Re: Conn guitar

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Posted by Rudy Key on Tue, 02/25/03 - 18:51:05.

I have a Conn 12-string, purchased new in December 1977. The model and serial numbers are hand-engraved; the Serial Number is 27760749, and the Model Number appears to be F2712, best I can tell.....the author wasn't very meticulous with his engraving pen, but I've concluded it's a 12-string version of a Model F27 (if there is such a model). The serial number could include a date code - we could assume 277 is the week 2 of 1977, which is a dating code used by many manufacturers. Your guitar's serial number beginning 3976 would be week 39 (September?)1976.

: : With all of the inquiries into CONN guitars, you would think there would be more info available online...but NOOOO...I myself have a CONN s/n 39761098 Model T19 (?) but cannot find any info on it. Also, from what I understood, the first two digits of the S/N were the year, but that's not possible with this one...since the factory was moved to Japan in '69 and this one says; "C.G.CONN LTD., OAKBROOK, ILLINOIS - Made in Japan" its not likely this was made in '39. '76 maybe, but not '39. Anyway, I shall climb into the same boat that every other CONN owner appears to be in...
: : Any info is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

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Re: Conn guitar

I have a 12 string Conn made about 1972. Model F30. Serial 710845598.

Anyone have any idea its value. I want to sell

Conn guitar info

Information on this site is constructed from research using published verifiable information or input from third parties--which is also verified. The site owner has built several resources, such as spreadsheets, etc. THE SITE IS UPDATED WHEN NEW VERIFIABLE INFORMATION IS DISCOVERED or DISCLOSED. All information is presented free of charge. None of the information may be copied or reprinted for personal use without written permission from the site owner, unless otherwise stated.
HERE YOU WILL FIND:
- DOWNLOADABLE ADS AND CATALOG PAGES OF CONN GUITARS (Still under construction)...
- KNOWN MODELS OF CONN GUITARS
- THE LARGEST COLLECTION ANYWHERE OF OWNERS' PHOTOS OF CONN GUITAR MODELS
- HISTORY & FACTS ABOUT CONN GUITARS
- LABELLING OF CONN MODELS
- SERIAL NUMBERING USED IN CONN GUITARS
- STATISTICS and MATERIALS
- LINKS TO CONN GUITARS FOR SALE
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE. NO FEES ARE CHARGED FOR VIEWING ANY OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THE SITE OR ITS LINKS.
DOWNLOADS:HERE YOU WILL FIND DOWNLOADS OF INTEREST.
ALL DOWNLOADS ARE PUBLIC DOMAIN. YOU ARE WELCOMED TO DOWNLOAD AND SAVE THESE TO YOUR OWN COMPUTER, PRINT THEM, OR WHATEVER YOU WISH TO DO WITH THEM. CLICK ON THE PICTURES OF THE ADS BELOW, AND YOU'LL BE GIVEN AN OPTION TO OPEN OR SAVE.

1974 Conn Construction

1976 Conn Features

1978 Conn Magazine Ad

1974 CATALOG PAGE
Conn F-15 and F-21

1976 CATALOG PAGE
Conn F-1512 and F-2712

1976 CATALOG PAGE
Conn F-27SB (Sunburst)
MORE TO COME
MORE TO COME MORE TO COME
MORE TO COME
MORE TO COME MORE TO COME
MORE TO COME
MORE TO COME MORE TO COME
KNOWN MODELS OF CONN ACOUSTIC GUITARS
Several models were produced--most in Japan and some in Korea, but a few prototype models were made in the USA. Those prototypes are considered the rarest and most feature all solid woods. These are models known to date. Scroll down to see the STATS sheet below for any information on these.
Note: Added C-400 to this listing on 11/26/2011. A big thank you to Al Johnson (see photos section), added C7e on 6/25/2013--thanks Cathy Ogilvie.
 
Classical
C-7
C-7e
C-8
C-9
C-10
C-11
C-19
C-20
C-21
C-23
C-30
C-31
C-33
C-40*
C-60**
 
C-100
C-200
C-300
C-400*
 C-400Q
G-100
 
 
1000
 
 
* - 3/4 size Student Model
** - RARE, 100 or less made
IMPORTANT NOTE: THERE IS NO C-70, or C-700. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THROUGH EXTENSIVE RESEARCH OF EXISTING LABELS, THAT LABELLING WAS A MANUAL EFFORT, AND THE WRITING OF ENGLISH CHARACTERS BY JAPANESE WORKERS (IN THE JAPANESE FACTORIES THAT PRODUCED CONN) WAS OBVIOUSLY DIFFICULT FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS--JUST AS IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR AN AMERICAN TO DUPLICATE A JAPANESE SYMBOL. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT THE NUMBER 2 WAS SOMETIMES WRITTEN WITH AN INCOMLETE "TAIL"--MAKING IT APPEAR TO BE A 7. ALSO, IT APPEARS THAT SOMETIMES WHEN THE DASH WAS DRAWN BETWEEN THE C OR F AND THE NUMBER, THE PEN WASN'T LIFTED OFF THE LABEL, MAKING A 1 SOMETIMES APPEAR TO BE A 7. ANOTHER COMMON ANOMALY WAS IN THE WRITING OF SERIAL NUMBERS--WHERE 5'S APPEAR TO BE 8'S, AND WHERE 1'S MIGHT APPEAR TO BE 7'S OR WHERE 2'S MIGHT APPEAR TO BE 7'S. THIS TOPIC IS COVERED IN GREATER DETAIL IN "CONN GUITAR LABELLING" (SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THAT AREA OF THIS WEB PAGE).
Dreadnought & Grand Concert
F-5
F-7
F-9
F-10
F-100
F-11
F-12
F-15
F-15M
F-18
F-20
F-200
F-21
F-21SB
F-23
F-25
F-27
F-27CH
F-28
F-29
F-31
F-33
F-35
 
