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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the opportunity to purchase this early Zephyr tenor. Serial number 188xxx dates it to 1936. It has the rectangular low Eb and C touches typical of the first run Zephyrs. What's confusing is it also appears to have a double-socket neck, which I thought came around much later. Of course I'm going to try and get more pictures before I make the drive (about 100 mi) and play test it. Also comes with a vintage Dukoff D6. Seems like a good deal at $1200. What do you think?

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Double socket necks started with that era Zephyr so no problem there so long as the neck serial # matches the body. Lacquer looks to be original...

IMO these are great tenors. They're on the dark side but that Dukoff probably brightens it up. All other things being equal, the main downside on these "Art-Deco" Zephyrs is the "in-line" left hand table. Like most vintage horns, it takes a bit of practice in order to develop a strategy for getting around on.
 

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I have the opportunity to purchase this early Zephyr tenor. Serial number 188xxx dates it to 1936. It has the rectangular low Eb and C touches typical of the first run Zephyrs. What's confusing is it also appears to have a double-socket neck, which I thought came around much later. Of course I'm going to try and get more pictures before I make the drive (about 100 mi) and play test it. Also comes with a vintage Dukoff D6. Seems like a good deal at $1200. What do you think?

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Well..... a good deal ? This is a Voll-True -II, simply re-branded. Do not, by any means, think this is an "S20-like" Zeph.

Significant changes were made to the body tube and bow between the early and sweet-spot Zephs.

Bad horn ? No, not at all. I really like VT-II's and early Zephs.

BUT....their tonality and blowing response are FAR different than a sweet-spot Zeph.

I LIKE their tonality, and their response is not unlike other horns of their time period, so nothing problematic there. But the tone is IMHO, 'airy', 'breath-y'. Nice, a bit delicate in a way. Very cool sound.
Most customers who actually have tried one of these at my shop LIKE the uniqueness of the voice of the horn. But not enough to make it their main axe. It has its place and unique signature in the right contexts or artistic desires.
Interesting aspect is the low Bb touch which ONLY extends to the side of the B. There is no option to slide DOWN to the Bb. Not a huge issue, really - a little woodshedding and it makes its own sorta sense. But I also have had a few owners ask me to modify the touch so there's a touchpiece below the B as well.

To ADD to confusion....stupid sellers who wanna jump on the bandwagon will misrepresent these early Zephs as being the ones with the S20 bodies.
At first, 5 or 6 years ago, I thought this was an honest mistake...

....but after respectfully correcting enough folks with messages - and seeing that they changed nothing in their description...THEN noticed they sold SUBSEQUENT horns using the same "poor-man's S20" pitch...and seeing SO many early Zephs described in similar fashion nowadays - I had to conclude they were just being snakes, and they don't care if they misrepresent their horn if they end up with a few more hundred bucks in their pocket.

(Not saying your seller there has done this, but if he/she has mentioned the S20 or intimated similarity...they are just plain wrong).

Interesting old horn.
Cool old horn.
Neat 'second' or 'third' horn to have for a Jazzer who can appreciate its qualities....

In 100% overhauled shape...a Tenor engraved Zephyr of this period is worth around $800 tops.
The Voll-True II, same horn essentially except for a few aesthetic/detail differences, can only fetch $600-650ish refurbished.

Dukoff D6's sold on eFlay (sold, not listed at) range from $150-350 for a Tenor, most falling in the $200-250 range it seems.

So.....$800 if the horn is in tip-top playing shape. $675 if the horn plays but seems like it'll need some tech attention. Plus $200-250 for the mouthpiece (IF you like how that mouthpiece plays) = $1050 tops if horn is all set up; $875-900 if horn will need some adjusting. (I suppose if you don't dig the mouthpiece, expect you can sell it for at least $150-175).

Worth trying one if you have never tried one...again, a unique voice IMHO. Is it worth driving 100 miles to try a horn which a wise horn seeker would then offer 15-30% less than asking price if they liked it ?

Interesting call.....

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well..... a good deal ?
Interesting call.....

Best of luck.
Thanks for the info. No, the seller has not represented it as an S20 derivative, and I wasn't expecting it to be. Just trying to get an idea if it was worth my time. I sold a Zephyr at the OTHER end of the spectrum (made circa 1968) a while ago, and I knew enough to not claim it as "like a Super 20", mostly thanks to this forum.
 

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I have an alto from this era which is a very strident horn, but the intonation is challenging. The tenors are a bit more forgiving in this regard, and it was an experience playing one of these square keyed tenors that gave me the itch for a King tenor (I later settled on a Silversonic).
 
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