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frobig
11-05-2003, 02:16 AM
Okay, all the classic older Kings from the first military horns until the early Eastlake output had soldered tone holes. I'm just wondering this: were they silver soldered? And when did King switch to drawn tone holes? I've seen late Super 20's with drawn tone holes; when did they start this, and why, if they already transferred the soldering production from Cleveland to Eastlake? Anybody have any opinion or experience regarding difference in sound between the soldered and drawn tone holes?

Wind_Mill
11-05-2003, 04:57 PM
Something I've wondered about myself. A tech with an old soldered King in his boneyard could find out easily enough, with a torch. It would be hard to pop one off with a handheld torch if it were silver-soldered, and quite easy if soft-.

They sure look brazed (silver-soldered) to me. You hear about leaky Martins (because theirs were soft-soldered) but I haven't seen much chatter about leaky Kings. Go figure. Incidentally, the really old Conns (Inventions etc.) were also soldered, but of the soft variety like Martins.

frobig, any specific serial number range for the shift (on those Eastlakes) to drawn toneholes? (How late was the drawn-hole model you saw?) I see Eastlakes on eBay all the time, and to the extent the snaps permit, their toneholes usually look to be the soldered variety, too.

frobig
11-05-2003, 11:36 PM
I was working on an over-the-top-octave alto a few weeks ago, I wish I could remember serial range, but it was obviously over 500,000 if the neck was original, and probably over 600,000...I should check it Saturday.

I guess the Martins were soft-soldered because those huge tone holes would take too long to heat up, and you'd run the risk of burning a hole in the body. A King wouldn't have that problem. At least one semi-old-timer I know has suggested that without the annealing that was a result of the soldering process, the later, drawn-hole horns wouldn't sound like Super 20's.

frobig
11-05-2003, 11:37 PM
I was working on an over-the-top-octave alto a few weeks ago, I wish I could remember serial range, but it was obviously over 500,000 if the neck was original, and probably over 600,000...I should check it Saturday.

I guess the Martins were soft-soldered because those huge tone holes would take too long to heat up, and you'd run the risk of burning a hole in the body. A King wouldn't have that problem. At least one semi-old-timer I know has suggested that without the annealing that was a result of the soldering process, the later, drawn-hole horns wouldn't sound like Super 20's.

Wind_Mill
11-06-2003, 04:58 PM
I've heard that some techs will anneal the tubing in spots to make it easier to work out deep dents. One tech I often talk with, though, has cited this as a reason horns so-repaired lose some of their desirable acoustic properties. I wouldn't know either way. This is another gray area in my understanding, which is full of holes anyway.

But it also makes me wonder about the notion that annealing is a positive re older Super 20s/Zephs/Clevelands. All moot, of course, if they actually used soft-soldered tonehole chimneys.

Wind_Mill
11-12-2003, 06:53 PM
frobig, an indirect answer of sorts to your question:

http://www.drrick.com/stencil.html

Check out the link to King toneholes. Dr. Rick states that they're hard soldered (silver soldered). So there ya go!

I found this link on saxpic's site, in the section on stencils.

shmuelyosef
11-13-2003, 03:50 AM
I have a late 40's Zephyr Special tenor on my lap here and the toneholes are drawn, not soldered. It is definitely Cleveland vintage. I have never seen a King with soldered toneholes that I noticed (including at least one 20's vintage horn that I did some soldering on!!)

shmuelyosef
11-13-2003, 03:52 AM
I just checked that website, though, and the SilverSonic is unmistakeably soldered. My Zephyr has contours that are just way too perfect and smooth to be soldered...

Wind_Mill
11-13-2003, 05:01 AM
Until I heard that the late-run 20s had drawn holes, I had assumed everything King made was hard-soldered. One thing that hides the soldering on many of the older Kings is the solid-gold lacquer. The brazing seams are quite obvious on my 394xxx nekkid-brass Zephyr, though.

shmuelyosef
11-15-2003, 09:01 PM
...hmm, I just checked my bare brass Zephyr alto 292K, and upon VERY close inspection, you are right...the toneholes are soldered. I must retract my earlier statement...careful looking at my Zeph Sped 281K also reveals soldering (it appears to have dark lacquer, but the rods are nickel colored, so it is obviously just dark brass under the lacquer). The soldering is done incredibly cleanly with a braze that is slightly brass-colored, so it is very difficult to spot. I apologize for my earlier (incorrect) statements...

