New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

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Steve335
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New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Steve335 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:06 pm

I was recently at a brass shop where I had gone to retry a Shires Vintage Elkhart.
When I got to the shop they didn’t have any left in stock, but the shop asked me if I could play a few 88H’s (I was the first professional player in the shop that day) and pick one out for a keen student.
I played about 7 Conn 88HO’s and found what I thought was the best one for the student . I was so impressed that I then tried another 8 Closed wrap 88H’s, picked my favorite and bought it.
Just like any make of trombone , they all had their own colors and character etc, some were good, others in my opinion not so good. That’s not unusual though, even if you compare 2 identical mouthpieces, machine measured and apparently identical, they play slightly different.
I suppose the point of my post is to say Conn are making some really good sounding trombones, but I would definitely try a few and compare rather than just buy the first one you see.
New Conns can be great instruments . I think my one is better than many vintage Conn elkharts I’ve tried, and over time I expect it to feel more blown in. The new Conn 88H is still a beautiful sounding professional instrument, and although there is lots of competition in the market with different brands, upgraded valves and different bells etc, as well as sought after old Vintage Elkharts , I would argue that the best of the new instruments sound at least as good as many of it’s more expensive contemporaries.
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Matt K
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Matt K » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:08 pm

Were they all new stock? I know that HornGuys even stopped carrying Conns for a year or so because of poor build quality. Would be a good thing if they've stepped up their game from that time period.
Bach5G
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Bach5G » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:40 pm

Horn Guys say:

“February 2016: We're sold out of all Conn 88H trombones. Current Elkart, Indiana Conn trombones do not meet our standards, so we declined to reorder.”
castrubone
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by castrubone » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:25 am

If you want a trombone that sounds and feels like a Conn 88H then you gotta get a Conn 88H! I also recently play tested several new ones at a shop, including a Lindberg valve. All had the classic sound and excellent valve function. They’ve had a bad rep since the move to Elkhart, but first hand experience and recent comments from others in the industry suggests they’ve ironed out whatever glitches there were. Slides seemed solid, although one was a little scratchy. Always pays to play before you buy, but I’d still buy a Conn (or a Bach) over any imitator.
Rusty
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Rusty » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:43 am

Has anyone tried the standard 88H and 88HT back to back? I’ve read a few times that the ‘T’ thin bell versions are closer to the old Elkhart models?
hyperbolica
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:59 am

Rusty wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:43 am
Has anyone tried the standard 88H and 88HT back to back? I’ve read a few times that the ‘T’ thin bell versions are closer to the old Elkhart models?
Yes, I've compared them side by side, and the T is definitely the way to go for Elkie lovers. The thicker bells are more Bach-like, perhaps, but I just don't like them. Definitely more sluggish, and harder to steer. Totally changes the horn, and not in a good way, as far as I'm concerned.
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Neo Bri
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Neo Bri » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:44 pm

castrubone wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:25 am
If you want a trombone that sounds and feels like a Conn 88H then you gotta get a Conn 88H! I also recently play tested several new ones at a shop, including a Lindberg valve. All had the classic sound and excellent valve function. They’ve had a bad rep since the move to Elkhart, but first hand experience and recent comments from others in the industry suggests they’ve ironed out whatever glitches there were. Slides seemed solid, although one was a little scratchy. Always pays to play before you buy, but I’d still buy a Conn (or a Bach) over any imitator.
Well, sort of. What I can say is that I have a trombone buddy here on TC that works at a very large music store. I was in the other day playing a Conn 8D horn...and boy was it clanky. The valves, tubing, and linkages were all very 'rough' compared to the Yamaha 668D I compared it to. So much refinement compared to the Conn.

He told me that every time they get a Conn in from the factory that they are a mess and that they need a lot of TLC before they put them on the floor to be played, etc. Even after the TLC the 8D was mechanically a dog.

Sad.

