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Are MKVI considered vintage or modern sopranos, or somewhere in between? Got into a debate with a friend about this. I argued that they are the first modern horns, but with a tone that is more vintage than not.
 

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It is age more than sound that will determine the answer and there will be a wide rage of answers. A lot of this is because the first VI came out in 1954. This places it smack in vintage territory. However, it was made until 1972 I think. That is a while ago but in the modern era.

On second thought.. I think the sops were made from an earlier date to a later date 1979

that clouds the issue even more.

...so debate away. There really is no answer.
 

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Let’s see, made over 60 years ago, I’d say that qualifies.
Maybe he’s comparing them to old American saxes that wouldn’t keep up.
 

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That's simple... it's all three simultaneously. It's vintage (production spanned several decades), modern and obsolete. A perfect trifecta for nostalgia.

I don't think Selmer included the soprano in the Reference 54 line-up, there-by making it doubly obsolete.
 

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From my perspective, I consider the MKVI to be more modern than vintage, even though the keywork is similar to the 1920's sopranos that EVERYONE considers to be vintage. By keywork, I mean the way the bell-pads are sited as well as the left pinky table's layout. The MKVI palm keys also follow a design seen on 1920's Conns (and Selmers from that era).

However, soprano tubes are soprano tubes and there doesn't appear to be much difference from old Conns, Buescher, and Martins up to what is out there today from Yanagisawa, Yamaha, and Selmer.

I have both eras in my closet, vintage and modern, and frankly they all sound about the same to me - and to others. Sure, there are the little nuances here and there, but very few listeners could identify a soprano's era by only hearing one and not seeing one. It is mostly the player's embouchure and phrasing that makes the difference. DAVE
 

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BTW, the MK VI was not the 'first modern sax' - it was the Selmer 'Balanced Action' in the 1930s.
 

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Are MKVI considered vintage or modern sopranos, or somewhere in between? Got into a debate with a friend about this. I argued that they are the first modern horns, but with a tone that is more vintage than not.
That's kind of like asking whether a 1990 Volvo 240 is "vintage" or "modern". It has computer controlled fuel/air/ignition management and air bags. But it's also 28 years old. On the other hand a 1987 Honda Accord still had a carburetor. I know that when I got my driver's license in 1978, a 28 year old car was a 1950 model and let me tell you, a 1950 car was really really old in 1978.

To me the Mark 6 soprano is visually a 1920s design. I don't know whether it was acoustically redesigned from older Selmer sopranos. I would consider it "vintage" - I think.

To me the Mark 6 alto tenor and baritone are "modern" due to their keywork design (as noted, the Mark 6 keywork design is directly derived from that of the Balanced Action. Given that almost all current production saxophones (99+%) are copies of the Selmer Mark 6 with tiny little variations, I would certainly consider them "modern" even though the oldest Mark 6 is 60+ years old.

By contrast, although I would consider a 1955 Selmer M6 alto "modern", I would consider a 1955 Conn "vintage" as those designs all date way back to the 1920s in essence, with minor refreshings.
 

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That's kind of like asking whether a 1990 Volvo 240 is "vintage" or "modern".
That's easy, turf: it's antique. Where I live, anyway, cars qualify for antique plates after 25 years.

I'm into vintage cars and horns, but not antiques.
 

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That's easy, turf: it's antique. Where I live, anyway, cars qualify for antique plates after 25 years.

I'm into vintage cars and horns, but not antiques.
In the end, it's all semantics, isn't it? Frankly I think more precise terms ought to be used.

That said, there is an implication in the word "vintage" of "old, and of high quality". Certainly a 60 year old Mark 6 soprano should qualify?

For me there are a couple big break-points in saxophone design.

The change from left-pivoted to right-pivoted LH little finger keys is one of them. Another would be offsetting the RH and LH stacks. I also believe there was some kind of choice made by Selmer in the late 30s to opt for less flexible intonation (or, we could call it "more accurate"), but with a corresponding change in tone. I do not know whether the more "slotted-in" intonation caused the small change in tone, or if it just happened that the two coincided.
 

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I would say Modern but consider it the first Modern horn. To me Vintage varies by maker. Kings tend to be pretty much V until the end as are Martins but Conns tended to end in the late 60s. Bueschers about 1963.
I played a VI from 1964-99 and when buying it, just a good horn not knowing how much it would be worth today. In my mind the heyday for vintage saxes was 1932-42 as every maker made a pro horn.
 

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this vintage thing has been the subject of many similar threads.

