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Saxophones Advice required on Selmer MkVI Soprano


I've the opportunity to buy a very late Selmer MkVI Soprano saxophone. I am tempted for two reasons. I play Alto (Hanson) and was tempted a couple of years ago to consider a Selmer. More recently I was considering getting a curved Soprano because I was listening to a bit of smooth jazz (Dave Koz, don't laugh) I thought a "smaller" Alto would be great. I was considering something like a £500 BW but couldn't justify spending that amount of money on something I might play once and then never touch again and then lose all my money. So this Selmer seems the perfect opportunity to try a Soprano and own a MkVI at the same time.

The question I have is, that I'm not a brilliant player and I could find that it's not for me and then decide to sell it on. What sort of price would a late (79/80) Soprano command and are they a very desirable instrument? I've seen some advertised for £2.5k and £2.2k. Also, the instrument has lost some lacquer on the back which looks like little spots of brown rust. Does this tend to affect prices and is that the sort of thing you'd expect in a 30 yr old instrument anyway.

I know the owner who's had it from new and he says it plays well.

Just been reading an earlier post about the 54/74 MkVi Vs Reference 54 which is a very similar situation to mine.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Well, I quite like MkVI sops but an awful lot of folk think they're rubbish. I suspect, if you're not a brilliant player, the biggest problem you will have with it is intonation. Much as I like the sound of the things I'm not sure I'd want the hard work and, if offered one, I'd probably pass it over in favour of a new Yanag.

I probably should point out that my current sop is a Yanag that is a copy of a MkVI and I've had it for about 28 years. I haven't yet had a convincing reason to replace it. My first sax was a sop - a Buescher TrueTone from the 30s - so I've been playing the bloomin' things for about 40 years.
Kessler Custom KCS1 "Performance" Model Straight Soprano @ $500 would be my choice stateside. Dunno if there places in EuroLand that provide killer instruments at almost no profit margin. Can't talk to VAT and shipping either. What I can talk to is stellar intonation out of the box, easily resellable instrument, and highly rated by the folks who have purchased them. My friend who have purchased Kessler instruments however have never sold them though. Curvies are a bit more for a decent horn I'm afraid.
+1 with what nick said re being an experienced player and IMHO sops are the hardest saxes to "tame". You can shorten the odds by getting a decent modern sop like a Yanni or Yamaha. - if you want one to potter about on or for occasional use then for great value for money you could try either the BW or my personal preference for a "budget" sop would be the Selmer Liberty available from if they still have any left!
Also consider later Selmer sops - I'm very happy with my Selmer SAII which I bought for half the price of what I would have to pay for a mkVI and it has excellent intonation, better than the Yamaha sop I owned some years ago. Pete
I'm probably biased here and can't say that I have played main different Sopranos but I'm loving my BW M2 Straight Soprano. I find it easy to keep the intonation top to bottom. It is much better than the Yamaha 475 and Trevor James Sop's I've tried.

As for my post on the Mark VI - I decided against getting one and opt for a decent horn that plays well for less money!
I wouldn't recommend it unless you are a committed soprano player. I love both of mine (I use one, my daughter uses the other), nothing quite matches it for tone IMHO; I had a Serie II previously but whilst that had more modern keywork (including a front F and more comfortable palm keys etc and also a lot heavier), I prefer the tone of the VI. They do take a lot of work to get the best out of them but they do have a mojo all of their own. I fairly recently paid £1300 for one and £2100 for the other, both fairly late models with high F# (really handy for certain notes) and in good nick. Unlike the altos and tenors, I don't think they changed much over the years as relatively few were made. Also, as they have often not been used much, they can be in very good nick for their age. However, ergonomically and intonationally, they have their challenges; satisfying to work with but not a horn for an occasional player, I'd say. As you say, as long as you don't pay over the odds and don't need to sell in a hurry, you ought to get your money back if you ever need to sell one. For something that's easy to live with, Yamaha would get my vote - the Serie II isn't that easy to play, either. I haven't played any of the current budget horns although the Antigua has a very good name as a good copy of the Yanagisawa horns.
Thanks all for the great advice. Some really good points. I'd no idea that it would be that much harder to play a Soprano. Maybe Dave Koz just makes it look easy!! Sounds like it would have been a bit of mistake to buy the Selmer. When I get the itch again I'll consider some of the other options you've all suggested. btw Gandalfe I'm going to Vegas in May, and I see that Kessler are there so I may check them out.
btw Gandalfe I'm going to Vegas in May, and I see that Kessler are there so I may check them out.
I did that five years ago and played six stellar instruments. I made sure he knew I was coming. After playing all the instruments I was surprised what I ended up buying (a Kessler Custom). I learned soooo much and you will too. Luv these guys (Dad Chuck and son Dave Kessler).

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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