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Discussion Starter #1
Longtime Selmer/TM Custom player here, asking which of the many JK horns you'd recommend....

Looking for a dark-leaning horn that's in tune with itself (the only Superba 1 I ever played was all over the place pitchwise). what's a good solid horn? New King? used SX90R that's had the tone holes leveled?

it's getting really difficult to find these horns to play test, and while I've read a bunch of stuff in this subforum, I'm still curious to pick up any advice about these. keywork is not the hugest issue b/c I don't play fast anyway.....

thanks
 

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Ask Milandro he has a real nice vintage JK for sale
 

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I'm in the process of going the other direction actually- I have a Superba 2 stencil that's had new pads put in, everything leveled and straightened. It tunes great, especially after the overhaul. Keywork is modern too.

I enjoy playing it a lot, but my hands require something a bit slicker at the moment. We'll see what I end up with.
 

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(the only Superba 1 I ever played was all over the place pitchwise).
This is a bit puzzling because quite honestly, Superba's body specs are not intrinsically lacking and generally speaking the horns intone pretty well. They may be a bit more flexible than what you are used to, however...which may mean if you go JK you would need to woodshed a bit. Might also have been the horn you tried was poorly regulated (?)
....used SX90R that's had the tone holes leveled?
Ok....now blimey....THIS really needs to STOP (although I know that, given the dynamics of the www, it never will).
Quite honestly, as many techs and modern JK owners will profess....the 'unlevel toneholes' issue on modern JK's is WAY, WAY overblown. A situation where a particular tech's reviews caught fire and has actually negatively effected the reputation of a maker...when in fact the reality is this is NOT a common attribute. I have serviced a good dozen SX90's/R's of various ages...only one or perhaps two of 'em had factory holes which required some leveling, and it was not a dramatic case....and no more common an instance than coming across a newish Yama or Yani which also needed some leveling.
Nice one !!!
 

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and the thing referred to the SX90R (those with the applied ROLLED RIM on toneholes) NOT the SX90 (or any other model made by Keilwerth)
 

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You may also wanna try a few other vintage brands. Buffets from the 50s and 60s are super dark and gorgeous, and are usually undervalued. Really old, pre-BA Selmers can also be very special; my Super tenor is like nothing else I've played
 

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I have found the Bundy Special stencils by Keilwerth to have good intonation. I have a New King that had some intonation issues, but once I got it adjusted and found a compatible mouthpiece, the intonation has been okay, and it is darker-sounding than the Bundy Specials.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all these insights and special thanks to JayeLID -- I suspected that there was something going on w/ the tonehole issue, esp. since now JK is only making the rolled model.
the Superba I played def needed tech attention -- oddly the palm keys were flat.
curious to hear more opinions on current make JKs....anyone in love w/ the MKX?
thanks
 

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moomtom, possibly the keys or YOUR horn, are too close to the body, shaving off cork should open them more and get the pitch back where it belongs
 

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Bang for buck can be had if you can find an EX90 series one or series two. They are regular Keilwerth body tubes with standard modern mechanisms. No adjustable palm keys and no G# helper mechanism. They have straight tone-holes and sound like Keilwerths. I got mine as a backup for my Super 20. It plays great.

View attachment 223110
 

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I have owned multiple SX90R tenors, and SX90 tenors. The tone and response on both are so close that you cant lose with either one. All of mine have been fairly modern, the oldest was a 1998 . I played a MKX Tenor , left it at the shop, returned about 2 months later and tried it again. It was a really good horn, very similar to my MKVII tenor but still had that KW vibe. I couldn't justify buying it knowing it would never replace my SX90 and I have the MKVII when I went something a little different. The MKX would be a great horn as well but I have seen very few hit the used market.
 

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Id buy a vintage way before the new ones...nothing about build quality but rather tone.

As for Buffets...Its all personal taste but Ive never wanted to take any of them home that I played. I owned and I quickly sold a SDA I picked up along the way.
 

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Coming from a Selmer, the one thing you will likely find about most German horns is the that D2 is seemingly crazy sharp. That seems to be the way they're all built. Alto, tenor, bari, (haven't tried a soprano in recent memory). When playing with others you will find that you automatically bring the note down the 30 or 40 cents, and yes, long tones help immensely to begin with too. German horns are different from their French and American cousins in this respect. It is just something you have to get used to.

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You ask what's a good, solid horn? From a vintage perspective you can't go wrong with the Series III Toneking models--or The New King if you don't like a high F# key.

These are the horns with an angel wing. The only downside is that the original Lucite angel wing is often broken, which is why it is nice if you can find a horn with an original, metal replacement wing made by JK themselves.

JK stencilled these horns for a great many companies, so they are available under a great many names. The stencils are identical to the brand name horns--like most European stencil horns of the time.

They are a great bang for your vintage sax buck at this moment, but as always, you need to factor in the cost of an overhaul (I warn everyone about this whenever they buy vintage).

And yes, I speak from experience, I have 2: a 57 alto and a tenor Series III. They are truly great horns. I got the tenor from the original owner when he gave up playing. I managed to get replacement metal wings from Gerhard Keilwerth's shop. Sadly the shop no longer exists, and I don't know what happened to his supply of wings after his death. They seem to no longer be available anywhere--even in Germany from what I can find out.

If you want to go in an even darker direction, you might consider the Hohner President designed by Julius' brother Max. The Hohner Presidents are better designed and built than the JK horns. Interestingly enough, they are also less expensive--generally speaking--than the JKs.

The kind of pads/resos you put in the horn during the overhaul will make a HUGE difference in how dark the sound is. My President from 1961--that I also got from the original owner--still has its original pads. B/C they are in such good condition I have left them in the horn. Interestingly enough, they have nothing, not even a rivet in them. It is by far and away the darkest sounding horn I have.
 

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I say late 50s Beaugnier, round, superbly constructed and great intonation. Try a vintage French-made Noblet. They were stencilled, made by Beaugnier.
 

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I just picked up a Buffet SDA and I would recommend that if you are looking for a dark sound. They're very well built, handmade french saxes that Buffet produced to compete with the MKVI. A lot of people say that they sound small or contained but if the key heights are set high they really have a huge sound. Intonation on the SDA's is VERY good.
 

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I managed to get replacement metal wings from Gerhard Keilwerth's shop. Sadly the shop no longer exists, and I don't know what happened to his supply of wings after his death. They seem to no longer be available anywhere--even in Germany from what I can find out.
Hi Helen and fellow Keilwerthists, Peter Korber (= Bluespeter) in Ladbergen/Germany still sells Keilwerth metal wings: https://www.bluespeter1.de/tenor-saxophon-seite-v/
Just scroll down the page, at the very bottom you find his contact data.
 

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Hi Helen and fellow Keilwerthists, Peter Korber (= Bluespeter) in Ladbergen/Germany still sells Keilwerth metal wings: https://www.bluespeter1.de/tenor-saxophon-seite-v/
Just scroll down the page, at the very bottom you find his contact data.
Thank you. Interesting to know. I wonder if he ended up buying Gerhard Keilwerth's stock from his shop. When I spoke with Gerhard's widow last, she told me she had a very large inventory on hand. Then next thing I know people I referred there got no reply to their requests. Now of course, it seems that they did decide to close his shop after all.
 
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