F-60***
F-70***
 
 
*** - RARE, less than 100 made in Harptone Guitar shop in New Jersey
Acoustic-Electric
(1978 or later)
F-2A  F-2BE  F-2SB 
See wiring diagram for the F-2SB and F-2BE>>> CLICK HERE
(Not appearing in any catalogs)
12-String
F-30
F-312
F-1212 
F-1512
F-2112
F-2712
F-65***
F-75***
 
*** - RARE, less than 100 made in Harptone Guitar shop in New Jersey
Prototypes
B-70 600
PHOTOS
HERE YOU WILL FIND THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF PHOTOS OF CONN GUITARS ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET.
ALL PHOTOS SHOWN BELOW ARE PROVIDED FOR THE CONN OWNER OR ENTHUSIAST TO USE FOR COMPARING THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS OR FOR RESEARCHING PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES OF VARIOUS CONN GUITAR MODELS. ALL PHOTOS HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED BY OWNERS, OR WERE OBTAINED VIA PUBLIC DOMAIN, AND ARE NON-COPYRIGHT.
USING THE PHOTO LIBRARY:
You may see the entire photo library by clicking on the "FULL CONN PHOTO LIBRARY" or you can see individual owners' albums by clicking on the underlined individuals' name links.
FULL CONN PHOTO LIBRARY << CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIBRARY
INDIVIDUAL OWNER'S PHOTOS (CATEGORIZED BY GUITAR TYPE):
Thank you to the following individuals for providing information for the following models that are not found in any of the available Conn catalogs, brochures, or ads:
 
C-7e - Cathy Ogilvie, C-8 = Martha Maurer-Jennis, C-60 - Jerry Ackley, C-100 (Korean-Made Student Model) - Carmen Johnson, G-100 - Denny Michael, F-2A - Stan Palmer, F-2BE - Mel & James Davis, F-23 - Joel Stuart
CLASSICAL (NYLON-STRING):
C-7
Elizabeth Becker- USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-7e
Cathy Ogilvie - Georgia
 
 
C-8
Martha Maurer-Jennis - USA
 
 
C-9
eBay Sale - Public Domain
eBay 220556670257 - Public Domain
Bill Collett - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-10
Doug Valitchka- Salem, OR
Al Tombari - Florida, USA
Jonathan David - USA
Goodwill- Columbia-Willamette, WA
Goodwill- Portland, OR
Goodwill - Eastern Nebraska
eBay 120515521076 - Public Domain
eBay360233825718 - Public Domain
eBay260552831597 - Public Domain
Susan Bartlett - USA
 
 
C-11
eBay220579715172- USA
eBay 280519432487- Public Domain
eBay120529047684- Public Domain
eBay 290621620305 - Public Domain
Tabetha Briggs - Buffalo Area, New York
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-100
Russell (Rusty) Zoller - USA
eBay 360250831162 - Public Domain
Don Cherry - Athens, Georgia
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-100 Korean-Made (Student Model - RARE)
Carmen Johnson- USA
 
 
C-19
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-20
Donald Mrdjenovic III- North Carolina
Bob Dawson - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-21
eBay Listing 120596909486 - Public Domain
Philip Holzbauer - Maryland
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-23
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-200
Don Hebert- USA
Cory Irwin - USA
Joe Brock(Site Owner) - Central Indiana
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-30
Walter Donaldson - USA
Dustin Adams - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-31
Bill Gordon - USA
Dennis Beagley - North-Central Utah
Richard Miller - North Carolina
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-33 (1978 Only)
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-300
Terran Yakes- USA
Tim Wilkins - USA
Justin Jones - USA
Dale Simpson - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
C-40 (3/4 Student Size)
eBay Listing 370400098131
Dave Stahly - Kansas City, KS
 
 
C-400 (3/4 Student Size)
Al Johnson - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)

C-400Q
eBay Listing 221243248001
(YOUR NAME HERE) 
C-60 - LESS THAN 100 MADE
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
C-600 TAD ADACHI (CONN PROTOTYPE) - LIMITED NUMBER MADE
Geoffrey Proffitt - Sarasota, FL
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
G-100
Denny Michael - USA
Monty Lowe - USA
Paula Tisch - USA
Joe Bailey - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
1000
Public Domain 1 - USA
 
