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I was wondering what type of tone quality mark VI's typically have; are they dark or bright?, smooth or edgy?, etc. I mainly play classical music, and would like to know if they are well suited for that.
 

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When I earned my Bachelor of Music (in saxophone) in 1980, the majority of players were playing MkVI and a smattering of VIIs and Yamahas.

It's more about sound concept, and less about the actual horn.
 

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They are all over the place. You'd probably be better off looking for a newer Selmer rather than a VI for classical. Or some other brand.
 

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So the answer is...yes.
 

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VI's are perfectly fine to use in a classical setting (although you didn't mention if you're asking about an alto, tenor, etc).

But in regard to bright/dark etc., the real question is in comparison to what?

If you stick one side by side with an old Martin, the verdict would likely be different than if you were to put one side by side with a Yamaha.
 

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According to assessments that I've read from knowledeable dealers, Mark VI's are darker than Series III's, but not as dark as the Reference horns.

As far as use for classical, I got my degree in Saxophone with a Mark VI. Back then ('60's) nobody considered anything else very seriously.

Conventional wisdom back then was that the French assembled Selmers were set up quite differently than the American ones; the French ones having a more delicate sound, the American ones more robust. Whether or not that is true, I would think that the old horns have been maintained now to the point where there's not any real difference.
 

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A Mark VI will do anything you ask of it. It will sound as bright or dark as you want.
Just remember to say please. :)
 

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In the dark vs bright equation, you, your mouthpiece and reed are a lot more important than the make of horn. A large number, possibly the majority of the great players in all genre use or used Mark VI's and their individual sound varies from dark to bright depending on their tonal concept (most importartant), mouthpiece and reed. It may be true that certain brands may tend to be darker or brighter, depending on their internal dimensions, recommended pad height, neck demensions, etc. For example Buffet SDA's tend to be darker than Selmer VI's. But all can produce a dark or bright sound, depending on the player and his choices. As far as French assembled vs American assembled VI's, I'd bet that, blindfolded, you couldn't tell the difference beyond the typical variations among Mark VI's. I own or have owned both and that's been my experience.
 

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A good Mark VI is a very versatile horn, so yes, it's suitable for playing classical music.
It's the player that makes the sound.
 

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According to assessments that I've read from knowledeable dealers, Mark VI's are darker than Series III's, but not as dark as the Reference horns.

As far as use for classical, I got my degree in Saxophone with a Mark VI. Back then ('60's) nobody considered anything else very seriously.

Conventional wisdom back then was that the French assembled Selmers were set up quite differently than the American ones; the French ones having a more delicate sound, the American ones more robust. Whether or not that is true, I would think that the old horns have been maintained now to the point where there's not any real difference.
The French ones were assembled in France, and the American ones were assembled in the States, but they didn't have a different sound, did they? How would that have worked out, they used the same tubes and keys etc, they had different engraving, but wouldn't have sounded robust or delicate, I think this is a myth.

Of course a VI can be used as a classical horn, Marcel Mule consulted on the design, and he was the star of the classical world at that time.
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?39780-Marcel-Mule-and-the-Mark-VI
 

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well, comparing my professor's Mark VI with my YAS-62IIS and me being the one playing the horns my professor said..."the Mark VI has a more focused sound"...whatever that means. Yamaha being brighter than the Mark VI...when I played both.
 

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According to assessments that I've read from knowledgeable dealers, Mark VI's are darker than Series III's, but not as dark as the Reference horns.
In my experience this is generally true. However, it's easy to confuse 'bright' with 'focused', and MKVI's are certainly more focused than the modern Selmers, the Ref 54 tenor being a possible exception.

It's always important to remember though when talking about MKVI's how much variation there is from different periods. Yes, they did change throughout the run and yes, there were good ones and less good ones from all SN ranges.
 

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Depends on the mouthpiece.

With the same mouthpiece probably a little darker than the average horn, but close to the middle.

Notes ♫
 

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The Mark VI "sound" is the modern industry standard. Thus by definition, it's right in the middle. A sax darker than a Mark VI could be consider to be dark. And a brighter sax can be considered bright. Of course, the player and the mouthpiece setup can change all of this more that the choice of sax its self. So as with most saxes, you can setup and play a Mark VI either dark or bright.

I will say that the few Selmers, I've had a chance to experience up close and/or play, are more focused and have a more prominent core to the tone than most vintage US saxes. This is why I really like my pre-War Big B tenor because it seems to be an exception to this rule. I get the power and tone of a Buescher but a with a sweat focused core like a modern Selmer-style sax. However, as with brightness, focus and spread can be somewhat affected by the player and the mouthpiece setup.
 

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I think notions of "it's the player not the horn" are overly simplistic. Regardless of sound concept, if you were to say play on a Dukoff metal mouthpiece with a giant tip opening and a Keilworth you'd be fighting against the equipment for a classical sound.

Echoing what others said, Mark VIs are all over the place. They're generally in the middle, but from my experience the older ones tend to be a lot darker. I never played a really dark late-model horn though. I'd say Mark VIIs are well-suited for classical.
 

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My 203XXX tenor sounds dark with my 7* STM NY Link and brighter with my Ponzol M2 110 stainless. and even brighter with a Berg 130/2. The Mark VI plays about the same as my '53 The Martin tenor as far as where it fits in the dark/bright spectrum. My '50 Buescher 156 plays brighter, YTS 61 Yamaha even brighter, and '29 Martin Handcraft Typewriter plays darker than the Mark VI.
 

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I've heard different descriptions of MkVIs which seem contradictory. Some says it's spread, others say it's focused. Some say they are dark, others say they are bright.
As they vary, I think you get one and see if you like how it sounds. I find the tone can vary over the range and wouldn't describe them as being too dark - or too bright. For me the good ones seem to have fullness to their sound. It's not strident, (unless you've got a brash mouthpiece on), which can lead to some people being disappointed by their sound.
 

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Most of the standard classical rep is for alto. Yes, I know Houlik etc., but still, it's alto.

So, when I talk about MkVI and classical, I'm talking alto.
 
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