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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking around and I saw a King alto (SN around 61XXX) the other day. It's one of those fancy old ones with the gold plate and everything. My question is - how well do these old things play, and how do they compare to vintage Conns, etc.? How's the response? Keywork? Intonation? And what do you suppose they're worth? Thanks for the help!
 

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I had a very early King alto and the intonation was really, really, really bad ! The G# mechanism was very weird, also. As I recall, it was around the side, not in the upper stack. Mine was silver plated and had limited engraving. King was way behind Conn at this point. It did have a very cool case, like a tiny baritone case. I later used the case with my balanced action alto because it was so small and easy to tuck under your arm plus it just looked awesome.
 

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For a variety of opinions about the early King altos, check out this thread from top to bottom. It's interesting to read the wide differences in opinion.

I'd suggest that given this variety of experiences, it will come down to the individual horn.

http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=36132
 

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I agree on the early Kings except the sopranos. The altos and tenors got good with the Zephyr (maybe the Voll-t II) but the sopranos are fantastic. I have a curved and a straight and the intonation is quite good even on the curved. Also the LH pinky table is nearer to a modern horn. All the early altos I have had were pretty bad. That G# deal can be fixed but bad intonation is forever.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hmm...sounds like perhaps I should skip this one. The intonation on my Zephyr is bad enough from time to time... :(
 

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I have two old silver-plated King altos (1925 and 1927), both of which I've overhauled, and they are superb players. Intonation is spot-on, as with the similar 1925 King tenor and 1922 King C-melody I also have (basically identical designs, scaled up). I love these old Kings -- the ergonomics are weird (misplaced thumbrests, etc.) but man, do they play! And beautifully made too.
 

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I have had positive results with the older King "improved" models too. I think they stack up well against their contemporary New Wonder, Handcraft and True Tone brothers.

I won't argue that the pinnacle of H. N. White's offerings are the Zephyr and Super 20, but these older models shouldn't be dismissed en mass. The lack of an articulated G# (which is an easy fix) and the lack of key guards on the rear G # and side F# keys (another easy fix) are the only real complaints I have.

With the right setup, supposed quirky intonation is not an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmm, well it slipped past me, unfortunately. But I'll keep my eyes open for the next one that comes along :p
 
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