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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to all Vintage Selmer Connoisseurs :)

I've came across this earlier Selmer BA horn for sale - the seller states it as an original lacquer.

does it looks like original or relacquer to you?

What is your opinion about very earlier Selmer Balanced Action sn 214xx ?

how do they measure up to other BA's and SBA's in terms of sound , value, etc?

I am new to vintage selmers ( play buescher true tone all my life)
- so please bare with me :faceinpalm:

i would appreciate your insight and purchase advise.

thanks in advance for any help.

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It will be just great, of course you need to try it out, make sure its all set up & ready to play.........I have a balanced tenor that I love......Can really tell if its a relac but you might assume it probably is......
 

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Check the low note tuning carefully...also, this horn will likey play 'better' if a mouthpiece with a 'larger' size chamber is used. I have owned and played a 1940 Balanced Action Tenor since 1980...SN 29XXX, a little newer than the one you are looking at. Good luck !!!
 

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I think this horn was originally sold by Saxquest a year ago and then put up on ebay at least once. Of course one can't know why, but I'd stay away from this one, if you can't try it out yourself. If you can you should definitely go and check it out.
 

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Hi (again) jazzroom,

I recently compared a friend's 1938 BA with my 1952 SBA >here< (take 2 is the BA, take 3 the SBA, take 1 is a SA80 of 1983) and found the BA to be a bit more focussed and brighter than the SBA (but I liked both). Of course I only compared those two horns, you most probably can't see this as a generic conclusion.

Things to check are intonation of the low B and Bb and mabye how far the keys can be opened to get your volume (I remember from earlier posts that you play a vintage Buescher with the key's very wide open). Best thing (as always) is to playtest the horn before buying.

I'm by far not a specialist, but my guess is that it's a relacquer.

Good luck (ik denk dat het een fantastische toeter kan zijn!)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Check the low note tuning carefully...also, this horn will likey play 'better' if a mouthpiece with a 'larger' size chamber is used. I have owned and played a 1940 Balanced Action Tenor since 1980...SN 29XXX, a little newer than the one you are looking at. Good luck !!!
I play vintage Otto Link NY Tone Master 10* I got from Lew Tabakin -
a really great mouthpiece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It will be just great, of course you need to try it out, make sure its all set up & ready to play.........I have a balanced tenor that I love......Can really tell if its a relac but you might assume it probably is......
I've found more super closed up hi-res photos of this sax on the saxquest site, have no idea how they got there,
probably saxquest sold this one indeed,
and they look like original lacquer to me.
but I am not an expert to spot a relacquer...
how to find out?

here are the photos from saxquest , it's the same horn!
wonder if I should contact them to find out who they got if from
and who they sold it to - like to know the horn previous players history.
http://www.saxquest.com/popPhotoViewer.asp?ProdCode=21499SelmerBATenor&AtImage=17&productname=Lush+Early+Vintage+Balanced+Action+Tenor%2C+Serial+Number+21499&PhotoNum=40
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think this horn was originally sold by Saxquest a year ago and then put up on ebay at least once. Of course one can't know why, but I'd stay away from this one, if you can't try it out yourself. If you can you should definitely go and check it out.
Yes , you are right! I've found bunch of hi-res pics of this horn on saxquest site,
but cannot see if they were selling it or not and for how much.
why would somebody sell a great horn... makes me think..?
the seller told me he bought it year ago for 6000 UK Pounds.
but wants to sell it due to the fact that he is an amateur player
and needs the money too.

I def should try this horn myself , but that is a huge project to travel
from Nice to UK ;)

here are the saxquest found pics:
http://www.saxquest.com/popPhotoViewer.asp?ProdCode=21499SelmerBATenor&AtImage=17&productname=Lush+Early+Vintage+Balanced+Action+Tenor%2C+Serial+Number+21499&PhotoNum=40
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi (again) jazzroom,
Things to check are intonation of the low B and Bb and mabye how far the keys can be opened to get your volume (I remember from earlier posts that you play a vintage Buescher with the key's very wide open). Best thing (as always) is to playtest the horn before buying.

I'm by far not a specialist, but my guess is that it's a relacquer.

Good luck (ik denk dat het een fantastische toeter kan zijn!)!
I like the overall sound of the sax N2 in your sound tests - was it a BA or SBA?

