing them today.

However, for me, at my ability, could either play them or a .459 bore horn.

My main player is a 1969 Conn 60-B, and the 6-B just jives with it, can do all my 'cash register' stuff on the 60-B, and the high note sick stuff on the 6B.

I have been told, by far better players than me, never sell that one, it is beyond sharp, but sound better on it for solo stuff than anything else. I trust thier judgement.

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Since all other motives—fame, money, power, even honor—are thrown out the window the moment I pick up that instrument..... I play because I love doing it, even when the results are disappointing. In short, I do it to do it.” Wayne Booth
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plp
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plp wrote:
FWIW.

All the .438 Conns I have owned, and played, for the most part, were awesome trumpets and cornets.

As long as I played nothing else.

They do not play well with others, at least to my amatuer skill level.

For far better players than me, that may have made zero difference, but with the exception of one horn, did for me.

Which is why I have sold them all over the past 4 years, other than one.

The one is a 1963 Conn 6B, that for whatever reason, just works.

I sold off two 28A Connstellations, 4 22B's, 1 36B (incredible horn in excellent condition, if I hadn't had the chance to sell if for a 300% profit would've never considered it) and 2 38B's, would be playing them today.

However, for me, at my ability, could either play them or a .459 bore horn.

My main player is a 1969 Conn 60-B, and the 6-B just jives with it, can do all my 'cash register' stuff on the 60-B, and the high note sick stuff on the 6B.

I have been told, by far better players than me, never sell that one, it is beyond sharp, but sound better on it for solo stuff than anything else. I trust thier judgement.



Love what you are saying, about the 80-A. My very favorite horn, ever.
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Since all other motives—fame, money, power, even honor—are thrown out the window the moment I pick up that instrument..... I play because I love doing it, even when the results are disappointing. In short, I do it to do it.” Wayne Booth
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the 5-inch bell was what soured me on the WT long cornet I paid dearly for then traded for an Eclipse when I couldn't make it sound like the one I hear in my head. The WT is an extraordinarily well-built horn and, based on the raves it gets from others on TH, is the Holy Grail for some but it wasn't for me. The Eclipse is the best all-around (brass band, concert band, jazz) player I've played.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the 5-inch bell was what soured me on the WT long cornet I paid dearly for then traded for an Eclipse (4 3/4 inch bell) when I couldn't make it sound like I want.

The WT is an extraordinarily well-built horn and, based on the raves it gets from others on TH, is the Holy Grail for some but it wasn't for me. The Eclipse is the best all-around (brass band, concert band, jazz) player I've played.

Hoping the 28A with its big bell-small bore will play as well or even better.
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Robert Rowe
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had both horns (28A and 80A).

Was so impressed by the 28A, I thought it might be an aberration ... so, I acquired two more, one of which was a project horn, acquired "for a song". I did get a couple of the hard-to-find cases that fit the large bell. That horn (the project horn) ended-up being the best "player" (although; it looks like "20-miles of bad road"). I switched out the slides for those from a silver Conn 22b, thereby eliminating the variable-position 3rd-slide pull-ring apparatus, as well as the 1st-slide trigger assembly.
Dunno (?). Maybe, the slide switcheroo made a difference in playability. There is also some nickel-plating worn off of the valve-cluster.
It is pretty-much a beater ... but, a great player.

The 80A ? So-so .

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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It arrived! It plays every bit as well as I'd hoped!
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jhatpro wrote:
It arrived! It plays every bit as well as I'd hoped!


Please tell us more.....
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lipshurt
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also switched the 3rd slide from a 22b, looks better and plays better. I switched it mainly cuz the original was out of round and sticky.

I like the 28a but will prob sell mine soon

the thing that made it play better the most was heating it and popping the braces to relieve tension. It's also stripped of lacquer. The nickel looks great and does not tarnish for a long time. Sounds better stripped, and looks better too. That was cuz the lacquer was pretty ratty
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TrentAustin
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lipshurt wrote:
I also switched the 3rd slide from a 22b, looks better and plays better. I switched it mainly cuz the original was out of round and sticky.

I like the 28a but will prob sell mine soon

the thing that made it play better the most was heating it and popping the braces to relieve tension. It's also stripped of lacquer. The nickel looks great and does not tarnish for a long time. Sounds better stripped, and looks better too. That was cuz the lacquer was pretty ratty


The back bell brace on my 38A is also loose. I love how it feels and when I put some zip ties on (prior to soldering just so I could feel the difference) I decided to keep the horn with the loose brace as it's so much better!

I tried to make that 28A work but never got it dialed in... I'm shocked how much I love the 38A short model and it's massive bore. Such a fantastic instrument.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should preface anything I say about the 28A by noting that I fall in and out of love with horns too easily. For now let me just say in the little time I've played it I'm impressed by its rich sound, excellent intonation, and easy blow in all registers. Whether it's gig-worthy remains to be seen.

Meantime, I'm trying to find the best mouthpiece to balance the horn's .438 bore and 5 1/8 inch bell.
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