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Hi, I have been looking into buying a c-melody sax made by King. I'm a little unsure as to what is the real value of the sax is and wanted to know the opinion of other players that might have experiece with this sax. The engravement on the bell reads: King, by the H.N. White Co. Clev'd, O. which tells me that it was made by the H.N White Co. The sax is said to be in excellent shape, except that it will need to be repaded. The sax is said to be made between 1915 and 1925.
 

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I have a perfect Buescher C-Mel of the same vintage. I paid $250 for it.
 

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For reference, I paid $86 total for a Martin stencil with a nice case, good plating and pads just needing adjustment. I paid about $115 for a Buescher needing pads with a nice finish and case. Remember that the pads can cost you more than the horn. I sold a Conn with nice lacquer, correct pads and case for about $350. If I were to redo a C melody, I would pick one with good plating (not lacquer) with the original case and from a more valuable brand like Conn, Buescher or Martin. I would value a King needing pads at no more than $100. Just my take.
 

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King (HN White) are good C-Mels, big focussed sound, parts of the mechanism is quite sophisticated by comparison to even my 30's Martin C-Mel - I've bought a few to tinker with and try out. Useful for me because they have the aux-front-F pearl as standard.

King C-Mels have a higher residual value this side of the water - Capn Beeflat (from memory) holds the record for selling one of his for over US$1500... - but I'd say $200 absolute tops for one needing work but in totally undamaged condition.

If it needs a repad (are they the original white pads ?), then it could need a recork/felt as well, maybe a spring or three - and you always find something seized which makes the work even more tedious. With C-Mels, it's the 'keepability factor' - if you get the overhaul done in the average repair shop you'll possibly struggle to recover all you've paid out should you not wish to keep it.

You'll find plenty of threads here, and elsewhere, debating whether it's worth having one fixed up. Not being pessimistic, but you can often see C-mels on ebay fetching less than it's cost the owner to buy and get fixed up. So the bottom line is to pay as little as you can if it needs work - you can often find one for not much more, which has been fixed up at some stage in the not-too-distant past, and just needs a tweak here and there. They are around, take time and choose carefully.
 

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The King C Melody is a vastly under-rated horn. The engineering is second to none and far superior to most. Exquisite hidden details such as the leaf springs running tangentially on hardened rods within the guides shews the highest level of engineering integrity.
The ergonomics and intonation are comparable with it's competitors.
A beautifully made horn, but, as advised by cmelodysax, if it needs work then pay as little as possible; they usually sell for less than the better known Bueschers or Conns for reasons that I fail to understand.
 

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I agree with the two previous posters. I have a King C-Melody in (what appears to be) nickel plate, and I bought it 34 years ago during my college years for $15. I spent $85 (in 1975 dollars, two years later after graduation) having it rebuilt (pads, felts, corks, adjustment). Springs were fine, except for one broken one. It played, and still plays, very well, with a warm, fat sound that C tenors were known for. I liked it so much that I picked up a Conn, a Martin, and a Buescher over the next dozen years, and I like them all. All of them cost more to rebuild than to purchase. Each has its quirks and strong points.

The King does feature strong engineering in the springs, the distinctive pad cup shapes, and the front f. My fork Eb key works perfectly, too. Buy it to rebuild it and play it, not to resell it. The original mouthpieces work well, although they are a bit stuffy for modern ears. This forum can suggest many modern mouthpieces designed to work with these great old horns.

Pay as little as you can, have it repaired, and enjoy playing the heck out it.

Sax Magic
 

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Sweet sound of a True-Tone C-Tenor

The most I have ever paid for a C-Melody is US$500. That was for a Buescher True-Tone in Satin Silver Plate with Gold Plated Keys and a Gold Washed Bell.

The C-Mel was in perfect condition so no work was needed. It is the best playing C-Mel I have every played. I currently own four C-Melody saxes (1 Conn, and Three Buescher True Tones). Its tone is a sweet as any sax I have ever played!

Now, if you take the US$500 and subtract a repad, spring repair, and regulation from the price, you can see that you wouldn't want to pay a lot of money for a C-Mel needing an overhaul.

I've never play a King, but it is on my list!
 

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Look on ebay US in the antique > Musical inst. > wind as there is someone with 4 Cmels and I think one has the gold keys.
 

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I paid $125 for my silver TT C-Mel in perfect condition. Although Music Medic has a pad kit price for most horns starting at about $50, I didn't see one for the C-Mel in the pad configuration I wanted. Ordering individually, the pads came to about $85. Unfortunately, some are on back order until the end of May. Until then, I can only play two notes. Wahhhh.

I have the Music Medic repair kit for clarinet, so I already had extra corks, springs, felt, teflon, and the necessary tools. I think that the kit is also about $85 and, if you order the sax kit, you'll get some extra sax pads. MM may also have repair instruction books. If not, they're available. Figure $200 for completely rebuilding a horn yourself that has no major problems. More than twice that much if you take it to a shop. Once you see how much time and tuning is involved, you'll realize that the tech earns his fee.

It's possible to get a horn that only needs a couple pads, a couple corks, maybe a spring or two, but if you're buying off Ebay, figure it needs everything, bid accordingly, and it may work out alright. Unless the horn says it's rebuilt by somebody experienced and you can verify it, statements like "pads look okay, but I don't play" mean nothing except buyer beware. I'd say $200 is tops for an Ebay horn that looks to be in really good shape. If you pay more, or intend to have it rebuilt at a shop, you'll have more into it than you could get for it. On the otherhand, you'll likely have a nice C-Mel.

Mark X
 

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Yes, King C-Mels are great. I bought one a while ago. But I have to say, I paid pretty much for it, since it needes to be overhault. It costed me 350US$ + the overhaul.

Got it back a few weeks ago. Well, now I had the time to do a recording with it.

I made a video with pictures of it.

Maybe you like the sound.

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=wzNXx88y0-Y
 

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Funky Queen on a King

Mo,

I do like the sound! The pictures and sound file combination is a awesome way to show horns for sale...especially if the player is so talented!
MM
 

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I also picked one up for around the $350 level and then had Sarge at WWSax do a premium overhaul --- LOVELY !

By the way - have your technician change the neck hook to something more reasonable. Sure makes playing a whole lot more fun !

W.
 

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King C-Mels are excellent (oops, there go the values...), I have a King stencil as a backup to my Martin, and a lovely dark vintage lacquer King waiting for tlc - I just know it'll be hard to chose between it and the Martin when all is sorted :(

Have any of you not read the Stephen Howard King C-mel review ?
 
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