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I was reading a book on "A Love Supreme" and came across a photo of John Coltrane playing what appeared to be a Gold Medal or King Marigaux (not that they are that different).
 

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That is a possabilty. I am sure at first he probably played any horn he could get his hands on.
He borrowed Alto's in the beggining since his family couldn't afford to buy him one. So it is a very strong possabilty that he played on a SML at least once.
 

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Berko said:
Trane Played All Is Life On Selmer Blanced action and mark VI
You appear to be quite young, so I'll go easy on you. However, it's not that cut and dried. I have seen a ca. 1951 photo that clearly shows a young Coltrane playing a Super 20 tenor with full pearls. So he appears to have played a King prior to the SBA, which I have seen him holding in pics as early as 1952 or '53. So I'm guessing he wasn't on the King that long. Prior to that, in the late 40's I'm not sure what he was playing, but I'm betting it was not a Selmer. Remember, he played alto up through the late 40's, when he saw Bird live and decided to switch to tenor because he never thought he'd be able to compete with that. So I don't know what kind of alto he played, but I'm guessing it might have been a Conn, since those were all the rage back in the 40's.
 

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On a trip to japan both he and paroh sanders where given yamaha alto's as gifts they played them some at the subsequent concerts
quite gracious if you ask me
 

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I wonder what axe he was playing in Earl Bostic's band back in 1952? If he played a Super 20 for any period in his career, my bet would be that it included that stint with Bostic. Just a guess, though. It does also seem likely that he played Conns early on. Is there any source for verifying these hypotheses? Biographers have a tendency not to deal with the whole history of a musician's gear, unfortunately. . . .
 

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No, but I did a paper on him for school, and I remember he was very picky about his gear. He would spend hours before a concert figuring out the right combination before he went on.
 

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Yep. But early on . . . before he was at the stage where all this is well known, likely things were different, as you yourself suggest above, no?
 

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I completly agree. I just don't think that he would have had the money even when he started to get famous to play Selmer. It just doesn't seem likely. Later on it seems very likely that he would have enough money for a Selmer but early on, when he was in the Army it is highly unlikely.
 

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Yeah, but it's not like a Selmer cost $5,000 in those days. Does anybody know how much they were going for in relation to Conn's and other brands?
 

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Agent27 said:
Yeah, but it's not like a Selmer cost $5,000 in those days. Does anybody know how much they were going for in relation to Conn's and other brands?
Yeah, but everything is relative. I could have bought a brand new Mark VI in 1968 for $800, but that might as well have been 5K in the Summer of Love.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
Yeah, but everything is relative. I could have bought a brand new Mark VI in 1968 for $800, but that might as well have been 5K in the Summer of Love.
I thought the summer of love was '67.
 

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hakukani said:
I thought the summer of love was '67.
Yeah, but I meant the year before. Anyway, we were on metric years where I grew up. And Mark 6s were the same price.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
Yeah, but everything is relative. I could have bought a brand new Mark VI in 1968 for $800, but that might as well have been 5K in the Summer of Love.
Which is why I asked what they were going for in relation to Conn, SML's, King's, etc. :D
 

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So you did. In 1965, my parents bought me a 6M brand new; they paid $495 for it. A Mark VI would have been about $700 then. This information is heavily reliant on memory, and may not be accurate, but that's the information I have filed away. That doesn't sound like much of a difference now, but the percentage of difference is not insignificant. It's why my folks bought me a Conn and not a Selmer (though I asked for a Selmer). The 6M was a great horn until the bari sax player in the high school band stepped on it. :(
 

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Sounds about right. This of course does not take into account the availability and pricing of used instruments. In the early 50s, say, I wonder how the price of a used 10M would have compared with that of a Balance Action. Or what the differential would have been in 1945. What was holding its value better then? Any archives of used instrument catalogs from the period? Transcripts from eBay in 1939?
 

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FWIW, I bought a one year old MK VI alto in 1968 for $350. It lasted for 30 years, (of pretty much), daily playing.
 

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A Mark VI Soprano listed $395 in '65.
 
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