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The Conn 8D is probably the most iconic American horn. They are characterized by a warm, rich, powerful sound. They are used in many orchestras, one of the most famous of which is the Cleveland Orchestra.


UPDATE: upon further inspection on this horn a small crack was found in the bell tail. This was not caused by thin metal, but rather by a sizeable dent having to be removed from the tail. In order to keep the original tail on the horn, I decided to have the crack professionally patched using metal from a damaged bell tail from a similar 8D. The patch is pictured, and was very well done by Colin Davidson, a fantastic technician in the Greenville area. This patch is not affecting how the horn plays, and is so well done that it is almost not even a cosmetic issue.


This horn was rebuilt by Chuck Ward in Cleveland Ohio and now is in excellent condition. Mr. Ward completely rebuilt the valves, cut the bell, replaced the bell flare with a new one, replaced the leadpipe with a pipe from a pre-letter 8D, and stripped the lacquer. I rarely play an 8D that I like this much. It has a very clear, warm sound. All of the notes slot perfectly, and it projects well. It has incredible softs and the louds are very powerful, but do not get too edgy very easily. The valves feel great too!


If you do not know Mr. Ward, he has been the chief designer for many different horns, including the Conn 10D and 11D, and worked for C.G. Conn for many years before retiring and doing rebuilding work on his own. He works for members of the Cleveland Orchestra, and has a reputation for excellent work. When I was originally looking for someone to rebuild the valves on my personal 8D several years ago, he was the only highly recommended rebuilder to do this job.


I cannot honestly list this horn as an Elkhart 8D, because, as Mr. Ward pointed out, this horn was a "transition" horn, and was actually assembled in Abilene. But the key parts used (valves and bell mainly) were Elkhart parts. This horn plays and will last on par with any Elkhart horn, and these N-series horns, though not all made in Elkhart, are considered some of the best vintage 8Ds.


Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Beautiful N-series Conn 8D (N53606)

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