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Saxophones King Zephyrs

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
Hi guys! Long time no post, but I have an option to buy a new sax. It's a King Zephyr, it was made in 1940. It plays well, but I'm not sure on whether or not it's a good horn. I really need a professional horn that can play softly, and loudly when needed. I'm a jazz and symphonic player. Would you consider this a good horn? It's in great condition, the only bad part is that I like silver horns or that dull vintage look. Here's one that looks similar:


Feedback whether good or bad is wanted!

-Rawr
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
My teacher plays a number of altos, including a King Zephyr about the same age as the one you're thinking of, Yani, Mk VI, A Sax amongst others. The King's the best/sweetest sounding of the lot. Works really well with a Brilhart Personaline, the white one.

If he was to offer me the choice of one out of his altos, I'd take the Zephyr.

I'd say buy it!
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,933
While Kings are generally nice horns (and that includes the Zephyr) you have much more to consider than that.
Maybe you already have?
But...
First of all, as that is not the picture of the actual one you may buy do you know its mechanical condition?
There are many things that will affect its playability and its resale price tag.
Is it in original lacquer? what kind of life is left in the pads/springs /felt and rods? have the rods got any play that cannot be swaged? what previous repairs have been done and how well? Plus much much more....
There are things you can pick up on a mere glance and others you need to be more thorough about.
If it checks out OK it would be a nice thing to own.
That said i'm with Nick as far as reliability goes and the ergonomics for the left hand little finger are not the greatest. I found this table of keys very stiff/heavy and awkwardly positioned. Transition between notes using using this table was a pain.
I'm not saying you wouldn't get used to it but there is no need to as there are plenty of great altos out there.

Also the one I tried was no better tonally than other pro horns I have tried.

Good luck anyway!

EDIT**
Just spotted the 'great condition' part in your post but what the hell hope this helps.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
I think the King Zephyr is based on the Voll-True II model but with the B and Bb bellkeys on the right side (split bell keys on Voll-True). The Zephyr Special was a completly new construction/design. They have silversoldered toneholes as well. The Zephyr Specail became later the famous Super 20 model. Zephyrs and Sephyrs Special are great saxes, but I consider these saxes to be more jazz, blues and rocksaxes instead of classical saxes. But that's my personal opinion!

Thomas
 

taiwanpaul

Member
Messages
156
I have a tenor Zephyr, built somewhere between 1945-1950. Fantastic horn, tried many other horns out before buying it and for my ears sounded better than Mk6s, Conns, Martins, Bueschers etc. Am sure newer horns are just as good soundwise. With time you get used to the ergonomics, but , in the end, you buy your horn for you. So, if you like the sound and how it feels, buy it! 7 years later, I don't regret buying mine!
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
I have a tenor Zephyr, built somewhere between 1945-1950. Fantastic horn, tried many other horns out before buying it and for my ears sounded better than Mk6s, Conns, Martins, Bueschers etc. Am sure newer horns are just as good soundwise. With time you get used to the ergonomics, but , in the end, you buy your horn for you. So, if you like the sound and how it feels, buy it! 7 years later, I don't regret buying mine!
Zephyrs are very nice saxes. I know some players that are playing Zephyr tenors. But when it comes to older saxes you must keep in mind that these saxes are often frequently used and can be over 70 years old! Right now here is a Zephyr for sale. He is asking 12000 sek (c £ 1200.00) for it. To be honest, I would just pay £ 400-500 for the sax. The sax is ok, but you have to put in £ 600-800 for an overhaul. New/better pads, cork & felt, a prober regulation of the keys ...... . And when you've done all this you need a good case as well to protect "your little baby". Another houndreds. So if you have a Zephyr that can cost you up £ 2000.00 then I would consider a new Yamaha 62 or a Jupiter XO instead, even if the tone/sound of these old Zephyr saxes are very good.

Thomas
 

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
Thanks for all the input guys! Much appreciated. Seems like condition is the 'zinger' here. It looks almost in mint condition, it only had one previous owner in which passed. Pads are original and look like new, lacquer is fair, and doesn't need any replacements. It's $1,300.00 cash.

Rawr
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
They may look new but, if they're original, at 72 years old they probably aren't going to last very long.
Agreed. I'd say that you should budget for a repad, which will add about a third of the horn's purchase price on top.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
They may look new but, if they're original, at 72 years old they probably aren't going to last very long.
Depends entirely on how much wear there is in the keywork. Many horns of this era have decades left on them. These kings were very well built, as well.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Hi guys! Long time no post, but I have an option to buy a new sax. It's a King Zephyr, it was made in 1940. It plays well, but I'm not sure on whether or not it's a good horn. I really need a professional horn that can play softly, and loudly when needed. I'm a jazz and symphonic player. Would you consider this a good horn? It's in great condition, the only bad part is that I like silver horns or that dull vintage look. Here's one that looks similar:


Feedback whether good or bad is wanted!

-Rawr
This is from the good period of the Zephyrs. Great jazz horn, bad classical horn. As with any old horn you haven't examined up close, count on it needing a repad, but if you want that fat Cannonball sound you could search for years before finding a better sax than this (assuming the neck has never been bent and the action is still reasonably tight.)
 

Paul Warner

Member
Messages
312
Sounds like top dollar for an old King! I have only played the bari, and it was a nice horn. However....the `symphonic` aspect sets the warning bells ringing. Those old American horns are lovely jazz and blues machines, but classical???? I`d say `the golden triangle` (Yani, Yami, Selmer) might be the wisest across the board choice.
Good luck with the quest.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
Sounds like top dollar for an old King! I have only played the bari, and it was a nice horn. However....the `symphonic` aspect sets the warning bells ringing. Those old American horns are lovely jazz and blues machines, but classical???? I`d say `the golden triangle` (Yani, Yami, Selmer) might be the wisest across the board choice.
Good luck with the quest.
Beuscher (Rauscher), Conn, Martin (Cecil Lesson), and even King from the 20's were and still are highly rated saxes among pro- classic players. They like the tone of these old saxes. They use modern Selmer, Yamaha, Yanigisawa as well.

Thomas
 
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