 
ACOUSTIC STEEL-STRING
B70 - Prototype
Hudson Chadwick - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-5
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-7 (Korea)
Michael Joseph - USA
 
 
F-9
Waylon Bosworth - Park City, Utah USA
eBay 260557339890 - USA
Brock Schardin - Deleware USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-10
Rev. Christopher Scrivens (BEFORE CUSTOMIZING) - Chester, New Jersey USA
Rev. Christopher Scrivens (AFTER CUSTOMIZING) - Chester, New Jersey USA
Goodwill - Kansas Goodwill Public Domain USA
Steve Schwartz - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-100
Steve Belko - NE Ohio (Akron-Canton Area)
 
 
F-11
Michael Jenson - Sacramento, CA
Jerry Guerrero - "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - USA
Wayne Cockrell- Pennsylvania USA
Mark Nelson - Appleton, WI
Cory Irwin - USA
eBay 150462451944 - Public Domain
eBay170501584256 - Public Domain
eBay220608191616 - Public Domain
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-12
Jeb Poling- USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-1212 (12-String)
Ray Schreiner - USA - NOTE: Ray's F-1212 notably is marked "F-12/12" (note the " / " slash).
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-15
Joseph Brock- Central Indiana (Site Owner/Webmaster)
Brian Regan - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-15M (Mahogany Stained Top)
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-1512(12-String)
Bob Mansfield - USA
Joe Simon - Southeast Pennsylvania
Mike McArthur - WA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-18
Edward Ferguson - Alabama
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-2A Acoustic-Electric
Stan Palmer - USA
 
 
F-2BE Acoustic-Electric
Mel and James Davis (Father and Son) - Parlin, New Jersey
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-20
Bruce Lamont - Eugene, OR
Jerry Guerrero - "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - USA
Ellis Kilgore - Georgia
Donald Mrdjenovic III - North Carolina
Jeremiah O'Leary- South Carolina
eBay- Public Domain 350344241465
Keith Reeder - USA
Andrea Fanciulli - Italy
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-200
Michael Jenson - Sacramento California
Rhea Jones- Gate City, Virginia
eBay110523335445
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-21
Michael Jenson - Sacramento California (see notes on Saphere far below)
Troy Kallister- Peoria, Illinois
eBay 230412883965- Public Domain
eBay 120596909486- Public Domain
eBay 260620775116 - Public Domain
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-21-SB (SB=sunburst)
Myles Graham- Japan
Guy Smallridge - Texas
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-2112 (12-String)
eBay 120562547064 - Public Domain
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-23 (1978 Only)
Joel Stuart - Minnesota
 
F-25
Donald Mrdjenovic III- North Carolina
John Spigle - Moulton, Alabama (Submitted by son Nick)
Jonathan Rucks - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-27
AcousticGuitarForum.com (Public Domain), Bob Womack- USA
Chris Terry- USA
Dan Gillis - Saskatoon, CANADA
David Cauthorn - North Carolina
Sarah Bradish - USA
Ed Olszewski - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-27CH
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-2712 (12-String)
Jody Plog- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Donald Mrdjenovic III- North Carolina
eBay120562547064 - Public Domain
eBay300435793731 -Public Dom
Jeff Johnson - USA
Mike Tevere - California
Eric Hoffman - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-28
Jerry Guerrero"Jumpin' Jack Flash" - USA
Barbara Smith- USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-29Rev. Christopher Scrivens- Chester, New Jersey
Andrew Morris - USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-30 (12-String)
John Shutic - Sheffield Lake, OH
Dennis Skinner - Deleware
William Evans - USA
eBay 280485347437 - Public Domain
Sam Nitzberg - Baltimore MD
Bruce Lamont - NW USA
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-31
Phil Fragale - Buffalo, NY
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
F-33
Greg Hansen - Central CO
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-35 (1978)
Terrance Fisher - Northeastern Minnesota
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-312 (12-String--PREDECESSOR TO THE LATER F-30)
Rick Duley- USA
Joseph Brock - Central Indiana (Site Owner/Webmaster)
Michael Jenson- Sacramento California
eBay 140392084190 - Public Domain
Dennis Beagley - North-Central Utah
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-60 - LIMITED NUMBER MADE
Ron McCormick- Desdemona, Texas
John Ross - Oregon (photos forthcoming)
Brent Beebe
Jeremy Crawford?
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-65 - LIMITED NUMBER MADE
Fred Evans (Guitar was destroyed in an automobile accident)
Anna Lancaster- Portland, OR
 
 
F-70 - LIMITED NUMBER MADE
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
F-75 - LIMITED NUMBER MADE
(YOUR NAME HERE)
 
