Tutorials

Saxophones Selmer Mk VI

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,413
Location
brighton by the sea
Because- at the time- they reckoned the Mk VII was better, I'd assume. From my experience the MK VII is actually pretty damn fine (bar one very odd bit of ergonomics on the left hand table).
 

Ricwsax

New Member
Messages
12
Hi, I've just found my way back the forum after a long time away. What makes the Mark VI special? For me, two things: sound and ergonomics. Mine gives a very focused sound - full but with enough edge to cut through. Also, it's flexible so that I can get a rounder, mellow sound when playing jazz but with the same mouthpiece and reed it'll easily scream above the funk/rock band I sometimes play with. Ergonomics - the action is light and when I press a key it seems to almost close itself. The action is fast, even and precise. I've compared it with a number of classic tenors: Conn New Wonder, Conn 10M, King Zephyr, King Super 20 and Buescher Aristocrat. After playing any of them the Mark VI just feels so light and easy under the fingers. I haven't compared it so much with modern saxes other than a Yani which had a nice action but lacked character to my mind.

So, it's special because it combines a great sound with top rate "modern" action and has character.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Location
Sweden
I think Selmer Mk VI became a succes in the 50's and 60's and sat the standard because:

- Best allround sax! Jazz, classical, Rock ......
- Good ergonomics. You could play faster!
- Contemporary sound! Brighter?
- Good construction! Cut hours at the tech. Easy to work on!
- Intonation.
- Just one model!!! The MkVI. Easy to sell.
- The price was right, compared to other "pro-saxes"!

Beside that, there was a big market in USA after WWII for MK VI. Better to sell a Selmer and make money behind the desk instead of trying to construct, built and sell a pro-sax. Hard to get people in USA in the 50's to work on a line in at factory. Mass production, was the thing in USA!! USA ruled the world in those days. Marschall aid! USA pumped n lots of money in Europe.

So behind the Selmer MK VI succes it's perhaps more politics, money and social things instead of just a good sax. But it was a very good sax. I think a new Yamaha 62 is better than an old overpriced Selmer MK when it comes to playability VI!?!?!?!?!?!?

Thomas
 

Rock Lobster

Member
Messages
124
Sorry folks, this is probably a daft question from a beginner but I don't understand these different types of Selmer sax. When i go to a shop I see Selmer Mark II and Mark III alto's but no VI. I assume there is a range of Selmers, what is it and is one type generally perceved as better than another?

Sorry to be thick.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
Sorry folks, this is probably a daft question from a beginner but I don't understand these different types of Selmer sax. When i go to a shop I see Selmer Mark II and Mark III alto's but no VI. I assume there is a range of Selmers, what is it and is one type generally perceved as better than another?

Sorry to be thick.
Selmer kept improving their designs over time. The higher the number the later the design. If you find a MkIII, it's really old. And some models are known by MK number, others by design name. If you're interested there's a lot out on the web. Saxpics.com is a good place to start. But beware - there's a lot of BS and a lot of different opinions. Some people say the Mk VI was the best, and then go on to distinguish between early and later ones... Best to keep a very open mind. I've never played one, wouldn't like to comment on the relative merits/demerits.

But all else aside, Selmers are very highly regarded. And many design features of the mark VI are to be found on most modern saxes.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,471
Location
Surrey, UK
Sorry folks, this is probably a daft question from a beginner but I don't understand these different types of Selmer sax. When i go to a shop I see Selmer Mark II and Mark III alto's but no VI. I assume there is a range of Selmers, what is it and is one type generally perceved as better than another?

Sorry to be thick.
Current Selmers include SA80 Series II and Series III (actually "Serie" as it's French and they ran out of letter s). So these aren't "Marks" but "Series". They are both top professional models, along with the Reference 54 (alto and tenor) and Reference 36 (tenor only) which are sort of recreations of previously successful models (the MkVI and the BA respectively). All top quality models and it's down to personal preference which you like best.

The SA80 (no "Serie" as they didn't know then that there would be later variants) came out in about 1981 after a short run of the MkVII (about 1974 - 1981) which followed the MkVI (about 1954 - 1974).

The MkVI was so called (I believe) because it was based on the sixth prototype when Selmer were developing with Marcel Mule for their new model in the early 1950s to replace the Balanced Action and Super Action models.

It's more complicated than that, as Selmer made various modifications and enhancements within each model run, so two MkVIs from different years could look a bit different. And also the MkVI design for bass, baritone, soprano and sopranino continued on after alto and tenor switched to the MkVII design, even though some "VIs" were marked as "VIIs" !

Hope that helps - for more information and pictures look at the Saxpics website: http://www.saxpics.com/?v=man&manID=18

Rhys
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Location
Sweden
I think a good/mint Selmer MK VI can be as good as a modern pro sax. I think it's more the amateur saxplayers who keep the prices up. The pros I know is playing on other brands/models nowadays. Too much money for them and their old MK VIs spent too much time at the techs. A friend of mine, just playing for fun, bought a MK VI "wreck" the other month for 35000 s e k (nearly £ 3000.00). A new Yamaha 62 is about 24 000 s e k!!!
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Location
Sweden
Just a thought, If the Selmer Mk6 sax was so good and everyone wants one, why did they stop making them and why don't they go back to that design? Anyone?:)
My personal opinion: In manufactoring a saxophone you need tools and machines. After some years the equipment is worn out. I think Selmer made some changes around 62-63. The earlier Selmer had a darker more mellow sound (but I can't hear it!!!) and a new brighter sound was in demand. So mabey around ten years was the lifecycle for thier tools? In the end of the Selmer MK VIs era Yamaha and Yangisawa made nearly as good or even better saxes. The Japanese was better in making tools and machines for saxophone manufactoring!!! The scale of a Yamaha 62 vas/is very even. If Selmer had continued manufactoring MK VI without investing in new models and teckhnolgy they had probably ended up like Conn and Buescher. More or less making studentsaxes.

