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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve owned a 1945 and a 1949 tenor - but 12 years ago - and three from the early 1950’s. In my memory, I like the early ‘50’s tenors a good bit more than earlier ones. I THINK that there is general agreement in that. But I would like to hear from folks who have had zephyrs from both eras - what they like better about the later ones and/or what people like more about the earlier ones, if anyone does. I’ll say. My 1945, with a very good recent repad, really stood out as a kick *** tenor that really ripped. The early 50’s ones have seeed to have a more full, warmer consistent tone with (very noticeable to me) clearer fuller high notes than the 1945. But for all I know those are just specific random horns. And that those perceptions are not shared by plenty of people. There are a couple nice looking zephyrs on eBay. I can’t afford the 1955 one right now ($1795) and am considering making a lower offer on the 1945 one (listed as $1495 or best offer). . Both have new repads, etc.
SO: Any HAPPY jazz players out there who are exceedingly happy with their pre-275xxx Zephyrs?!!
Thanks. I’ve read probably 50 related threads here and am still looking for more. And more recent comments about these pretty amazing horns.
 

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I have a 37 Tenor. It is not in the best playing shape at the moment, but in really good cosmetic condition. I had it out not long ago and gave it a blow and I think I will really like it when I get the time to refurb it. I have also had a bunch of 50's tenors that I have sold. What I can say is that I put the 50's neck on the 37 and it fit perfectly. I have taken a notice to those ones on Ebay right now. Zephyrs are not near as common as they were about 5 years ago. One that I was watching was pulled and I suspect that someone made an offer off Ebay.
I think the late series 3 and early series 4 are all going to play the same. So between 260xxx and 380xxx or so. I don't take interest in the single socket neck horns.
 

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Since no one else has responded I'll chime in with a comparison. not Zephyr to Zephyr, but Zephyr to Silversonic.

In my memory, I like the early ‘50’s tenors a good bit more than earlier ones. I THINK that there is general agreement in that. But I would like to hear from folks who have had zephyrs from both eras - what they like better about the later ones and/or what people like more about the earlier ones,
Not that it matters much, but I've read many opinions that say the Zephyrs from around 272,000 (1945) to 300,000 that coincided with production of the first series of Super 20's are preferred. I can't compare early to late Zephyrs, but I can compare a side-by-side test (behind the horn and in front of the horn) of a 1946 Zephyr and a 1951ish Silversonic. I own a 1946 Zephyr 279,XXX. I played it and the Silversonic - then listened to each being played by a pro musician friend side-by-side. My Zephyr and the Silversonic felt very similar while playing. Great fast action and powerful response. For me, there really wasn't much difference behind the horns - although I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination. I actually preferred the key heights on my horn (it was set up by Aaron Barnard), but that was probably familiarity. Listening to them being played by my friend who owned the Silversonic, my Zephyr definitely had more punch and a very solid core. The Silversonic had a bit more complexity to its sound. You could say, if you listened closely, it was a bit more "sophisticated", but not an extra $4000 worth.

I'd say that I'm very happy with my Zephyr.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So does one spend $1795 for a 330xxx, recent repad, or make an offer on the $1495, 260xxx, with a recent Repad?! My experience is that the early ‘50’s Zephyrs sound better up and down than the pre-27xxxx. But the pre-27xxxx still are great sounding horns. And - I’m looking to hear from other people with more experience and knowledge of Zephyrs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So does one spend $1795 for a 330xxx, recent repad, or make an offer on the $1495, 260xxx, with a recent Repad?! My experience is that the early ‘50’s Zephyrs sound better up and down than the pre-27xxxx. But the pre-27xxxx still are great sounding horns. And - I’m looking to hear from other people with more experience and knowledge of Zephyrs.
Well. I bought the 26xxxx when he dropped the price to $999. New repad. 80% sure that it’s original lacquer, but seller could t be 100% sure. So. Hopefully it will be a great sounding one. I couldn’t go up to $1800 for the mid ‘50’s one.
 

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A Zephyr tenor with new repad for under $1000 sounds like a very good deal: I payed almost that much for a refurbished alto. Will be interested to know how it plays!
 

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I am a little fuzzy here, because a Zeph of 260,XXX is basically the same horn as a Zeph of 275,XXX. Both are after the change from rectangular spats to rounded, from the clunkier pinky table to the 'cloverleaf'. I am not sure there were any substantial spec changes to body or neck between 250,XXX and 275,XXX....in which case, yeah, the differences one might get is more the result of the 'natural' variability between each horn back in the day; as well as current condition and setup.

I believe, the significant specification/design difference is with Zephs below the 250,XXX range...it was those Zephs which had the VT-II body, which therefore possessed significantly different sonic qualities.

If I am wrong, someone correct me. But based on the 20 or so Zephs I have refurbed over the years...and perusing the images on Saxpics (a site which is ONLY useful as a photo archive at this point), this is what I am seeing.

Some folks think the wire guards and 3-eye strap ring signified something significant. IMHO this hasn't been the case.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am a little fuzzy here, because a Zeph of 260,XXX is basically the same horn as a Zeph of 275,XXX. Both are after the change from rectangular spats to rounded, from the clunkier pinky table to the 'cloverleaf'.

I believe, the difference is with Zephs below the 250,XXX range...it was those Zephs which had the VT-II body, which therefore possessed significantly different sonic qualities.

If I am wrong, someone correct me. But perusing the images on Saxpics ( a site which is ONLY useful as a photo archive at this point), this is what I am seeing.

Some folks think the wire guards and 3-eye strap ring signified something. IMHO this is not the case.
Oh. I swear I’ve read here somewhere - at least a few times - that the bore size was changed somewhere in the 270xxx’s and that that is why ‘supposedly’ the ones after 275 or 278 are preferable. I’d be happy to hear that that change happened earlier and that my new 26xxxx will have the same bore and neck as the 3xxxxx’s have. Thanks.
 
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