Wind_Mill
11-16-2003, 07:01 AM
It's much easier to see the seams if you have keys off and look at the inside base of the toneholes. Dang, shmuelyosef, wish I had some of your collection!

shmuelyosef
11-17-2003, 01:34 AM
My wife probably wishes that you had some of my collection, too...

frobig
11-17-2003, 01:37 AM
Update: the horn that started this whole topic was a Super 20 alto #618xxx. Most of the toneholes are ambiguous-looking--either soldered or drawn to a very high standard, compared to, say, a Bundy or Amati; but a couple definitely are drawn, no doubt about it. The bell keys and chromatic F# are the big tip-offs. This horn is a "USA," not Eastlake. Was King already in Nogales at this point?
Also, as far as the plus and minus of annealing: my brass teacher at Red Wing often pointed out the sloppy construction of Elkhart-made Bach brass. My question was, why do people still buy so doggone many of them? His answer was, because they sound good; the Bach sound is sought-after. He also told us that Bach bells are annealed at 1100°F, for an hour, three times during the manufacturing process, and he sounded like he expected us to make a connection there. If that's not enough of an endorsement, there's all the bronze and copper horns that have hit the market in the last decade or so.

shmuelyosef
11-17-2003, 03:16 AM
Ya know, I was looking at my bare Zeph alto again, and I think these toneholes may be oven brazed. This is a process often used in metal part manufacture, where parts will be fitted, cleaned and fluxed and a braze preform (piece of foil hard solder) will be placed in between the parts and then placed in a fixture to hold everything in place. Then it is placed in an oven in inert gas (nitrogen or argon generally) and heated to the point where the braze melts, then cooled slowly. In my experience as a toolmaker, this was the only way to get brazing/hardsoldering to look this good.

I'm pretty sure that these are hitemp solder (braze, hard solder, whatever you want to call it). This alto came to me for $50...one side of the bell was pushed in and the neck was crushed. I ended up converting it to a single socket neck to save it. I also did lots of soldering on it...several posts had to come off for dent work including raising some toneholes back up. If this was soft solder, some holes would have cracked or fallen off after that abuse. It plays great now, but it's certainly not worth the time and effort I put into it...just a good story! Sometimes I get crazy and decide a horn deserves to be saved. I was driven because it had not been played much at all, the pearls were perfect and all the hinges and pivots were as new.

T.S.
11-17-2003, 05:44 PM
I have a 1976 Super 20 576xxx and I never really looked until I saw this topic, and I believe the tone holes are brazed on due to the extreme right angles from bell/body to bottom of tone hole chimney... (and on very close examination, very fine fillet signs around the base-extremely well done)I looked at my other horns (all with drawn tone holes, and the bottom of the chimney is rounded at the chimney base). I will see if I can confirm this.

As for "USA" being on the bell these start showing up in the early 70's, All USA horns until at least 1979 were built in Eastlake-UMI didn't buy King until 1980. Check the UMI site for a updated serial number list that goes into the 1980's and is extroadinarily helpful in finding the date of post 1975 horns. I think the USA logo, was part of a marketing strategy of "Made in the USA" that was very prevalent in the 1970's (Before something being made here-paricularly pro horns- really became rare or in the case of pro horns, non-existant).

barksguru
12-21-2003, 03:51 AM
This looks like a topic for techies, so to verge off topic a bit, does anyone know when they started using nickel keys and keywork on the Super 20? My 466,000 Eastlake appears to have all nickel keywork, and to put it bluntly, it has a cheapy feel to it (i.e., the keys make kind of a tinny, clanky sound when the horn is played vigorously). I did not experience this with my circa 1950 Zephyr, though I think it also had nickel keys. Maybe the materials and craftsmanship on these earlier horns was just better. I am looking to buy a Super 20 made with mostly brass parts, if anyone knows what the serial number range for these horns would be.

