Conn 16

Thanks to Harold Edwards for giving me the opportunity to review this clarinet.

This is the same clarinet that Kenny Davern used to play on this recording:

Davern was also using a Vandoren 5JB mouthpiece.

Serial #E39355, which Harold told me puts its manufacturing date in 1964.

Barrel: 65.3mm

Bore LH joint top: 15.13mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 15.02mm

Photo gallery link:

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.

For this test, I pulled 0 mm at the barrel, and 1 mm at the center tenon..

Intonation summary: For a wide bore clarinet, this is quite good. Compare with a Boosey&Hawkes. Still, this has the terrible sharpness that is typical in the low register. With a jazz set up, one might be able to lip down to get better in tune. But this is a real disadvantage, because so much jazz music hangs around the low register. It's like Harold said in his e-mail, “It is the artist and not his tools that makes music.”

Key work quality: Very thick. I get the impression that the metal itself is not so great, but the thickness makes up for any softness.

This clarinet is most appropriate for: Jazz players who want to sound like

Condition issues noted: none. Great condition.

Information from Gary Kern:

The Conn 16 is a plastic student clarinet circa 1960s. The 424N and 444N were much earlier, and were large bore wood horns; my 424N was made in 1952. Artie Shaw played the 444N most of his career, at least in the early years; I think he played something else after he came back from his self-imposed exile, or sabbatical.

Apparently Kenny Davern played the Selmer BT and some large bore PMs early in his career, but became disgruntled with the wood cracking and went to hard rubber and plastic horns later on. In his album "Smiles", recorded in 1998, he reportedly played the Conn 16.