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I recently acquired a Zephyr tenor, #228xxx, which puts manufacture in 1939-40.

It has a sterling silver neck and full pearls except on the Eb/C pinky keys. Even the rollers are pearl. Early Zephyr Special??...except the engraving reads "ZEPHYR" and below that "MODEL". If not a Special, is this a prototype that still has the body tube of a "series 1" Zeph?

Opinions and thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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I've seen like 2 or 3 of these in the last year or so after never previously having seen one in my life. They are basically Zephyr Specials without the "Special" name on the bell. As someone who's owned all iterations of the Zephyr going back to 1935, from looking at your pics I can tell you without a doubt that it has the Zephyr Special bore.

How does it play? Is it free-blowing or somewhat resistant? I only ask because I've owned two ca. 1945 Zephyrs in the past with this design and they were not as free-blowing as I would have expected for Kings.
 

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I think this is a Zephyr special, because of the full pearls and rounded keys (and the solid silver neck)

This is what saxpics says about that



"..........the Zephyr Special are completely redesigned instruments and the direct predecessors of the famous Super 20. The key design, previously the "Modernistic Style" that was ungrateful to the fingers, was contoured to a more comfortable arrangement. The mechanism was altered to eliminate the G# trill key and the alternate Eb fingering [i.e. the "fork" Eb]. The bell tone holes were repositioned to accomodate a faster, lighter action. The beauty of the instrument was enhanced by the addition of distinctive mother of pearl inlay on all the keys, including the palm, side and small finger areas.
Original Zephyr Plating Choices (1940 Catalog)
1-G Brass, Gold Lacquer
1-T Brass, Transparent Lacquer
Finish II (Silver Satin Finish, Gold Bell)
Finish III (Silver Satin Finish, Gold Bell and Trim [i.e. "two-tone gold"])
Finish IV (Gold Satin Finish, Burnished Bell)
Artist's Special (Gold -- Hand Burnished)

..........."


not all Zephyrs had hand engraved key cups
 

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There's a Zephyr Special in the Saxpics picture section - serial # 299***. Also doesn't have the Special name on it, and 'Model' instead.
What a beautiful horn BTW. I love that style in the King saxophones, and I prefer that style of engraving over the regular style (I had a Voll True II with that style - wonderful)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all contributors.

I, too, concluded that it is a "SPECIAL" in sheep's clothing after measuring tenon diameter, bell, bore at body-bow, and bow-bell junctures in comparison to my 1946 Zephyr which I know has a ZS body tube. It is my favorite of the three Zs and S20 that I own, and I have quickly adjusted to the left table key placement finding only the Bb a bit of a stretch for me.
 

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... it has the Zephyr Special bore.
Is this "Zephyr Special bore" a fact or an urban sax myth "USM"
I've been reading about this supposed change in bore since Saxpics first stated it 10 or so years ago. Personally, I've never been able to measure any difference between any King tenor that had soldered tone holes be it a Zephyr, Super 20 or Cleveland. I even have an American Standard (serial# 755) that measures the same...

All the King bodies/bows/bells I've ever measured are essentially the same dimensions with the minor variations being a function of their out-of-roundness. The only dimensional change I've noted is of the bell O.D. which varies from about 6" for the earlier horns to about 6 1/4" for the later.
 

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Is this "Zephyr Special bore" a fact or an urban sax myth "USM"
I've been reading about this supposed change in bore since Saxpics first stated it 10 or so years ago. Personally, I've never been able to measure any difference between any King tenor that had soldered tone holes be it a Zephyr, Super 20 or Cleveland. I even have an American Standard (serial# 755) that measures the same...

All the King bodies/bows/bells I've ever measured are essentially the same dimensions with the minor variations being a function of their out-of-roundness. The only dimensional change I've noted is of the bell O.D. which varies from about 6" for the earlier horns to about 6 1/4" for the later.
I've owned many Kings and about 10 Zephyr tenors spreading across all design iterations going back to 1935; and you don't need to take measurements to see the changes in bore. But yes, the most noticeable differences are in the shape and size of the bell, which is a very important part of the (quote) "bore" (notice I didn't say body tube which is just that and not the bow or bell).

But here's what I'm talkin' about. Just look at the pics of these two tenors: a Zephyr Special and then an early Super 20.

First the Zephyr Special:

http://www.cybersax.com/features/Zephyr_Special_Tenor.html

Now pay special attention to the second pic down on the left--and compare it to this player's side shot of an early Super 20:

http://saxpics.com/?v=img&img=/cpg143/albums/king/super_20/tenor/lacquer/283xxx-wws/S20283c.JPG#imgTop

But notice how much fatter the bell is on the Super 20? I've actually been wanting to post a photo comparison of these two models for some time--but mainly to refute the idea that the first Super 20s had the same bore as The Zephyr Special--they didn't. The Super 20 was different--but mainly from the standpoint of the bell which gave it a fatter, fuller sound than the Zephyr Special.

Here's another shot of a very early Super 20:

http://saxpics.com/cpg143/albums/king/super_20/tenor/lacquer/278xxx/278xxx.jpg

Look at the first pic on the top right. See how the bell mushrooms out much more than the Zephyr special's?

Here's another one of a Zephyr Special to further compare the bell sizes on the two models:

http://saxpics.com/?v=img&img=/cpg143/albums/king/zephyr/tenor/lacquer/269xxx-cs/269xxx-cybersax.jpg#imgTop

As you can see it's more than a little obvious that the Zephyr Special has a slimmer bell than the Super 20--even the earliest iteration of the latter. And it is clear that the circumferance of the bell does not increase as much as you near the flare as it does on the Super 20.

