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The King Voll-True

King revamped the line again in 1930, and claimed twenty-two improvements over its previous models. These changes were mostly different tonehole locations on the lower stack, the resizing of other toneholes and movement of the octave pip to accommodate the new King designed mouthpiece (which featured a larger tone chamber). This model was called the Voll-True, and can be quite difficult to play with accurate intonation if a small chamber mouthpiece is used.

In 1932, new alto and tenor models were introduced (the alto made its debut in October 1932, followed by the tenor in December and the baritone in July 1933), known as Voll-True II horns. These are very nice looking instruments, incorporating a "modernistic" appearance and highly stylized look with a new bore for a brighter, more brilliant tone -- geared to the new age of professional commercial playing.

In actuality, while the altissimo E/F vent key is eliminated from the late Voll-Trues and early Voll-True II's, the function is not. What essentially happens is when you play high enough (high B and above, if I remember correctly), a double spring "activates" the chromatic side C key AS the altissimo E/F vent key. This sounds like a kinda freaky idea, but this same feature was found on the Martin Handcraft Troubador -- which was produced at about the same time (and for about as long :) This key action feels relatively natural, even though the mechanism is somewhat suspect.

In my opinion, the worst saxophone -- intonation wise -- I've ever played was a s/n 145xxx Voll-True alto (two side key model that had most of the features of the II). Yes, this horn was in need of a repad job and other tweaking, but it wasn't in that bad of shape. I've played horns with cobbled-together keywork an paper-thin pads that played much better. I tested this horn with my trusty Sigurd Rascher large chamber mouthpiece and several others. None played well.

Additionally, I hated the G# cluster of this horn and really didn't consider the tone to be anything special. Perhaps later Voll-True II's are better -- with a King Equa-True mouthpiece.

Footnotes & References

  1. Thanks to Steve Goodson who has again allowed me to copy from his King history article from Sax-on-the-Web.
  2. It is my great pleasure to say that Dr. Paul Cohen has allowed me to copy at length from his various articles. The articles I'm quoting on this page are from: The Saxophone Journal, Vintage Saxophones Revisited column (Spring, 1988) and The Saxophone Journal, "Kings All" (July/August 1998)
  3. For reprints, please see the Dorn Publications website. To get Dr. Cohen's other products, please go to the To the Fore Publishers website.
  4. Specific authors are not attributed because I combined information from Dr. Cohen's and Mr. Goodson's article for this page. It's literally 40% Cohen, 40% Goodson and 20% me combined in such a way to combine all the features mentioned.

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