shmuelyosef
12-21-2003, 05:39 AM
I don't know about the very late horns, but all the Kings from somewhere in the 200K region on had nickel rods...very distinctive. They had brass keycups throughout until the Zephyrs at the Eastlake switch which were the first to get the nickel plate on the brass cups. I don't know about the later S20s...The nickel rods are very tough, and also give the Kings a distinctive look. The S20s got brazed on keytouches when they discontinued the full pearls.

barksguru
12-21-2003, 03:18 PM
Thanks shmuelyosef. I had a 1952 Zephyr (like a S20) that I sold a couple months ago, and it definitely had nickel key cups. So some Cleveland horns definitely had nickel keys prior to the Eastlake move. But is it safe to say that nickel key cups weren't added to the S20 until the move to Eastlake, and that they were all brass prior to that? And what about the LH pinky cluster on the Eastlake S20's? This part of my Eastlake also seems to be made of nickel or something other than brass. Does anyone know anything about this? Were these keys ever made of all brass and if so, what serial number range would we be talking about?

Wind_Mill
02-18-2004, 10:27 PM
I've seen late Super 20's with drawn tone holes; when did they start this, and why, if they already transferred the soldering production from Cleveland to Eastlake??

Stirring up an old thread here, but I'm still in the dark on some of this. I was looking at closeups of a very-late "USA" engraved S20 recently, and the bow and bell tonehole chimneys clearly appeared to be soldered on, whereas with the body it wasn't as decisive. What mystifies me is, if the late-late models do indeed have drawn toneholes, was that just a labor-saving move of a struggling company? If the tooling for tonehole brazing was already there and, as someone here suggested, perhaps a mechanized process as opposed to handwork, it doesn't seem logical that King would shift to the drawn variety to save money.

I haven't seen any late (post-700xxxx, USA-labeled) Kings and can't "draw" any conclusions, but I do know that their brazing method was so good on the early horns that it certainly has fooled a lot of people into believing those were drawn too. The question of whether the brazing process was purely craftwork is one to ponder.

T.S.
02-19-2004, 06:40 PM
I have a 576xxx USA stamped Eastlake horn with brass key cups and nickel rods and brazed tone holes built in 1976 (bought new in 1977). (It has a brass underslung neck (I use a silver Gloger underslung, now), though over the top octave keys were being seen at the same time, as the shop I bought it from had a Silversonic with an over the top neck sitting next to mine).
In any case, the action is as smooth and precise with no clinking of any sort.

Wind_Mill
02-21-2004, 10:30 PM
Didn't have a chance to inspect it myself, but the owner of a 71xxxx Super 20 tenor told me the toneholes on his horn *were* brazed.

xax
04-27-2004, 09:46 PM
my tech worked at the King Eastlake plant circa 1963-73, building the great King Super20's. as his story goes, all s20's were built at Eastlake. after Seeburg bought King, the long downhill slide began. sometime about 1973, King began importing body tubes from Japan. these are the horns with the drawn tone holes. however, the bell (and neck) was still made at Eastlake and still had the soldered tone holes. he assumed that the tubes were made by Yamaha but agreed that it could just as well have been Yanagisawa, which is my guess. the evolutionary path that the Yanigisawa's have taken seems too coincidental. (also ebay, mystery super 21's that look like yani's). at any rate that's HIS story and i'm stickin to it.

T.S.
04-30-2004, 05:43 PM
That story has probably some truth to it, but it doesn't explain horns like mine, built in 1976, with brazed tone holes on both body and bell...and horns with later serial numbers that had the same set up.
Perhaps there was a lot of King built body tubes laying around, but that theory seems unlikely because of the seeming large number of horns that were built with these features much longer than surplus body tubes should have been able to account for. The mystery continues....

xax
05-04-2004, 12:24 AM
that date (1973) was approximate, based on a casual recollection. also, i think it was gradual changeover. i'll ask him the next time i see him.

T.S.
05-06-2004, 04:27 PM
That would be great stuff to know...I know that 20's were built in Eastlake until about '79 or 80, (but until recently on the UMI site, serial #S only went to 1975-thankfully, that has been amended), and then in about 1980, they were moved to Nogales when UMI bought the company.

