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I knew that the Cleveland saxes were lower in the line than the Zephyr or Super 20, but was trying to pin down the difference a bit more, and I found the below info at: http://www.hnwhite.com/Cleveland instruments.htm

"The Cleveland Musical Instrument Company was formed in February of 1919 and was known for their Cleveland Trumpet. The Company was successful for awhile and at one time employed fifteen people. But as frequently happens with new companies, overhead and expenses were too great for the volume of business they could command. For two years The H. N. White Company made instruments for Cleveland to help fill back orders. Then in 1925 Mr. White bought the Cleveland Musical Instrument Company. Mr. White saw the Cleveland brand as the perfect fit to cover the growing school band market which demanded high quality instruments at a low price. The Cleveland brand, along with American Standard were marketed to marching bands and schools. Both were about 40% less in price than a "King." "

The same page also says:

"Quality was very important to The H. N. White Company and the same craftsmen that made Kings also made Cleveland, American Standard, Gladiator, and Tempo Band Instruments."

Anyway, I thought that was interesting, and wanted to pass it on. There is a lot of cool historical info on the www.hnwhite.com website.
 

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my king soprano just says made by the cleveland musical inst co.
 
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My Cleveland alto was probably the best $110 I've ever spent in my life. I guess I can't comment on how similar they are to their King counterparts (from pictures I've seen the keywork looks quite different at the very least), but I can say it plays very nicely and has a huge sound. Had to replace some key cork to get it playable and it's gonna need a couple new pads and neck cork sometime in the near future but for what I paid I don't think I could have possibly done better. Original case too! Mine is an early 60s model (serial # C136xxx).

It would be fun if someday someone did an A/B/C comparison with a Super 20, Zephyr, and Cleveland from around the same era. I'm sure the proper Kings will come out on top, but considering Clevelands can be had all day for the price of a Chinese eBay special or beat up Bundy II (or even cheaper if you come across someone on craigslist that has no idea what they have ;) ), I'd think if they are even in the same league it would make the Cleveland one of the best deals around right now.

If anyone wants pictures/measurements of anything to compare it to a King or earlier/later Cleveland model, let me know.

-Darren
 

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I impulsively picked up a '65 or '66 off eBay (C 166***, which seems to be one of the last ones made in Cleveland), so now I'm learning more about them. I know, I should have learned more first. But I like how it sounds - almost as rich as my '67 Conn 10M, but with more edge, especially when you really start to blow. And it is noticeably lighter. Now I just have to sell another horn to pay for a repad...

In looking at the HN White website, especially their old catalog pages, it appears that the tenor was always model #615, but I have noticed that only some horns have "615" engraved on the bell. Anyone know which years had the 615 on the bell?
 
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I think that started shortly after the time of the Eastlake switch... I couldn't tell you 100% how shortly thereafter. I do know I haven't seen a Cleveland-made horn with a 61x model number on it, and I have seen ones with no model number that say "King Musical Instruments Eastlake, Ohio" but retain the earlier style "acorn" bell engraving and appear to have identical keywork to their older counterparts. At some point there was definitely a changeover where the engraving started to simply consist of the King logo, "Cleveland", and the model number (613 for alto, 615 for tenor).

There's a cleveland alto on ebay right now with a C184xxx that still appears to be pre-Eastlake.
 

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It would be fun if someday someone did an A/B/C comparison with a Super 20, Zephyr, and Cleveland from around the same era. I'm sure the proper Kings will come out on top, but considering Clevelands can be had all day for the price of a Chinese eBay special or beat up Bundy II (or even cheaper if you come across someone on craigslist that has no idea what they have ;) ), I'd think if they are even in the same league it would make the Cleveland one of the best deals around right now.

If anyone wants pictures/measurements of anything to compare it to a King or earlier/later Cleveland model, let me know.

-Darren
I might do this in the near future. I am waiting for my Super 20 #427XXX to get back from Tenor Madness and I now have a Cleveland Tenor #186XXX that plays pretty well. I am using it while waiting on the S20 to get back. I am curious about the similarities/differences myself.
 

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View attachment 23972


I had (but foolishly sold) a great silver plate King Cleveland c45,xxx. This horn was clearly made up of Volltrue and Zephyr stuff, and it played great!
 

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I might do this in the near future. I am waiting for my Super 20 #427XXX to get back from Tenor Madness and I now have a Cleveland Tenor #186XXX that plays pretty well. I am using it while waiting on the S20 to get back. I am curious about the similarities/differences myself.
I have owned several Cleveland tenors made from the 1950s through the 1970s, and I'm glad you asked this question because there are a lot of old threads on this forum that suggest you can get a horn that is essentially the same as a Super 20, save for the student keywork on the Cleveland, by buying a vintage Cleveland; well from my experience this is not the case. Basically, most of the Clevelands I have owned sound like Kings; however, they have all had what I would call a "student" quality sound, that is, what I call a "grittier sound" that is not as smooth of a sound that you get with a vintage Zephyr or Super 20. Now I do not know if this is because they used a lower quality of brass on the student horns, but I would hazard to guess that this would not be totally out of the realm.

