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My son has been playing on a rented king 660 for two years and he really likes it. We want to buy him a sax vs. continue renting but our budget prohibits buying something new. A lot of blogs sing praises of king 613, but I noticed it doesn't have the high f sharp key that is on the king 660 he's been renting. Also, he is confortable with the king 660 since he's been playing it. I found a king 660 online out of state from a reputable music store for a good price and they will ship it to me. I also found a king 613 at a more local reputable music store that we can go down and try out. The price is about the same for the king 660 and the king 613. Does anyone have an opinion on which we should buy? On one hand, I lean toward the 660 because he's familiar with it and because of the extra key, but am nervous about buying out of state. On the other hand, I feel better that he can try out the 613 before buying it but I am concerned it is a lesser sax for the same money since it's missing that key. Does anyone know more about the differences between the two sax models and what would be best for a 6th grader entering middle school?
 

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I would be inclined to stick with the 660. But have him try the 615. It will sound better, but the problem with it is that they keywork is pretty clunky....not as responsive as a 660. Sadly, King devolved this line through the late '60's-1980. The Cleveland-made ones (just called the Cleveland model back then) are excellent; when they moved their factory to Eastlake, they soon labeled them as Cleveland 615, then later on just 615. They dumbed-down the key design around then, and unfortunately it made for a less responsive horn.

Don't trip on the high F# key. Most saxes don't have it...it isn't anything approaching a necessity.

If you buy the 660 online, confirm that they guarantee it is in good shape and will arrive to you playing, otherwise they will take it back for a full refund.

The King Empire, Armstrong 3008, or Conn 24M are very similar models to a 660 and might also be worth a look if you care to re-open your search. If not, that is cool, too. The 660 is as good a choice as any of those, and will serve him well for many years.
 

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I learned on a King Cleveland 613 (and still play it occasionally). I agree with everything JayePDX says, especially regarding the keywork and the F# key. I use this key a lot on tenor, but it isn't necessary, strictly speaking--especially for a young student. Have him try out the 613 and see what he thinks.
 

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Hi, I know this is not your original question, You may be able to get more and better than what you think. What is your budget? I am sure people on this forum can give you good advice on how to stretch your hard earn money.
 

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I went to see the king 613 at a local Sam Ash yesterday. It was listed for $449. My son played it and said it sounded deeper than the 660 he had rented, but he liked it. Some of the fingering was different, but he thought he could get used to it. I did not buy the sax though because it was missing one of its mother of pearl keys, it had a decent dent in the bell and it had "westbury public schools" scratched into the bottom of the bell. I know this is a used instrument. I expected scratches, but not dents and carvings. I am leaning toward the 660 I saw online for $399, but it is at a Sam Ash located in North Carolina and I am in NY. I am nervous that it looks good online (just like the 613 did) but will arrive with more damage than you can see in the photos. Am I being realistic in my expectations for a used instrument? I have been looking at music stores because they have said they refurbish the instruments prior to sale (adjust keys and replace necessary padding and clean instrument). But, I have also been told that most of the used student instruments at music stores are the instruments they previously used as rentals and I have to wonder why these instruments have been taken out of their rental inventory. Any advice you have is appreciated. You have all been a great source of information. My budget goes up to $500. I have been paying $230/year to rent his King 660, so it makes sense to buy for $500 since I expect him to play at least 3 more years if not longer. From other posts, this number seemed more than realistic.
 

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Advice . . . I think it is naive to think that if one model plays in a certain way, that all similar models will play the same. Saxophones vary from horn to horn, even with the same models being played side-by-side.

As far as the key-touch placements being different, yes, I suppose there can be minor differences (mainly in how the left pinky table is designed [Buescher vs. Conn, etc.]), and maybe the left palm keys will be bent a bit differently. But the fingerings on a saxophone have followed the original design throughout history (and yes, there are exceptions to that statement but I doubt if any King fingers much differently than comparable Bueschers, Conns, Selmers, etc.). All the notes are USUALLY in the same general location.

Because the boy found that one saxophone's key work felt differently from another saxophone's keywork, is a non-issue. A minute of familiarization and voila! The kid plays it. (And yes, he did say he could adapt . . .).