That being said, I myself have also played recent horns that were really good horns. In fact, I have an 88HT Greenhoe - and that horn is fantastic! True, it's more Bach-like, I suppose, but it's a really good player. And unlike the example I provided above, is mechanically excellent. But that's the Greenhoe side of the equation, I guess.
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by mrdeacon » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:02 pm

Rusty wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:43 am
Has anyone tried the standard 88H and 88HT back to back? I’ve read a few times that the ‘T’ thin bell versions are closer to the old Elkhart models?
The regular bells aren't super duper heavy and the light bells aren't super duper light... but I have yet to play a T bell I don't like and I have yet to play a regular bell I do like. This goes for both Ohio and new style Indiana horns for me.
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by RustBeltBass » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:24 am

Played two Conns in the last two years. One was a ridiculously great Conn 88 with Lindberg valve, super responsive, easy to play, very sweet sound.

The other one was bought by a student of mine (without asking me for advice, of course....) see below, I was shocked. Besides the obvious construction mistake, it also is stuffy feeling trigger range....standard valve, open wrap. Not an awful horn, but for less money than what they paid for it, you can get a used, in great shape, Bach 42B, which, if you purely work towards classical music goals, is more the way to go here in the USA anyways.
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mrdeacon
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by mrdeacon » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:21 am

Holy hell!!! That was stock?

I'm not sure who I blame more... Conn Selmer or the shop who sold the horn to your student!
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Jimkinkella
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Jimkinkella » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:27 pm

New construction is super inconsistent. Some of the parts are pretty good, but it seems like qc is seriously lacking. If you find a good one and get it blueprinted it could be a great horn.
And to the last picture, blame the shop.
That’s just unacceptable, your student should try to take it back.
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BassBoneWadie99
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by BassBoneWadie99 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:45 am

:eek:

WOW! It reminds me that I posted a similar thread on TTF back in 2016, when I went by EWadie99 on TTF about the recent move back to Elkhart, and wanted to know why their horns were a quality rollercoaster (not sure if it has been achieved.)

With this photo taken, I didn't know it was this bad in terms of inconsistency. :amazed: Could be a possibility that there was an error of making it? Or the shop had failed to service it correctly? Try to have it returned or so and see of there are others that play better or have it fixed elsewhere.
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Bach5G
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Bach5G » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:26 pm

I tried a new 88H at the LMS and, in May, compared a new 88H with a Courtois when I was in London. I was quite disappointed in the 88H.
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Neo Bri
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Neo Bri » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:30 pm

Entirely possible that the music shop itself screwed up the horn and then put it away, either forgetting about it...or an individual employee trying to defer blame. You never know. It would be very difficult to believe that the Conn left the factory that way.
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by RustBeltBass » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:38 pm

Thanks guys. I ultimately don’t have a way to find out who was responsible for this mess. The student had mentioned to me that they were thinking of upgrading from a student horn to something more serious which resulted in me spending a few days on the old forum looking for acceptable uses Bach 42Bs and Elkhart Conns....until he came in with.....that.

I wrote to the parents in the most moderate way, thanking them for supporting their kid’s ambition and musical interest, bringing the damage on the instrument up to them and asking them to consider returning this instrument, all for nothing. Oh well. They eventually got it fixed somehow. Still not a very great horn.
Steve335
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by Steve335 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:54 pm

I wouldn’t let scare stories of bad quality put anyone off buying a Conn. As I said in my earlier post I tried at least 15 different ones, and I wouldn’t describe any of them as faulty, far from it.
I suppose I could have tried a thin belled model also as a comparison, but I’m really pleased with how the trombone is working out.
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by RustBeltBass » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:06 am

Steve335 wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:54 pm
I wouldn’t let scare stories of bad quality put anyone off buying a Conn. As I said in my earlier post I tried at least 15 different ones, and I wouldn’t describe any of them as faulty, far from it.
I suppose I could have tried a thin belled model also as a comparison, but I’m really pleased with how the trombone is working out.
I agree and I certainly am not saying all Conns are bad. I also don’t know anymore if this particular one was made in Eastlake or in Elkhart. I believe the first one but could be mistaken.

The Hornguys.com stop of carrying Conns was a while ago and might not even be in place anymore.

The one thing I can not help but wonder about is: Who buys Conns still and what is their reason ? I know that there was a time when the 88H was what you needed to play, it is still fairly popular in some European Countries.