Also, the keywork on Clevelands can be fairly "clunky" (again, "studenty"), which is where I think folks get the erroneous impression that Kings are "clunky" instruments; because I have a theory that the King model that most of your average sax players have had any experience with is the student Cleveland. And that's after reading all the reports of folks on here who say "I have never played a Super 20 but hope to try one someday, etc." In contrast, you don't hear this as much about Conns and Bueschers. And my theory on this is that King made tons of Clevelands but few Zephyrs and even fewer Super 20s--at least compared to the output of Bueschers and Conns during the same time period.

And this comes from watching ebay auctions for literally years, where in any given week there seem to be dozens of vintage 10M's and Chu's for sale and at least half a dozen vintage Buescher Aristos, but very few Super 20s or Zephyrs.

So with that said, if you're really looking for that "Poor Man's Super 20" I would look for a Zephyr instead, which will have very similar sonic and playability qualities as the Super 20.

BTW I'm sure you realize that your 186,xxx Cleveland is a late '60s Eastlake-made horn, right? That's because the serial charts are different for Clevelands. FYI (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the Cleveland serial chart)--

http://www.hnwhite.com/Serial%20Numbers.htm
 

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I would love to try a Zephyr - I very much like the sound of my Cleveland. But the keywork on my '67 Conn 10M is a bit tighter/smoother. The Cleveland's ergos are better for me, though, as is the lighter weight (I'm starting to get old, I guess). I think the Clevelands are a great deal. I just saw a tenor listed on eBay with new pads that went for something like $425. That is hard to beat.
 

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I would love to try a Zephyr - I very much like the sound of my Cleveland. But the keywork on my '67 Conn 10M is a bit tighter/smoother. The Cleveland's ergos are better for me, though, as is the lighter weight (I'm starting to get old, I guess). I think the Clevelands are a great deal. I just saw a tenor listed on eBay with new pads that went for something like $425. That is hard to beat.
That Cleveland plays good too. It is sitting in my sax stand as I type this. :)
 

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Ah, good. I'm glad it is getting played by someone who knows what they got. I threw a (low) offer at it, even though I didn't really need another Cleveland, but I'm not surprised it went for more.
 

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Purchased a '57 Cleveland tenor recently. I don't find it clunky at all. I can't say how it compares to other King models, but compared to Conns (New Wonder, 10M, and stencil Conns) it seems more vibrant and digitally faster. In addition, the lower-middle and low registers have a lot of unique tonal character. And the intonation is dead on-target throughout the horn. The low Bb is a bit of a stretch for the left pinkie, but you get used to it quick enough. Definitely an under-rated horn -- and not just for students, either.
 

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Here are better pictures of the Cleveland I got off eBay. I did replace the neck cork as it had that synthetic stuff on it and was way too "spongy" for my taste. BTW, the movie file is the original seller NOT me. :) Once I get my S20 back, I would love to send it to a good tech to give it a once over and adjustment to really get it into great playing shape. It would be perfect for places I really did not want to drag my S20 into.

http://www.kingsuper20.com/images/Cleveland%20Tenor/
 

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It will be a little longer before I can make a direct comparison, but I agree with Tenor Man. My Cleveland does not have bad ergos for me, as I am used to playing Kings. It is however, not as smooth or light feeling as I remember my Super 20 and I never had any serious tuning of the keywork on my Super20. I can't wait to get it back and do a side by side comparison with this Cleveland.
 

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BTW I'm sure you realize that your 186,xxx Cleveland is a late '60s Eastlake-made horn, right? That's because the serial charts are different for Clevelands. FYI (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the Cleveland serial chart)--
On the bell of my Cleveland it has:

Cleveland
The H. N. White Co.
Cleve, Ohio

Check the link in my sig for pics....
 

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I have owned several Cleveland tenors made from the 1950s through the 1970s, and I'm glad you asked this question because there are a lot of old threads on this forum that suggest you can get a horn that is essentially the same as a Super 20, save for the student keywork on the Cleveland, by buying a vintage Cleveland; well from my experience this is not the case. ............
So with that said, if you're really looking for that "Poor Man's Super 20" I would look for a Zephyr instead, which will have very similar sonic and playability qualities as the Super 20.
..
BTW I'm sure you realize that your 186,xxx Cleveland is a late '60s Eastlake-made horn, right? That's because the serial charts are different for Clevelands. FYI (scroll down to the bottom of the page for the Cleveland serial chart)--

http://www.hnwhite.com/Serial%20Numbers.htm
I agree with lots of what you say with the exception of the dating of the Cleveland which might have still be made in Cleveland and prior to the moving to Eastlake .

Nice as they might be, Clevelands (and their later incarnations the King 613 and 615 ) were no turned down version of a Super 20 or even a Zephyr by a very long shot. Although the ergos and some looks might be comparable to the Zephyrs they were very different horns. They are Student's horn and there is nothing that one can do to them to make them better than what they are.
 

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I owned and played a King Cleveland 615 for years and acquired it new in '70
Tenor Man and Milandro's comments echo my sentiments.

In spite of its "grittier" sound, which I think its open key heights play a part in,
I found it clanky and "studenty" in the key work, and ultimately bothersome.

I mean, play a Buescher Aristocrat with Norton springs, or a The Martin, and then play the 615, no comparison.
That 615 had the big open King sound though.

Rory, how could you have sold that beauty?
 
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