French Horn/Conn ambiguity


QUESTION: I recently bought a Conn 8D double that I can't find anywhere that lists the serial number telling me more. I have a feeling it is a 6D. The serial number on the plate under the second valve reads N56620. The bell says C.G.Conn LTD USA.

I've found some sites saying that the N indicates 1970. Then reading the history of Conn, I've got a feeling it was during the move to Abilene and is a recycled serial number.

1. I would like to know if it's an 8D or 6D
2. I would like to know if there is a site that officially lists the instrument's make, model, location and year by the information I have.
3. I hope this instrument is worth the $1000 I paid for it. :o/

Thanks Alan,

ANSWER: Hi, the serial will only tell you the approximate year of manufacture, they're just a series covering all instruments that came out of the factory, and as you say the consensus is that the N prefix covered 1970 and that was the year after production was moved from Abilene to Elkhart. There's no more exact information available.

Conns don't have a model number on them, but it's quite simple to identify them as the tubing layout (wrap) of the 6D and 8D models is completely different. Send a photo attached to a follow-up question and I can easily tell you which you have.

$1000 isn't a lot for any kind of Conn if it's in good playing order, so I wouldn't be too worried on that score.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


lines in bell
lines in bell  
QUESTION: Here's a photo of the Conn. I'm going to try to attach a second. In the second I wonder if those lines in the bell were heat lines from dent removal or something. I've ordered some Selmer brass polish, hoping it'll keep it's lacquer in tact, as well as that gaudy hand guard.

Wold like to know how much to insure it for, as I know my daughter well.

Thanks and Merry Christmas.


Hi, as you say it's a 6D, condition looks ok for the age, hard to say anything about the lines on the bell from a photo but dent removal doesn't generally involve heating. Could just be a fault in the original lacquer. Anyway, the more important aspect is playing condition, a few dents or marks from previous repairs are very much cosmetic issues and not affecting the way it plays.

I doubt if you could get an insurance valuation above $1500, but around $1200 would be reasonable I think. It depends on your insurer whether you have to get it valued or can just buy the amount of cover you want.

Don't try to polish the lacquered parts with anything apart from a gentle household cleaner and a cloth - pretend it's a polished table - but if there are parts where the lacquer is missing they might shine up with brass polish.

Otherwise, just train your daughter in maintenance (Rotary valve/bearing oil under the valve caps and on the back bearings, a couple of drops of Blue Juice or similar into the valves via the slides, every two weeks or so, don't wait for them to get slow or stick, and slide grease on the slides once a month) and give her a duster to polish it occasionally in boring rehearsals, and it should be fine.


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Alan Jones


Can answer just about anything on playing the horn, repertoire, buying instruments, repairs, care and maintenance


25 years of professional playing and teaching in the UK


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