People seriously interested in playing classical music, aspiring students, highly passionate amateurs, professional musicians, in the USA however play Bach, designer Horns or also Yamahas.
The last strongholds of Conn, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic seem to have changed away from Conn even as part of their change of generations.

Is this a good large bore horn for mor commercial players or possibly good for wind band ?
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by castrubone » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:46 am

Personally, I see Conn's frequently on gigs in orchestras on the east coast. It's still a very popular orchestral instrument with people in Europe and major orchestras here in the states (San Diego, Cincinnati, Cleveland) off the top of my head. There are more options nowadays, but Conn is still a common pro horn and widely imitated by boutique makers.

I'm a biased fan of Conn's, but I can say having tried new Bach centennial 42's and new Elkhart Conn's that the build quality was better on every Conn I tried (all 88HTO's and 88HTCL's). And I went in with the attitude that new Conn's were junk! Very pleasantly surprised. Up there with Eastlake Gen II's I've tried. Smoother slides, better lacquer, quieter valves and felt more solid in my hands. Have yet to try a new Bach that didn't have a scratchy slide or bad lacquer.

I will say Conn-Selmer certainly advertises Bach much more aggressively. Imagine if they actually had marketing for Conn!?
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by RustBeltBass » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:31 am

castrubone wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:46 am
Personally, I see Conn's frequently on gigs in orchestras on the east coast. It's still a very popular orchestral instrument with people in Europe and major orchestras here in the states (San Diego, Cincinnati, Cleveland) off the top of my head. There are more options nowadays, but Conn is still a common pro horn and widely imitated by boutique makers.

I'm a biased fan of Conn's, but I can say having tried new Bach centennial 42's and new Elkhart Conn's that the build quality was better on every Conn I tried (all 88HTO's and 88HTCL's). And I went in with the attitude that new Conn's were junk! Very pleasantly surprised. Up there with Eastlake Gen II's I've tried. Smoother slides, better lacquer, quieter valves and felt more solid in my hands. Have yet to try a new Bach that didn't have a scratchy slide or bad lacquer.

I will say Conn-Selmer certainly advertises Bach much more aggressively. Imagine if they actually had marketing for Conn!?
You are correct in terms of San Diego, their tenor players use Conn 88s, I believe the CL valve model ? Great trombone section !!!!
I played with both the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra before and never saw anyone using a Conn.

Conn still seems to be the go to horn in the majority of the UK orchestras, though Rath also seems to be popular.
I saw the problems with new Bachs when friends’ brand new trombones would randomly lose a spot valve in gigs....still I believe everything is on the right track again now that their China adventure is over. Some of their innovations are up to date with any designer horn, for instance the new valve.
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by mrdeacon » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:12 am

RustBeltBass wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:38 pm
I wrote to the parents in the most moderate way, thanking them for supporting their kid’s ambition and musical interest, bringing the damage on the instrument up to them and asking them to consider returning this instrument, all for nothing. Oh well. They eventually got it fixed somehow. Still not a very great horn.
I hate it when that happens...

The students don't know any better, and the parents are too cheap, despite dropping all the dough for the initial investment on the horn, to fix it.

I never really understood buying things and then not taking care of them or wanting things to be in tip top shape :idk:
Conn 8H 2010s, Elliott XT
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castrubone
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by castrubone » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:31 am

RustBeltBass wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:31 am
castrubone wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:46 am
Personally, I see Conn's frequently on gigs in orchestras on the east coast. It's still a very popular orchestral instrument with people in Europe and major orchestras here in the states (San Diego, Cincinnati, Cleveland) off the top of my head. There are more options nowadays, but Conn is still a common pro horn and widely imitated by boutique makers.

I'm a biased fan of Conn's, but I can say having tried new Bach centennial 42's and new Elkhart Conn's that the build quality was better on every Conn I tried (all 88HTO's and 88HTCL's). And I went in with the attitude that new Conn's were junk! Very pleasantly surprised. Up there with Eastlake Gen II's I've tried. Smoother slides, better lacquer, quieter valves and felt more solid in my hands. Have yet to try a new Bach that didn't have a scratchy slide or bad lacquer.

