Conn 18M stretched soprano saxophone

  • Posted on: 3 April 2024
  • By: Mark

One of the rarest Conn saxophones is undoubtedly the 18M stretched soprano.  General information : 
Every vintage soprano sax is a challenge to play in tune. In 1928 Conn introduced the "stretch" model 18M straight soprano - a totally new design, with greater projection and improved intonation.  The bore was smaller, so the length of the saxophone had to be extended to 67cm. It required a special shorter mouthpiece to play at all. The Conn stretched soprano starts around series M220xxx, up to M236xxx, though by no means all sopranos in this series are stretched sopranos! The normal straight soprano was also still produced. Because of the depression, not many of these stretched sopranos survived. These are the last straight soprano saxophones built by Conn. There is no reliable info how many were built, but there are definitely not many.....

American instrument makers sold very few soprano saxophones after the 1929 depression, when the instrument virtually disappeared from popular music. Most of the instruments sold in the previous decade were straight sopranos, which were a common double for dance band saxophonists in the mid-1920s. Like a clarinet, the straight soprano could rest on a pin stand, much more convenient than the curved saxophone, which needed its own stand and a separate neckband. Sidney Bechet and Don Redman, the two main sopranos of early jazz, both played on straight sopranos.

This example (MRO ID: SS16) was built in early 1929 and was completely overhauled by its previous owner in 2019. This is the rare lacquered version. most are silver-plated. The saxophone is in almost perfect condition, with no damage, dents or repairs. The body is straight, the tone holes are original and there is no wear. The included vintage mouthpiece is not original. Ed Pillinger in London can make a replica of an original Conn S2 soprano mouthpiece.