Posted by Rob P-M on October 11, 2001 at 06:35:01:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: 2 things... posted by Tom B. on October 10, 2001 at 19:50:46:
The Conn 20K and the King 2350 are totally different instruments.
The Conn 20K has a .734 bore and the once-patented Conn short action valves. The bore at the bell throat is about 7-1/4". This horn design is basically the original design for Sousa's band modified (1) with an upright bell in the 'teens to become the 38K Sousaphone Grand and (2) in the mid-1930's by replacing the regular 'light action' (but long stroke) valves with the "short action" valves. The bell is 26" (although 24" bells are not unknown on 38Ks and 40Ks). Much of the bracing etc. on my 1950's 20K looks just like the bracing on my 1918-20 Conn helicon.
The King 2350 (formerly 1250, 1250A) has a .687 bore and normal long action valves. The King (H.N. White & Co.) design appears to have been changed a bit in the late 'teens and early '20s, but by catalogs in the late '20's the horn looks identical to those made today. The bell throat bore is 6-1/2" or so, and the major branches are correspondingly smaller than on a 20K. The King has a 26" bell as well, but 24" bells were common as late as the early 1950's.
The playing characteristics of the horns are very different, although both sound wonderful when well-played. The Conn has the larger sound, darker and more 'bassy', perhaps more 'powerful'. A 20K is almost impossible to overblow. The King has an almost sweet sound IMHO, clearly bass, but with a brighter, more cheerful sound, mellower. Traditionally, the Kings were a little cheaper than the Conns.
The choice between the two is purely a matter of taste, IMHO. I've played both and liked them. My choice to own is the 20K.
I think if one were fielding a very large bass line (e.g. 15-20 sousaphones in a 200 piece band), I might be persuaded to go with the Kings, but if I were trying to get as much as I could out of a section of 4-5 sousaphones in a 150 piece band (as many high schools do) I'd only consider the Conns.