Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire Alto Saxophone, Just Serviced
Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire alto saxophone, s/n 9588. This sax was just serviced by my tech prior to sale. The pads are on the older side, but are still in good condition and have a lot of playing life left in them. The sax has no lacquer on the body, suggesting that it was stripped at some point. Some lacquer still remains on the keys. The sax, mainly around the bow, has had a fair amount of dent work performed over the years, and the Eb key guard has been replaced. The neck is original to the horn and has never been bent down. The sax comes in a vintage case that is likely not original. It gives off a whiff of that old case smell, which will hopefully dissipate as the sax gets played more regularly. The sax has a double socket neck and rolled tone holes, which gives the sax wonderful, responsive action.
The sax is quite stylized, and reminds me of French automobiles from around this time period (perhaps akin to a Citroen DS). Take a closer look at the detailed keywork, and it's hard not to be charmed by this saxophone. It has diamond shaped palm keys, beveled RH side keys, a funky low C/Eb mechanism, art deco key guards, etc. The LH pinky cluster takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to the Selmer/Yamaha style, but it's versatile and makes connecting between C#-Bb and B-Bb quite easy. There was a lot of pressure to keep up with Selmer during the mid 20th Century, and you can see the French saxophone manufacturers doing everything they could to compete against them.
This is a great sounding horn that has a unique voice. The horn is very even from top to bottom both tonally and sonically. There are more high, vocal overtones present in the sound, which reminds me more of an early Balanced Action than a Mark VI. There's not as much projection as a Selmer, but what you get in return is a very lyrical, intimate presentation. I love this horn and think that it's a spectacular bargain for the amount of horn you can get.