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Discussion Starter #1
Question for everyone. I can’t seem to find an answer in my searches. My King Zephyr sounds great but the one thing that can bothers me is it seems like my right arm is outstretched further that what I see other people doing on other horns. Am I correct that the keywork is a little farther apart than on other horns? I haven’t had the opportunity to play any other horns at this point. I did have a friend come over and play the horn. She’s smaller than me and had a tough time playing it because of the reach. I’m asking because I’m in the market for a second horn. Maybe I’ll look for one that doesn’t have tha issue if possible. Was looking at pictures of other people playing and they’re arms are more bent. Thank.
 

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I had a Zephyr that I bought on EBay a few years ago. I loved the huge tone but I couldn't get past the ergonomics, I traded it in for a low Bb Couf era Keilwerth. The Super 20 addresses the ergonomic issues of the Zephyr and it still has that huge sound. However one of my sax buddies has a Zep baritone and he adapted to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had a Zephyr that I bought on EBay a few years ago. I loved the huge tone but I couldn't get past the ergonomics, I traded it in for a low Bb Couf era Keilwerth. The Super 20 addresses the ergonomic issues of the Zephyr and it still has that huge sound. However one of my sax buddies has a Zep baritone and he adapted to it.
Yes the tone of the horn is quite pleasing to me. I’m also told it’s light weight by bari standards. The super 20 is a fair bit more expensive. May have to save up some money.
 

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Some time ago, I compared RH ergos of a number of different baris. I didn't include the King Zephyr bari, but when I now look at some Zephyr photos, 2 things really stick out - and it is not the distance or stretch of the keys.

1. The Eb/C keys are not angled to follow the movement of the pinky finger. (Look at the rollers).
2. The plane through the Eb/C keys sits almost at a right angle with the plane through the other RH keys, F-D.

The first point is probably not the issue - some modern horns, Selmer SA80 in particular, have quite similar layout. Yamaha/Yanigasawa on the other hand have clearly angled Eb/C keys, a layout that I prefer.

My guess is that the second point is the biggest problem for those who cannot get used to the ergos of this horn.
 

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It's what you are used to. I love my Zephyr but I do mostly play my 12M when I play out because it is a beater whereas the Zephyr is in pristine condition. The one thing you may want to experiment with is the triple hook, to find the right hole, it makes all the difference in the world, especially for the right arm. I know, this is obvious but we all tend to ignore the obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's what you are used to. I love my Zephyr but I do mostly play my 12M when I play out because it is a beater whereas the Zephyr is in pristine condition. The one thing you may want to experiment with is the triple hook, to find the right hole, it makes all the difference in the world, especially for the right arm. I know, this is obvious but we all tend to ignore the obvious.
I don’t have a triple hook unfortunately. Can I add that? How does the 12m sound in comparison? They’re available.
 

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Oh, I see, that could be the issue but you can work around with adjusting the strap, it's not the same because you don't change the "center of gravity" of the ergos as much as going with the different hole but I would start there. The 12M is a beast, even compared to the Zephyr, I love both, and the 12M is a horn where you play and all of a sudden you find yourself going crazy because you are wrapped in a sound bubble, provided you have a good MPC and, very important, reed. There is nothing gentle about either horn, even less with the 12M. If you can find a decent 12M - and I have seen some around in the 1k price range, even if they look like crap, as long as the mechanics are good and the pads, definitely worth the consideration. I know this sounds almost like blasphemy but taking the 12M into altissimo ... OMG what a trip!
 

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Oh, I see, that could be the issue but you can work around with adjusting the strap, it's not the same because you don't change the "center of gravity" of the ergos as much as going with the different hole but I would start there. The 12M is a beast, even compared to the Zephyr, I love both, and the 12M is a horn where you play and all of a sudden you find yourself going crazy because you are wrapped in a sound bubble, provided you have a good MPC and, very important, reed. There is nothing gentle about either horn, even less with the 12M. If you can find a decent 12M - and I have seen some around in the 1k price range, even if they look like crap, as long as the mechanics are good and the pads, definitely worth the consideration. I know this sounds almost like blasphemy but taking the 12M into altissimo ... OMG what a trip!
The 12m’s seem to be available. There was a nice one available locally but he took it off the market for now. Have you found any tuning issues with yours compared with the Zephyr? There’s a guy on this site who has access to a couple. He gets them ready to play. I’m considering that option.
 

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Ok, for the purpose of full disclosure, I got my 12M in a state that was considered FUBAR and it was designated to be turned into a lawn sculpture. I was brave enough to ask the sculptor (a very good jazz drummer) whether I could at least give it a try and we went behind the owner's back. It took awhile but I got it back (still looks like crap but I don't care) and then had it given a professional tune up. It still played out of tune in the upper stack until I found that one of the springs did not have enough tension and the tone hole did not open all the way. Once that was fixed, not only is it playing in tune but it also turned into a monster sound.

The old Conns are picky with mouthpieces, you need an "extended shank" MPC, otherwise there is a risk for them to play sharp but that's really the only issue I am aware of. I have a Berg 110/0 which works fine and those are often on sale or found used but I'm playing a Morgan and it's perfect on both the Zephyr and the 12M. So, it is a question of regulation and mouthpiece rather than the horn itself. Arguably, there may always be the one or other note that you have to adjust the embouchure to nurse it into "microtuning" but that's the nature of sax anyway.

