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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Folks, I'm currently in the market for a bari, open to Low Bb or A. I ran across a 68 Zephyr this week with nickel keys that is in pretty good condition and has had a recent repad with Selmer style pads with plastic resos. Lacquer is the original yellow tone and probably 90%. Some bell lip repairs and some previous dent work, though minimal. What are your thought on these horns? On initial play test, the left hand ergos are just ok and the right hand is a real stretch. I've heard the Zephyrs have a big tone but this horn plays pretty quiet with my Brilhart piece, much more subdued than my last bari, a The Martin. Opinions on the late horns and playability or mods to improve would be greatly appreciated. Keywork reminds me of a King Cleveland I owned and curious if mechanicals were cheapened late in the run. Any thought on value for early Clevelands versus the late Eastlake horns like this one?
 

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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The Cleveland made Zephs and Clevelands had better keywork, IMHO. When they moved to Eastlake King sorta dumbed down the keywork on those models, oddly. So, I agree with you...pinky table pretty clunky and unresponsive compared to a Cleveland-made horn.

The bodies, however, were not altered. So, same body as an their Zeph bighorns from Cleveland.

Cannot really comment on tone vs. a Comm III..I have always found them to be pretty ballsy baritones, the Zephs. But cannot say I ever had an opp to play one next to another Baritone.....
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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'I've heard the Zephyrs have a big tone but this horn plays pretty quiet with my Brilhart piece, much more subdued than my last bari, a The Martin.'

The tale is told. When I encounter a horn that doesn't blow, I move on. Too many horns out there to take any chances that it never will respond like it should. I have always heard that the so-called 'Super 20' baritone was really a Zephyr with cosmetic changes - like the hand-made wire key guards that resemble the stamped ones on the alto and tenor. So just think if you had paid big bucks for a 'Super 20' baritone and it sucked like the one you just tried....happy dance for that not happening!

Is Las Vegas doable? I'm thinking a new horn from Kessler, the 'Solist' baritone at about $2400. I've had one since 2015 and its a good baritone. If I lived as close to LV as you, I'd go over there and have a field day blowing baritones and comparing them.
 

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Problem is your last Bari was a The Martin.
Hard to beat that in sound.
Conn 12m are nice,
King saxophones are very nice but not in the Martin league IMO.
 

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most all zephyr baritones i have played,have been very big sounding,so theres probably a leak somewhere on the one you played.
Agreed. There';s something wrong if it didn';t blow big and strong. Only so-so ergos, but Zephyr baris can produce a huge, in your face, tone with little effort (and that goes for the late ones, too).
 

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I concur about the Zephyr vs Super 20 at least in tenors. mine were '43 zephyr an 63 Super 20. Both had a big full tone, very much the same. but the newer Super had better keyboard, I like the sound of my '49 Big B Beuscher but remind you the mpc is whats up and where its at with tone, so maybe try some other mpcs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone. Yeah I鈥檓 sure the mouthpiece, which isn鈥檛 very open is a factor. I also suspect there are some leaks and the horn was repadded 4 years ago, shipped, then not played.
 

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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I have always heard that the so-called 'Super 20' baritone was really a Zephyr with cosmetic changes - like the hand-made wire key guards that resemble the stamped ones on the alto and tenor. So just think if you had paid big bucks for a 'Super 20' baritone and it sucked like the one you just tried....happy dance for that not happening!
As an aside let me take this opportunity to say:

Happy Dance for that Tall Tale not happenin', either.

The Zeph bighorns have opp-bellkeys. All of 'em...from the '30's thru the 70's. The Zeph baritone has the low C# hole on the left side of the bow. The S20 on the right, just like their A's and T's.

So...right there....we can conclude that the S20 has both: a) a different bellpiece and b) a different bowpiece

Therefore, to claim it is essentially the same horn and performs/responds the same....is....ersatz.

While it IS true that Zeph altos and tenors, within that magical serial # period of time, did have the same body specs as the S20's...the Zeph baritone does not. Therefore, one should not extrapolate that an S20 bighorn and a Zeph bighorn are essentially the same horn.
Remember the smaller Zephs underwent a change in body specs between their inception to the start of their 'sweet spot' serial sequence. I do not believe the baritones ever had that redesign done, as again, a '75 body/neck appears to be hella the same as a '39 body/neck.
 

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Thanks everyone. Yeah I鈥檓 sure the mouthpiece, which isn鈥檛 very open is a factor. I also suspect there are some leaks and the horn was repadded 4 years ago, shipped, then not played.
Yup. Basically a Zeph baritone is a good horn, well-made, reliable, and it usually has a bad#ss tone. They also tend to have a very low market value because in the (oftentimes nonsensical) market....they come in 4th as far as popularity compared to Conn, Martin, and Boosh.

