Conn 34A Concert Special
Date: 1953, Owner (anonymous)
This is the third one of these I have ever seen. At first I thought these were 12A Coprion's with a brass bell. Essentially a 112A (see separate listing). But I have received proof that this is in fact called a 34A: a picture of the underside of the mouthpiece receiver with "34A" clearly stamped on it. As far as I can tell at this point these were only produced for a short period in 1953 and 1954. The 34A doesn't appear in either the 1950 or the 1955 catalogs, but it is in the 1954 catalog. Occasionally you see what appears to be a 12A with a red brass bell, as opposed to a Coprion bell. The models of those I have seen are engraved "12A" on the bell, so are classified as "12A" and not "34A". At first circumstantial evidence suggested the 34A was called the "Symphony Grand", but the 1954 catalog lists it as the "Concert Special". It has a #1½ (0.458") bore.
I have learned that the third slide, without the finger ring to adjust the pitch of a low D and C#, is slightly longer than it is on modern instruments. On modern instruments the low Eb is in tune, but the low D and C# are quite sharp. On these older cornets with the longer third slide and no finger ring the Eb is a bit flat and the D and C# are slightly sharp, but not as sharp as they are on later instruments. It was thought that the slightly flat Eb and slightly sharp D and C# were within the abilities of the player to lip into tune.
As far as I can tell at this point, all Conn cornets built before 1958 take a short shank cornet mouthpiece as opposed to the 2¾" "Bach-style" long shank cornet mouthpiece. The long shank cornet mouthpieces won't properly fit a pre-1958 Conn cornet and won't give the proper intonation or playing characteristics of a short shank cornet mouthpiece. All of Conn's "Connstellation" cornet mouthpieces are long shank mouthpieces. The "Improved Precision" Conn mouthpieces such as the Conn 4 are long shank if there is a "ridge" halfway down the shank, and short shank if there is no ridge (in which case it is a "Precision" mouthpiece). All Conn cornet mouthpieces built before the "Improved Precision" series (ridge), such as the "Precision" series (no ridge) are short shank mouthpieces.
What Conn said in 1954:
One of the finest conventional style cornets available... preferred by many players for its "band sound" and perfect balance. Clickless Crysteel valves. Brass, nickel trim finish.