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Saxophones Selmer Mk VI

jonf

Well-Known Member
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3,680
I've just been browsing on eBay, and have seen a silver Selmer MkVI for sale. Very little description of it, but the start price, with 'reserve not met' is £6,500. Started thinking about what else you could buy for the same money. I came up with three options which would suit my tastes and interests.

BW Bari, tenor, alto and sop. All together would cost about £4k. Would leave about £2.5k to blow on another motorbike. There's a nice 2005 Suzuki 1200 Bandit at a dealer just round the corner from me for that money.

Yanagisawa S901, A901 and T901 all come in for smack on the starting price for the three. Lovely.

Yanagisawa A992 and T992 for a smidge more than the start price for both.

For me, any of these would be better value than a MkVI with no provenance, of uncertain condition and which might not play all that well.
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,932
Crazy price :eek:
Crazy seller!! and there are many of them.

I think VI's are good horns for all reasons and I love 'em but their legendary reputation nudges some people towards insane greed. In turn people desperate to own one have lived with that problem and had to pay out.
Once upon a time it was a gentle steady appreciation in prices now it plain lunacy.
I thought they were priced too high when they started knocking on the door of £4K but still they get listed higher.
I''m not sure how many are selling at these prices though. Maybe its topped out for a while?
But the people who like to push prices will be back quicker than you know it if the sales ever start to flow again.

To put things in perspective, my 1st MKVI was £1200 in about 1997 (silver plated 110,XXX)
In 2007 it seemed to compare with others worldwide that were priced approx £2800 -£3200.
You average relacquer seemed about £2000
Next thing was, in a blink of an eye, very tired and beaten looking relacquers (you know the ones...players horns with monster sounds..yeah ..yeah) were often listed with starting prices like this figure.
Beyond that point in time there have been some remarkable prices but may be as a general community we are finally fed up with the nonsense?

Here is a sought after example :w00t:

Dig deep Jon, you know you want too!
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,125
There's always this one if you want something a little more expensive>:):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1953-Selmer...igh-F-Tenor-Saxophone-Sax-55017-/180875505097

Personally, although it looks nice, I think it's waaaaay over priced!
+20% vat

When I bought mine, it was slightly cheaper than a new Selmer (and I paid what was the current price for a VI) but I tried about 10 MkVIs that were dogs, before finding it.

I would never spend that money on something you don't even know how it plays.
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
Yes I tried every mark VI tenor in Bradford Woodwind Exchange before I chose mine and it wasn't cheap. The thing is that many of these horns are being bought and hoarded by collectors who never take them out of their cases until it's time to sell them again.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
the whole vintage instruments thing has gone crazy - who would pay so much for a mass produced instrument? Would you dare take it out of it's case? Does it even sound so amazing?
Of course you'd have to have a vintage mouthpiece to go with it - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/OTTO-LINK...683?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e6d9cfc83

What's worrying is that vintage saxes are still relatively cheap compared to the £15,000+ you'd pay for a 1950's Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul. It's got to the point where rich rock stars are having exact replicas of their favourite guitars made for gigging because their vintage original instruments are too valuable to take on the road. I've noticed a few Selmer owners using Yanagisawas for gigging and leaving the Mk VI safe at home, gathering dust and value.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,944
This is nuts! I could go to a decent luthier and have a top notch tenor viol hand-made with choice woods, double purfling with ornate design, ornate carved rose, taylor made hard case for £4.5k e.g. this (which is in fact a bit cheaper than that!) or perhaps this
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
This is nuts! I could go to a decent luthier and have a top notch tenor viol hand-made with choice woods, double purfling with ornate design, ornate carved rose, taylor made hard case for £4.5k e.g. this (which is in fact a bit cheaper than that!) or perhaps this
I have always been curious: is there an actual market for original viols?
I've recently seen a few of them in a museum, and there seemed to be no standard.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,944
I have always been curious: is there an actual market for original viols?
I've recently seen a few of them in a museum, and there seemed to be no standard.
Hmmm... very complex question and you can earn a Ph.D studying it....

There are two groups of viols: renaissance and barqoue. For the purposes of brevity, I'll ignore renaissance viols as that is a minefield. Baroque viols were an evolutionary improvement on the renaissance viol - they are built slightly differently, they have sound posts (like a violin does) etc. The shape is more-or-less standardised. The standard sizes are treble, tenor and bass. There are other sizes: the smaller pardessus, and the violone or great bass (in fact the ancestor of the doublebass).

Unlike the members of the violin family (which were developed later and which are not related to the viol) there isn't really an agreed standard for size/pitch. Modern convention is bass in D, tenor in G, treble in D and later the 7 string bass in A (mostly French).

The big challenge is very few original viols have survived. A lot of bass viols were butchered and turned into weird cello shaped objects. English viol makers were regarded as the best with makers such as Jaye and Rose being amongst the best regarded.

