This was one of the ugliest Series 2 King Super 20 altos I’ve ever seen. Someone had replaced the Bb/B key guard with an extended nickel plated one that covered C# as well. Which meant the guard feet had to be moved leaving bare spots in the lacquer. A really bad spot fix covered them up but filled in the gorgeous original engraving in the process. What a shame. It sure had its fair share of bumps and bruises to complement the nasty cosmetics.
But it had such a nice sound and all those pearls everywhere. Plus Cannonball played this vintage on so many great albums. I had an idea. Strip this horn and reveal the true beauty of what was underneath. Let it resonate for all its worth. Put back on the original guard. Resolder the guard feet to eliminate any body tube stress. Slip in some slightly oversized flat nickel resonators for a little extra punch. Use the best Pisoni Pro pads. It was gonna be good.
We decided to push the project just a little bit further. Since the lacquer was being chemically stripped (with absolutely not one touch of a buffing wheel), why not put the original Series 1 engraving pattern on the bow and C/C# pad cups? Sherry Huntley of Artistic Engraving did the work and it is absolutely beautiful.
The setup is pretty much wide open. With a Meyer Brothers NY 5M, this horn makes a serious statement. It’s so much fun to play. It’s so alive in your hands. And those amazing pearl palm and side keys feel so special on your fingers. I just love this horn. Cosmetically? Let’s just say it transformed into a closet horn that you can actually play without worrying about scratching the lacquer.
The owner is so happy with this project that we’ve matched it with a tenor of the same vintage. See the finished project and get the low-down.