Wednesday 22 July 2015

New (old) Bb Tenor Sax - Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire II - nice !

Just acquired a Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire tenor sax, s/no 149xx behind the pinkie table - I keep seeing "II" mentioned on reviews etc. but can't find anything on the engraving (apart from two pigeons ?) that would suggest that. Certainly has "Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire" in the bell engraving.

(the case didn't come with the sax, I've had that R&C case here for a while waiting for a suitable resident )

Plays like a dream - having been used to the more 'spread' Martin sound, I can now appreciate a more focussed sound. A lot is down to the choice of mouthpiece, but with my high-baffle Couf J10*S (far right in the picture below) it has all the presence you could ever wish for when pushed, subtones, harmonics, the lot - and backing off the airstream produces a more conventional sound acceptable to anyone.

I did disable the linked G#/C# (etc.) on the 'pinkie table', made it a little too much of a workout for my smallest digit. Speaking of which - I was doubtful about those shaped palm keys, but for my smaller hands the palm keys fit like a dream, as does everything else. Normally the frst thing I'd have to do is fit a riser to the palm D.

All for under $1000 (fitted case wasn't included), and I'm told it had been given a recent $500 repad by DG Music in Exmouth, nice job Griff... It was a UK sale, but I've put the figures in US$ 'cos I know how much you colonial readers get confused with foreign currencies

More pics (the sellers) on my flickr - click here, I'll be taking some pictures of my own very soon.  
No official serial numbers lists exist - the factory was burnt down, which also brought production to an end in the 70's - but I'd suggest that this was hand-built (as were all their horns) near the end of production.

Stephen Howard did a great review of the same model tenor, you can read it by clicking here


  1. I have one of these here in Australia. The key guards are way over the top but the weirdest thing about it is the strap ring arrangement. On mine it's a horizontal metal plate with two parallel holes drilled - the left is for sitting, right for standing. First concert I played with it the strap came adrift during a long tacet section, causing a little embarrassment as I was about to take a solo. The holes are too small for most locking hooks.
    I have the hard case sitting at my son's house in Dorset if you're interested.
    Other than that it's a great horn with a fast action.
    I also have a Couesnon soprano for which I spent a long time searching for a suitable mouthpiece. Definitely a quiet "chamber horn" with a classical tone. Previous owner had used something like cosmetic talcum powder to cure sticky pads and some incorrect springs had also been fitted - - easy to diagnose as they fell out!

  2. See, how sounds my Couesnon

  3. Hello . "Monopole" is the best product of Couesnon. Its never writted 1 , or 2 . French people , like me , says 1 and 2 to make the difference between old sax from 1920 - 1950 , and youger 1960 + ( Couesnon 's sax factories burned during 70's ) Monopole 1 have been builted " Rue d'Angouleme , Paris " Monopole 2 from "Rue La Fayette" . Monopole 1 have a logo like that : . Monopole 2 looks like that .$/Couesnon-Monopole-Conservatoire-Alto-Sax-Orig-Accessories-2-_57.jpg
    Hope i ve helped u .
    Here a Monopole "1"