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Saxophones Buying a Selmer SA80 or SA80 II tenor?

A

Anton

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I played a Trevor James SC RAW but I sold it. I really liked this sax but didn't like the way the patina changed the look/color of the sax. So now I am looking for a laquered sax again. I tried serveral saxophone models and makes and so far I really like the Selmer SA80 tenorsaxophones.

I tried several and I narrowed it down to these 3 tenors: a Selmer SA80 II from1998, a early SA80 II from 1986 and a SA80 series I from 1985.

I also found the other thread about the SA80 vs SA80II but still don't know for sure what to buy. So far they are all great sxophones and they cost nearly the same. Is there a reason to avoid a certain series (I or II) or a certain year? Or should I just get the best looking (newer) one? (trying other Selmers models is not an option because of the budget).

cheers,
Anton
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

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The only reason to buy a saxophone is, if after playing it, you like it.
 
kevgermany

kevgermany

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Selmer lacquer is terrible. Be prepared to have a scruffy sax if you buy one.

Having said that, which of the ones you've tried feels/sounds/plays best? And if you still can't decide, buy either the one with best lacquer or the cheapest, or the nearest to you. Cheapest leaves more money for reeds....

My tutor has 2 SA80 IIs. Says one is a lot better than the other, keeps that for gigs and uses the poorer one for teaching. If there's a lot of variation, it may be worth throwing a few more.
 
richardr

richardr

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Interesting post, Anton.
I have a TJ RAW tenor and I'm contemplating buying a Selmer but my reasons are different. Right now I'm reminded of how good my TJ is because it's temporarily out of action while the crook is away for re-corking. My right hand is aching from the effort of playing my Grassi with its keys that don't suit me.
One of the things I like about the TJ is the patina it has developed through playing, bright keys and left side that rubs against me contrasting with the dark dullness of the rest of the instrument.
Years ago I decided to buy the best sax I could afford and tried very many of them including an SA80 but the one that blew me away was a Reference 54 which I bought on the spot despite it costing much more than I had intended to spend. It was stolen before I'd played it very much and, after struggling with my Grassi for a year, I bought the TJ. I haven't regretted it but I still have that Selmer itch that isn't going away, mainly because I want to find out what I have missed. Really the only thing that is stopping me is that I'd like to try one first to find whether it fits my hands which are rather less supple than when I had the Ref.54, something you can't do when you're buying on line.
Anyway, I'd suggest trying a Reference 54 if you can before taking the plunge. Maybe they really are as good as I thought when I bought one.
 
griff136

griff136

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Selmer SA80 horns whether series I or II are great IMHO and the fact that the series II has been produced for 30 yrs and for stayed in the top 5 horns of choice says something. Yes as Kevgermany says there can be a problem with acid bleed ( where the flux on soldered joints ins't neutralised or cleaned of the bare brass and tarnished the metal underneath the lacquer, no more so than other brands IMO.
A well regulated SA 80 horn will feel comfortable and should play well. They also hold their price if you decide to sell on but in my experience once you have one you're likely to keep it - you don't see that many of them on the secondhand market when you consider how many they made. Also your post that your teacher has 2 of them says something.
 
A

Anton

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Thanks for the replies. The Reference (and others like the mark VI) are above my budget. The Trevor James RAW was my first 'pro' horn and I am still learning how to play sax better. However I can hear/feel much more the difference between saxophones as I was able to notice a few years ago. So must I have learned something. I really like the RAW and still do after selling it, but mine was changing into a different color schema as I expected. The RAW is still my reference for what I am looking for in a sax. I was somewhat surprised to end up with the SA80 tenor on top of my list.

I tried several horns like a few Yamaha (61&/62), a few Cannonballs and some old saxophones from Martins and Conn. (I love the old Amercans but don't like the keywork). I also had high hopes for a laquered TJ SC but was able to try only one example here in The Netherlands. I don't know if it was just sample difference but I didn't find it as good as my RAW.
 
DavidUK

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Selmer lacquer is terrible. Be prepared to have a scruffy sax if you buy one.

Having said that, which of the ones you've tried feels/sounds/plays best? And if you still can't decide, buy either the one with best lacquer or the cheapest, or the nearest to you. Cheapest leaves more money for reeds....

My tutor has 2 SA80 IIs. Says one is a lot better than the other, keeps that for gigs and uses the poorer one for teaching. If there's a lot of variation, it may be worth throwing a few more.

My SA80II alto from 1991 has 100% perfect lacquer so it is possible some are OK.

Having said that, I recall seeing a Cigar Cutter with zero lacquer, all brown and mottled - fabulous!!
 
Ivan

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I have SA80 alto and SA80 II tenor

Small difference in key design... both solid horns
 
jimmylh

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I have an SA 80II tenor. The main difference between it and my YTS-82Z is the BIS key. There is a noticeable height difference from the B and the BIS key. The BIS key sits lower than the B. On my Yamaha the B and the BIS are pretty much level with each other. From what I've read not all SA 80II's are like that. I've inspected it and the BIS is not bent, it's where it is welded to the C cup.
 
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jimmylh

jimmylh

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I have SA80 alto and SA80 II tenor

Small difference in key design... both solid horns

@Ivan How is your BIS key in relation to the B?
 
Ivan

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@Ivan How is your BIS key in relation to the B?
Bis seems same on both

Front F key has a pearl on SA80 but on SA80II it's lower profile and, in theory, a slicker lacquered tear drop shape. But actually using the front F, I've not really noticed much ergonomic difference between the two
 
A

Anton

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Thanks for all the replies.

I tried the front F on both models and they both plays great, so no problem there.
 
A

Anton

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Just tried a very early Selmer SA80 II from 1986 at the saxshop. It 's a great sax. I took it home and can try it for a week. I think I am gonna keep this one..... :).
 
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fibracell

fibracell

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Great horns. I picked my tenor after trying a few selmers. The ref54 was great but the guy wouldn't do a part ex, so the next best for me was an sa80 II. My alto is also sa80 II.
 
kevgermany

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My tutor plays them. Says they're much better than the MkVIs. But the bottom end can't play quite so gently.
 
Ads

Ads

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The SA80-II is my "last" tenor - had a great time having 2 years out with Yamahas (62, 61 and 32) but a return to Selmer was what was needed (I knew it later on but couldn`t bear the thought of trying to find another "blessed" MkVII) , tried the RAW, a fantastic horn but didn`t fit like the more refined SA80-II did and couldn`t get on with Keiilwerth Tenor keywork (otherwise a Shadow would have been next contender) .....

Funny that Alto wise Yamahas fit better , I prefer the Bright and cutting Yamaha sound more in an Alto than a Tenor and the YAS280 is a fantastic compromise between price (cheap), Build (on a par with a 62 MkIII though not up to the late 80s Purple Logo 62s) and sound (far more like a Mk1 62 than a MkIII) ...
 
A

Anton

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The SA80 II tenor has some 'brown color' on two places. Is it acid bleed and is it a problem to look after? (see the attached pictures).
 

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rhysonsax

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That looks like a case of "red rot" to me. It can attack instruments made of brass, including saxophones, and eventually (over many years) can cause bad problems.

More information on the interweb, for instance: Red-Rot in Brass Instruments

Rhys
 
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