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Saxophones King alto saxophones

Melissa

Well-Known Member
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1,021
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Northamptonshire UK
Hi folks,

Can anyone tell me why the early standard King Saxophones don't seem to sell? I have an 1920's alto in good condition, plays fine and is quite sweet, I am wondering if I am missing something, I originally purchased it blind from an outside auction, called them to ask what was written on the bell- the said Margo or something like that- so I though it was a Marigaux- one would, wouldn't they?

The sax arrived and it is a standard wire guard alto from around 1926 ish, so I paid too much for it, then had to have a service and now it seems like it may end up a wall hanger, I will not really play it as love my Tenor too much.

Any ideas or advice, is there something wrong with them?!
Melx
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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3,441
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manchester
So what did it actually say on the bell then I would imagine like most saxophones there are their starter saxes and their pro range and ne'r the twain shall meet ....John
 

thomsax

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4,418
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Sweden
To be frank, Conn and Buescher manufactoried the best saxes in the 20's among the American manufactors. The other manufactors (Martin, King, Holton, York ..... ) didn't reached the same level. King was into some odd saxes in the 20's; King Saxello and some straight sopranos had two low C toneholes. The two G# toneholes ( that should be on your King -26). Slide soprano called C-Saxoprono, goldplated curved sopranino .... . Maybe King was to much into buildning rare saxes and forgot to give the players an ordinary sax?

Who wants to buy a sax from 20's? Some classical players prefer to play on saxes from the 20's. But they are often on Conn, Buescher or Martins. Some jazzplayers that plays oldtime jazz? But they are not many. For me a sax from the 20's is not the first choice. These "small bore" saxes don't give me enough powerful and bright tone. The saxes I have from the 20's are rare and I don't play them much. I think saxplayers of today wants saxes from mid 30's or later. So the market for old saxes is, IMO, not big.

With King Vol-True saxes H.N. White opened up for the new music. The Vol-True II models gave King an even more modern sound. They redesigned the bore, toneholes placement mechanism and keys. Later the H.N. White introduced the Zephyr, Zephyr Special and Super 20. And these saxes are very popular.
 

HugoFirst

New Member
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17
Locality
Melbourne Australia
I have one of these King altos from 1923. I also have a Conn new wonder from the same year. The King is a sweet sounding horn and plays nicely, but the lower register for me, is just not as solid as the Conn.
I agree with Thomas, for me the Conn is a better horn.
 

Melissa

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,021
Locality
Northamptonshire UK
So what did it actually say on the bell then I would imagine like most saxophones there are their starter saxes and their pro range and ne'r the twain shall meet ....John
"King" HN White, John, nothing else, the auctioneer was telling fibs!
 

Melissa

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,021
Locality
Northamptonshire UK
To be frank, Conn and Buescher manufactoried the best saxes in the 20's among the American manufactors. The other manufactors (Martin, King, Holton, York ..... ) didn't reached the same level. King was into some odd saxes in the 20's; King Saxello and some straight sopranos had two low C toneholes. The two G# toneholes ( that should be on your King -26). Slide soprano called C-Saxoprono, goldplated curved sopranino .... . Maybe King was to much into buildning rare saxes and forgot to give the players an ordinary sax?

Who wants to buy a sax from 20's? Some classical players prefer to play on saxes from the 20's. But they are often on Conn, Buescher or Martins. Some jazzplayers that plays oldtime jazz? But they are not many. For me a sax from the 20's is not the first choice. These "small bore" saxes don't give me enough powerful and bright tone. The saxes I have from the 20's are rare and I don't play them much. I think saxplayers of today wants saxes from mid 30's or later. So the market for old saxes is, IMO, not big.

With King Vol-True saxes H.N. White opened up for the new music. The Vol-True II models gave King an even more modern sound. They redesigned the bore, toneholes placement mechanism and keys. Later the H.N. White introduced the Zephyr, Zephyr Special and Super 20. And these saxes are very popular.

Yes this does have that bottom bell G# tonehole, it is sweet, though like you say, it does not have that punch of the Buescher or Conn, thing is, I have sold quite a few 20's saxes, i'm playing one myself-though this is an ancient Boosey & Co Tenor but a different league to the King. I also had a really lovely York Straight Sop and this was quite wonderful, that too was quite a hard sell and it did go in the end, however, he recently asked if I wanted to buy it back-and it is on ebay uk right now, and making barely anything.

Thanks for that, I shall keep this in mind for future reference..and I will not be so vunerable regards asking descriptions of dodgy auctioneers!
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
My 1929 Martin Master "Typewriter" must be an exception to the rule! It is the sweetest sounding sax I have heard for a long, long time!
 

Ads

Well-Known Member
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4,314
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North West UK
Lets face it . it`s all down to personal taste and opinion, Thom's is just one . I`d have said Conn and King rather than Conn and Buescher, others may say Martin or Conn stand alone or no USA horns did it at all . The wonderful thing is that there`s endless choice for all of us ranging from 20s classics to the latest super-horns.. It`s unlikely we`ll all agree on any one horn reigning supreme, even the hyped to death MkVI , the Sheppard or even the Custom X Pruple Logo Jollysun T99992 .
 
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thomsax

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Sweden
Lets face it . it`s all down to personal taste and opinion, Thom's is just one .

Yes, of course. But if we are talking about American saxes from the 20's I still think Conn and Bueschers made the best saxes when it comes to playablity. They have som "built-in" quailities that I don't find on the other USA brands/manufactors. My Buescher bare brass C soprano -23 is better than the silverplated Martin C soprano that I recently tried. And I think both Martin and King survied the depression because thier brass manufactoring helped up. The other American manufactors more or less closed down thier saxophone production. The four big companies continued their production with altos, tenors and baris. And the odd saxes became history.