Bottomline, I play hard and I wouldn't trade either horn for any of the modern ones. I'd love to add an old Buescher to my collection but that's about it. MK VI... mehhh, when I get old :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, for the purpose of full disclosure, I got my 12M in a state that was considered FUBAR and it was designated to be turned into a lawn sculpture. I was brave enough to ask the sculptor (a very good jazz drummer) whether I could at least give it a try and we went behind the owner's back. It took awhile but I got it back (still looks like crap but I don't care) and then had it given a professional tune up. It still played out of tune in the upper stack until I found that one of the springs did not have enough tension and the tone hole did not open all the way. Once that was fixed, not only is it playing in tune but it also turned into a monster sound.

The old Conns are picky with mouthpieces, you need an "extended shank" MPC, otherwise there is a risk for them to play sharp but that's really the only issue I am aware of. I have a Berg 110/0 which works fine and those are often on sale or found used but I'm playing a Morgan and it's perfect on both the Zephyr and the 12M. So, it is a question of regulation and mouthpiece rather than the horn itself. Arguably, there may always be the one or other note that you have to adjust the embouchure to nurse it into "microtuning" but that's the nature of sax anyway.

Bottomline, I play hard and I wouldn't trade either horn for any of the modern ones. I'd love to add an old Buescher to my collection but that's about it. MK VI... mehhh, when I get old :)
Nice!
 

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It's been some years since I played a King Zephyr but I remember that after I'd been playing my Conn for several years I borrowed a King and I don't remember having any difficulty at all. Each of your hands has 16 multiple-degrees-of-freedom joints so you can adapt to almost anything if you just give it a bit of time.
 

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I took my Conn and King baris out and sat them next to each other. The Conn keys are farther apart than the King's, and the right hand keys are farther from the neck, by a half inch or more. King is Zephyr from late '50s if I remember right, Conn 12M from early 60s.

My Conn is a bit of a wreck too. I corked the highest palm key, because the key was always getting whacked out of position and who cares about high notes, it's a bari. There's a little leakage, and who knows if it really sounds the way it's supposed to, but the way it comes out to me, the Conn has a more penetrating sound across the whole range, while the King has a more full sound, particularly on the low end. The King bell is about as big as they come. I don't use any special mouthpieces on either one.
 

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Ok, for the purpose of full disclosure, I got my 12M in a state that was considered FUBAR and it was designated to be turned into a lawn sculpture. I was brave enough to ask the sculptor (a very good jazz drummer) whether I could at least give it a try and we went behind the owner's back. It took awhile but I got it back (still looks like crap but I don't care) and then had it given a professional tune up. It still played out of tune in the upper stack until I found that one of the springs did not have enough tension and the tone hole did not open all the way. Once that was fixed, not only is it playing in tune but it also turned into a monster sound.

The old Conns are picky with mouthpieces, you need an "extended shank" MPC, otherwise there is a risk for them to play sharp but that's really the only issue I am aware of. I have a Berg 110/0 which works fine and those are often on sale or found used but I'm playing a Morgan and it's perfect on both the Zephyr and the 12M. So, it is a question of regulation and mouthpiece rather than the horn itself. Arguably, there may always be the one or other note that you have to adjust the embouchure to nurse it into "microtuning" but that's the nature of sax anyway.

Bottomline, I play hard and I wouldn't trade either horn for any of the modern ones. I'd love to add an old Buescher to my collection but that's about it. MK VI... mehhh, when I get old :)
You’re not missing anything with the MKVI.
They sound okay but not anything special and the ergonomics are incredibly cramped if you like older American horns like Conn, Martin, King etc.
I can see how guys with smaller hands would like them though.
 

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Buescher owner here. 1929 True Tone, although the Aristocrat is basically the same horn ergonomically.
I got to play a Zephyr bari about two weeks ago. The main difference in key placement was that the side/palm keys on the Buescher are higher on both hands. On the left hand this is an advantage, but a Buescher's right hand side keys require fairly large hands to negotiate. I would need LH palm risers on probably all three keys with the Zeph, but risers are easy where a Buescher requires modification to lower the RH palm touches if that's a problem.
Other than the side keys, I was surprised at how similar the Zephyr's key placement was. My fingers all landed right where they were supposed to be, no problem.
The two are more different when playing though: the Zephyr rejected my JodyJazz DV NY! It played in tune with the Rascher mouthpiece that was with it, so the key heights were good. It was still fun to play though, had some nice kick in the mids and highs where my Buescher is darker and sweeter, but the lows were still just as big and rumbling.

I find a Conn's right hand very uncomfortable. I can play them, but my right ring finger does not want to be that far from my middle on my right hand, and I have a tough time using the RH pinky table where it is relative to RH3. I think this is one of those rare times that having long fingers actually screws me over. Fortunately for my right hand I don't like Conns, but if I did and owned one, there's a good possibility I would end up needing to get the RH3 touch moved.


I will also second, you're missing nothing with the MkVI. Their ergonomics aren't all that great either, and next to an American bari, VIs and modern Selmers are oppressively tame and boring to play. :evil:
 

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It played in tune with the Rascher mouthpiece that was with it
What vintage Zephyr bari, do you know roughly? I have read that the bari never changed much from the beginning of the Zephyr era, but then one reads a lot of things. I've mainly played Runyons and an RPC on mine.
 

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Now that I think about it, it was quite early. Still had a forked Eb. I just read up a bit more on Kings - this wasn't actually a Zephyr bore, was it?
 
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