 
HISTORY AND FACTS
CONN ACOUSTIC GUITARS--A BRIEF HISTORY
Conn acoustic guitars were made between 1971 and 1978. After MacMillan & Co bought the G. C. Conn Company in 1969 Conn's corporate offices were moved from Elkhart, Indiana to Oakbrook, Illinois, where administrative operations for the guitar line were set up in late 1970. The first employee of the official Conn Guitar division was Jerry Ackley. Jerry, who was a guitar player himself, was hired in August of 1970 and was tasked with building the Conn guitar business--with an emphasis on building upon the relationship that Conn already had with schools, in the brass and woodwind market, to enter the booming guitar market. No guitars were actually made in Oakbrook. Instead they were built to Conn's design standards by contract manufacturers in Japan. Mr. Ackley was responsible for helping design the first models, and setting up contracts, and overseeing production. He chose an established factory in Hamamatsu, Japan (about an hour from Tokyo), Tokai-Gakki to build the first Conn guitars. Tokai already had their own line of instruments--known mostly for their classical instruments. All initial production guitars were made there until at least 1972--and probably afterward as well. Concurrently with setting up production, Mr. Ackley also wrote a book for school instruction called "The Conn Method". This blue-vinyl binder with its comprehensive teaching method was written to bridge the only real gap that existed in the school market by providing a comprehensive teaching method for music teachers--most of whom were only knowledgeable of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Mr. Ackley left the company in 1972. But during his tenure with Conn, several guitar manufacturers including the famed Matsumoku and Aria factories sent prototypes to Mr. Ackley, in an effort to show their wares for the purpose of gaining some of the Conn business. Several of the prototypes were given to associates, and some ended up in the hands of family members, budding musicians, or even professional musicians, and many are still around--and may not even match any of the current catalog data. It was a time of competitiveness in the guitar industry, and manufacturers raced to make their capabilities known and to gain market share in the booming guitar business. Conn was seen as a lucrative customer, given their their huge distribution network, their reputation, and their long-established relationships.
After 1972, Aria factories (who also produced Yamaha guitars under contract to Yamaha) may have succeeded in gaining some of the Conn business, and may have made several models under contract to Conn (Conn branded). Some sources state that Matsumoku built almost all Conn acoustic guitars after 1972--but this is unsubstantiated. There are few records that exist about Conn's history before 1981 because, according to the Conn-Selmer company, all records of that era 'were destroyed'. Any and all remaining information, including catalogs and brochures about the former company are in the hands of private individuals. Research into 9-year Conn guitar history is somewhat inhibited by these facts, and information becomes increasingly difficult to obtain as former employees of that era are aging, and others are either no longer alive, or may not remember. Additional information may be included in various books that are for sale in the open market.
MADE IN KOREA
In the mid 70's it appears that Conn explored manufacturing in Korea--perhaps to lower their costs as Japanese-made instruments gained a deserved reputation as some of the most well-made and desired instruments to own--and costs likely increased and probably drove Conn--just like other importers from the USA--to seek other sources. Korea had been making guitars for export since at least the early to mid-60's, but the country had a stigma attached--brought about largely by their massive export of cheaply-made, almost toy-like instruments. This was in spite of their impressive guitar-manufacturing capability which coulld turn out quality instruments as well as the cheaper ones. Conn apparently did utilize Korean companies to make some of their instruments, using both some unique model numbers, and some models that were already in their existing lineup. For example, the basic Conn lineup did not include a model C-8, yet that model can be found with the Conn logo and labelling--exactly like the Japan-made guitars, but with "Made in Korea" instead of "Made in Japan". It is also a fact that at least the F-2712--which was an established higher-end guitar made in Japan, was also made in Korea--at least for a short time. The public's negative perception of Korean-made guitars may have diminished interest in the Conn line. Though they do exist, it is somewhat more rare to find Conn-branded instruments that carry a "Made in Korea" label. These Korean-made guitars were never advertised in Conn catalogs. It is likely that Conn wanted to maintain the Korean relationship, because the prices were lucrative, but pasting "Korea" on an instrument that carried the brand of a reputable company like Conn may have hurt their sales.
 