Like was posted above, I think you should consider other brands. Why the fixation on King? Maybe the King you find will serve its purpose, but don't limit yourself (and the boy) to that model. Several folks here on SOTW sell GREAT vintage and modern saxophones (and lower priced horns) and could probably lead you in the right direction.

If it were me, I'd contact Dave Kessler (a site sponsor) and see what he can do for you, either with his house-brand saxophones or maybe something else in his inventory. That is EXACTLY what I did for my second 11-year-old grandson and he still plays it in marching band (he'll be a senior this coming school year). Good luck in your search. DAVE
 

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Advice . . . I think it is naive to think that if one model plays in a certain way, that all similar models will play the same. Saxophones vary from horn to horn, even with the same models being played side-by-side.

As far as the key-touch placements being different, yes, I suppose there can be minor differences (mainly in how the left pinky table is designed [Buescher vs. Conn, etc.]), and maybe the left palm keys will be bent a bit differently. But the fingerings on a saxophone have followed the original design throughout history (and yes, there are exceptions to that statement but I doubt if any King fingers much differently than comparable Bueschers, Conns, Selmers, etc.). All the notes are USUALLY in the same general location.

Because the boy found that one saxophone's key work felt differently from another saxophone's keywork, is a non-issue. A minute of familiarization and voila! The kid plays it. (And yes, he did say he could adapt . . .).

Like was posted above, I think you should consider other brands. Why the fixation on King? Maybe the King you find will serve its purpose, but don't limit yourself (and the boy) to that model. Several folks here on SOTW sell GREAT vintage and modern saxophones (and lower priced horns) and could probably lead you in the right direction.

If it were me, I'd contact Dave Kessler (a site sponsor) and see what he can do for you, either with his house-brand saxophones or maybe something else in his inventory. That is EXACTLY what I did for my second 11-year-old grandson and he still plays it in marching band (he'll be a senior this coming school year). Good luck in your search. DAVE
I was reading down through this post and actually laughed out loud when I got to the point (almost on cue) when you plugged Kessler & Sons for the what?--1,000th time. :bluewink:

I'm glad you had a great experience with them (and based on the mileage it's gotten on here, I'm sure they are too :bluewink:), but my favorite brand of vintage horn is King. Up through the early 70s, it's hard to beat their build quality and the heavy-gauge brass they used to make their horns--in the Cleveland, Ohio, area in the good old USA. And AFAIK Kesslers are made in Viet Nam. Ahem...no further comments/questions.

Go for the 613. They sound pretty similar to Super 20s of the same year, and the keywork, though not great, can be adjusted by a competent tech to play fast.
 

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BookerFan: Yes, I've mentioned Kessler's store many times here on SOTW, mainly because it is obvious that few posters (especially the newer ones) have read further into SOTW than to post their own question. So in MY view, threads/posts like this one (regarding what to buy for a youngster) deserve a complete answer, assuming the OP has not read the many responses I've posted. And, whether you like it or not, Kessler IS a site-sponsor and has dealt openly and honestly with many of us over the years. What is so wrong with mentioning a site-sponsor?

I'm sorry that you see it as being over-repetitive. But because few seem to have read the whole site, it has to be that way - if a complete response is given.

AND, there is nothing wrong with Kessler's saxophones, whether they are made in Vietnam or elsewhere. I'd even go so far as to say that in MY opinion, they are as good and even better than many of the low-end Yamahas being foisted upon youngsters. And yes, I HAVE play-tested several of them side-by-side.

As far as vintage Kings, I own one. I also own vintage Bueschers and Selmer-Paris, and have owned over the years, Conns, Yanagisawas, Yamahas, Rampone, and other assorted brands. If I were buying for myself, I'd go vintage or new Yanagisawa. But my advice to the OP was about the boy, not about a horn for me. We could post pages and pages of saxophone drivel here, justifying each word, but it really is un-necessary.

You like King, I like Buescher and Selmer. So there you have it. For a youngster and for a buyer on a limited budget, I'd go with Kessler - and it doesn't have to be his house-brand. Laugh all you want - I'm glad I brought some to you. DAVE
 

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Hi, I know this is not your original question, You may be able to get more and better than what you think. What is your budget? I am sure people on this forum can give you good advice on how to stretch your hard earn money.
You see, this is exactly teh sort of reply which opens a complete can of worms.

