Conn 6M Neck Modification, From Underslung to Overslung
By Curt Altarac
One of the cool things that we enjoy in the MusicMedic Sax Pro-Shop is giving a player the ability to do something they would not otherwise be able to do. Sometimes this is in the form of a good repair, a tuning change or modification that the player thought impossible. This modification is one of those.
Our friend Hal sent us a 6M from his collection of saxophones. Hal asked that we “set-up” the sax and get it playing it's best. Also, Hal asked that we do some tuning work on the instrument. He said he liked the sound of this particular instrument more than his others including his MKVI. However, the intonation on the horn is not good. To solve the problem Hal bought an aftermarket neck.
When we received the horn, after the mechanical set-up was done, we realized that the aftermarket neck was not helping the intonation. Modifying this necks was not going to be fun and certainly seemed like a waist of an otherwise good neck. Talking to Hal we found out that he was the owner of a 6M neck but it was the underslung type where the octave rocker travels in the opposite direction.
Hal sent the neck and we tried it. Problem solved and no crazy neck mods were necessary.... except the octave key on the neck traveled in the wrong direction. So we decided to flip the micro-tuner over and modify the key on the neck. This would change the travel of the octave key on the neck and solve the problem. Easy right? Well not exactly.
While taking the micro-tuner off the neck, part of the neck literally dissolved The Pro-Shop got to work re-manufacturing the parts that were damaged. Then, the small screw in the micro-tuner broke. Using the Alum trick, we dissolved the old screw and installed a new one. Once complete, the new hand crafted octave lever on the neck works like a charm. The octave pip on this neck no longer sits the bottom of the neck but on top.
Word is that Hal loves the neck and is using the horn all the time!
Dear Matt and Curt ....my friend Kieth Kamisnsky who played sax on Bob Seger's last tour and who does some tenor solo work on Seger's just released album was over last night and was really impressed with the work you did on my horn. He said he was going to recommend you guys to all his musician friends. He loved what you did to the neck and thought the tuning was great. In fact, he wanted to take the horn home with him, but I wouldn't let him. He said the sound "spins" out of the horn in a way that rivals his mark 6. I've never seen him so impressed with anything before. Thanks again for giving this horn such wonderful attention...
This is the regular underslung Conn 6M neck wit which we started. The neck was in fine shape, but the octave lever teetered in the wrong direction. Here you can see that to open the octave key, the lever on the body must travel toward the socket.
Somewhere along the way, rebuilding this neck, we took a picture of all the necks involved. Here you can see the original necks, another neck we used for reference, and another we disassembled for parts.
Here is the finished product. Notice that to open the octave pad, the lever must travel away from the socket. This was the purpose of the modification.
A Double Socket, underslung (with the pip on top) Conn 6M neck. Wow. Although the bulk of the work happened inside that microtuner, you can see the Helical-style octave key that we made from brass stock. The neck was fit to the horn, the parts were cleaned in the Ultra-sonic tank and lacquered.
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