King saxophones are one of the most ornate and collectible of the vintage saxophone brands. Many featured engraving on the entire body of the horn, and even on the key cups. King saxes were made by the H.N. White Company of Cleveland from around 1920 up to the early 1970's. Cleveland saxophones were also made by this company, along with Liberty, Gladiator, Silver Tone, and others.
Some of the finest saxophones ever produced were the Super 20 line. Another line that is sought by collectors are called the Zephyr line. This company was one of the first to experiment with making the body of the horn out of solid silver. This adds life to the sound of the saxophone.
Like other early saxophones, the King saxophones made before 1930 often featured a key known as the G-sharp trill. Another key that seems "extra" to a modern saxophonist, but which is featured on many older horns is a fork E-flat. The best saxophone restorers say that this fork E-flat should not be disabled when the horn is being restored. Instead, the other lower stack keys should be adjusted, and then the fork E-flat can be regulated.
The Super 20 was available in a "Silversonic" version made of solid silver. It had mother of pearl on every key and gold plating in the engraving. The gold plated inlaid engraving makes these vintage saxophones works of art. By the 1950's the Super 20's and Zephyrs were being used by sax pros such as Cannonball Adderly and Charlie Parker. These Kings were very durable, made of strong metal that tolerated hard playing.
King saxophones are some of the most ornately engraved of all the vintage saxes now being sought by collectors. The sound of these lovely instruments is reported to be as outstanding as the style and beauty.
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