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Discussion Starter #1
The first vintage Selmer I ever tried was a late 1960's MkVI. Frankly I was expecting to find no noticeable difference, but I was wrong. I couldn't get the sound difference out of my head, and started a quest to replace my horn with a Vintage Selmer.

So, when my trusted teacher, a long time owner of a late 1930's BA, came across a fantastic sounding late 1947 (#346xx) BA, I became obsessed.. To cut a long story short, I am now it's proud owner. Quite ecstatic with how I sound on it.

But this is not the end of the story: reading some of the posts in the form, I examined the details (tone holes, detachable bell) and came to realize that although SBA's are supposed to start selling from 1948, mine is - no question about it - an early SBA.

Interestingly enough, I researched the French patent office listings, and found the Selmer detachable Bell mechanism patent that was issued in 1947.
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention that I held off my conclusion until I compared it to my Teacher's BA. The right-hand keys are definitely offset.
Congrats JL! It is more original SA than BA because the keys are offset. That and the detachable bow ring are what distinguishes the 2. The bore design as well might be more focused than a BA. Is the neck profile close to the VI?
 

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Selmer Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone, Powell Flute
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Definitely an SBA. I've seen SBA altos in the 33xxx and tenors as low as 34100. Never seen a 33xxx tenor to know if it's a BA or an SBA.

Yes, the serial number charts online are incorrect about when the models start etc.

Enjoy.

Sent from my HD1925 using Tapatalk
 

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I have played a 1950 SBA alto for many years. A few years ago a former student of mine wanted to trade some website design for an overhaul on his balanced action alto. I found the two similar in many respects, but having some different features as well. When doing a side by side playing test between the two I found the SBA to have better intonation although the tones were quite similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, that’s what matters the most. And a belated welcome to you for being here as well.
Thank you.
I just remembered to check a 3'rd difference between the SBA and the BA - as I understand it - the adjustment screw on the low 'F' cup (see photo).
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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The first vintage Selmer I ever tried was a late 1960's MkVI. Frankly I was expecting to find no noticeable difference, but I was wrong. I couldn't get the sound difference out of my head, and started a quest to replace my horn with a Vintage Selmer.

So, when my trusted teacher, a long time owner of a late 1930's BA, came across a fantastic sounding late 1947 (#346xx) BA, I became obsessed.. To cut a long story short, I am now it's proud owner. Quite ecstatic with how I sound on it.

But this is not the end of the story: reading some of the posts in the form, I examined the details (tone holes, detachable bell) and came to realize that although SBA's are supposed to start selling from 1948, mine is - no question about it - an early SBA.

Interestingly enough, I researched the French patent office listings, and found the Selmer detachable Bell mechanism patent that was issued in 1947.
I have an early SBA, too, and can related completely. I think the SBA is a lot of people's ultimate destiny as far as tenor. When you get everything dialed, it really brings home that comment Wayne Shorter made about his horn feeling like a Stradavarius to him (he actually wasn't talking about an SBA, ironically, but the comment sticks). For me, getting it dialed involves a Tino Schucht neck -- the original is great, but it takes me an hour of playing for it to recognize me, no matter how much I play it. With the Schucht, it knows me as soon as I pick it up, and everything is as accurate as it will be after playing the original neck for an hour or two. It's like playing a really high quality piano.

The bell keys, which is common for the vintage, are extremely sharp, but that's not a problem, even after not playing overnight, if I'm playing it regularly. There is no more comfortable, more "home voice" tenor for me except maybe another SBA I overhauled, played, and was unable to buy from its owner over a decade ago.

I wonder if your bell keys are sharp in that way, as well, given the vintage.

I'm planning to experiment with pulling the bell out further from the bow to see what happens when I do that. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I wonder if your bell keys are sharp in that way, as well, given the vintage.
From my playing over the past two weeks (since I got it), I find it extremely accurate across the entire range. Surprisingly even more than my (very accurate) modern sax which I traded in. For example, even the notorious mid 'D' doesn't require special attention, and the palm key high notes don't go as sharp as they used to on my modern sax.
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Awesome. Thanks for the answer. The palm keys on SBAs are special, I think. I suspect that is one reason that Coltrane voiced high E-F from them so much more than many players, and spent more time up there especially on ballads than other players.
 

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I own a SBA (SA really) alto, 44XXX, that I will not ever part with. Best alto I've ever played.

I have a Mark VI tenor, but use the Boston Sax Shop Heritage neck on it, which is based in part on Jack Finucane's study of SBA tenor necks. Really puts that horn in another league.

So, I'm with you J L - SBA FTW!
 

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Thank you.
I just remembered to check a 3'rd difference between the SBA and the BA - as I understand it - the adjustment screw on the low 'F' cup (see photo).
No, that’s not a guaranteed differentiator. My 1941 silver plated BA tenor has a factory original adjustment screw set on the low F cup. They were experimenting all the time, perhaps none more so than when production was reduced to low hundreds per year during the occupation.
 

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Thank for all comments. Indeed, I feel lucky. But whats most important: what a sound!
That's always the case for every horn!

My 506xx late SBA tenor was a bit 'shy' when I bought it back in 1995. Later on I've let the keys open further, which made it a far louder horn that could take much more air. So keep that in mind, depending on what kind of style and sound you want to play (I'm much into Texas Tenor type of tenor playing).
 

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Hey J L, welcome to the forum. Please note we have the same initials which will likely confuse everyone on here. I sent you a private message, called a "conversation" here. You can respond there if you want.

Thanks!
 
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