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SilverSonic tenor at Vintage Sax

2182 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Swingtone
Gayle has a nice SilverSonic tenor for sale. I have always wanted another S20 since I sold mine years ago. Is this a good vintage? thanks
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EastCoastGhost said:
Do yourself a favor and go buy a good Zyepher
serial ## 250xxx-320xxx same horn 1/3 the price there plenty of
alto's and i'm sure a tenor won't be too hard to find
No, they may have some things in common, but Silver Sonics and
Zephyrs are certainly not the same; the action and the sound is
substantially different. I've blown on a few Zephyr's and although
they may have been good horns, I've never picked one up that's lit it
up it up like a good Silver Sonic. A good Silver Sonic is a really
loud, bright, and free-blowing instrument, and Zephyrs wouldn't be
the poor second cousin of the Silver Sonic if they sounded anything
like them. I think it's fair to say they are at least as far apart as
Yamaha and Selmer tenors -- at least as far apart.

For one, most Zephyrs don't have a silver neck, and I think the
dimensions and/or the material (being silver) of those necks does
make a difference. I've experimented with swapping some earlier
vintage King necks (composed of silver) on a Silver Sonic, and one of
the necks in particular (from a 1948 Super 20) changes the sound on
the Silver Sonic quite noticeably, causing the sound to be more
diffuse and less bright.

If you've got the dough hold out for the double socket HN White model
from the late '50's or early '60's, with a serial number that's less
than 383K. Those are the non-pearl models that have the best table
keys and octave key mechanism, in my opinion.

The pearl side keys would almost double the price on the
aforementioned model, however, so forget about that unless money is
not a concern.

Also, since you don't know the history regarding the one that you
inquired about, you have to assume that the pearl work may have been
added later by a talented repair person -- a task that really
wouldn't be that difficult for someone that does that kind of work.
Note that the horn does not have the pearl on the Eb, C, and table
keys, and probably doesn't have it on the octave key, either.

There was another horn floating around that had pearl work on it that
was well after the period that it was standard, and there was a horn
that was reputed to have been a special order for Charlie Ventura
that had it, too.

And I think King lacquer is pretty good on the ones from that vintage
(Silver Sonic bells and necks were clear lacquered, too, by the way)
and that horn you're looking at looks like the lacquer has been been
removed everywhere, including the gold wash in the inside of the
bell. Lacquerless and no gold wash in the bell was certainly not an
option that the King Company offered, which makes me wonder all the
more about the pearl work on it.

I should also add that the Silver Sonics I have are the easiest
blowing horns I've ever tried, and I suspect that the resistance of
the Zephyr would be noticeably different.

So Zephyrs may cost a less, a lot less, and they may be good horns,
but they are definitely not the same instrument as a Silver Sonic.

Is there anyone here in the forum that has both horns and thinks the
Zephyr is the equivalent or sounds the same as a Silver Sonic?
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Yellowhorn said:
So, is it correct that the S20 bells that are made
of sterling silver have the words "sterling bell" engraved on them
and the silver-plated ones don't have that stamp?
Silver Sonic Super 20's have "Sterling Bell" stamped into the front
of the bell just above where the bell meets the bow. The bells are
solid silver, but it may not actually be "sterling silver." From
what I've read, the alloy of sterling silver contains a minimum of
92.5 percent silver. The test to check for sterling silver involves
putting nitric acid on the silver; if it turns green you've got low
grade stuff, and if it turns a creamy color then it's the goods. Let
us know how it turns out if you end up testing one.

As far as I know, any Super 20 that's silver plated would be a
special order horn, or a refinished instrument that was done by a
private party. Somewhere I read something about it being an option
(silver plating), but I've never seen one.

I hope that anyone reading this thread that owns a factory silver
plated Super 20 will share some pictures.

Same thing for the Silver Sonic baritone. I've seen the talk, but
can anyone produce a picture of one?
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