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Saxophones Selmer Supreme

MarkSax

Member
Messages
277
Locality
UK
I hold my hands up....... yes, I'm a fan of Selmer saxes. Yes, they're overpriced, but it's likely that the Supreme will end up much sought after in years to come just like the Mk6.
To put things in perspective, how many players here have an overpriced car that still only gets you from AA-B-A?
The players made the MK6, at a time when Conn and Selmer dominated the market. Don’t see that happening with the Supreme. Too many other really good brands/saxes.
 

Hipparion

Member
Messages
357
Locality
Nantes
For a new sax to become a milestone as historical as the MkVI was (should I say 'is' ?) I think it would need to be somehow groundbreaking on a technical/sound level, but it would also need to be (produced in large quantities and then to be) affordable enough so that many sax players could have one. I don't see that happening any time soon with the major brands...
Strangely enough, it may happen with European-designed yet Taiwanese/Chinese made horns though... (based on @Stephen Howard 's review, I'd dare to suggest the TJ RAW could represent such a thing, or at least have a chance to become one...)
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,098
Locality
UK
Strangely enough, it may happen with European-designed yet Taiwanese/Chinese made horns though... (based on @Stephen Howard 's review, I'd dare to suggest the TJ RAW could represent such a thing, or at least have a chance to become one...)
It'd be a tough job.
The thing the MkVI had going for it back in the day was the paucity of the competition.
Players were looking for a new sound - a leaner, meaner, cleaner sound. They were looking for a new feel too. Technology and design was advancing at an ever-increasing pace, and people weren't quite so happy to put up with what they perceived to be clunkiness.
So if you were a pro player back then, what were your choices for a new horn? A Conn 10M? A King Super 20? A Martin? You had perhaps a handful of choices...maybe a few more if you went a bit left-field.

It remained that way pretty much all through the '60s, until Yamaha (and perhaps Yanagisawa to a much lesser degree) hit the scene and blew the market wide open. The 61 series was groundbreaking, but it wasn't until the Yamaha 62 appeared that Yamaha really started to make big gains in the market - and the horn with which they did it (the purple logo) is already well on its way to being a classic.

Could that happen with the RAW?
Well, it has the build quality and the integrity of design - and it has the player appeal. And it also has that certain extra 'something' that sets it apart from most of the competition. But there's a LOT of competition out there now.
Most of the big makers have more than one model in their range, there's a lot more bespoke stuff out there - and because building saxes isn't rocket science there's been a huge influx of credible horns from places that have previously only been considered worthy of producing cheap ones.

But you also have to consider brand worthiness, and snobbery. It still carries a lot of weight among many players, as does peer recognition.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,098
Locality
UK
Absolutely. And that's an issue that's affected a fair number of otherwise excellent horns. For example, how would the Couesnon Monopole or the Pierret have fared had they been more widely available?
 

YaketySax

New Member
Messages
7
Locality
NY metro area
From what I have read, the first batch of these altos has sold out, and dealers are expecting the next lot to be shipped out some time this month. Also, in response to one comment, Jerome Selmer stated in the video that the Supreme is made entirely by hand in France.
 

YaketySax

New Member
Messages
7
Locality
NY metro area
It's still a load of hogwash.
The original Selmer crook clamp was nickel silver - and because it housed the lyre holder it was a reasonably chunky piece of metal. And it was soldered on.
So, more nickel silver and some lead...I make that more mass and more density than the new design.