I will say Conn-Selmer certainly advertises Bach much more aggressively. Imagine if they actually had marketing for Conn!?
You are correct in terms of San Diego, their tenor players use Conn 88s, I believe the CL valve model ? Great trombone section !!!!
I played with both the Cincinnati Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra before and never saw anyone using a Conn.

Conn still seems to be the go to horn in the majority of the UK orchestras, though Rath also seems to be popular.
I saw the problems with new Bachs when friends’ brand new trombones would randomly lose a spot valve in gigs....still I believe everything is on the right track again now that their China adventure is over. Some of their innovations are up to date with any designer horn, for instance the new valve.
Pete Norton in Cincy plays a Conn 62HCL. Klaber in Cleveland plays some variety of Conn...although he did just retire. The tenors in both orchestras are a mix of Edwards, Bach, Shires. Come to think of it the 2nd bone in Columbus plays a Lindberg 88H last I saw...their bass was either a Conn or Bach I can’t remember. Popular in Ohio at least!
Last edited by castrubone on Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
RustBeltBass
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by RustBeltBass » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:38 am

castrubone wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:31 am
RustBeltBass wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:31 am
castrubone wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:46 am
er certainly advertises Bach much more aggressively. Imagine if they actually had marketing for Conn!?

Pete Norton in Cincy plays a Conn 62HCL. Klaber in Cleveland plays some variety of Conn...although he did just retire. The tenors in both orchestras are a mix of Edwards, Bach, Shires.


Yes, Mr. Norton plays a Conn 62H and apparently occasionally an Edwards, but this is a bass trombone, I was referring to the Conn 88H tenor (!) trombone, which is what this topic is about.

Mr. Klaber played to my knowledge a custom Benge 290 bell (and slide?). The only thing Conn were the Lindberg valves, but I might be mistaken.
castrubone
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by castrubone » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:42 am

RustBeltBass wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:38 am
castrubone wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:31 am
RustBeltBass wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:31 am



Pete Norton in Cincy plays a Conn 62HCL. Klaber in Cleveland plays some variety of Conn...although he did just retire. The tenors in both orchestras are a mix of Edwards, Bach, Shires.


Yes, Mr. Norton plays a Conn 62H and apparently occasionally an Edwards, but this is a bass trombone, I was referring to the Conn 88H tenor (!) trombone, which is what this topic is about.

Mr. Klaber played to my knowledge a custom Benge 290 bell (and slide?). The only thing Conn were the Lindberg valves, but I might be mistaken.
Ah I was thinking Conn in general. I always thought Klaber played a Conn because of the valves but it’s very possible it was a frankenbone.
RustBeltBass
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by RustBeltBass » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:44 am

castrubone wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:42 am
RustBeltBass wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:38 am


Ah I was thinking Conn in general. I always thought Klaber played a Conn because of the valves but it’s very possible it was a frankenbone.
I will do some digging and try to find out and let you know :-)
An unbelievable player with a very unique equipment.
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SlidemanSailor
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Re: New Conn 88H’s made in Elkhart

Post by SlidemanSailor » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:27 am

I played occasionally for 30 years on my Yamaha YSL354 when a brass collecting trumpeter friend let me blow the playable trombones in his collection. The Martin trigger horn (I dunno the model) and Conn 8 AMAZED me. I had no idea that sound was in me. When I sold my business, my 'gold watch' was a well-researched in text only Conn 88 HCL.

I think I simply got lucky. It played, plays as well as I dreamt it would. I was lucky enough to find my dream chair in NNU's big band, and played 3rd for its last semester. I occasionally played next to Dr. Casey Christopher with his much older Conn 88. That was the moment I realized my sound was provably decent. I could not tell his notes from mine! It was eery, but extremely gratifying.

My point is that from my seat, there was no difference in sound from his 70s or so 88 and my 2006.
Intermediate 3rd trombone, garage band lead always looking for people to play with in the lower-left-corner Montana wilderness.
mostly: 2006 Conn 88HCL 525/547 bore, rose bell
occasionally: 1958 Conn 6H
once in a while: 1976 Yamaha YSL 354
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