When I reply to such threads and the person has already narrowed down their options to a few specific horns...unless all their choices are terrible...I just respect their short-list and go from there.

I would be curious to know how many 660/615 models you have actually owned and played ?

I was reading down through this post and actually laughed out loud when I got to the point (almost on cue) when you plugged Kessler & Sons for the what?--1,000th time. :bluewink:
Hehe...this was done in good jest, but Booker illustrates the point perfectly. These threads can start spinning out of control rapidly: "don't get THIS, get THAT".

But the OP didn't ask "what sax should I buy for my kid ?"

BOTH King models are, ahem...GOOD horns. Not 'eh' horns. Both are well-built, quality instruments ~ they just have different attributes. So why start throwing out the names of a bunch of other brands ???
 

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$500 is a decent budget for a alto. I have no experience on the King, so, I am not saying it is bad, but it doesn't seem to be something get recommended.
It also depends on if you are in a rush, but now seems to be a good time. When the school starts, it may be harder to get one.
I can think of the following within your budget:
Yamaha YAS23 / made in Japan Vito
Early Vito with serial number ends with a 'A'. They are made in Kenosha, WI with parts from Beaugnier.
Noblet which are also made by Beaugnier.
Toneking made in Czechoslovakia before 1960. Those are made by Amati with Keilwerth tooling.
Buddy Special or similar stenciled by Keilwerth.
Late 1960s 6M. The earlier the better, but you got a better chance finding a 1960 within your budget.

This depends on the availability, so, you may not see one in time. And unless you buy something overhauled or recently serviced, put aside 100-200 for a service.

Which are you located? I can help browse your local Craigslist to see if there is something good.
 

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I went to see the king 613 at a local Sam Ash yesterday. It was listed for $449. My son played it and said it sounded deeper than the 660 he had rented, but he liked it. Some of the fingering was different, but he thought he could get used to it. I did not buy the sax though because it was missing one of its mother of pearl keys, it had a decent dent in the bell and it had "westbury public schools" scratched into the bottom of the bell. I know this is a used instrument. I expected scratches, but not dents and carvings. I am leaning toward the 660 I saw online for $399, but it is at a Sam Ash located in North Carolina and I am in NY. I am nervous that it looks good online (just like the 613 did) but will arrive with more damage than you can see in the photos. Am I being realistic in my expectations for a used instrument? I have been looking at music stores because they have said they refurbish the instruments prior to sale (adjust keys and replace necessary padding and clean instrument). But, I have also been told that most of the used student instruments at music stores are the instruments they previously used as rentals and I have to wonder why these instruments have been taken out of their rental inventory. Any advice you have is appreciated. You have all been a great source of information. My budget goes up to $500. I have been paying $230/year to rent his King 660, so it makes sense to buy for $500 since I expect him to play at least 3 more years if not longer. From other posts, this number seemed more than realistic.
OK, well...that is really unfortunate. A WALK-IN Sam Ash shop has a tech department and the issues you describe would literally take all of FIVE minutes for a tech to correct. With another 20-30 minutes they could run a leak light through the horn and adjust it as required to make sure everything is sealing. The horn should not even be displayed or advertised if they don't make those simple repairs. for the price they ask, it should include a complete tech servicing and be guaranteed to be in good playing and physical shape. Period.

$500 is a great budget for a King Alto. Actually, for either model you should only need to spend about $400 and that would be money well-spent.

No, you are not being unrealistic. You could call the manager at the Sam Ash shop and speak to him/her...and say just what I said above: "I wanted to buy it, but was surprised that the horn had some issues: will you do a servicing on the horn and fix the problems for the price you advertise it at ?"

Or, you can just buy one from someone else. If you buy online, make sure the seller 1) guarantees the sax will be in good playing and physical condition, needing no add'l work once it arrives to you, and 2) has a return policy.
 

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Jaye: I apologize if I in any way offended your sense of what is right and what is wrong on SOTW. Same to BookerFan. I just knew I'd risk offending the thread-police on this site.

