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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, first off, I know nothing of this instrument. It's currently in the hands of my tech (the same guy who has the Cigar Cutter alto), and I guess he's putting it up for sale. But I don't know of the condition or price, and I haven't played it yet. I'm just wondering what a fair price is for these, and if it would be a good idea to get this instead of another vintage soprano, such as a Conn or Buescher...any opinions on it?

Thanks for the help! Sorry for the vagueness - I'll give more detail when I know more!
 

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These can be very good - and expensive, depending on condition. I owned a gold plated on that I sold around ten years ago for 2500 to USA Horn. You can imagine their mark-up when they turned it around. The fact that it was gold plated made it more rare, perhaps, and thus more costly and valuable to collectors. It played very sweetly, though, sweet but with power. Had the usual intonation quirks, but nothing that couldn't be easily compensated for.
 

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King Curtis made mighty music on one of these; I was just listening to his "Soul Seranade" and "A Change is Gonna Come." Wow. Sweet, powerful, and: in tune WAY up in the upper register. Of course, he had very serious chops.
 

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I used to own a King Saxello and played several others. To say they had the usual intonation quirks is putting it mildly. Mine was unplayable in an ensemble.

Yes, they command a hefty price these days, but for that kind of money, you could buy TWO TrueTones. And in my view, one TrueTone will more than suffice for serious ensemble work. The ONLY way I'd buy one today is if I had a buyer already lined up. DAVE
 

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I estimate one with good plating and new pads would be at least $2K. I really think the novelty is the only reason to buy one. I have a really nice King straight and a curved King and both together cost well under $1,500. But a Conn, Buescher, Martin or King. Don't forget the stencils like Wurlitzer and L&H.
 

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I have recently bought a King saxello. I had my tech get it into top playing condition. On mine I don't find the intonation any harder to deal with than my V1. I like the horn. I think I sound a little different than on my V1. The biggest quirk for me is the response of low C and C* which are muted compared to low B and Bb. This I believe is something to do with the extreme curve of the bell..nothing I can't get around. I always loved Rahsaan, Bennie Maupin, King Curtis and Elton Dean so I don't think I'd be without it now.
 

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A King Saxello was sold on Ebay for $1,500 this week (in good condition).
 

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Giganova said:
A King Saxello was sold on Ebay for $1,500 this week (in good condition).
Another one was available ina a Paris woodwind shop last year for 1700 €, almost 2000$ at that time. It was very good too...

Stan
 

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Having had this horn a couple of months after wanting one for years I really like this horn and it's a great addition to my line up. Tim Price wrote a while ago that the original saxello has a unique voice and I agree with him. Mine is in perfect playing condition.
To hear some great saxello check out Bennie Maupin on the first Headhunters album without Herbie. He really brings out the character of the horn and is very different to his Selmer soprano sound.
 

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Michael Ward said:
To hear some great saxello check out Bennie Maupin on the first Headhunters album without Herbie. He really brings out the character of the horn and is very different to his Selmer soprano sound.
On which tracks does he play the Saxello and on which does he play soprano?
You mean with Herbie don't you?
 

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No without Herbie. Not the famous one with Chamelion etc but the one with Blackbird McKnight on guitar. It's quite experimental but brilliant with lots of African influences and the amazing " God Make me funky" that has a great tenor solo, Bennie plays bass clarinet , alto flute and saxello too.
On You Tube there's a great clip of Herbie Hancock's Butterfly with the theme and solo played on King Saxello.
 

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I'll have to check that out,I never heard of that, thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow, you guys have some pretty mixed opinions on this thing. Guess a playtest is the only way to be sure :)
 

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It's definitely a fact that musicians have different concepts hence different requirments from their instruments. On the soprano I've owned loads and my favourites are the Mark V1, the TT and now the saxello. None of these horns are perfect but they have real character and a vibe that I personally didn't find in the Yanagisawa, Yamaha and Series 3 I've owned. If you're playing a vintage King already you might just fall in love with the saxello.
 

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Michael Ward said:
...the Mark V1, the TT and now the saxello. None of these horns are perfect but they have real character and a vibe that I personally didn't find in the Yanagisawa, Yamaha and Series 3 I've owned.
I agree entirely. It's a subtle thing, and certainly not quantifiable, but real nonetheless.
 

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I play a King Saxello and actually prefer it to soprano. You have to be good at lipping up and down to compensate for the slightly dodgy intonation, but the sound is a joy.
 

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Dave Dolson said:
I used to own a King Saxello and played several others. To say they had the usual intonation quirks is putting it mildly. Mine was unplayable in an ensemble.
I am with Dave. They are way cool to look at, but the ones I have played have left me scratching my head asking myself, "Who could ever play this thing in tune??" One sure answer to this question was, "Not me!"

Steve
 

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For me the tuning quirks add to the attraction of the saxello. You probably wouldn't want to be playing classical repertoire on one but as Ornette said there's in tune out of tune and visa versa. The saxello fits into the music I like but wouldn't suit everyone for sure.
I once read in an old Leonard Feather book about jazz in the sixties how the re emergence of the soprano with Trane had " Africanised" jazz and commented how the intonation of the soprano somehow made the music more exotic and " blue." I suppose this is in direct contrast to the Bechet school of soprano playing which had proceeded it years before. Lacy exceptionally forged his own path.
I also think that since the Mark V1 there has been a natural desire amongst makers to make the soprano more saxophone like and somehow tame it but I still prefer the untamed fish horn that Rahsaan and Trane played.
 

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I have collected quite a few sopranos and have excellent examples of many vintage types. I have one Saxello and was sold it by someone who has owned and played many. The one was I bought was supposedly above average in intonation, yet it has probably the dodgiest intonation of my entire collection. The ergonomics are also not that great. However, these are very collectible horns and excellent, complete and undamaged examples in silver plate are selling in the USD 3,500 to 4,000 range.

I also own Buescher tipbell sopranos from the same time period and they seem far superior in every way. The intonation of the oldest model (1926) I have is particularly excellent and it is relatively easy to get the palm keys to speak. The only vintage horns I like as much are a straight Buescher True Tone from the same year and a straight Conn gold plate "Chu" from 1927. When I am travelling and need a horn to play, I almost always grab the straight Buescher True Tone - occasionally the Tipbell or the Conn and never the Saxello. I almost hate to admit it, but another favourite is an early Yamaha YSS-62. A really nice horn with no real quirks and great intonation. So personally, I wouldn't buy a Saxello to play, but I think any good collection should include one.
 
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