View attachment 17531
Hi Stephen. I bought your wonderful Hayne's book about 10 years ago. Worth every penny. Thanks.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,482
Locality
Sweden
For a new sax to become a milestone as historical as the MkVI was (should I say 'is' ?) I think it would need to be somehow groundbreaking on a technical/sound level, but it would also need to be (produced in large quantities and then to be) affordable enough so that many sax players could have one. I don't see that happening any time soon with the major brands...
Strangely enough, it may happen with European-designed yet Taiwanese/Chinese made horns though... (based on @Stephen Howard 's review, I'd dare to suggest the TJ RAW could represent such a thing, or at least have a chance to become one...)
I think the SBA and MKVI became huge successes because of WWII and the changes that took place in USA. The music industry changed. The radio and jukeboxes help the saxophone to become a popular instrument. And the wanted a new saxsound as well. The big guys made Selmer MKVI as thier main working tools. They wanted saxes that were reliable and that cut hours at the tech's. The recording business became important for the musicians. Just one or maybe two takes ..... otherwise you were out. It was expensive to record back then. No time for waiting for a bohemian player to fix sticky pads, pitch problems .... and have the other guys waiting. Selmer SBA and MkVI were good working tools. The price wasn't much higher than a old american sax. But many R&B honkers in the late 40's and 50's were still playing thier Conn Artist 10M and King Super 20 tenors. "The Martin Tenor" and the Stratocastor became good friends as well.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,098
Locality
UK
I think the SBA and MKVI became huge successes because of WWII and the changes that took place in USA. The music industry changed. The radio and jukeboxes help the saxophone to become a popular instrument. And the wanted a new saxsound as well. The big guys made Selmer MKVI as thier main working tools. They wanted saxes that were reliable and that cut hours at the tech's. The recording business became important for the musicians. Just one or maybe two takes ..... otherwise you were out. It was expensive to record back then. No time for waiting for a bohemian player to fix sticky pads, pitch problems .... and have the other guys waiting. Selmer SBA and MkVI were good working tools. The price wasn't much higher than a old american sax. But many R&B honkers in the late 40's and 50's were still playing thier Conn Artist 10M and King Super 20 tenors. "The Martin Tenor" and the Stratocastor became good friends as well.
There's no reason why, say, a Conn 10M or a Super 20 should be any less reliable than a Selmer - particularly back in the day when such horns would have been 'low mileage'.
Sticky pads? Again, that's not something exclusive to vintage horns.
Pitch problems? Perhaps? Maybe? But reasonably unlikely for players who were of pro standard.

I think the 'new sax sound' was the real reason. All horns have an 'in house' sound - to a greater or lesser degree - but I feel the Selmers were the first horns to move towards a more transparent presentation (something that Yamaha later pushed even further). This more subtle approach would have been very appealing to players looking to extend their range of expression, and arguably gave them more to work with.
Bung in improved ergonomics and peer envy, and that's quite a lot of motivation to make the change.
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,250
Locality
Austria
One of my students traded his 119xxx Mark VI for the Supreme.
He also does classical stuff and says he really likes the instrument.
Knowing he could afford it I think he should have kept both....
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,482
Locality
Sweden
Sticky pads? Again, that's not something exclusive to vintage horns.
Pitch problems? Perhaps? Maybe? But reasonably unlikely for players who were of pro standard.
I wrote this just to show how important it was, still is, to be prepared and keep the gear in godd shap. The sticky pads and pitch problems were caused by the players.

The ex King Super 20 players I've been in contact with changed from King S20 to Yamahas in the 70's and early 80's. They were touring musicians (didn't carry thier own saxes!!). One S20 player did a worldtour without his S20 tenors. Just his mouthpieces and other personal sax eqiument. In every country and place there was a new factory setup YTS 23 waitng for him. That tells how good YTS 23 were!!!!
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
15,542
Locality
St. Mary's
Yamaha knew that the 23 was as good as anything. I think they brought out the more expensive 61 or 62 just for people who think “you get what you pay for”
 

Kenny Garrick

New Member
Messages
14
Locality
Lyndhurst
Ok I know there are a lot of Selmer haters and detractors out there, and others like me that love the core sound of these instruments back in the 80's I couldn't afford one and now I am spoilt, Yes I have a Supreme and I think that the bottom is going to fall out of the MkVI market, which may or may not be good news to some.

The sound is very much a MkVI sound with some major differences the bottom end is the most in tune of all the sax's I have played over the years, the intonation throughout very good not perfect but not far off. High notes and altissimo sound with what feels like less effort and can be played pp. It certainly will shout and holler if you want it to and yet play evenly up and down as sweetly as butter.

What I can say is out of the box it has impressed me the action is noticeably different, and not in a bad way, I would compare this to the difference between a sports car gearbox and an old, (insert ford BMW Vauxhall brand of your choice) family car gearbox it certainly does not take anytime to adapt and I would say improves playing those speedy pieces. Noticeable is the feeling of the front F key when your finger is on the B key its proximity may annoy some but its there when you want it.

I have a good MkVI, I wouldn't dare call it a mythical beast but it has been my go to sax for years and I know its quirks but honestly I can say I am not sure how often it will come out of its case now as the Supreme does all my 6 can and more, it is likely to be more reliable and now only needs a few thousand hours of playing the mech in.

