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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first visit to the Selmer section of SotW, reason being I didn't ever envisage owning one.

That has now been revised, I'm looking to upgrade to a better horn and although I will never be able to afford a Mark VI a friend allowed me a short session on his Mark VII tenor, they do not get the kudos of the VI and I have heard quite a few people say the VII was Selmers big mistake. I might have just played a good one but I loved it!

Where are all the VII's, very few on Ebay, same on SotW marketplace, if they are so bad why are there not lots for sale?

If I wanted to buy one how much do they come in at, I'm trying to work out if I could afford one, I don't want a looker I want a player that will help me through the rest of my grades, light action, good intonation.

Any observations would be gratefully received.

Thanks
 

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The Mark VII is a much maligned and very under rated horn. There are many excellent ones out there. The cost should be 1/2 or less of the Mark 6,
depending on condition. Most had no engraving, but a few did. The sound is different than the earlier Mark 6's and many players did not like the oversize pinky keys. The change was a marketing error by Selmer. The horns themselves are just fine, if you like them. I owned one for about 5 years and thought it was an excellent Tenor.
 

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An aquaintance of mine has a VII. She saw my VI and was like "wow I wish I had your horn." I traded with her for a short while... I had never played a VII myself. Her sax was every bit as good as mine and vice versa. She was actually tripping over the VIs ergos because she is used to the VII. In short, no matter what you have, just enjoy it.

She still wanted my VI, but it was definitely just because of the hype.
 

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It's all a matter of taste. In my experience I've noticed that people who are used to the feeling and sound of a VI tend to shy away from the VII. (I'm that way also... I couldn't get used to the feeling of the action- holding the horn felt a little left-handed for me). Others seem to be perfectly content and happy with it.

Like all Selmers, some in the series are made well and others not so well. If you find one that fits you, get it. Never compromise sound for anything. If you pick one up and it has a great sound, it's worth it right there! It's really only a matter of time until the price on them go up as well. You'll certainly never lose money on it.

Best of luck
 

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I recently sold a VII tenor that I bought brand new in 1976. I routinely switched back and forth between my VI tenors and the VII mood dependent. I always liked the VII equally as much as my VI's. In some ways the VII is a better horn, more powerful, better intonation and built like a tank. Except for a minor few exceptions the only players that really bash VII tenors are people who've only tried them or are repeating an untrue myth.
If you find one that you like don't hesitate to buy it because the prices(justifiably so) are rising quickly.
 

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The Mark VII ergonomic difference is due to the input of Frederick Hemke. He's a big guy with big hands, and was key (no pun intended) in it's design. I personally find the altos way more comfortable than the VIs, as my hands are kinda big too. In a perfect world, I'd get rid of my dainty little Yamaha alto (it feels so tiny to me) and get a VII. Some people say the lower register is boomy; but I think it's great on alto. On tenor, it would probably pair very nicely with a short facing mouthpiece.

You mentioned playing your friend's tenor. Is that what you're looking for?
 

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I believe the VII got its bad rep mostly because it happened to be the horn that followed the VI. Having owned VI's and VII's, I completely agree with Thomas' comments above.
 

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yep, VIIs are fantastic.
the reason that people poo pooed them is because selmer claimed (or perhaps implied is a better word)that they were the new improved version of the VI by calling it the VII, and it is a different horn. not better (which is what people first notices) but not worse (as people are now noticing)
 

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I couldn't get used to the feeling of the action- holding the horn felt a little left-handed for me.
How interesting! I've never heard/read anyone say that about the VII. Can you explain more what you mean? Do you literally mean "left-handed" or were you just using "left-handed" as synonymous with "felt very odd"? The reason I ask is because I happen to be left-handed, so your comment caught my eye.

Also (this isn't related to your comments), I'm always amused when I hear people talk about loving the VII because they have big hands, or hating the VII because they have small hands. I love my VII, and I have quite small hands. Playing my son's YamaVito while my VII was in the shop felt really strange - I kept overreaching the low C key by about half an inch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
You mentioned playing your friend's tenor. Is that what you're looking for?[/QUOTE]

Yes, it is a tenor I'm thinking about, even though I'm not a big person it seemed to sit nicely under my fingers, I think I have fairly large hands, certainly compared to another friend who favours a 6.

I did a bit of a phone poll around my local dealers, none had a 7 but said they average at about £1500 GBP, so I guess $2000+ US, that would be with a warranty I suppose.

Thanks very much for all the input so far, very encouraging.

sorry I appear to have got the quote bit wrong!!!
 

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I did a bit of a phone poll around my local dealers, none had a 7 but said they average at about £1500 GBP, so I guess $2000+ US, that would be with a warranty I suppose.
I really haven't seen many VII tenors going for less than $2,500 for some time now. They really are good horns too. If you're looking to save some money, it's still possible to find a Super Action 80 for less than $2,000. Though I have to admit that they are starting to become rare finds as well.
 

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in my opinion people just misunderstand the mk vii.
Mk vii was designed to be and makes a great r&b and rock and roll horn.
with a modern type mouthpiece they are true screamers with a good even super loud and strong tone.
Back in the 70s you have to remember almost all jazz had become fusion and electric and loud and saxophone playes were all playing really loud and bright setups.
for this reason mk vii is not a good jazz horn in my opinion and even when greats like joe henderson played one in my opinion it sounded awfull and you could hardly stannd listening to it. When you try to play jazz on them the high notes make this horrible thin whining noise that is seriously unmusical and ugly.

so if you want a good sounding even tone with like an otto link mouthpiece or something similar to 50s blue note type sound mk vii is a terrible choice and this is the reason for its somewhat deserved reputation.

i have one i played for years touring with a blues/soul/r&b/fusion/funk/rock band however and consider it far superiour to the great and more expensive horns from the 50s and 60s for that purpose.
 

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I assure you that Fred Hemke did NOT have R&B in mind when he helped design the MkVII.
 

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...I'm always amused when I hear people talk about loving the VII because they have big hands, or hating the VII because they have small hands. I love my VII, and I have quite small hands.
The stretch is more pronounced on tenors; and that's usually the VII everyone knocks.

I assure you that Fred Hemke did NOT have R&B in mind when he helped design the MkVII.
Yeah, I found my VII tenor to be rather dark in nature. I think it was just the advertisers that felt it was for modern styles of music.
 

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I guess you guys have never heard the rare recordings Hemke did with Coltrane in the mid 1960s, shortly before Trane's death?

And what about that classic LP, "Hemke and Sanborn Live at the Apollo: A Tribute to the Pioneers of Funk"?

Let's not even go into Hemke's vast body of studio work, first supporting Earth, Wind, and Fire, and later playing on recordings with everyone from Charo to Janet Jackson.
 

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nevermind.
 

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Let's not even go into Hemke's vast body of studio work, first supporting Earth, Wind, and Fire, and later playing on recordings with everyone from Charo to Janet Jackson.
Don't leave out his pioneer breakthroughs with hip hop...

Once a saxtroll, always a saxtroll, eh Stacey?
 
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