Tearing into another overhaul on another great instrument this week. I thought this time I would post up some before photos and then update them as the work is completed. When you see an instrument that is all covered in red corrosion like this, it's usually a sign of very high copper content in the brass, which leaches out to some degree given enough time and the right conditions. In my experience, horns that take on this deep red corrosion are usually very nice to play on. Of course this kind of thing is hard to say for sure, although a lot of new manufacturers are moving towards using high-copper-content brass in their horns, so they must have their reasons as well.
These Conn 10M's were the #1 horn in the big band era, and were played by many players right through into the sixties and beyond (most notably Dexter Gordon), and they have an unbelievable sound. They were nicknamed the "Naked Lady" horn for the engraving of the armpits-up woman on the bell. The bells were all hand-engraved and after having worked on a number of these instruments, I can tell you that some of these ladies came out a lot more…ummm….proportionate than others did. This beauty has old pads, a lot of mechanical wear, a warped neck socket (common on these) and a nice banana-bend in the body, but will be right as rain soon enough.
UPDATE: Finished and playing well - these are just so darn big and husky sounding. Any tenor player who hasn't played a well set-up 10M owes it to themselves to try one out. Very cool and very tempting, no matter what you're playing on now. Check out the new photos below.