Now what saxpics.com discusses that I am not quite sure of is whether the Zephyr Special had the same body tube as the Super 20. It always made sense to me so I never questioned it or took measurements. Moreover, it always made sense to me that the Zephyr Special featured a different bore than the original Zephyr. And that's what H.N. White's ads of the day pretty much say. In fact, it would be ludicrous if they trotted it out as a new and improved model to the extent they did if it was the same exact horn as the Series I.

So I am inclined to believe that (as saxpics.com says) the Zephyr Special and Super 20 have similar--if not the same--body tubes. But it's pretty obvious just from looking at photos that the Super 20 had a fatter bell than the Zephyr Special. And again, I have taken measurements with my closed hands cupped around the bells to compare this on a Zephyr Special and Super 20 that I owned simultaneously (I'm now down to just one tenor--my trusty 354,xxx Zephyr which is the best playing King I'ver ever owned--including four Eastlake tenors); but no I never actually got out the tape measurer (whew--so I guess there's still hope for me in that I haven't succumbed to full-fledged sax geekness :bluewink:.)

(BTW the best playing Super 20 I ever played was also a 354,xxx series--at Paul Maslin's shop in Chicago. I think it may have been the best playing tenor I have EVER played. But alas, the price tag on it was $4,500 (and unbelieveably it sold for that a week or two later--and I say unbelieveably because that was 3 years ago when they were still going in the 3K range on ebay--not the ridiculous 4K and up that we've been seeing lately. But I have a theory that most of these are going to Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. where those figures are like peanuts to them these days....))
 

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OK, first of all, these are fotos and therefore hard to determine actual relative sizes. Secondly, the final example that you point to as being a Z Special, appears (to me) to be a late pre-war Zephyr, the model with rounded keys.

As for sax geeky-ness, I have 4 HN White tenors on the blanket in front of me. These include an 0755 American Standard, a 229,XXX Zephyr, a 313,XXX Super 20 and a 682,XXX Cleveland. I have measured each one at several locations and regardless of appearances, each of these 4 tenors has essentially the same dimensions. This result is similar to what oncdoc reports in an earlier thread.

I do not have a "Series I" S20 or a Z Special to measure so, if the point is that those 2 horns are different by virtue of having slimmer bells and different body tubes than earlier and later Kings, then I have no comment.

If however, the belief is that the evolution of all Super 20s is based on a body and bell that is different other than by having a larger (by approx 1/4") bell "outlet" O.D., then I remain unconvinced.

I will post fotos of these 4 horns resting side by side when my new card reader arrives(my built-in card reader slots are no longer functioning)... Perhaps in those fotos they will also appear to be different when they are actually "the same".
 

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OK, first of all, these are fotos and therefore hard to determine actual relative sizes. Secondly, the final example that you point to as being a Z Special, appears (to me) to be a late pre-war Zephyr, the model with rounded keys.

As for sax geeky-ness, I have 4 HN White tenors on the blanket in front of me. These include an 0755 American Standard, a 229,XXX Zephyr, a 313,XXX Super 20 and a 682,XXX Cleveland. I have measured each one at several locations and regardless of appearances, each of these 4 tenors has essentially the same dimensions. This result is similar to what oncdoc reports in an earlier thread.

I do not have a "Series I" S20 or a Z Special to measure so, if the point is that those 2 horns are different by virtue of having slimmer bells and different body tubes than earlier and later Kings, then I have no comment.

If however, the belief is that the evolution of all Super 20s is based on a body and bell that is different other than by having a larger (by approx 1/4") bell "outlet" O.D., then I remain unconvinced.

I will post fotos of these 4 horns resting side by side when my new card reader arrives(my built-in card reader slots are no longer functioning)... Perhaps in those fotos they will also appear to be different when they are actually "the same".
The differences in the photos I posted are plenty clear if you have decent spatial aptitude. Plus I said I have visually appraised them up close with my eyes and hands (the Zephyr Special and the Super 20), even if I didn't descend into true sax geekdom by gettiing out the measuring tape.... :bluewink:

BTW it's not just the bell flare but the entire bell that's fatter on the Super 20. This is a VERY important part of the bore of a sax and influences the sound a GREAT deal.

Trust me on this--there were three main iterations of the Zephyr: 1) the original Zephyr (Series I and II on saxpics.com); 2) one based on the bore of the Zephyr Special; and 3) the final (and longest running) version which was based on the Super 20.

I must admit that I am not as up on (nor do I care as much about) the similarities and differences between the original Zephyr and Zephyr Special. I have focused my observations much more keenly on the similarities/differences between the Zephyr Special and Super 20. (And that's mainly because after owning a Series I and a Series II, I concluded that, though I love the sound, the intonation is just too unworkable.)

In fact, when you look at the original Zephyr and the Special from different angles, there are not as many obvious differences as there are between the Special and S20.

But that said, this original H.N. White ad confirms that saxpics was correct in his assumption that the bore was "tweaked" between the Zephyr II and Special. Note that the first feature cited about the new Special is its "New Bore."

Look:



And from my own experience, this makes perfect sense as the Specials I've played have had far better intonation than the Series I and II examples I've played/owned.

But OTOH most of the orignal (Series I and II) Zephyrs I have owned have been very free-blowing monsters, whereas the Specials I've had (all tenors) as well as mid '40s Zephyrs which are identical to Z Specials in body design, have played with more resistance in my experience. To be honest, I think the alto version of the Z Special may have been a better horn than the tenor, and that the Z Special was more or less an intermediate design step on the way to the Super 20 bore design, where IMHO King finally "got it right." :bluewink:
 
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