As "saxophone owner" I love all the odd American saxes from the 20's. A gold plated and hand burnished King or Holton is delicate. But I don't play my old saxes that much because I sounds even worse on these saxes. The Conn soprano -25 is ok for me.

As "saxophoneplayer" I'm into music that needs more volume; Rocksax! I don't sound good in the small bore saxes from the 20's. When I push these saxes they really sounds wired. Let's say you're playing together/trade solo with a guy who is on a modern big bore sax like Keilwerth and I'm playing a Martin from the 20's. I don't think they blend well and they talk differnt language. The Martin Comm -38 is better but still not blending so well to the new saxes. That's why I consider to buy a Keilwerth.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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12,069
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Berkshire, UK
Aaah......that is a different discussion rather than you say the 20's saxophones are generally poor apart form a couple of manufacturers! A vintage horn is seldom going to be as robust or loud as a modern well made sax.

I am into the similar sort of music as you but still play vintage and modern for rock!
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
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4,418
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Sweden
Well both Conn and Buescher were big enough to afford invetsting in the machines that did the drawn toneholes. They could increase thier production with an even quality. Martin kept thier soldered toneholes to the bitter end. King had welded toneholes and so did Holton. Conn, Buescher and Martin didn't try differnt/strange key system like King and Holton. And to be honest, the old Holtons are not good. Why did King drop the two G# keys? If it was a good key system then they would probably continiued with this and make some money?

I think it was about tradition. Conn, Buescher and Martin all started their saxophone production early. Conn 1888, Buescher c 1890 and Martin c 1900. The first King alto sax reached the market 1916. I think growing popolarity of the saxophone speeded up the decession. Before that H.N. White imported Evette -Schaeffer and later V. Kohlert saxophones. In the early 20's they also had C tenors, Bb tenors and baris under the name King. So how could they compete to the other brands?

I think a King from the 20's can be a good saxophone. Better or worse than others from the 20's? You have to play and compare. It's not many that can compare American altos from the 1926-1929. I just know one guy who is able to this.
 

ESJohn

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Ohio USA
I know this is a very old thread but it has really helped me with my research on this (yet another) Ebay item.
It looks beautiful and appears to be one that was serviced by someone who knows what they are doing. The price of $825 plus shipping is also attractive. Then again I wonder what I would do with two altos and so does my wife. I keep going back to Ebay to just admire it, anyway. Based on Thomsax's comments, maybe it's an "mehhh...."
I really appreciate the search feature on the cafe and the comments above. Some names I don't recognize but hope all are doing well.
 

ESJohn

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Thanks David
It's a King Cleveland 613 (1970 or so). Rugged student model purchased by my parents for me way back then so my heart is attached to it.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Thanks David
It's a King Cleveland 613 (1970 or so). Rugged student model purchased by my parents for me way back then so my heart is attached to it.
That is the perfect set-up for my favorite funny picture. The 613 is sometimes called the "clown model". The master engraver Jace Dumars once wrote on another forum that it was the sax he started on. He remembered it made him think: "Ha, ha, you bought me". :)

1626459936790.png
 

DavidUK

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Near Lutterworth, Leics.
I'm not sure you need another King then.
That £800 or so pounds could buy you something more well regarded, a Conn 6M perhaps, or a modern horn to compare new and old-ish. How about a Hanson SA8 for half that money?
Ideally you'd go to a good 2nd hand retailer and try their used horns up to £1000.
 

ESJohn

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Ohio USA
Thank you David and JBT! Your thoughts are confirmed and most appreciated! This is from a trusted local advisor of mine that gives more credence to the phrase "beauty is only skin deep":

if you can get one {Conn 6m} in the late 1938s to early 40s, serial number 260,000 to 300,000 they are great. King Zepher or Super 20s from the 50s or 60s are great, Conn 6M Naked Lady model around the years I mentioned. Plus the price they are asking for the horn you are looking at is way overpriced for an early King HN White alto. Yours is a student model but I would not replace it with that early a model.

You folks saved me a great deal of money that I can use now to focus on a horn that might actually be an improvement over what I own now.
King 613 Bell Brace.jpg


I think HN White must have caught a great deal of grief about the clown face early on in their production of the 613. The above image is mine which, again, was manufactured around 1970.
 
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JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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2,334
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New Mexico, US
Thank you David and JBT! Your thoughts are confirmed and most appreciated! This is from a trusted local advisor of mine that gives more credence to the phrase "beauty is only skin deep":

if you can get one {Conn 6m} in the late 1938s to early 40s, serial number 260,000 to 300,000 they are great. King Zepher or Super 20s from the 50s or 60s are great, Conn 6M Naked Lady model around the years I mentioned. Plus the price they are asking for the horn you are looking at is way overpriced for an early King HN White alto. Yours is a student model but I would not replace it with that early a model.

You folks saved me a great deal of money that I can use now to focus on a horn that might actually be an improvement over what I own now.

I think HN White must have caught a great deal of grief about the clown face early on in their production of the 613. The above image is mine which, again, was manufactured around 1970.
Welllllll....mmmmmmyeah....I mean that advice you got there...it's sorta like you tell someone you are interested in this Yamaha 23 you saw...and they reply: "you are better off getting a Yanagisawa !"

Or your neighbor has a used Ford Focus for sale in good mechanical and physical shape....but someone recommends it's better off waiting for a Lexus to come along....

It may be TRUE....but.....you get my drift ?

$825 is NOT gonna buy you a 6M or Zephyr or any OTHER top-shelf vintage model, particularly from the eras your friend specified - nor Buescher nor Martin nor Holton either. So how useful is that recommendation ?
 

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