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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, lets start by the fact that I do not own this sax (tenor) but it is in close serial number proximity to my 1956 alto. I have talked with Doug Pipher and I have found out that both were shipped un-lacquered, un-engraved to the US, then engraved, lacquered, and padded over here. All of this is pretty straight forward.

Now the big question is there is no records for how Varitones got distributed, which the 1956 tenor has one. I've include a pic that a friend took of it. The lacquer on it looks OEM but it seems that they weren't marketed til 1967.

So My guess is that was probably aftermarket then spot lacquered?

I guess what I'm looking for is somebody who was around back when new Mark VI's were available (and maybe before) who can shed some light on how they were marketed and / or distributed.

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Well..... the varitone came out serial numbers 140-50.... so that’s the mid 60s. Your referring to a 50s horn that you think is a varitone????? A real varitone has a long metal channel for the cable that goes down the side( my friends refer to it as the drainpipe!!). You do bring up a very interesting point though.... I’ve only ever seen a tenor!!!!
 

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Well..... the varitone came out serial numbers 140-50.... so that’s the mid 60s. Your referring to a 50s horn that you think is a varitone????? A real varitone has a long metal channel for the cable that goes down the side( my friends refer to it as the drainpipe!!). You do bring up a very interesting point though.... I’ve only ever seen a tenor!!!!
It came out at least a little bit earlier than that. I had a 136k tenor a few years ago that was originally a Varitone model, but it had been removed. It was definitely a Varitone model from the get go (not an aftermarket add on), as it had previously had the above mentioned "drain pipe", which was removed along with the wiring, leaving a nasty solder scar down the length of the body.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #4

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I have a 143*** Vari tenor with the mechanism removed, but the drain pipe (love it) is still in place. The neck patch is ugly, but I love the thing. I'd dig seeing some additional history on 'em, too.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #6
I guess I am just curious where they did it (as Doug said that it wasn't done in France), and when it started happening.
 

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Yes, but a real Varitone is more than just a neck pickup.
 

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I would never remove the drain pipe as the extra mass most probably has an affect on the tone.

I have a 143*** Vari tenor with the mechanism removed, but the drain pipe (love it) is still in place. The neck patch is ugly, but I love the thing. I'd dig seeing some additional history on 'em, too.
 

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Not sure if this is the correct area to ask, but I was willed a Varitone (alto and tenor necks, clarinet barrel, no horns) system from a friend. Is there any sort of manual(s) available for this? i have looked on-line but have not found anything but the brochure. I also received some spare parts. It works, but is very noisy. Any assistance is appreciated
 

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I certainly can't help you with the Varitone but an old school hi fi repair person, if you could pique their interest, can probably figure out what needs to be fixed. I have used a place in Watertown Mass called Audio Pros. I expect any large metro has a shop or two like this. Alternatively, one of the guitar amp repair guys who specializes in old stuff could probably help.

Basically someone who's accustomed to figuring out old amplifiers without factory help.
 

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Not sure if this is the correct area to ask, but I was willed a Varitone (alto and tenor necks, clarinet barrel, no horns) system from a friend. Is there any sort of manual(s) available for this? i have looked on-line but have not found anything but the brochure. I also received some spare parts. It works, but is very noisy. Any assistance is appreciated
What is the noise issue? Are you talking about the amplifier?
 

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Selmer also distributed a demo 45 rpm record of the Varitone when it was first introduced. I have audio files of the record, but can not find a way to include them in these posts. If anyone can help, I'll be happy to post the audio as well.
It is completely fascinating.
Paul Cohen

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