This is a 1948 King Super 20 tenor saxophone with ‘full pearls’ on the side keys, G#, octave key, and palm keys, as well as on the rest of the key touches. The pearls, solid silver neck, double socket neck tenon, and fancier engraving mark this out as being the deluxe version of the Super 20 that sells for more and that is highly coveted by players for its beauty and unbeatable tone. This tenor is original lacquer, meaning that it hasn’t been refinished, but the original lacquer was chemically removed from the body tube, and still remains on the keys giving the horn a cool two tone look. It came to me from a pro player on consignment, and it plays well, like you might expect for a horn that had been recently restored. It was overhauled by Ivan Lukyanets in Encino, CA, who has a great reputation among pro players in the LA area. It feels nice and snappy under the fingers, and the black kangaroo skin pads are sealing well. They have flat, medium sized metal resonators that work well on a King and are similar to factory spec for this era.
This tenor is very clean condition mechanically. I don’t see any past dent work or any resolders or other past repairs at all. The original solid sterling silver neck is also in excellent condition, and has not been damaged or pulled down. It has the matching serial number, as you can see.
The main reason to get a King Super 20 tenor saxophone is the tone. These late 40’s Super 20 tenors are big and bold and projecting while still being medium dark and very saturated and punchy. If you put on a brighter mouthpiece, like the classic Berg Larsen / King Super 20 pairing, then you get a killing sort of dark/fat/bright/projecting sound that you can’t get on any other saxophone. It’s the reason why there is such a thriving community of King Super 20 players even 70 years after horns like this one were manufactured. It’s my favorite tenor as well, out of everything that I have played.
If you’re looking for a very good professional tenor to play and enjoy that won’t back down no matter what you throw at it, that will cut through a band with ease, even without amplification, and that has the beauty of the pearls, engraving, and silver neck, then by all means, get this one. I try to keep a good selection of King Super 20 tenors around, so check them out, and email me with any questions. If you want to pair it with a new case, I can get you a great deal on a BAM that will fit it well. Just for fun, here’s a clip of Charlie Ventura playing his ’48 King Super 20 tenor:
And I suspect, but cannot prove, that Sonny Rollins played Saxophone Colossus on a Super 20 much like this!
Only one available!