If you wouldn't mind, ask your tech if he knows how early the SML over the top octave key necks were used, and why there was such mix of over (SML made) and under (King made) neck for what seems to be at least a five year period...

xax
06-02-2004, 02:56 AM
TS (and all)
i went to see my tech today. after he stopped ROFL about the leaks in my Edgware tenor, here is what Jack had to say regarding the King Super 20 tone hole mystery. Circa 1972-73, King began importing body tubes from Japan for use on the Super 20's. however, they were STILL making Super 20 body tubes (w/ soldered tone holes) at Eastlake during this time. he didn't know for how long, but apparently the U.S. made output dwindled over time.
further, he said that by the time UMI bought King, the Eastlake (and Cleveland?)plant was completely shut down. UMI restarted production of King instruments in the Conn plant in Nogales. "those horns are crap" (his words) because there was no one there with the expertise to build them right. that's what i recall of the conversation but if i learn(or recall) any more i'll let youse know. if you're in the new england area you might want to have Jack lay his hands on your King. he's one of the best....he's at Ted Herbert Music Store in Manchester, NH.
i forgot to ask about the sml over the top neck...

shmuelyosef
06-02-2004, 04:34 AM
Is this to suggest that if your S20 has soldered toneholes then the body tube was made in Eastlake, and if it has drawn toneholes it was made in Japan?

xax
06-02-2004, 01:32 PM
in reference to the S20 body tubes, i would say it suggests pizakly that.

T.S.
06-03-2004, 07:13 PM
Schmuelyosef- Thanks for the info to you and your teacher....He has confirmed what I had suspected. I would love to ask him about why there was such a mix of over the top and underslung necks being seen on horns on Supers from late 400's on up to the end of Eastlake production (600XXX???). It was obvious that the Over necks were being made for King by SML (the brace is the giveaway on these)..But why? I assume it must have been a cost cutting measure as the line limped into UMIdom...

T.S.
06-03-2004, 07:16 PM
XAX-
My last post addressed to Schmuelyosef was intended for you-I misread headers (my apologies to both!)

Thanks again for the Info!

xax
07-10-2004, 01:13 AM
more info re. the King saxophone manufacturing process:
last friday when i picked up alto, i asked Jack, "how did you solder the King tone holes on?". were they oven brazed?". "hell no...it was with a big @ss hand held torch!". about annealing , he said that during the process of making a horn, it would become "work hardened". so after every so many operations, it would be annealed to make it workable again. also, he said that "back in the day", all the brass for all (most?) of the instrument makers in the world, came from a company in Cleveland (i don't remember the name) with each manufacturer having it's own (secret) formula. anyway, that's his story and i'm stickin to it.

Super 20 Player
09-04-2004, 02:58 AM
There's an intersesting discussion of this topic on another sax forum:

http://saxgourmet.myforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=22&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Joe Fool
11-24-2004, 08:26 PM
TS (and all)
i went to see my tech today. after he stopped ROFL about the leaks in my Edgware tenor, here is what Jack had to say regarding the King Super 20 tone hole mystery. Circa 1972-73, King began importing body tubes from Japan for use on the Super 20's. however, they were STILL making Super 20 body tubes (w/ soldered tone holes) at Eastlake during this time. he didn't know for how long, but apparently the U.S. made output dwindled over time.
further, he said that by the time UMI bought King, the Eastlake (and Cleveland?)plant was completely shut down. UMI restarted production of King instruments in the Conn plant in Nogales. "those horns are crap" (his words) because there was no one there with the expertise to build them right. that's what i recall of the conversation but if i learn(or recall) any more i'll let youse know. if you're in the new england area you might want to have Jack lay his hands on your King. he's one of the best....he's at Ted Herbert Music Store in Manchester, NH.
i forgot to ask about the sml over the top neck...

Hahahah Jack is the man! I've been going to teds from the start and I actually work there now. Jack knows so much about this stuff I feel so lucky that he's there.

Pinnman
12-19-2004, 03:04 PM
Just picked up on this fascinating thread and the revealing discussion refrred to at the Saxgourmet site. However, all the King discusison appears to relate to S20s; what about Zephyrs - what sort of tone holes do they have?

shmuelyosef
12-24-2004, 12:56 AM
Certainly Zephyr bodies from around 200XXX on have brazed on toneholes...I think the earlier ones all did too, but I can't remember and don't have an example here right now...