DRIFTER - CONTINENTAL BRANDS
So Japan manufacturing continued, and Conn continued the Korean connection by marketing the Korean made guitars under the Continental, and Drifter brands. The Continental brand existed some years prior to the Conn version, but was not related. The Continental and Drifter contracting activity was not managed by the Oakbrook IL facility but was managed instead by the Conn Organ division, located in another Chicago suburb--Downers Grove. Some of these guitars displayed the Conn logo on the headstock. Later ones had a variety of headstock labelling including "Continental by Conn", etc. Most of the labels used for Continental were the familiar gold or silver foil labels similar to those used on Conn brand guitars--sometimes carrying the Conn brand name in addition to the Continental name, and the "Oakbrook, Illinois" printing.. The Continental brand name existed after the demise of the Conn guitar business--but again was not related to Conn  The Drifter line continued on into the early 80's using their own unique paper label--oval in shape (similar to the oval Conn labels of 1978/79). Continental and Drifter brands are not the subject of this site and therefore will not be discussed further.
Conn acoustic guitar manufacturing was discontinued after the 1978 model year, and Conn electric guitars were introduced in 1979 but were only made and sold for a short time. Catalog info for electrics is only available for 1980, and that may in fact be the only year they were made, distributed, and sold.
Like most guitar makers, Conn had their own unique patented acoustic headstock. Mr. Ackley, mentioned above, devised the first design that was used from 1971 through 1977. The only notable difference between some models was the Conn rosette emblem below the CONN name on the some headstocks, while not present on others. It has been undetermined if there is some specific reason why certain models have the rosette and others do not. See these pictures of Conn's acoustic headstock design without rosette, and with rosette. In 1978, the entire lineup of Conn acoustics was re-designed--including the new headstock design and logo.
RARE CONN GUITARS THAT DON'T FIT THE NORMAL MODEL SCHEME
It has been stated by unconfirmed sources that Conn occasionally did some market testing by distributing limited runs of new models that never made it into full-blown production, and never made it into their catalogs (in Japan and other countries). Factual data to support that claim has been provided by former employees Jerry Ackley and Fred Evans. One such guitar is the F-60 model--of which one is owned by Ron McCormick. Only 100 or less of the F-60's were built according to Jerry Ackley. Unlike other Conns, the F-60's were built by the Harptone Guitar shop of Newark, New Jersey, under the ownership of Sonny Burke (later owned by Sam Koontz) and was one of only four steel-string Conn guitar models to feature all solid woods. Another model, the F-65, was also built there, and thus far only a few are known to still exist--one owned by Anna Lancaster of Portland, Oregon. Another was owned by Fred Evans--a former Conn employee in the Nevada warehouse. Tragically, that guitar was destroyed in an automobile accident in 1976. Other models made by Harptone for Conn were the F-70 and F-75.  The F-60 and F-65 had spruce tops, and solid maple backs and sides. The F-70 and F-75 had solid spruce tops and solid rosewood sides and backs. Again, for each of these four models only 100 of each were built.
CONN GUITAR LABELLING
Jerry Ackley devised the first labelling scheme for Conn. And for the first 3 years of production, that original labelling scheme was consistently followed. Mr. Ackley's labelling methodology went like this: Every Conn classical model carried a gold label, and every steel string model carried a silver label. Serialization for these first guitars was actually devised by the Tokai Gakki factory in Japan, and followed a specific type of pattern that is described below, See further explanation below in the serial number discussion (bold print: "The serial numbers of 1971-1977..."). See also departures from the explained schemes--specific to the F-2712 Model--below.
LEGIBLE OR NOT
Every Conn acoustic guitar made from 1971 through 1977bore an adhesive-backed gold or silver label (either very thin foil or thicker aluminum plate laminated to a thin plastic film backing material) mounted to the inside back--visible inside the soundhole. Higher-end Conns that have inside graft strips (2-piece and 3-piece backs) have a heavier label of thicker aluminum--more like the thickness of a credit card or hotel key card, while all other models have a label similar to foil. All 1971 thru 1977 Japan-made guitars have these labels, on which model numbers and serial numbers appear to have been hand written with a ball-point pen--and which most are legible. However, Conn labels are found both very neatly written, or barely legible, and anything in between! This legibility issue stands to reason--try writing with a ball point pen on a piece of aluminum foil. Also, workers who wrote the information were likely unaccustomed to writing English characters. Another problem with model identification: many of the labels on Conn guitars have fallen off over the years, likely due to use of inferior adhesives--making it difficult to identify some models (model identification is still possible in some cases however using the STATS sheet--scroll down). The labels were made of a two-part laminate; a front part that is very thin gold or silver foil, and a backing that is some kind of adhesive-backed thin white thin plastic film. The front foil also seems to commonly separate from the white backing on the foil-type Conn labels. As mentioned, the labelling followed a consistent method for the first three years; gold labels were initially used only on the classical models, and silver labels were used on steel-string models. Evidence of a deviation from this original practice is seen in the variety of silver or gold labels used in later models (mid-1974 and beyond).
PAPER LABELS
A couple of owners have sent pictures of Conn guitars that bear a red paper label--not unlike the ones found on the much-sought-after and collectible Yamaha Nipppon Gakki "Red Label" guitars of the late 60's and early 70's. On the red label Conns the numbers are not hand written but are instead stamped or machine-printed. See more on this below under the subtitle "1978".
 
The labels on the 1971-1977 Conn guitars divulge both where they were made, revealing "Oak Brook, Illinois, Made in Japan", or "Made in Korea" (very few in Korea), and what year they were made. The 'Oakbrook/Japan' label indicates that the procurement and distribution centers were based in Oakbrook, but that the guitar was made in Japan or Korea. Guitars made in Japan during the 1970's were generally very well made due to the Japanese industry's ever-growing emphasis on defect prevention, consistency in quality and continuous improvement during that time period. A few owners are in possession of known models that carry a "Made In Korea" label. See above -- "A Brief History" for more on this.

