• Conn 8D Abilene Horns [longish]

    From skb10ec@aol.com@21:1/5 to Tholian on Mon Sep 10 15:16:05 2018
    Curious about the McCracken leadpipe- considering it for my 8D. Did you think it made a remarkable difference? Falling out of love with my horn. Currently playing on a 6D - love the sound.

    On Wednesday, December 16, 1998 at 3:00:00 AM UTC-5, Tholian wrote:
    I have been playing on an Abilene Conn for almost twenty years (bought it
    new in 1978). I've stuck with it all this time for several reasons, ranging from not being able to afford anything else in my poverty-stricken student days, to just being a stubborn cuss, to actually liking the thing.

    Mr. Siverson is absolutely correct, though, about the resale value. I will never be able to get out of this horn what I put into it. Eventually, I became very unsatisfied with the performance of the valves and had Lawson replate AND taper the rotors, after which there were no further problems.
    But it was extremely expensive. I also began to feel limited by poor intonation and a somewhat erratic scale, and a McCracken leadpipe improved these things a great deal. In recent years, I have been plagued by broken braces, and in one case, the "water" slide (upper l.h. as you are looking at the front of the horn) fell apart in my hands and had to be rebuilt. This odd behavior, no doubt, is due to the less-than-perfect workmanship.

    After 19 years, here is what I've found about my Abilene horn....
    Advantages: extremely heavy bell able to easily handle ffff dynamics; greater resistance than most Elkhart horns makes it a little easier to play very soft; sound does not tend towards "tubbiness" and therefore does not offend my colleagues who "hate" Conns (and there are a lot of those people
    in the profession); blends well with small brass horns, believe it or not.
    Disadvantages: wildly uneven intonation until I put the McCracken leadpipe on it; "slotting" of notes is not the least bit uniform, increasing the difficulty of playing accurately; heaviness/resistance of the horn is a distinct disadvantage for most French music (Ravel Piano Concerto, in particular, is a horror); the horn is simply hard to play, there's no way around it.

    I have just bought a mint condition N-Series, my first new horn in all this time, and while I will probably keep the Texas horn for certain things, I
    can already tell that the far superior workmanship of the Elkhart model is going to make it my primary instrument very soon.

    my .02,


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