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Discussion Starter #1
Chasing for the ultimate alto, I have come across two Selmer altos, one is a 1970 mkVI and the other a 1949 SBA. Both seem to be in good condition, the SBA is significatly more expensive. I don't have the possibility to playtest because of the distance.

I wonder, which one you would recommend? What would be the expected advantages and disadvantages of each of them? I hear some of the SBAs had some intonation problems, but, OTOH, a lot of pros seam to be playing them.

Greetings
Bjorn
 

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always playtest a horn before buying i think. I changed from 70 m6 to sba and i'm very happy i did. Intonation is much better, projection is better and altissimo is better.

Good luck with your buy!
 

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Hello
I ve got Mk VI altos and SBA Altos. All my MK VI alto are different, some of them more open or brigther ... but they are more focus and resistant than SBA. I've played 15 years MK VI alto (5 years Super action II, 10 years a 136 XXX long bow and 5 years a 59 XXX short bow) and now it is the 1948 SBA. More flexible with a very rich and deep tone and you can play with less pressure and more cool mezzo and pianissimo. And when you push it is like a VI. Altissimo are very easy.
With the VIs I've noted some intonation's issues which are corrected with the late med bow generally (137 xxx and after). My long bow is very in tune too. I've got little intonation's issues with the SBA 1948 or 1951 but the same like my early VI (with the med D and E). After work out the sax you can correct them naturally. I've always played selmer alto so I've been always in the same world.
I've all bought them without trying them before because they needed a complete repad etc...In fact they are all good sax after cleaning and without leaks. Some of them are for me more pleasant but just for me.
Actually when I want to a new sax I sell one of them that I don't play (In fact I play regulary 2 of them and always the same in concert). For exemple I recently sold an alto MKVI to buy a Buescher tenor. I've never loose money. But It's hard to sell a good sax...In fact If you can sell it easly you don't take a big risk. For me It is the SBA. Bye
 

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Discussion Starter #4
always playtest a horn before buying i think. I changed from 70 m6 to sba and i'm very happy i did. Intonation is much better, projection is better and altissimo is better.
Thanks for replying, I would like to play-test the horns, but the seller lives far away.

I've got little intonation's issues with the SBA 1948 or 1951 but the same like my early VI (with the med D and E) (...) For me It is the SBA. Bye
Thanks for replying, Cobalt. So it seems, both of you, prefer the SBA? It is very interesting, considering how much "hype" there is around the Mk6. But, then internationally reknown monster-players like J Redman seems to think the same.
I am not sure if I understood you right, but do you think the intonation problems are bigger with the Mk6 or SBA?
Thanks and greetings
Bjorn
 

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The reality is that without play testing, you just don't know which is the better horn, if either. I have a 70's VI that is an excellent horn, great intonation and gorgeous sound. These can be really good horns. Would I spend another several thou. for an SBA. Not a chance.
 

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I have owned both & in the end I would take the MKVI, I think its the best alto selmer ever made, the late MKVI's are great.......
 

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Generally, if you want a big, fat, lush, vintage tone, than you can't go wrong with an SBA. If you want a contemporary sound for modern style playing, the VI is as good as anything and better than most. That vintage of VI's also seems to work pretty well as a classical horn if that's what you're looking for.

No one can tell you which horn you'll like better. It usually takes a certain type of player using the right mouthpiece to get the most out of a VI. That's why most players either love them or hate them. I really recommend trying some horns to figure out what you're looking for before spending a lot of money on the wrong sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Generally, if you want a big, fat, lush, vintage tone, than you can't go wrong with an SBA. If you want a contemporary sound for modern style playing, the VI is as good as anything and better than most.
I think my favorite alto tone would be something in the direction of Maceo Parker, with a touch of Cannonball or K Garrett. Perhaps the Mk6 would be more suitable to strive for this kind of sound.
 

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My experience was that the SBA alto's were quite variavble, some sweet & some powerfull & lush, overall the MKVI's were quite consistant,bold powerfull sound with a lot of projection & good intonation. The later ones were definately brighter than the early ones but a mouthpiece changes the sound a lot in that regard as well.....
 

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I changed from 70 m6 to sba and i'm very happy i did. Intonation is much better, projection is better and altissimo is better.
BUT, on average, I expect that the opposite would be true. If you can't try before you buy, the MKVI would be a much safer bet. And the late ones are generally more consistent and can be (are!) great horns - Eric Marienthal uses one.
 

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I changed from a 1937 BA TO A MARK 6 89*** and I liked the mark 6 much better. the intonation on the BA wasnt that great . all the mark 6s Ive played had better intonation then the BA that I had. Im not saying that all 6s are better (just in my case they were)
 
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