But let's look a bit more closely . . . the OP's last sentence in the opening post could be interpreted both ways . . . is the OP looking ONLY for advice about the two King models, OR is the OP opening it up to any suggestions/recommendations beyond the two King models? Who knows? Apparently Jaye knows . . .

And what do you know but that Jaye himself had the audacity to mention two other brand-names in his first reply.

I am SO sorry I took the time to post my thoughts about the OP's question. I kinda thought that I had something to offer this site, but I guess not . . . not when righteous posters such as Jaye can set me straight about VERY narrow posting protocols and the limits he set for others.

Oh the horrors of it all. DAVE
 

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$500 is a decent budget for a alto. I have no experience on the King, so, I am not saying it is bad, but it doesn't seem to be something get recommended.
It also depends on if you are in a rush, but now seems to be a good time. When the school starts, it may be harder to get one.
I can think of the following within your budget:
Yamaha YAS23 / made in Japan Vito
Early Vito with serial number ends with a 'A'. They are made in Kenosha, WI with parts from Beaugnier.
Noblet which are also made by Beaugnier.
Toneking made in Czechoslovakia before 1960. Those are made by Amati with Keilwerth tooling.
Buddy Special or similar stenciled by Keilwerth.
Late 1960s 6M. The earlier the better, but you got a better chance finding a 1960 within your budget.

This depends on the availability, so, you may not see one in time. And unless you buy something overhauled or recently serviced, put aside 100-200 for a service.

Which are you located? I can help browse your local Craigslist to see if there is something good.
:| jeez......

Jaye: I apologize if I in any way offended your sense of what is right and what is wrong on SOTW. Same to BookerFan. I just knew I'd risk offending the thread-police on this site.
:|....double jeez..... Do you guys even bother reading preceding replies before responding ?????:scratch:
 

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$500 is a decent budget for a alto. I have no experience on the King, so, I am not saying it is bad, but it doesn't seem to be something get recommended.
It also depends on if you are in a rush, but now seems to be a good time. When the school starts, it may be harder to get one.
I can think of the following within your budget:
Yamaha YAS23 / made in Japan Vito
Early Vito with serial number ends with a 'A'. They are made in Kenosha, WI with parts from Beaugnier.
Noblet which are also made by Beaugnier.
Toneking made in Czechoslovakia before 1960. Those are made by Amati with Keilwerth tooling.
Buddy Special or similar stenciled by Keilwerth.
Late 1960s 6M. The earlier the better, but you got a better chance finding a 1960 within your budget.

This depends on the availability, so, you may not see one in time. And unless you buy something overhauled or recently serviced, put aside 100-200 for a service.

Which are you located? I can help browse your local Craigslist to see if there is something good.
None of these would be any better than the King 613, with the possible exception of the 6M (though I doubt you would find one of these in playing condish for under $500).

Also, I think the Czechoslovakian company you are thinking of is Kohlert, not Keilwerth. To my knowledge, Keilwerth Tonekings were made by Keilwerth in (then) West Germany.
 

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I have a King 615 tenor. It has the clunky keys but as far as I can tell the body of a Super 20. It's made very beafy too. The sound is big (bigger than my Buescher 156 and Couf). If the altos are anything like my tenor then it could be a good horn. Altissimo pops well.
 

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Jaye: I read (and re-read) every post in this thread up until I was drafting my last response. I was writing MY reply to you when you and others posted.

You are really starting to annoy me. Why don't YOU just post your thoughts/opinions and leave me and the others to post OUR thoughts/opinions without judging our motives and procedures? DAVE
 

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Different people have different opinion, and I sure respect that ... So, to OP, if you already have your mind set on the King, please ignore my postings. Or tell me so I will shut up and save some time to play saxophone =)

And just to show you some of the **** IN MY OPINION **** rather good saxophones within $500. Again, people may disagree ... it's ok. On a side notes, it is very, very risky to buy from eBay ... so ... I am not encouraging it. Some people also not comfortable buy things unseen ... I am just trying to show you what $500 may get. Of course, you need to be patient to wait for something good to shows up.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ca1966-KEIL...6SCDgd8ziyw1yJl2l8JKI%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Conn-6m-alt...6SCDgd8ziyw1yJl2l8JKI%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vito-Alto-V...6SCDgd8ziyw1yJl2l8JKI%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-196...6SCDgd8ziyw1yJl2l8JKI%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kohlert-Sax...6SCDgd8ziyw1yJl2l8JKI%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc
 

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Look mates....:flower:

When someone (an OP) posts with a short list of horn models....and you have no direct experience with the models mentioned...and the models are not reputedly really awful.....

