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Thread: Quick Fun Facts on the Conn 5I (not history)

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    Quick Fun Facts on the Conn 5I (not history)

    Since I managed to get a steal on a Conn 5I on the ol' fleabay, I figured I would drop some specs and info on it. It's a somewhat obscure instrument as it's one of the last of its kind, and lacks the prestige of the Connstellation. I'll hopefully remember to add some photos later. If there's something in particular that someone wants to see, let me know. My particular example seemingly lived a life of being hated. It was sold as "for parts". The slides were supposedly stuck, but weren't. The valves were supposedly clanky, but just needed additional felts. The adapter was supposedly very stuck, but barely put up a fight. I had the horn fully playable in less than an hour. A little more work and I had completely removed all of the old grease and oil and discovered that I was a very lucky guy!

    11" removable bell
    .560" bore (1-4)
    4 valves, not short-action
    Connstellation shank receiver (11.8mm @ 1:20)

    The signature trait of the 4I and 5I is the new wrap. The 1st and 3rd valves have two slides, with slides that can reached from the top. The 1st top slide has a short stop arm (or whatever it's called) which is presumably designed to give you low B natural on 1234. I'm unfortunately missing the stop nut, but it works. As best as I can tell, there is no spring or additional mechanism for this feature except for a vinyl spacer/bumper for when you slam it back into place. Top 1st, top 3rd, and main tuning slide are lapped for quick pulling. The horn itself is the same length as any other Conn front-action Euphonium, so these top pull slides aren't exactly comfortable to use. The 4th valve slide is surprisingly short, so don't get any wild ideas about using it for anything.

    The other note worthy feature of these horns is that they are equipped with the Connstellation leadpipe. The leadpipe is floated with the usual brace at the receiver and a single stay between the leadpipe and the face side of the horn. This is opposed to the original design which was soldered to the horn at the bell joint. Despite the ridiculously tiny backbore of the Conn 5 mouthpiece, this leadpipe does actually have a much larger bore than the old design. If you are having a custom mouthpiece made for this receiver, feel free to use a full-size backbore. I'm not sure if the stock adapter is the same as the Connstellation adapter, but it comes with one. Or should anyways...

    Conns of this vintage don't match the quality of their much older counterparts. Expect cheese quality brass and lack of adornments. The only nickle silver is the bell screws. Luckily, you do get three of them instead of two.

    I plan to make a video demonstrating as much, but it's sufficient to say that the Connstellation shank IS NOT Besson medium shank. As has been previously documented, a period Besson mouthpiece will bottom out and fail to fit securely without some "encouragement". I have no idea how that works given the math involved, but life finds a way. A Kelly medium shank mouthpiece, and any other designs with larger than vintage gap will sort of fit, but the smaller than intended gap will result in the horn playing worse than it should. I am a talentless hack, and I can hit 11th partial on this horn - higher than any other Euphonium I've played to date. If you're having high range issues that are unusual for you, it IS your mouthpiece. Inserting smaller shank sizes like 11.5mm should not be done because it's a terrible idea.

    Quick run down of how it plays:
    * Leadpipe is a game changer. The Connstellation leadpipe is as advertised. Literally everything else the same, this almost feels like a Besson. Much larger and freer blowing than a 20I. This does slightly change the sound. It sounds bigger, but loses some of the "edge" that the old horns have. Not sure how much I like that, but it's something more like a modern Euphonium sound than what any of the older American Euphonium designs will give you.

    * Stock adapter is terrible. I happened to have another adapter that I picked up in a lot on ebay. Maybe it's the Connstellation adapter? Yeah, it works much better. Better yet, have a custom mouthpiece made and use that. Anyone that has ever made a Besson medium shank mouthpiece can make this 11.8mm shank.

    * Despite single bore, 4th valve range actually plays alright. I don't have much practice playing down there, but it actually works.
    Last edited by notaverygoodname; 03-09-2022 at 02:24 AM. Reason: browser error
    Hobbyist. Collector. Oval rotary guy. Unpaid shill for Josef Klier mouthpieces.


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