Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Teh King Super 20

Next 20 Messages
Mike R.
User ID: 8228423
Jun 29th 8:42 PM
OK, so I only have a Super 20 tenor. But Bird and Cannonball played Super 20 altos. What more could you ask for?

List your horn and impressions.
Mike R.
User ID: 8228423
Jun 29th 8:43 PM
Geez, I type like billmecca.
User ID: 3180504
Jun 29th 11:06 PM
A Buescher Big B perhaps?
Talk about an alto with attitude!
Capable of gentleness but with power when needed.
User ID: 3320394
Jun 30th 11:50 AM
Rene' Duval alto made in Italy in the 1930's based on the Conn Chu Berry design. It's got the fingernail file G#, tasty rolled tone holes, simple key guard design, and wonderful action. Set it down next to a Chu and there's only one thing you'll notice that is different. (And I'm not telling what). Built like a tank and in wonderful, but ugly condition. Loudest alto I've ever come accross, not that loudness is the critical factor. I've sent a number of tenor players running for the hills when I go into the low ranges.
Mike R.
User ID: 8228423
Jun 30th 1:13 PM
No, no. I meant list your KING SUPER 20 altos, and your impressions of them here. I guess I wasn't clear enough for you alto players. ;-)
User ID: 3180504
Jun 30th 6:02 PM
Now that's a bit much isn't it ?
Is the King super 20 really that good
or is it because Bird and Cannonball played 'em?

Please explain....
User ID: 1676554
Jun 30th 6:49 PM
I play a super 20 alto 313 XXX I love it heaps.Big bright sound,great intonation.I would like to try a later super 20 with the silver bell,but really I am happy and wouldn't sell it for another horn.
User ID: 1968814
Jul 1st 9:48 PM
Seems like when the pitch is good on these it's
not just good but perfect! I have a 319xxx pearl
horn like yours which is in tune like a freshly
tuned piano. However, when it's bad, it's very
bad--I've played some badly out of tune examples.
Not much middle ground on them...
User ID: 1676554
Jul 1st 10:46 PM
Ive never played another alto(a super 20) to compare them.I know a guy who has a eastlake silversonic which is said to sharp in the top register.I saw a guy called andrew speight play a gig on a eastlake silversonic which sounded and felt just great.He let me check out his horn after the gig.But maybee these aerly 50's ones are OK.
Lost Lamb
User ID: 0331974
Jul 2nd 6:14 AM
Our Eastlake is the loudest brightest sax we have, with any metal mouthpiece.
Some folks here say they play dark.
Mike R.
User ID: 0624334
Jul 2nd 8:09 AM
Sharpness in the palms is a apparently a trait of the Super 20s. I've heard more than one tech say that.

Martin, I was just kidding about having to speak slower and more clearly for alto players. Sorry I offended you.

What makes Super 20s great isn't that Parker and Adderley played them - that simply reflects their keen discernment of fine saxophones. What makes Super 20s great is that:
1. They were made in Ohio (and not Indiana).
2. They had solid sterling silver necks, with underslung octave mechanisms. Not to mention the optional sterling silver bells of the Supersonics.
3. They had a great sound.
4. They're not made any more, so if you don't have one, well, sorry.
5. I play one!
User ID: 1968814
Jul 2nd 1:19 PM
My pearl alto has more in-tune palms than my VI.
User ID: 0310794
Jul 2nd 10:39 PM
So does my King s20.
It's more in tune even than my Yamaha 62
User ID: 0603144
Jul 4th 2:58 PM
I got to know Andy (Speight) a little while he was still at MSU. We talked saxes after a lesson and he mentions the Kings have more intonation problems than Vintage Conns...interesting.
He says he's got a few silversonics, including one owned by THE Cannonball! A great player, with a huge sound. Didn't SOUND outta tune to me at all.
User ID: 2700404
Jul 4th 4:53 PM
Andy Speight is a great alto player and he uses a Super 20 and pulls a great legit alto sound. Another fine player who hails from Down Under.

