Wow! What a mess this is.
It turns out it may end up costing quite a bit and take a long time to get that old King in playing shape. Possibly more funds and effort for a horn of dubious quality to begin with. I am faced with the probability of buying a playing condition bari and the more I read here on SOTW, the more I look at saxpics, the more I browse the likes of Kessler, USA Horns, Vintage Sax, Junk Dude, World Wide Sax, etc. the more confused I become.
Do I look for something like a Buescher 400 or Aristocrat. Do I keep an eye open for something like the Martin Cityscape that just sold on eBay? Do I just go ahead and buy a YBS-52 or Jupiter Artist.
Unless I'm willing to get on a plane, several planes, and visit the above mentioned shops the usual "try as many as you can" advice does me no good at all.
It needs to be playable out of the box (or with an absolute minimal amount of tweaking). It needs to have solid intonation (I'm not willing to fight with the horn's intonation regardless of how good the tone is).
Ergonomics? We'll, I grew up with a Selmer era Buescher Aristocrat alto and spent my teen-years playing a same vintage 400 bari. The new-fangled tilting pinkie cluster still feels a bit odd to me, but either will work. I don't want to fight the horn in this area either, but I'm a bit more accommodating here than with the intonation issue.
Low A? Bb? Much less important than the above.
What will I be playing on it? Community concert band and Rock/Pop.
My budget? I am willing to invest a max of $2500 (that includes purchase and required repairs). But bear in mind, my experience with local techs has left me with little confidence of getting anything but the most basic work done without shipping it off at much expense.
Oh wise and generous keepers of all knowledge bari, what are your thoughts and suggestions?