I think they are back to basic. Selmer Ref 54.

I'm no expert on Selmers, so I can be wrong!!!!!!
 

Supersaxo

New Member
Messages
1
Just a thought, If the Selmer Mk6 sax was so good and everyone wants one, why did they stop making them and why don't they go back to that design? Anyone?:)
Regularly, the production methods improve, and you must keep in mind that it is all about market. For a similar quality/sound/playability, the manufacturer who produces in the most efficient way wins. And we know that Asiatic manufacturers are pretty good at it.
 

Merryfisher

Member
Messages
254
Location
Hampshire
I think Selmer Mk VI became a succes in the 50's and 60's and sat the standard because:

- Best allround sax! Jazz, classical, Rock ......
- Good ergonomics. You could play faster!
- Contemporary sound! Brighter?
- Good construction! Cut hours at the tech. Easy to work on!
- Intonation.
- Just one model!!! The MkVI. Easy to sell.
- The price was right, compared to other "pro-saxes"!

Beside that, there was a big market in USA after WWII for MK VI. Better to sell a Selmer and make money behind the desk instead of trying to construct, built and sell a pro-sax. Hard to get people in USA in the 50's to work on a line in at factory. Mass production, was the thing in USA!! USA ruled the world in those days. Marschall aid! USA pumped n lots of money in Europe.

So behind the Selmer MK VI succes it's perhaps more politics, money and social things instead of just a good sax. But it was a very good sax. I think a new Yamaha 62 is better than an old overpriced Selmer MK when it comes to playability VI!?!?!?!?!?!?

Thomas
could'nt agree with you more re the Yam 62 - or for even better value, a Yam 61 - for about a £1000, they are the business, especially when you see how much MKVI are going for - or is it a case of 'The King's New Clothes'?
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,489
Location
the Netherlands
the legend of the Selmer VI is based on the “ Legends”(all the great players) who have played this instruments and the previous SBA.

They were, without any doubts the most advanced saxophones at the time when most of the “ legends” were around.

Of course by the time the legends started fading their legacy lived on, to this day we still play their music and part of their legacy was the paraphernalia linked to them.

So in the ’80 the “ Vintage “ saxophone trend was born, the fewer “ greats" of the time (as opposed to the many “ legends” of the 4 decades before) they were all playing the instruments played by the "legends “ before of them and played their music too.

The “ Legends” in their own time had played the newest horns that were available to them or they could afford. Non of the “ legend” played a worn-out saxophone, that wasn’t done at the time, they often chnaged horns and if they kept one they had it relacqued.

In the ’80, the greats, who were very respectful of the “ legends” wanted to play on the same instruments that the “ legends” played, the worn out shabby chic style that had recently appeared in the clothing (remember when the term “ stone-washed” appeared on Jeans? ) translated also to the horns.

Yes, “ the greats” played on original untouched instruments which, by this time, were showing the signs of time.

The grottier the better. Vintage, Vintage! I love you!

Horns which wouldn’t have been touched by any of the legends because they looked like a piece of human waste became the rage to the point that a few years later, like they had started selling pre worn-out jeans with tears and oil stains, they started selling “ relic” guitars and unlacquered saxophones.........just as well they didn’t think that putting dents in the “ vintage “ saxophone would have been beneficial.
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,821
Location
Breakfast room since '06
Let's not forget....

They are still a great horn and many people play them for that reason.

Besides which, we all love our hobby.
People love VW Campers for many reasons that don't extend to reliability, efficiency, creature comfort and all mod cons.
Likewise, what makes one used stamp more fascinating and valuable than another?....now thats something I'll never get or care about!

But a MKVI is still up there with anything you can buy in every aspect and after having every feature copied by other manufacturers, I don't think any one has been able to raise the bar.
Personal taste plays a large part in horn selection and rightly so. There for you'll probably love what you have.

Here is a strange thing...my favourite horn is my King Super 20 but if I could only have one horn it would be my MKVI.
I'm more confused about that than you!!!:confused:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,489
Location
the Netherlands
We live in a world of “ icons" because our post modern popular culture has became, in essence, a referent-ial culture , many of the things “ in vogue" now refer to things past to give strength and cachet to things present.

So many of us idealise our youth or a period of the history ( the ’40, the ’50, the ’60, the ’70) that suits our illusion of a past better than the present and , G-d forbid, of the scary future!

So yes, the VW is an icon but not a great means of transportation. Most vehicles in that category now surpass it in many ways.

The saxophone, for some strange and intriguing reason, is , supposedly, the only product of the industrial revolution which has progressed and evolved until the ’50 ’60 and then mysteriously devolved......... go figure!
 
Top Bottom