I will try and do some audio comparisons if you guys and girls are interested but I would certainly now change my recommendation of getting a MkVI saying instead save your pennies and get one of these.

On a side note my missus bought one too, and playing together the intonation between sax's in the palm keys is ridiculously close so you can bin that old joke about the definition of a semitone being two alto's playing in unison.

Kenny

IMG_0089.JPG

My trio of Parisian beauties.
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,250
Locality
Austria
@Kenny Garrick :
Is the Supreme as nice in the low register as the Limitee is, and how does it compare to it‘s very open palm key notes?

Thanks, Guenne
 

Kenny Garrick

New Member
Messages
14
Locality
Lyndhurst
@Kenny Garrick :
Is the Supreme as nice in the low register as the Limitee is, and how does it compare to it‘s very open palm key notes?

Thanks, Guenne
Hi Guenne,

To me they are completely different beasts, the limitee by nature of its smaller bore is very classical and sweet sounding and plays effortlessly quietly - ideal for wedding meet and greets to play those power ballads and for orchestral work, whereas the supreme is much more of a VI esq quality of sound and to me able to a lot louder and flexible on sound. Easier to change its voicing even with a humble S80 mouthpiece. It can be rich and pure or punchy and I am guessing that mouthpiece selection will make a lot of difference the palm key notes and my limited altissimo speak without effort making them easy to play at pp and appear steady without squeaks when played loud no doubt it could screech too but I personally hate that in altissimo.

I can only say that I am very impressed and pleased with mine and would recommend trying one if you get the chance. Pete T is somewhere close I think as I am in Lyndhurst and he would be very welcome to come over Covid permitting and give a much better appraisal of them if he fancies.

My opinion is if you get the chance blow one for yourself instruments are at the end of the day a personal choice.

Kenny
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,250
Locality
Austria
My opinion is if you get the chance blow one for yourself instruments are at the end of the day a personal choice.
Thanks,
my music store offered me to try it, they have 3 in stock.
I doubt I would sound significantly different than on my Reference or Mark VII :)
I asked because I owned the Limitee, which I consider something very special (if you like it, for me the area of application was too small)

Cheers, Guenne
 

Kenny Garrick

New Member
Messages
14
Locality
Lyndhurst
Thanks,
my music store offered me to try it, they have 3 in stock.
I doubt I would sound significantly different than on my Reference or Mark VII :)
I asked because I owned the Limitee, which I consider something very special (if you like it, for me the area of application was too small)

Cheers, Guenne
Hi Guenne,

I would say the Supreme is very free blowing in comparison to the few References I have played I can't say about 7's as I have never played one but the Supreme would be a working dog, a good all round sax for pop rock jazz or classical in the same way 6's are, I would never say the Limitee is an allrounder it to me is quite niche in what it excels at, that being up close and personal or blending in an orchestra without being too loud but it would be lousy in an 80's tribute band, just totally wrong.

If you like your reference and mk7 you have nothing to lose by giving one a blow, I think you will be surprised in a good way, and only you will know what suits you.

For me I love my Mk6 but the supreme is every bit as good and more than my Mk6 with a remarkably similar tonal palate better all round intonation and just plain old fun to play I will still get my 6 out occasionally but I can't off hand think of any reason I would take it out for a gig now I have the Supreme as I honestly think the Supreme is in a new league, but that's just my 2p

Kenny
 

YaketySax

New Member
Messages
7
Locality
NY metro area
Hi Pete, mainly in USA where I think they confuse Selmer Bundy with Selmer, but I know a lot of players that prefer their Conns core sound to Selmer. To each their own likes and dislikes, live and let live is my motto.
Hi Kenny. I am also new here. I have been playing sax since 1960. I played Conns in middle school and high school, and while I never had any real complaints with them, they were no comparison mechanically and ergonomically to my Selmer Mark VI tenor and my Martin Committee alto. I had the opportunity to directly compare the horns because I kept my personal instruments at home, using them for practicing and for private lessons. I played the school instruments in concert band, jazz band, marching band and pep band(for basketball games). The Conns I played sounded fine, but going back to my personal horns was like going from a Mack truck to a Jaguar. That being said, I love the sax too much to ever condemn a decent horn. I currently have a Mendini by Cecilio alto made in China that fools many listeners who think it is a very expensive pro horn! I think I paid around $120. US Dollars for it in 2010! Live and let live is a great attitude!
 

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