Vintage, unlike antique, has no established definition (an antique is an object older than 99 years)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antique

I have bought and sold Vintage furniture for a long time.

What constitutes a Vintage piece in furniture world is that its design is at least 25 years old ( so furniture from the '20 to the ’80 qualifies and is normally sold as “ Vintage”).

The production date is really only relevant when it comes to price but not to the definition of it being of a vintage design.

An original Rietveld chair is very expensive because it is old and original, a modern production is still a vintage chair design but would be considerably cheaper (both are extremely uncomfortable)



The fact that you can still buy a chair designed in the ’20 oe ’30 new doesn’t make its design classification any younger.

So, since the Mark VI has been conceived in the ’50 and production halted in the ’70 makes it, to me , a vintage saxophone.

My 1970 Super 20 is also a vintage horn and would still be even if someone would come up with a perfect replica now.
 

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^^^ So the Selmer Reference 54 tenor and alto are Vintage horns. I wasn't aware of that until now. Cool, I guess.
 

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If my memory is correct, Mark VIs sopranos do not have a front F key. Would that make it more vintage than modern?
 

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vintage definition: "recognized and enduring interest, importance or quality; classic"

personally, i think horns, like guitars, violins, etc., long reached a level craftsmanship that maxed stability and creativity of talented practitioners. (heck, even Moog just went back and rebuilt modulars and minis, because their intrinsic quality has never really been topped.)

regarding the mkVI soprano, i've never listened to a Coltrane, Weather Report, electric Miles, etc. record and thought "Too bad that sax ain't cutting it." "vintage"? definitely. "antique?" hardly. admittedly, as a player, i am drawn to vintage horns, of which a mkVI soprano is my favorite.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
vintage definition: "recognized and enduring interest, importance or quality; classic"

personally, i think horns, like guitars, violins, etc., long reached a level craftsmanship that maxed stability and creativity of talented practitioners. (heck, even Moog just went back and rebuilt modulars and minis, because their intrinsic quality has never really been topped.)

regarding the mkVI soprano, i've never listened to a Coltrane, Weather Report, electric Miles, etc. record and thought "Too bad that sax ain't cutting it." "vintage"? definitely. "antique?" hardly. admittedly, as a player, i am drawn to vintage horns, of which a mkVI soprano is my favorite.
I’m really in love with mine... a beautiful French-assembled horn from 1978. Just got a Selmer Classic metal E and it sounds great on it.
 

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On second thought.. I think the sops were made from an earlier date to a later date 1979
I bought a MkVI soprano brand new around 1977, so that sounds about right to me. Then I sold it several years later, after picking up a '65 MkVI tenor (which I still have and play). And man, I wish I'd kept that soprano! That was one great horn; I'd probably still be playing soprano on occasion right now if I still had it. I've played/owned a couple other sopranos since and none of them came close.

Anyway, I'd call any MkVI a vintage horn. Top quality 'classic' horn that went out of production nearly 40 years ago.
 

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Just got a Selmer Classic metal E and it sounds great on it.
Anyway, I'd call any MkVI a vintage horn. Top quality 'classic' horn that went out of production nearly 40 years ago.
Now, see, that's two different uses of classic right there. csacwp uses "Classic" in the sense of a reproduction or revival, while JL uses "classic" in the classic, evaluative sense. Both are correct in context, though almost complete opposites in meaning.
 

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Now, see, that's two different uses of classic right there. csacwp uses "Classic" in the sense of a reproduction or revival, while JL uses "classic" in the classic, evaluative sense. Both are correct in context, though almost complete opposites in meaning.
Yeah, context is everything. But the semantics can get a bit sticky...
 

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Yeah, context is everything. But the semantics can get a bit sticky...
When my semantics get a bit sticky I just give them a good wipe down....... ;)

I consider the MKVI to be the first truly modern horn, in other words saxophone design hasn't really progressed since it's introduction. Indeed, most modern instruments are to a large extent a copy of the MKVI design or at least use design concepts that were introduced with the MKVI. However, the saxophone is a relatively young instrument, and in that context it can be considered vintage, especially as many of the production methods used to make it have been superseded (mostly for cost reasons).
 

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If my memory is correct, Mark VIs sopranos do not have a front F key. Would that make it more vintage than modern?
I’d say, as probably a lot of of other players may, that I consider the front F more of a “high G” key. I just play a high G with 1st finger and opening the high F with my ring finger. Since I don’t use a strap on a Mark VI the horn is still in my grip.
Selmer sopranos didn’t seem to change much in design since the earliest model.
 
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