ABout the Key opening on vintage Selmers :
i've heard that on Selmers key opening is limited mechanically and sat to a certain default height by the factory design , at least i 've noticed that in the keywork design of the Selmer MK VI 1969 - it was set low and had not much room for extra opening ?
as opposed to key openings on vintage Conn's and Bueschers - where "the sky is a limit" ;) ?

Is that also true for earlier BA's loud horns ?

Or i guess the volume and projection of the horn it depends on other variables , not only the keys openings?
 

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I like the overall sound of the sax N2 in your sound tests - was it a BA or SBA?

ABout the Key opening on vintage Selmers :
i've heard that on Selmers key opening is limited mechanically and sat to a certain default height by the factory design , at least i 've noticed that in the keywork design of the Selmer MK VI 1969 - it was set low and had not much room for extra opening ?
as opposed to key openings on vintage Conn's and Bueschers - where "the sky is a limit" ;) ?

Is that also true for earlier BA's loud horns ?

Or i guess the volume and projection of the horn it depends on other variables , not only the keys openings?
The no. 2 soundclip was the 1938 BA. That BA has also wide key's (like my SBA), but I've seen Buescher's with much wider openings (so I guess they have more space). On the other hand, too wide open keys can give intonation issues. Open keys help for loudness, but a big part comes from the player/mouthpiece/reed combination and other parts of the sax of course (neck, having no leaks). With a 10* tip loudness on a BA shouldn't be an issue (it isn't for me).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That looks like a very nicely done relac to me.
Mr. Horned Toad , nice to hear from you:
you are à true vintage Selmer specialist,
, i've been following your YouTube video
demo's and checking your site deals.

What makes you think its à relac
and if , as you say it looks done well ,
than would it in any way ruin the sound of the Horn?
why ppl so fixated on relac vs original issue -
is there such a thing as "as good as original very welldone relac and
reengraving ?
If this horn is a relac , than it looks like it was done long time ago as alot of it is already off...?

another question to you :
do you think I could open up the pads height on Balanced Action ,
to have maximum volume and projection?
Or , are all vintage Selmers including the
Super/BA/SBA/MK VI have a very small keys openings and limited by factory design?
 

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The reason this appears to be a relac. is because the inconsistency in certain areas of the depth of the engraving. Overall, the engraving looks very good and fairly sharp and clear, but in certain areas you can see here or there an edge or end of a form in which the engraving is slightly less deep or slightly less sharp. Engraving will originally be uniform in depth, and certainly uniform in sharpness, since no one buffs AFTER engraving in an original product, as that would basically ruin a nice engraving job.

In this case some areas are softer looking while some are sharper, and the lacquer is visibly on TOP of these areas. Now, some Euro Selmers WERE lacquered after they were engraved, and even US Selmers has a top coat on top of the engraving, but this is neither of those things.

In any case, as far as relacquering jobs go, this one looks to be about as good as they got. It looks very good to me, and very hard to spot for most people. Would this refinishing affect the sound? Most likely not in any way. A job this subtle, would likely do nothing, though it could even help with the resonance, I've experienced this before. The main thing to look out for is a uniform thickness of the tonehole walls. Sometimes the buffers will hit the edges of the toneholes thinning them out which is bad in a practical way and will effect the viability of the seal and is troublesome for future setups. This is the main musically practical issue with relacs. The rest of the issues are either cosmetic, or investment related.

Aimply, if the toneholes are good, a gentle relac like this IS as good as an original, but it is not as good of an investment, and the price should not be AS HIGH as an original, because if anyone is clever enough to spot it as a relacquer years later when you want to sell it, you may not get what you expected for it.

With this particular horn, I would be concerned that the neck has been pulled down. It is not easy to tell from the photos whether or not it has been repaired completely. The neck pulldown is equally an important influence in the price and future value as the relacquering is.

Interesting that this horn also says "B A" on the bell engraving.
 

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Years ago on eBay there was a very similar BA Tenor with this engraving, I call it an 'art deco style sunburst' and it also had the 'BA' stamping near the bow to bell ring like this one does. The one on eBay was GOLD PLATED and it was gorgeous. I forget what it sold for. I bid on it but I didn't have the money to be a serious buyer so I dropped out pretty early in the bidding. I did snag the photos but they are at home in my computer and I am halfway around the world at the moment in India...
 