.....is it really helpful to begin suggesting OTHER models someone CAN go and buy ?

In these instances, as I mentioned before...my tendency is just to respect the initial question. If I have no familiarity with the horns in question...I do not go suggesting other brands off the top of my head.

That this was somehow interpreted by you as me 'policing' this site, intimating that I am in some way intentionally trying to squelch your 'right' (or that of others) to post, or whatever exactly you were trying to say there....is something I shall not endeavor to unravel.....

But when someone readily admits to having no experience with the horn(s) of the subject, I just find it baffling that they can then suggest that horn XXX or YYY is better idea and they should buy one of those instead.....which is precisely what has been happening on this thread.....
 

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Look mates....:flower:

When someone (an OP) posts with a short list of horn models....and you have no direct experience with the models mentioned...and the models are not reputedly really awful.....

.....is it really helpful to begin suggesting OTHER models someone CAN go and buy ?

In these instances, as I mentioned before...my tendency is just to respect the initial question. If I have no familiarity with the horns in question...I do not go suggesting other brands off the top of my head.

That this was somehow interpreted by you as me 'policing' this site, intimating that I am in some way intentionally trying to squelch your 'right' (or that of others) to post, or whatever exactly you were trying to say there....is something I shall not endeavor to unravel.....

But when someone readily admits to having no experience with the horn(s) of the subject, I just find it baffling that they can then suggest that horn XXX or YYY is better idea and they should buy one of those instead.....which is precisely what has been happening on this thread.....
Hi JayeODX,

I think that "someone" is referring me ... I don't see anything bad to expose more option to OP. I think if he is not interested in other model, he will ignore my post naturally. I also say I haven't play King, so, I believe OP can apply his own judgement call whether to listen to me or not. After all, we are all here trying to help him out. Honestly, I don't normally see King 613 or 660 being recommended. I see people normally said they are not bad horns. On the other hand, I often seen the Bundy Special, 6M, Beaugnier being recommended. So, I am merely saying, given the budget, have you consider these ...

I think more beneficial to OP ... if you think any of those I say is worse than King 660 or 613 and OP should avoid, then it is useful information to him. There is no point challenging me giving him more options.
 

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Hi JayeODX,

I think that "someone" is referring me ... I don't see anything bad to expose more option to OP. I think if he is not interested in other model, he will ignore my post naturally. I also say I haven't play King, so, I believe OP can apply his own judgement call whether to listen to me or not. After all, we are all here trying to help him out. Honestly, I don't normally see King 613 or 660 being recommended. I see people normally said they are not bad horns. On the other hand, I often seen the Bundy Special, 6M, Beaugnier being recommended. So, I am merely saying, given the budge, have you consider these ...

I think more beneficial to OP ... if you think any of those I say is worse than King 660 or 613 and OP should avoid, then it is useful information to him. There is no point challenging me giving him more options.
I see you are trying to help, but we shouldn't give him unrealistic expectations. While it's always possible to snag a bargain like you pointed to in the form of that auction for a 6M that finished very low, if you check right now most of these usually fetch $1,000-$1,500, which is way over the OP's stated range.

Also, when you say Beaugnier, do you mean Vito or Noblet? If so, those are by and large regarded as student horns much like the King 613 and 615 (and the earlier version of these, the "Cleveland.") And if you do mean these, then as someone who has played both, I can tell you they are not more highly regarded--at least not by me. In fact, several years ago when I was getting back into playing the sax, I A/B'd a 1960s Cleveland versus a vintage Vito at a music store--both of which were set up and gig ready; and it wasn't even close--the King was a monster and the Vito was decidedly stuffy. Long story short--I left with the King and didn't look back.

But some like them (the Vitos), and that's fine. One is just not any better than the other since they were both generally horns that were designed for and used by students back in the day....
 
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