Posted on June 19, 2015
On The Bench: King Zephyr Special Alto w/ Unique Engraving
This is the earliest King Zephyr Special saxophone that I have seen or heard of, and it predates the known serial number lists for the model number by about 7,000 serials. I own a Zephyr Special alto from what seems to be the first big batch of them, a 209xxx instrument. This one is 202xxx, and has several differences from every other Zephyr Special I have seen so far:
– different engraving for the KING logo, more like what you’d see on a King trumpet of the same era
– Eb and C key touchpieces are solid nickel
– different, larger bow guard more like the bow guard on Zephyr Special tenors
– hard rubber rather than pearl rollers on the actuating arms for the low Bb/B
Other than that, the horn feels and plays the same, which is to say one of the best saxophones ever made. I playtested this one thoroughly 🙂 and it is nearly identical to my 209xxx horn, with the only differences I felt (mine is ever so slightly more even, this one is slightly more powerful) being easily attributable to them just being different saxophones made on different days and also the differences in resonator choice- mine has flats, this one has slight domes.
This is original lacquer, and the horn is in fantastic physical condition. I overhauled it with reusable brass resonators from Tenor Madness at the owner’s request, and it is a powerful, responsive, lush and warm sound that is lightning-fast and quite light under the fingers.
What a horn. I am lucky to work on stuff like this.