The serial numbers of 1971-1977 Conn guitars all consisted of 8 digits--with exception of the limited series of USA-made guitars (made by Harptone). Simple and clean, the Conn F-60, F-65, F-70 carried a 4-digit sequential serial number beginning with 0. I have seen 0204 and 0205 on current owners' guitars posted on this site. Since only about 100 were made (according to Jerry), I have concluded that they serialization started at 0200 and went to 0299. I have no reliable information on this, and Jerry doesn't remember the sequence. 
As mentioned, 1971 through part of 1974, Conn guitars carried the year of manufacture as the first and second digits, and the month of manufacture as the third and fourth digits. A couple of examples are shown here, that show the adherence to Mr. Ackley's color scheme, based on their model numbers. One owner, Charlie Evans, owns a model C-10 (purchased new by his father--photo not shown) which has serial number 71080304--indicating August 1971 manufacture, and the label is gold. To the right, a model F-10 guitar owned by Rev. Christopher Scrivens carries a silver label, and serial number 72032020...indicating manufacture in 1972, and the month manufactured was March. Still another example below shows a gold foil label on a C-10 guitar made in February of 1974.
Beginning some time in 1974, Conn made a change in the serialization structure. Coincidentally it appears that little to no guitars produced after 1974 had silver foil labels. It appears that about that time, Conn may have switched exclusively to gold foil labels. The serialization occurred, going forward, but it appears that they may have had some silver foil labels "left over" when they began using the gold ones. Some Conn Acoustics still have silver labels as late as 1976--indicating that the gold were probably "phased in" once the silver labels were depleted. Unfortunately, reliable history on this aspect of the labelling is not available at this time. The only evidence that bears out the above information is that which has been accumulated from Conn owners.
As seen in the third picture below right, the serialization change involved the use of the first two digits to indicate the week of manufacture (01 thru 52), and the 3rd and 4th digits as the year. In the example, 40770052 reveals that the guitar was made in the 40th week of 1977. The 0052 is thought to be the 52nd guitar made, but this is still being verified. This photo is from my own Conn F-15. As you can see, it is loosely secured, and coming off--as is characteristic of many Conn acoustic guitar labels.
Lyon & Healy first established the same type of serial numbering used by Conn in the late 19th century, and many manufacturers, including Japanese and Korean, adopted similar serial number schemes. Many, including Fender, Washburn, Takamine, Godin, and others still use this type of date-embedded serializing system today.
DEPARTURES FROM THE EXPLAINED SERIALIZATION
There have been several labels presented by Conn owners that seem to deviate from the above explanation for post 1974 serialization. Ironically, and although this is not understood, the deviation or departure seems to be unique to the F-2712 series. Three separate owners of a model F-2712 had labels that appeared to begin with an 8. In one or two cases, high-resolution close-up photos of these labels were studied and found to be other numbers. For example, on label thought initially to be 87760561, and later found to be 51760561. In another case, a serial number that appeared to be 87760197 was determined to be 27760197. In another case, and owner submitted a rather unfocused photo that appeared to clearly be a 87750051, and that one (with the typical dark line at the lower left of the upper circle of the '8' could not be discerned from an actual number 8. It is odd how only the F-2712 models have displayed this bad numbering, but at the same time, it is conceivable that an individual who was writing labels for a period of time had some difficulty with writing fully-legible characters. It would be no different than you or I trying to reconstruct Japanese characters without proper and thorough training. I spent some time in China, and took a year of Mandarin in college when I returned. I can relate first-hand to how difficult writing the proper character can be without instruction and without much practice. This issue remains one that I have spent countless hours studying, and have decided to abandon--given that I cannot speak firsthand to the individual who wrote these numbers, and thus am only able to speculate on this seeming departure from the normal serialization scheme. I have provided a visual rationale here (<< click) but beyond this I have no plausible information.
1978 LABELS
It appears that a new serialization system was put in place some time in 1978--coinciding with the redesigned headstock and what appeared initially to be a re-energized and revitalized effort to capture business. This effort was cut short by the decision to disassemble the acoustic guitar business after the 1978 model year. The serialization system for at least part of the 1978 models departed from the common prior system and no information is available at this time about the structure or meaning of the serial numbers for that model year. The label for 1978 models departed from the notorious "it fell off" label to a more reliable paper label that seems to stay on. An example is shown at right. Serialization etc. changed, and many model numbers changed.
Additional information on post 1977 labelling:
Some time after the 1978, some Conn acoustic electric guitars that were similar in construction to Ovation (a composite back) appeared, and had a red paper label--not unlike Yamaha's notorious Nippon-Gakki red label FG models that were used in the same time period (1970's).
The Conn red labels that have been seen contain similar information as the gold and silver foil labels, but instead of having model and serial numbers hand-written, the red labels were apparently applied with an ink stamp or machine, making them much more legible and less-susceptible to "mistaken identity" than prior labelling. Little is known about these "mystery" Conn guitars, but Thanks to Mel Davis of Parlin, NJ for providing photos and information that identified this later guitar and labelling.
 
