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Hello. I'm in the market for a new tenor. Ideally I want to sound like my idol Wilton Felder who plays a king s20 silversonic.

I want to try the sax before I buy and since there are no king s20's in my area I am currently looking at modern alternatives. Which modern tenor has the potential to give me the wilton felders king s20 sound (or close to it)? I know alot of the sound had to do with the berg mouthpiece he used though (105 tip + 0 baffle).

Currently I've tried a Reference 54 which sounded great and felt fast under the fingers. Really rich sound but I'm unsure if it can be brightend up and given edge with a berg or similar high baffle peice. I also tried a yani 991 which I didnt like - sounded too thin up top. Not sure to wait until the reference 36 and 82Z come into stock to try them.

Any thoughts would be appreciated?

PS For those that dont know Wilton Felder do yourself a favor and click here
 

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I think a high baffled mouthpiece such as a Berg can brighten up any horn will have much more of an effect on sounding like Wilton than any saxophone. More to the point in getting that sound and feel would be you, your embouchure, long note practising and playing along to his recordings.

I said sound and feel, because its the feel that is way more important than the actual tonal frequencies. That includes articulation, vibrato, dynamics, pitch and ornamentation. I would also experiment with reeds.
 

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Start with the mouthpiece. Live with it for a while before searching for a horn.
 

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I think in the video he's playing a Yamaha not a S-20. On another note, Wilton's sound is more Texas than equipment. David Newman comes to mind immediatley when hearing this. I've owned Silver-Sonics, the Selmer Series III has that free blowing open sound similar to a Super 20 but with better ergos and intonation.
 

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I have a Silversonic tenor, but do like the III tenors as well. However, I did take an E-bay gamble on ny Silversonic (which was pretty beat up) a few years ago, had it fixed up and never regretted it.
 

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FWIW, the Yani 9933 is basically the same setup as the Super 20 Silversonic (solid silver bell/neck).

I haven't played one, so I can't say if you might like it more than the 991 you tried.
 

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FWIW, the Yani 9933 is basically the same setup as the Super 20 Silversonic (solid silver bell/neck).

I haven't played one, so I can't say if you might like it more than the 991 you tried.
They may look similar but Yanigasawa saxophones seem to be the anti-super 20 from my experience. They have solid cores, good focus, lovely intonation and play with consistent sound in all dynamic levels. The kings have solid cores, adjustable focus, flexible intonation, and when really pushed, light up like firecrackers.
 

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The Selmer IIIs are fantastic. I would recommend re-trying the Yanagisawas with at least a silver neck. The 993x family of yanagisawa is worth a blow. Try the III with a silver neck, too. I also agree with posts that your mpc and reeds will make a huge impact towards anyone's desired sound. Have fun shopping, playing, and deciding!
 

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IMO, Super 20s aren't inherently bright sounding horns. Play it with a Link like piece and you can get a haunting dark sound. I think they mainly have been labeled as such due to that the well-known players who use Super 20s happen to play bright mouthpieces. Super 20s are very flexible and have a rather spread sound - big(ger) bore than most modern horns. In contrast, Selmers Series III and Yanagisawa 991 tenors are pretty darn bright. Nothing wrong with that but - again IMO - they have very little in common with Super 20's.
 

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I have never had the pleasure to play a Silversonic but I do own both a Ref 54 & Silver plated III tenors and they are different horns.The Ref is a great horn,very versatile and the most comfortable ergo's(for me).The III for me has a brighter more centered sound where the REf is a more spread & warm.I have played them both with a high baffle piece(RPC .110B) and they both very mouthpiece friendly horns.I now play them both with a Ted Klum handcraft .110 which gives me the sound I am looking for.
 

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Right up front I'd second what Pete said about it being far, far more important to learn to PLAY in a similar style to Wilton Felder than it is to use a certain horn.

Secondly, the mpc is going to make a bigger difference than the horn.

Thirdly, if you really want something like a Super 20, look to some other vintage American horns. Bueschers, Martins, and Conns from that same era will be closer than any modern horn, imo. Obviously the best way to get something like a Super 20, is to get a Super 20.
 

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Thirdly, if you really want something like a Super 20, look to some other vintage American horns. Bueschers, Martins, and Conns from that same era will be closer than any modern horn, imo. Obviously the best way to get something like a Super 20, is to get a Super 20.
I've owned all the vintage horns you list, but I found the Super 20 to be completely different in the fact that the ergos and overall blow are really unique to the King. I've owned a modern horn (Series III) along with a great 360K Silver-Sonic, and outside of the Selmer having superior intonation the tone was very close IMO.
 

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IMO, Super 20s aren't inherently bright sounding horns. Play it with a Link like piece and you can get a haunting dark sound. I think they mainly have been labeled as such due to that the well-known players who use Super 20s happen to play bright mouthpieces. Super 20s are very flexible and have a rather spread sound - big(ger) bore than most modern horns. In contrast, Selmers Series III and Yanagisawa 991 tenors are pretty darn bright. Nothing wrong with that but - again IMO - they have very little in common with Super 20's.
+1

I have a Silver-Sonic. I have a bright Berg 130/0/SMS (which when played softly, can be very dark btw) that just plain screams. I can hang with a Marshall cab on 11. And then a Otto Link style piece that plays very warm and dark. Some might say it's dull and too soft, which is what I want from this piece.
 

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I'm playing S-20s now (3) The early Eastlakes are often undervalued (up to around Serial number 500xxx) and are great playing horns. I am right with you on trying to emulate Wilton Felder and agree with others that Mouthpiece and reed (and of course practice!!)make a big difference.

Prior to getting my King(s) I was playing a Selmer SA 80 Series II. I got pretty close to the sound I was looking for with a PNR Guardala Super King; Harry Hartman Fiberreed (MS) and a Gloger thinwall silver neck. Ergos are very nice as well. These are great horns and the mouthpiece really brightens it up.

Doesn't always work though: I have a 1956 Mark VI silver plate alto that's very dark; and when I put on a bright mpc (Dukoff; Guardala King; Lakey, Wanne Durga) it just does not sound right; It's like it was made for the Barone HR Trad/Contemp. Dark and resonant.

I have an RPC hard rubber (Around a 130 tip) for a 1948 vintage S20 and the Fibercell reeds seem to work better than the Hartmanns with that set up. I play a Sakshama Guardala Super King clone with a Hartman reed on my early Eastlake and it's great top to bottom.

There's an early Crusaders live CD: "Scratch" that I play along with all the time (curse the altissimo G! hahaha). All the original gang and they sound awesome. Scratch; Eleanor Rigby; Hard Times; Far Away; and of course Way Back Home. Big fan of David Newman as well. He and the guys in the Crusaders are the best thing that ever came out of Texas (Oh yeah, and T-Bone Walker)
 

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Wilton Felder played/plays also Yamaha quite a bit. FWIW, I have an 82Z and my buddy has TWO Super 20s, one of them being a silversonic. To me, they respond and play quite similarly to my Z, so much in fact that his is the only vintage horn I would ever consider playing as a primary horn if not for the cur-sed thumbhook!

Yet, he says I should throw my Yamaha in the trash. Being a war-era guy, I really think he has a bias against anything not made by Westerners.
 

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To me, they respond and play quite similarly to my Z, so much in fact that his is the only vintage horn I would ever consider playing as a primary horn if not for the cur-sed thumbhook.
A simple cure for the thumbhook is poly braided tubing (Home Depot). Cut a piece about 5/8 inch long and slide it over the hook. Stays in place and feels like a modern hook. First thing I do with every Super -20 I've owned or tried.
 
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