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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
According to a gear guy I watch on YouTube there are two types of cool: #1 being excellent functionality, and #2 being basically I just like it.

I just purchased a Voll True II alto on eBay because it just looked cool. When I receive it, I want to bring the SOTW community on the adventure with me to restore this thing and see how it rates on the 1st type of cool.

I've read lots of negative, a few positive comments on these horns but mostly everything has been vague. I'm planning on doing a full overhaul and digging in deep. If there are intonation issues I am planning on experimenting and figuring out why. I'd be really surprised if a first rate manufacturer like King really put out something as out of tune as some people say and continued to produce said clunker through the height of the big band and swing years (1933-1940) if you count the zephyr I as basically the same horn.

Looking forward to hearing both perspectives, I'm just doing this for fun and I noticed the dearth of data online about making these things go like they should.
 

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The VT II is the better horn than the VT one. The II is pretty much like a Zephyr. I have one and it is a very good horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Bruce, I'm a new King fan. I got a 338xxx zephyr tenor a few weeks ago that knocks my socks off. Not expecting quite as much out of this earlier horn, but I'm excited to see how it turns out because it appears to be a fairly unmolested example. Lots of old horns get a bad rap because so much can be wrong after 80+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Musical instrument Brass instrument Reed instrument Wind instrument Woodwind instrument
Kings heyday for engraving. I've been guilty of hearing with my eyes when it comes to saxes. Let's see how she compares with my relacquered conn transitional 6m which so far has taken all comers handily for the past 7 years
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's the herd waiting for their new stablemate. That 6m tranny has near perfect intonation with a Selmer C* shorty! It's a great versatile setup. I'll link a recording or YouTube comparing tone qualities when I figure out how.

The Zephyr tenor inspired the VT II purchase with it's amazing playability. I still can't decide between it and my Chu tenor, which really needs a repad to be fair. Results forthcoming. Musical instrument Reed Saxophone Reed instrument Brass instrument
 

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If it sounds anything like the early Zephyr I tried at Sax Alley, you're gonna love it. That thing sounded like you could reach out and break stuff with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Was that zephyr 1 an alto? A burnished gold plated Zephyr 1 alto just sold on eBay today for $3900! That's even beyond Zephyr Special territory! I wonder if it'll be reposted in a few days due to non paying bidder?
 

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The VT II is the better horn than the VT one. The II is pretty much like a Zephyr. I have one and it is a very good horn.
Quick asterisk on the latter part of that....The Zeph I's and VT II's have the same bodies and neck specs, so yes, an early Zeph is like a VT II.

But a VT II is not anything like the 'sweet-spot' zephs of around 240,XXX-380,XXX.

I LIKE VT-II's...they have a very, very unique voice...sorta old-school and breath-y. Most players who have tried one of my II's also liked 'em immensely, although also admitting that as a primary horn, the sound is almost 'too unique' and potentially somewhat limiting, perhaps. Which, I can understand actually.

But they are pretty darn cool....
 

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Was that zephyr 1 an alto? A burnished gold plated Zephyr 1 alto just sold on eBay today for $3900! That's even beyond Zephyr Special territory! I wonder if it'll be reposted in a few days due to non paying bidder?
That's insane. Did the seller try to talk it up as 'the poor man's S20' ? Because eFlay sellers started doing that once it was established that the Later Zephs share the S20 body specs: suddenly EVERY Zeph on eFlay became 'the poor man's S20', even though all internet sources clearly state that the description was only for Zephs of a certain period...

wondering if perhaps it also was a 'fake sale'...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll look back at that auction and try to glean more details. Thanks Jayelid for the input on VT II-Zeph I vs Zeph II (which in my opinion is the poor mans super 20). I paid 400 for my VT II because it is exceptionally straight and complete, although I think that was on the high end I'm restoring it myself so I wanted something that didn't need work beyond my ability at this time like a full mechanical rebuild. The close up pics showed nice tight hinge tubes and minimal key wear.

The $3900 zephyr I on the other hand, looked a bit clapped out and had a poor mic pickup repair on the neck. Just yesterday a zephyr special alto with a sterling neck w neck pickup sold for $1700, which seemed like a better deal.
 

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I have a silver Zephyr alto serial 196xxx. It looks like this VT II pictured. I like it and it plays fine. It is a good jazz horn. I am a rock player and its not my first choice in altos for that. However I don't find it to be too unique as Jaye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, It's interesting how much people's interpretation of sound differs. My tone preferences have changed a lot over the years. I know my 6m feels like my "voice" on alto. It's hard to describe, but it's dark and has attitude. The 338xxx zephyr tenor does that for me also. That's what I always hope to find in a horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The VT 2 came today in one piece! Replaced a couple corks and a pad so it would play. First impression, it gets a big sound (even with plain leather pads, no resos). Respectable intonation, plays good with my short shank Soloist- so a couple of myths dispelled that you need a large chamber mpc, bad intonation. The Conn definately has better LH table keys as it stands, but a lot of that can be remedied with adjustment. I think its worthy of a repad and I know it'll get an even bigger sound with resos and all the leaks fixed. I'll try to post a recording in the next couple days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey Grumps, thanks for chiming in. If by saying the thing looks cool, then yes I was definitely pumping it up.

By throwing shade on perspectives of others, what do you mean?

Please share your thoughts on these VT2 or Zeph 1 models or what perception bias you speak of?

I started this thread to correct a lack of info/enthusiasm for these horns I see online. I want to hear from both detractors and fans. As I get done overhauling the thing I can really give it a fair shake.
 

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Hey Grumps, thanks for chiming in. If by saying the thing looks cool, then yes I was definitely pumping it up.
They are absolutely beautiful horns, with nice added touches such as the beveled rods and domed pad cups. But you are seemingly coming from the perspective that maybe these horns have had a bad rap, and past criticism hasn't been fair; and thus the bias in reviewing your purchase. You want to like this horn, and that's perfectly understandable.

I purchased a fixer upper series I Zephyr for my son when he was in junior high. It sits on the shelf now, as he no longer plays. However, I can't use it as a back-up because its intonation is rather sketchy. I'd have to take the horn out and give it a go to be more specific, but as I recall it only played passably for me with an old WW Co. mouthpiece. Great strident sound though. Pure power. Still beautiful too, with most of its original silver plate intact. Not quite a wall-hanger, but Bueschers, Martins and Conns from the same era are well a step above these King altos.
 
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