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Labelling Contributors:
Public domain, Chrstopher Scrivens, Mel Davis (Red Label), William Coleman, Rick Duley, Don Hebert, Ray Schreiner (1978 Label)
 
STATISTICS/MODELS (copyright 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
MODEL-SPECIFIC INFORMATION AND STATS SHEETInformation in the viewable or downloadable stats sheet is taken from actual 1974, 1976, and 1978 catalogs and from owners. I have no manufacturer's data earlier than 1974, nor later than 1978, but have attempted to put reliable data in place for other models and years not appearing in those catalogs.Feel free to download this file to your computer by clicking on the picture below. Doing so however carries with it a promise to not use or copy the data into any other web site or publication, and to not modify the data in any way without written permission from the webmaster of this site ("Contact Me").
LAST UPDATED 1/26/2013 (Revision K)
INCLUDES STREET PRICES!!!
<<< CLICK TO OPEN (VIEW) OR SAVE (DOWNLOAD)
THE STATS SHEET IS AN ONGOING WORK. IT WILL BE REVISED FROM TIME TO TIME AS NEW DATA IS ACQUIRED. PRICING ON THE "STREET PRICES" SECTION ARE FROM ACTUAL CRAIGSLIST, EBAY, AND OTHER SOURCES AND ARE ACTUAL VALUES PAID BY BUYERS FOR CONN GUITARS. AS NEW PRICING IS ACQUIRED THE DOCUMENT WILL BE UPDATED.
THE WOOD CALLED SAPHERE (USED ON C-21, F-21, and F-2112)
QUESTION: Many have asked "What is saphere?" Actually, I may have asked this more than you! You won't find it searching the internet--unless it points your right back here. GOOD NEWS! There is an answer!
THE SHORT ANSWER: The short answer is...SAPHERE IS ONE OF THE MANY SPECIES OF MAHOGANY.
THE LONG ANSWER: When Conn contracted guitars to Japanese factories, those factories were responsible for providing the woods needed to manufacture guitars. The back and sides of specific guitars are identified in Conn catalogs as saphere. Jerry Ackley--the original designer of the Conn guitar has stated that Japan both imported and harvested wood that was essentially asian mahogany. The catalog in 1978 called it "Saphere Mahogany". Michael Jenson's F-21 in the photo section has a good photo of the wood back. That particular model is one whose sides and back are advertised as Saphere. The photos show the characteristic grain, and "prism" appearance that is characteristic of mahogany..
CONN GUITARS FOR SALE (LINKS)(SCROLL DOWN FOR CONN GUITAR PARTS LINKS)
DISCLAIMER: THIS SECTION IS PROVIDED AS A SERVICE TO THOSE WHO WISH TO FIND ORIGINAL JAPANESE-MADE CONN GUITARS, AND IS PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE. THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST. BY CLICKING ANY OF THE BELOW LINKS, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR YOUR DECISION TO PURSUE A TRANSACTION WITH ANY INDIVIDUAL WHOSE LISTING LINKS I'VE PROVIDED HERE. PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN DEALING WITH PERSONS ON THE INTERNET, AND TO INSURE A SAFE EXPERIENCE, DEAL ONLY WITH LOCAL SELLERS AND DO NOT GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE INTERNET.
SEE CONNS LISTED ON EBAY... (<<< CLICK LINK AT LEFT)
Note: Consider trying AuctionSniper. A great method that helps to make you more competitive in eBay auctions. First wins are free--no payments EVER up front (pay only if you win, and it's cheap). Better than other sniping sites. Your first few snipes are complimentary.
Click the icon to try it. NO POPUPS / NO SPYWARE / NO RISK

CRAIGLIST:(<<< CLICK THE UNDERLINED)
THIS SEARCH IS "ALL OF CRAIGSLIST"--WHICH WILL SEARCH FOR CONN GUITARS ANYWHERE THAT CRAIGSLIST HAS A LOCATION LISTED. RESULTS CAN BE FILTERED BY STATE/REGION.
PARTS FOR SALE or PARTS WANTED
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
FOR SALE AND WANTED LISTINGS ARE NO LONGER LISTED ON THIS SITE
However...occasionally I run across parts for Conn (not often--they are rare). Or other owners may have parts for sale. Feel free to ask, by clicking far above left on the "Contact Me" link.
CONTENT CONTRIBUTIONS
IF YOU ARE VIEWING THIS PAGE AND HAVE INFORMATION THAT YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE FOR THE MUTUAL BENEFIT OF CONN GUITAR OWNERS (verifiable history of Conn Guitars, pictures, model information, etc), PLEASE USE THE CONTACT ME LINK TO SEND YOUR INFORMATION. I WILL ACKNOWLEDGE SOURCES UNLESS ANONYMITY IS REQUESTED.
ALL INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY YOU WILL BECOME PUBLIC DOMAIN.
FORMER EMPLOYEES CONSULTED TO DATE:
JERRY ACKLEY - CONN GUITAR ORIGINATOR, OAKBROOK, ILLINOIS
FRED EVANS - WAREHOUSE QUALITY CONTROL, SPARKS, NEVADA
THIS SITE IS UPDATED FREQUENTLY, SO VISIT OFTEN
This site has recently been moved from another web hosting service, so some links may not be functional. Please feel free to contact me with comments or information about broken links, or photos that you may click that are not coming up.
 