But they are still good horns.

So, I'd say the tone is something a tech visit can 'emancipate', so you'd get that big King sound.

The ergos, again, are better on Cleve-made horns...so you either take a pass or you woodshed with it a bit.

But really, in good playing shape, no significant issues, repadded...these don't fetch over around $1000-1200. I have seen some go as low as $800.

So, for a person who only has $1g or less and wants a vintage american bighorn in playing shape...these can be the ticket, if they are willing to acclimate themselves to the horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great input and seller is asking $1900 to which I offered $1200, which was refused. Since that time I鈥檝e come to learn that the shop that did the overhaul on this horn does so so work. With the right hand ergos being brutal (pretty sure thumb rest would need to relocate to make the right hand workable) and the likelihood the horn would need significant work, not worth the pursuit.

Yup. Basically a Zeph baritone is a good horn, well-made, reliable, and it usually has a bad#ss tone. They also tend to have a very low market value because in the (oftentimes nonsensical) market....they come in 4th as far as popularity compared to Conn, Martin, and Boosh.

But they are still good horns.

So, I'd say the tone is something a tech visit can 'emancipate', so you'd get that big King sound.

The ergos, again, are better on Cleve-made horns...so you either take a pass or you woodshed with it a bit.

But really, in good playing shape, no significant issues, repadded...these don't fetch over around $1000-1200. I have seen some go as low as $800.

So, for a person who only has $1g or less and wants a vintage american bighorn in playing shape...these can be the ticket, if they are willing to acclimate themselves to the horn.
 

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Problem is your last Bari was a The Martin.
LOL. Yeah, I stopped reading the OP when he said he had a Martin before. Solution: get a Martin again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
LOL. Yeah, I stopped reading the OP when he said he had a Martin before. Solution: get a Martin again.
Yeah, yeah... Sure, I should have kept the Martin. Being that I didn鈥檛 (and not big on collecting regrets), I鈥檓 looking for the next best thing, a decent playable bari I can get into for $1500 or less. Ok, stop laughing, doesn鈥檛 have to be a beauty queen and I鈥檓 not afraid of Asian horns. There you go.
 

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Zephyr bari was my second baritone, a Martin 'Official Music man Model' being my second. The King danced circles around the Martin in the tone department with a massive beefy tone, and I found the ergos more comfortable for me than the Martin as well.

Sold them both and moved to a 12M and now a Selmer Mark VI, but I wouldn't object to a Zephyr again!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Zephyr bari was my second baritone, a Martin 'Official Music man Model' being my second. The King danced circles around the Martin in the tone department with a massive beefy tone, and I found the ergos more comfortable for me than the Martin as well.

Sold them both and moved to a 12M and now a Selmer Mark VI, but I wouldn't object to a Zephyr again!
Happen to recall when your Zephyr was made? We鈥檙e the keys nickel plated or brass for example? How did you work with the right hand? I had a tough time reaching the keys with my thumb in the rest. The adjustable thumbrest on the Martin was a plus for getting my right hand in a place that felt good.
 

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It was a 50s Zeph, silver-plate with mostly brass keys, a few replacements were pilfered from a later nickel keyed Zeph. I have larger hands so the right hand never really bothered me as much as the left hand pinky reach. I preferred it over the Martin though mainly because the LH pinky was much lighter and easier to move.
 

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Great input and seller is asking $1900 to which I offered $1200, which was refused.
$1900 is completely unrealistic. One can find a repadded Naked Lady 12M for that price. Seller should bone up on current market values a bit....your offer was not unreasonable.

PM me if you are seriously in market for one (a Low Bb), I can make a round of calls to my suppliers and see what they have, then work one up if you are interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
鈥淧M me if you are seriously in market for one (a Low Bb), I can make a round of calls to my suppliers and see what they have, then work one up if you are interested.鈥

Thanks for the offer. I鈥檇 like to grab something local I can touch and play, preferably cheap enough that I can sink an overhaul into it and be ok. I鈥檝e got a trusted Tech nearby who鈥檚 done several horns for me and they all turned out great. I鈥檓 not in a huge hurry and Will definately reach out by PM if nothing turns up in the next few months.
 

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Jerry,

How ya been? I second the recommendation that you try a Solist.
I have had: Conn 12m, ancient Buffet, Martin, your Pierret, Yamaha52.

Currently have a Solist and a Conn 11m project horn.
The Solist is a great bari for not a lot of dough.
 

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Jerry, keep your eyes peeled for a Keilwerth low Bb stencil (Bundy/Tempo/Couf/etc.) as an option. They tend to be in your budget and have a big, bold tone with good intonation. Also, pretty nice ergos compared to some of their horns discussed.
 
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