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King Super 20 Alto Series III Original Lacquer Very Good Condition 376523$ 3,950
King Super 20 Tenor Full Pearls Very Good Condition Good Pads 308996$ 6,500
This is the Super 20 that most people want. This is the version with the more modern LH pinky (spatula) keys, but that still has ‘full pearls’ on all the key touches, double socket, solid-silver neck, and engraved bell keys. It has had a recent repad, and I just got it freshly checked out and setup, so it’s playing quite well. There aren’t many original lacquer Super 20’s from this most desirable serial range in the world. Far fewer than people realize! There are about 10x as many 5-digit Mark VI’s as there are full pearls Super 20’s.
King Super 20 Tenor Original Lacquer 349080 Very Good Condition$ 4,650
Selmer Mark VI Tenor 112706 American Engraved Very Good Condition$ 8,750
Selmer Mark VI Tenor 77158 Original Lacquer Very Good Condition Great Deal! 1958$ 11,000
It would be hard to find a better deal on a Mark VI tenor at the moment. This horn just got tuned up by Aaron Barnard in Cedar Rapids (great repairman), and it plays effortlessly with a big, powerful tone. The tone is medium dark, and focused with lots of power. It brightens up when pushed, but this is the sort of tone that people love in a good 80k Mark VI. It sounds a lot like my 81k. The only reason this isn’t priced about $3k higher is that it had a neck pickup removed, and has had a few minor past repairs. That doesn’t matter when Aaron does the pickup-ectomy, because he puts a ‘flush plug’ in that matches the curve of the brass inside and outside. It’s like the pickup was never there. Besides that, this was a one owner horn, and it was played a lot but well cared for. The only other past repairs I see are a few dings removed from the back of the body tube and bow (bow ones are basically invisible, and the back of the body ones look like a tiny cloudy spot, for example above the serial number). And the bell flare had a crease removed and is in the correct contour now and feels just fine. Neck is in great shape aside from the lacquer loss from when the pickup was installed in the first place. As repairs go, none of these is very serious, and the horn plays just how it should.
For an original lacquer 1958-59 VI, you’d typically have to pay a lot more than this. I’m pricing this one on the low side for what it is, so that someone can get a relative bargain on it. The market is a bit confusing to folks right now, with people on eBay and some private websites listing horns for 3-5x their actual value. I’m not going to do that. But I’ll tell you this horn would be priced much higher elsewhere, and it is an excellent value if you’re looking for tone, and not cosmetic perfection, but you want a horn in good shape, from a great vintage and serial number, and with original lacquer. That’s what this is. There’s only one available, so get it before it’s gone.
Selmer Prelude Student Alto Very Good Condition$ 600
Selmer Radio Improved Alto 19276 Recent Overhaul Very Good Condition$ 5,500
If you read around on here a bit, you’ll see that I love Selmers from the 1930’s and the Radio Improved in particular. This one has most of its original lacquer intact, and is in quite good condition. it is also in great playing condition with a recent overhaul done by Jack Finucane (from a couple of years or so ago before he stopped doing overhauls), and feels nice and snappy under the fingers. The pads look a little funny in photos – that’s because of some powder from Yamaha powder paper that is on the leather. But the pads themselves are in excellent condition and are nearly new. The resonators look like a Reso-Tech set made to match the vintage Selmer Tonex resos, but slightly oversized, and very slightly domed. They are a good match for the horn, and they almost look like vintage Selmer resonators. It didn’t get played much after overhaul, as the owner is in a military band and plays a modern horn most of the time for work. It’s on consignment now, and I think it’ll likely sell quickly.
The tone of a Radio Improved alto is the reason to buy it. It’s like a Selmer blended with a Conn almost- delicate lyrical core that reminds me of an SBA, but with a wider, warmer, more spread feel like a Conn. The keywork is not modern. This is before the ‘Balanced Action’ keywork improvements, so you will have to get used to the left hand pinky keys if you haven’t played a vintage horn before. If you have, then it’s no problem. I barely notice keywork differences anymore after playing all the different styles out there. This one is more comfortable than most, and I like the direct action bell key mechanism.
The original lacquer is in beautiful shape and looks great – deep honey gold. The only spot that isn’t original lacquer (and you’d have to really look closely to tell this) is at the neck receiver, where it looks like Jack had to resolder the neck receiver and then mix up some matching lacquer to over spray there. The only way to tell is that there’s just a little sign of overspray of the new lacquer on top of the original lacquer just below the receiver. That resolder often needs to be done on a 30’s Selmer to make the neck receiver strong again after 80+ years of use. (It was done on my personal RI, so I specially look for it). These horns are very uncommon, and this one is nicer than the great majority of RI’s out there. Only 1140 RI altos were made, and this is probably in the top 10% of those.
Only one available!
Yamaha YSS-62 Purple Logo Soprano Very Good Condition 12637$ 3,450
Yamaha YTS-23 Tenor Very Good Condition Plays Great!$ 1,400