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The reason this appears to be a relac. is because the inconsistency in certain areas of the depth of the engraving. Overall, the engraving looks very good and fairly sharp and clear, but in certain areas you can see here or there an edge or end of a form in which the engraving is slightly less deep or slightly less sharp. Engraving will originally be uniform in depth, and certainly uniform in sharpness, since no one buffs AFTER engraving in an original product, as that would basically ruin a nice engraving job.

In this case some areas are softer looking while some are sharper, and the lacquer is visibly on TOP of these areas.
Could the uniformity of the depth of the engraving perhaps be altered on an original lacquer horn if one of the previous owners cleaned/rubbed the horn often?

I have an original lacquer, american engraved, BA and I used to clean it all the time with a duster and I have noticed that in some areas, especially where there is bare brass, the engraving is not so sharp.
 

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another question to you :
do you think I could open up the pads height on Balanced Action ,
to have maximum volume and projection?
Or , are all vintage Selmers including the
Super/BA/SBA/MK VI have a very small keys openings and limited by factory design?
I played a true closet 5-digit Mk VI several years ago and was astonished at how high the keys were with original factory pads, corks, felts - higher than any recent Selmer factory tenor setup on Serie III or Ref 36/54. Yes, they can be opened quite a bit - keeping in mind that one is looking for optimum venting with good intonation.
 

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Could the uniformity of the depth of the engraving perhaps be altered on an original lacquer horn if one of the previous owners cleaned/rubbed the horn often?

I have an original lacquer, american engraved, BA and I used to clean it all the time with a duster and I have noticed that in some areas, especially where there is bare brass, the engraving is not so sharp.
Of course, but that is the point. if you are wearing the surface by rubbing, the first thing to wear will be the uppermost surface which in this case would be lacquer. The lacquer will wear first then once you get to bare brass you may find softening of the engraving. In this case the horn in question shows a softening of the engraving in areas that HAVE lacquer on top of them and that is the giveaway.
 

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...another question to you :
do you think I could open up the pads height on Balanced Action ,
to have maximum volume and projection?
Or , are all vintage Selmers including the
Super/BA/SBA/MK VI have a very small keys openings and limited by factory design?
Sorry, missed this one the first time around.
In my opinion, NONE of the Selmer models before the late 1960's had any design concern with open key heights. I believe that they were all intended to have fairly low key heights. It is popular thinking that SBA and more-so SBA have lower key heights than MK VI, but I think this is not true.

In my experience having seen so many examples, many of the 5 digit MK VI's actually have more limited key heights than even a BA. I think the reason is that Selmer had no concern for this issue, being that they probably designed all their horns for classical venting. The MK VI's were limited by exactly the innovation in key design that made them popular; the offset left hand plateau that basically wraps over the G key cup limiting it's opening. The early VI's also had very limited opening on the right hand as well due to the bell key rod placement. Many of the VI's will have very low key heights unless someone knowledgable makes special changes.

The SBA and BA are not actually reliably more limited than any early MK VI. The limits to key heights actually vary from individual instrument to instrument. Depending on the particular placement of the posts and keys on that particular horn, you may have an easier or harder time raising the action. I believe it has very little relation to the model as none of them were intended to be more open key heights. Getting an earlier one that requires nothing special to raise the key heights would just be dumb luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry, missed this one the first time around.

The SBA and BA are not actually reliably more limited than any early MK VI. The limits to key heights actually vary from individual instrument to instrument. Depending on the particular placement of the posts and keys on that particular horn, you may have an easier or harder time raising the action. I believe it has very little relation to the model as none of them were intended to be more open key heights. Getting an earlier one that requires nothing special to raise the key heights would just be dumb luck.
so there is very little chance to raise the key openings on BA/SBA's ?
wow, that is quite a shocking revelation to me ( i've beena suspecting that already after trying 1969 MKVI ) :shock:

But there must be some Selmers that allow to achieve big round sound with lots of projection and volume even with a limited key openings , providing the same player has a big personal signature sound already on other horn/horns - right ?

Here are my "personal" key openings on my Buescher - i know , i know you would say i am MAD - well... maybe i am , but that is my way of playing for the last 30+ years ;)

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And what about Selmer Super / Big Bore / Radio Improved models ...
they look like they are closer to Conn/Buescher type key work
and maybe more flexible with the key opening limits as well ... i've heard that they sound great ?

As i am a "dusty/straight_ahead/there_was_jazz_before_coltrane" type of player ;)

maybe i should go for older pre BA selmers , they also sell for much less ?

ooops , i might have slipped OFF topic here :tsk:
 
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