Conn guitar owner

Hi I am in the same position you are with your Conn guitar history. My wife just brought a Conn guitar from her girlfriend who brought it from her girlfriend. Anyway the Conn guitar I have has serial numbers 71084496 f-20. Made in Japan. I found this website called "the guitar medic" it was very helpful. The website saids it is an unofficial website . It also has a lot of information , hope it's useful. Please inform me of your findings.

Re: Conn guitar

I also have a Conn F2712 and cannot make heads or tails of the serial number: 87760561 I sure could use some help with this one.

Re: Conn guitar

I have a Conn F15 in pretty good shape. Any suggestions on how to sell it? I'm moving onto a boat with no room for anything and a huge need for money....
Oh yeah, I'm in Berkeley CA
captbohn at gmail dot com

Re: Conn guitar

: I have a Conn 12-string, purchased new in December 1977. The model and serial numbers are hand-engraved; the Serial Number is 27760749, and the Model Number appears to be F2712, best I can tell.....the author wasn't very meticulous with his engraving pen, but I've concluded it's a 12-string version of a Model F27 (if there is such a model). The serial number could include a date code - we could assume 277 is the week 2 of 1977, which is a dating code used by many manufacturers. Your guitar's serial number beginning 3976 would be week 39 (September?)1976.

:
: : : With all of the inquiries into CONN guitars, you would think there would be more info available online...but NOOOO...I myself have a CONN s/n 39761098 Model T19 (?) but cannot find any info on it. Also, from what I understood, the first two digits of the S/N were the year, but that's not possible with this one...since the factory was moved to Japan in '69 and this one says; "C.G.CONN LTD., OAKBROOK, ILLINOIS - Made in Japan" its not likely this was made in '39. '76 maybe, but not '39. Anyway, I shall climb into the same boat that every other CONN owner appears to be in...
: : : Any info is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Re: Conn guitar

I have found a site for some of the conn getars. Mine says
C. G. Conn and this website gives some history on the instroment http://www.cgconn.com i guess CG has been around since late 1800s

Re: Conn guitar

Just picked up a Conn F-25 today (yardsale $30) very nice sounding and looking guitar, built like a brick house. it's got the same engraved metal ID inside. a definite keeper

Re: Conn guitar

 Conn guitar

This popular thread has been given its own page : Re: Conn guitar

Re: Conn guitar

: Well, let me join the "I got a Conn too" club. In fact, I have two. One's a 12 string F-27 (three piece back) and the other has a plastic bowl back like an Ovation. Both are nice guitars. Especially the F-27. I took off the doubler strings because I hate to tune that many strings. But the sound is excellent. I own seveal guitars (one is a custom made Gallagher G-70 I bought from Mr. Gallagher back in 1976) and I must say that the Conn sound is not that much inferior to the G-70, and I only paid $30 for the Conn at a yard sale. The finish is great also.

: The plastic one (not sure of the model) is a perfect knock around guitar. I take it to bluegrass festivals when I camp out and jam around the campfire. In a pick up baseball game, you could probably lay down a bunt with the back of that guitar.

: I just found this website message board and haven't had chance to read all the Conn messages. I'm still looking for info (like everybody else) on who the heck made my guitars. I'm sure they are not worth much on the market, so I'll keep mine.

: Thanks,
: Bert

: I have a Conn 12-string, purchased new in December 1977. The model and serial numbers are hand-engraved; the Serial Number is 27760749, and the Model Number appears to be F2712, best I can tell.....the author wasn't very meticulous with his engraving pen, but I've concluded it's a 12-string version of a Model F27 (if there is such a model). The serial number could include a date code - we could assume 277 is the week 2 of 1977, which is a dating code used by many manufacturers. Your guitar's serial number beginning 3976 would be week 39 (September?)1976.

: : :
: : : : : With all of the inquiries into CONN guitars, you would think there would be more info available online...but NOOOO...I myself have a CONN s/n 39761098 Model T19 (?) but cannot find any info on it. Also, from what I understood, the first two digits of the S/N were the year, but that's not possible with this one...since the factory was moved to Japan in '69 and this one says; "C.G.CONN LTD., OAKBROOK, ILLINOIS - Made in Japan" its not likely this was made in '39. '76 maybe, but not '39. Anyway, I shall climb into the same boat that every other CONN owner appears to be in...
: : : : : Any info is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Re: Conn guitar

:I have a Conn too, F-27 SN# 57750130. I bought it in 1976 for around $300, and I think it is one of the best sounding acoustics I have ever heard. I'm curious about its value, though I would never sell it.

Re: Conn guitar

 Conn guitar

This popular thread has been given its own page : Re: Conn guitar

Re: Conn guitar

 Conn guitar

This popular thread has been given its own page : Re: Conn guitar

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