Saxophone/Conn shooting star


QUESTION: Hey I was looking into buying a conn shooting star. However I can't find any info on it. There is a booklet that was printed in 1961 but I know that doesn't say when the sax was made. It's an alto saxophone. My band director is strongly recommending I get it. The serial number is 880996. I have been playing for 9 years. 7 on the same sax and it's time to retire it after years of pepband football games and tough love from middle school years. I will probably continue to use my old one for outside but use the conn if I get it for concerts. Can you tell me how old the instrument is approximately? And if It should only be a concert band sax? Thank you.

ANSWER: I'm surprised that your band director is encouraging you to get this horn - perhaps he is assuming it's an upgrade? I hope he has seen it and or played it and is familiar with what you're currently using.

That serial number can in fact mean the horn was made circa 1961.  These can be solid horns but they are intermediate at best.  By the way, there are plenty of them posted on e-bay - some of them going for as low as $50 and others as much as $300. It all depends on the condition.

My advice is to try and purchase a little more 'modern' horn, one made say in the last 20 years.   Intermediate level Yamaha or Selmer USA horns will be better than the Conn.  After 9 years you deserve it!  If you do get the Conn, please be certain it is in VERY good playing condition.

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QUESTION: I'm paying for it myself and found one on eBay for $100. There is a king I am also looking at but it is very old also. The conn is in nicer condition from the looks. I only have 2 days left to bid on it. I started playing on a Yamaha and I haven't been able to find one that is professional level. The king is a professional level. I may get both because the king is only $200. And then resell the one I don't like. I don't know if that is a good idea or not. I Was able to find better background on the king. Do you know if even if it looks kind of scratched up if it will still be a good horn? Is getting both a good idea? I am attaching an image of both. The king is the more silver looking one on the case.

Mac - It's hard to tell by looking but the Conn, although it's probably older, appears to be a slightly more solid (and possibly even simply "better") horn and in better condition. The Conn will DEFINITELY feel different from your Yamaha....hopefully, it plays better for you. Whatever horn you decide on, try to get it to your local shop ASAP so they can be sure it's in good playing condition. Good luck and keep me posted.  Keep playing!  PS - check out my tumblr page for some cool sax related info and posts - cheers from Dallas.


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Eugene Cantera


I have been a music educator for over 25 years and have taught on many levels from young children and school agers on through to college level, professional players and senior citizens. My main areas of expertise are saxophone(s) though I have taught many instruments including, guitar, bass, piano, oboe and drums to name a few. I have also done research on horns both vintage and new.


I have been in music education for 25 years and I have written and published in the subject of professional music education.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal, Marketing and Higher Education Newsletter.

Bachelor of Music Education, Hartt School of Music - The University of Hartford.

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