My Mark VII was my first tenor. Found it in a pawn shop for $149 looking awful and unplayable. Was recommended Randy Jones, who rebuilt the thing, hand-stripped the lacquer with steel wool, put in Resotech resonators and still has not needed any repairs other than cork replacement 15 years later. For a while kept me from purchasing a Mark VI, because while the Mark VIs I tried were sweeter in tone in the upper register, they weren't many thousands of dollars better soundwise.I think the VII tenor would be a great horn for legit playing or chamber music. I find the sound to be very refined, focused, and controllable--smooth and dark even come to mind. The intonation is better than any Mark VI tenor I've played. I am 5'11" with average hands and I have no trouble with the keywork. The action is very good and it is easy to play fast and precisely.
Not sure why the edit option does not work for this thread but what I meant was: If one cannot afford a VI, a very early (~240,XXX) early VII is a good alternative to a late VI.VII tenors are great. I concur with using a series III neck on them as suggested by saxphil. I have owned a very early one and currently a late one. Seems like a time when Selmer was experimenting quite a bit and recieved virtually no credit for it. I don't buy that the early M series were better than the later N series, simply different, with the later ones seemingly heavier and more robust in tone and construction, but also with some loss of finesse. If one cannot afford a very early (~240,XXX) VI, an early VII is a good alternative to a late VI.