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So, here's a question...I was reading Dr. Rousseau's book on Mule last night, and I was wondering about one thing that Mule said in it...He was the chief design consultant on the Selmer Mark VI, but how much input did he really have?

I know in modern horn design that the "chief design consultant" (like Rousseau with Yamaha or Hemke with the Mark VII) can often be the main designer of the horn. Was it the same with Mule?

Also, did he help with the design of the Soloist mouthpiece? I've never seen him play one, only the metal Classic and the AirFlow/Table, but the Soloist WAS packed in with the VI.
 

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J.Max,
Good question. It is my understanding that Mule did have significant input on the six (though not in an acoustic manner). I believe he did more for how the horn felt in ones hands etc. Now Rousseau on the other hand completely understands the acoustical properties of the saxophone from the timehe spent in the Leblanc factory while studying with Mule in France. This is what allowed him to work with Yamaha and have such significant input on all aspect of Yamaha horns.

Also, since Mule did have a large ammount of input on the VI, I find it particularly interesting that it has a significant jazz player following (not that classical players dont use them, just far less overall).

Steve P
 

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I have seen an old Selmer Mark VI ad that pictures Marcel Mule and Al Gallodoro, with captions under the pictures saying that these two were the chief consultants in the development of that instrument. There were probably many more, including jazzers.

Angel
 

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Steve P said:
Also, since Mule did have a large ammount of input on the VI, I find it particularly interesting that it has a significant jazz player following (not that classical players dont use them, just far less overall).

Steve P
I have wondered that myself. Maybe it had to do with marketing. A lot of saxophone players were playing jazz at the time, so it would make sense to market to the largest audience to make the most sales.
 

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From the horses mouth.

Marcel Mule worked as a consultant at Couesnon and then he switched to Selmer and he was a consultant on the Mark VI.

C.D.: If you agree, let us talk a little about the material with which you have played. In the years 1925-1930, what were your mouthpieces?
M.M.: The old mouthpieces, with a large bore and rather resistant reeds with slight open lays. There were mouthpieces with little bores, metal mouthpieces.
C.D.: Were these mouthpieces in ebonite or in wood?
M.M.: In wood, then we got ebonite mouthpieces at Selmer’s, then they created the metal mouthpiece with which I played for a long time. I played the Selmer instrument in 1923. Afterwards, I played the Couesnon around 1928. The tester at Couesnon fell ill, it was Mayeur, a clarinettist who played saxophone for the ballets at the Opera. I was then engaged by Couesnon to replace him and as the instrument was not in good condition, I continued to play the Selmer instrument for a while but the director asked me to design a model that I could play. The whole programme of manufacture was rethought but it was not easy because one always encounters obstacles when innovations are occurring in a company. They sold a good deal of them.
The foreman was a bit of a saxophonist and a bit of a clarinettist. It was not easy to perform tests. After a year, we managed to offer an alto which was successful and that I played for 18 years, up to 1948. After which I moved to Selmer’s.
C.D.: For which reason did you leave Couesnon?
M.M.: I was not really satisfied with what Couesnon did at a time when I received more interesting offers from Selmer, there were perspectives, I turned towards the best working situation.
C.D.: How did it work at Selmer’s?
M.M.: This was also laborious. We had to deal with a factory director in Mantes, Lefevre (his son took over). This Mr. Lefevre, very competent, did not like transformations and yet it was necessary to progress to maintain production. We managed to transform things little by little.
The Selmer company has developed considerably. It is a very well run business. There has been progress for sure, but it was not always as I wanted it. Nouaux afterwards managed a few more improvements. It is a domain in which one must always get better.

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Can we talk about the Mark VI Selmer saxophone, which you were helpful in creating?

It was the result of many years of research. I worked at the Selmer factory and I was always trying to improve the instruments. When I started there the instruments were good, but we were always trying to improve them. Those who succeeded me have also improved them and the fabrication has improved a lot. We can always make improvements.

The Mark VI was the result of a lot of research. It can be discouraging at times because we think we have made an improvement in one part of the instrument, but it changes another part. But a respectable house like Selmer continues to try and not to become discouraged. They continued to search with me the top, the bottom, and the middle. We worked for a long time and we made progress. It appears that they are still making progress. So, that’s what happened.
 

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Anyone ever notice that Mark is the English version of Marcel, so it might indeed be the Marcel IV.

I think the closest the Mark VI got to being designed for Jazz was the Jazz that Marcel played when he was very young which is clutching at straws I think.

The Mark VI was basically designed for Classical and was just taken up by Jazz players.
 
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