The treble and tenor viol fell out of general use in the early 1700s. The bass viol continued (as the bass continuo in baroque music) but finally peters out around late 1700s (Abel is usually regarded as the last composer to write music for viol - sonatas for bass viol in 1770). The violone loses 2 strings and becomes the doublebass.

So, unlike violins/violas/cellos which have been in continuous production, new viols were not being made after sometime in the 1700s. So the only old viols are generally in museums (there are a very few in actual use). So, unlike violins etc just about all viols are new modern instruments. Modern instruments are usually based on a model such as Jaye, Rose, Norman etc (and to be fair violins and cellos are usually modelled on a classic instrument). There are no 'mass produced' viols. The cheapest generally available are semi hand produced ones from Czech republic and Chinese (which are usually fully hand-made). A Czech or Chinese tenor/bass will be around £2,000, treble rather less. The cheapest hand-made commissioned instrument in the UK would be about £3.5k from a young maker starting out and probably £4.5k - £6.5k from an established maker with a 'name'. Lead time usually 6 - 12 months, more for a 'name'. You can get slightly cheaper 'student' instruments which are less fancy (simpler purfling, no carving, no rose etc).

My tenor as seen in my picture here is a baroque tenor viol. It is a Czech one and is based on a John Rose instrument from 1604 which is in the Paris Conservatoire. Chinese instruments have only been available in the UK for less than 10 years and weren't around when I bought this instrument. The base standard of the Chinese instruments (these are badged "Lu-Mi" which is actually made up from the name of a well-known Finnish viol player who has set this company up) is very good but they are somewhat variable. Good instruments are really very fine and compete with luthier commissinoed instruments.

Sorry for the long (and off topic) post!
 
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jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Here's a Mk VI for you...

http://www.trademe.co.nz/music-inst...-instruments/saxophones/auction-475160494.htm

the guy selling it now plays a YSS62 soprano...

need we say any more...

Regards,

Greg S.
So that's about £1900. Much more reasonable, but the sops are never as highly regarded as the tenors and altos, and maybe there's also some effect from being sold in a smaller market (are saxes cheaper or more expensive in NZ?). All the extreme prices I've recently seen for old Selmers has been for tenors.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
The price of the Mark Vi seems to continuously spring discussions.

There seems to be the opinion that they are bought and secretly kept by non playing collectors (although curiously all manners of Mark VI are continuously offered by shops and private sellers alike.......and they all all described and “ Warm and Lush") who are depriving deserving poor musicians from the seemingly ONLY instruments worth playing ........if you are any good, the mark VI Saxophone. (please observe the tongue in the cheek!)

Of course they are not rare at at all since about 200.000 were made but the Mark Vi is a very special object since it is the only industrial product which apparently follows the principle of the inverse evolution and was invented at the peak of its quality which only decreased as time went by .


Selmer obviously realised that they were making a far too great product and purposely sabotaged the production by stopping using the WW I special howitzer shells (although some talk of a huge warehouse in Verdun with that metal bought by Selmer and kept there unused).
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Of course they are not rare at at all since about 200.000 were made but the Mark Vi is a very special object since it is the only industrial product which apparently follows the principle of the inverse evolution and was invented at the peak of its quality which only decreased as time went by .
This is actually quite a common phenomenon. Nikon film cameras from the F3 onwards? Mercedes E class during the 1990s? BMW motorcycle engineering quality? Vixen astro tripods? It occurs when manufacturers try to cash in on the market success of a high quality product by cheapening manufacture and trading on the good name they've built up.

Selmer obviously realised that they were making a far too great product and purposely sabotaged the production by stopping using the WW I special howitzer shells (although some talk of a huge warehouse in Verdun with that metal bought by Selmer and kept there unused).
I've always though of this as an urban myth.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
This is a hype based on the same fact that the good old days were per definition better.

A friend of mine says that we like the good old days because their memory has somewhat faded and we don’t remember them very well.

All mark VI (for sale) are the best saxophone possible, G-d knows why they are for sale then............

that is not only an urban myth it is a ridiculous proposition and a mistake generated by a type of brass called Cartridge brass that defines brass fit for cartridges not made with cartridges
 
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jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Your friend is absolutely bang on about the 'good old days'. My dad once responded to some pompous fool going on about the good old days during the war with the expression 'yeah, right, good old days indeed - we had nothing to eat and were being bombed'.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
This is actually quite a common phenomenon. Nikon film cameras from the F3 onwards? Mercedes E class during the 1990s? BMW motorcycle engineering quality?
Don't remind me of that please :( ... modern BMW quality is the reason I moved to a Honda

And if you substitute Nikon by Pentax, you'll find me on the floor crying :shocked:
 
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