I recently realized that I’ve been silent as I’ve been absorbed by real work for the past year. However, fear not, I have not been abducted by aliens or otherwise disembodied.
I had promised a fuller assessment of the 1919 Conn cornet purchased a year or two back, and so here it is.
Tone: The tone is frankly lovely. This horn has a classic, early 20th century sound with a mellow, full resonance. Depending on he mouthpiece, it can easily take on other characteristics, but it’s natural state – especially when used with a period mouthpiece – is one of beauty.
Valve Action: In any instrument this old, the valve action is a major concern. I do not recommend purchasing any instrument sight unseen unless you know the seller well, either personally or by reputation. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and this instrument is one of them. It would appear that the valves are near-original in their wear, and they move effortlessly. Standard maintenance only has thus far been required to keep them in excellent condition.
Slides: The slides have been well-maintained and all of them work easily, including the screw that adjusts the fine-tuner.
Key-change Mechanism: The mechanism that automatically moves the slides and adjusts the key from Bb to A is mostly in good condition, but one screw has rotted out. I will of course have that replaced shortly, but otherwise the mechanism works perfectly. It is in amazingly good shape, considering.
Case/Accessories: The case is not original – it is a 1960s-era case. However, it is in acceptable condition, though I have purchased a soft case for daily use. However, the original mute did come with the horn and still works well.
Overall, I’m very pleased. It is a more difficult horn to play than the 1926, but it produces a far superior tone, making the additional effort well worth it. In short, if you encounter one of these instruments in corresponding condition, I highly recommend purchasing it.