I owned a Super 20 alto, pearled side keys, silver neck, underslung octave etc. It was a great horn but I found that it lacked flexibility in tone. It had one sound, a Cannonball sound which was great for Jazz work, made for a great lead alto sound but didn't blend well within the section.

I have checked out the Selmer's, Conn's, Martin's and Buescher's and found that with the alto the model which has the most flexibility, most centred and biggest sound is a Buescher Aristocrat. It has all the power traits of the Super 20 or Conn, all the sublety and focused sound of the Selmer's and will bark, scream and wail like a Martin.

Before you claim one horn is better than another you really need to test out a Buescher from the mid to late 30's. A big B from the 40's is just as good.

A good horn to my way of thinking has flexibility, can be used in more than one type of musical style, has impeccable intonation, has a focused and centred sound, is in good physical condition. If it fails in one of these areas, then it isn't a good horn!
User ID: 1676554
Jul 4th 6:37 PM
I respect your experiences but find them a little on one side.I love the aristocats as well,but I cant agree that they are better than a 6M,super 20 or a MKVI.There is nothing unflexable about them.They are very desirable as reflected by the demand and the prices.Everything is up to the player in my opinion.I would love to hear some of the late greats comment on this subject.You buy a good horn and leave the others alone.Please read this right ,I like bueschers a lot but not to exclude the other great horns.
User ID: 1578334
Jul 9th 10:32 PM
I play a Super 20 and use it for classical and jazz. It sounds perfect in either situation, very flexible. It's a tenor though, not an alto.
User ID: 8207233
Jul 16th 1:01 AM
Bootman, Super 20 IS a flexible horn. Mark 6, versatile. I think you base these facts on your own personal taste.
I read once, your description of Selmer as "too dainty" for you. Selmer doesn't seem too dainty for the likes of a David Murray for instance. I know a man locally who can outgruff, outsize, and outscream just about anyone on his alto. The alto he plays? A super balanced!!!
User ID: 1968814
Jul 16th 6:15 PM
I find that VI altos have a better sound for R&B
and Super 20's a better bebop sound. Though both
are good for both.
User ID: 2491374
Jul 17th 4:23 AM
I have been down the Super 20 route and I miss the horn very much but when comparing it to other saxes I have here it is just another good playing horn. Great for bop work.

The mk vi is a fine horn if you want to play jazz, I have found it to be lacking when used in a setting where I need real drive or power. All I can go on is my own experience and because I don't bow to the popular misconception that every mk vi is a great and every other horn isn't, doesn't make my points any less valid. Have you tried each one of these model horns? If not how can you comment! I have tried each model of these horns and more than a single example of each variety.

David Murray plays great and pulls a nice sound from his tenor, the vi works for him. Michael Brecker and many others pull a great sound from their mk vi's. Would they use a mk vi if they didn't have the sound that they wished for in their own playing, I think not. I am just adding a counter view that the mk vi is 95% hype and 5% reality. There are great examples of this horn, I have played one or two but I wouldn't have traded any of the horns I am now playing for them.

The Selmer is like a sports car, slick and light whereas a Conn, Buescher, King or Martin is like an American V8 muscle car. There is power to the sound of these horns that most players never really get to experience because they one don't have the guts to go against tide of the popular Myth or they never even bother to think that maybe a different horn could bring a whole new approach to how they play. It basically comes down to a quest for a personal sound, if I wanted to sound like every other clone out there then I would go and buy a mk vi and a Link. As it is I am searching for the complete sound and as yet haven't found it. I may come back to the mk vi again, but I have my doubts. I will definitely revisit the Super 20.

Oh I do have a Martin, A Conn, A Buescher, A mk vi and a The Martin alto. I sold my other Bueschers, Selmers, Yamahas and alas to say my Super 20 silver neck pearled side keys.
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