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Discussion Starter #1
I POSTED THIS IN THE SELMER FORUM AS WELL, JUST TO MAXIMIZE CHANCE OF KNOWLEDGEABLE MEMBERS SEEING IT AND RESPONDING.

I've been hunting a Mk VI from a "difficult" seller for 2 years.
I haven't seen it, just know the description.
That may end soon, with a specific price given. But the seller's personality will probably only allow a one-time opportunity, and I don't know very much about it since he's not a player.
So when he quotes me a price, I need to know whether it's a buy or not-buy situation right on the spot.
I know it's in the thousands, so it's not a bargain, I just need to know how many thousands.

Know: it's in very nice cosmetic condition. Pads look ok. Gold color (don't know if it's plated or lac). This is what someone has told me.

Don't know: if it's playable.
if it's low A or Bb
if it's orig finish
what serial number is
whether it has hi F#
SO....I've looked over ebay and can't see why some get hugely higher prices than others, even when basically the same vintage/cond..

I'm looking for the price parameters that boost or reduce the price.
Is low A or Bb the higher valued one? By how much?
Is high F# higher priced used? By how much? (or is this like altos where the rumor is that the F# adversely affects intonation)?
Are 5-digit sn's just as overpriced as on tenors? By how much?
Are there value tiers for the various serial number series (e.g. 5-digit, low 100,000's, mid 100,000's, hi 100,000's, low 200,000's, etc) and what premium would one pay for each?

I'm just trying to pick the brains/experience of those who really know the market so I'll say yes or no to the deal immediately.

He has hinted that $5000 will do it.
So if it's a gold-plated 5-digit low A in perfect playing/cosmetic condition, I know that's a done deal.
If it's a late-200,000's relac low Bb that needs alot of adjusting and has dents removed and resolders, then it's too high.

CAN ANYONE just sort of casually direct me to the basic prices these have been going for on the non-dealer market, and how the above-mentioned details affect the price?
I just don't want to overpay, and as stated will probably have to make a decision right then before he gets annoyed and says he'll keep it for his grandchildren or something.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ANY DIRECTION/ADVICE/PRICING.
 

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Well, I'm not a complete expert but:

Chances are that if it is a low serial, it will probably be low Bb
Chances are that it will NOT have a high F#
Chances are great that it is not Gold Plated
 

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Infoquest,

From my experience is only buy a horn that's in playable condition so you can see if u like the tone and the overall feel because alot can change after adjustments and overhauls. I'd say if you tried it and it plays great and suits you buy it at a fair price! good luck.
 

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It it's playable/complete/few dents, then $5k is reasonable - even for a relac.

If you are really strapped for cash - ie, this is a big risk for you - then you should just walk away now and not try to become an expert overnight.

You've already said that "If it's a late-200,000's relac low Bb that needs alot of adjusting and has dents removed and resolders, then it's too high." I agree. Anything else is pretty good. A good relaq that PLAYS WELL is worth it to me. You might have hangups that say otherwise.

Whether you want a low Bb/A is your call. I've played several of each and found dogs as well as gems among both. It depends on what you want it for as to whether you NEED a low A. Many of the low Bb horns are really sweet.
 

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I've always heard the MKVI bari's really didn't have the quality of the rest of the line. I hope someone can debunk what I've heard. I'm actively looking for a nice bari.

Selmer bought Buescher in the early 60's? and used their bari's for Selmer USA and Bundy horns. What other models are Buescher made?
 

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I have tried numerous Mark VI Baris and have yet to find one that was not a dog. Most have lost all the power the minute you add the octave key. I know one or two players that have Mark VIs that sound great, but they really had to look for them.

If this guy won't let you even see the horn, let alone try it, run away. It sounds like he really does not want to sell the horn.

To answer some of your questions. I do not think any Mark VI horns have a High F# key. If the bari is gold plated, the price would probably be around $8,000 just to recoup the cost of the gold.

I have seen Gold Plated Conns on Ebay where $6,000.00 did not even reach the reserve bid.

I would go elsewhere for a bari. The Mark VIs are not that rare, if that is what you want. If you want to spend around $5,000.00, you can get a good to great horn for that.
 

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jmathesonjr said:
I would go elsewhere for a bari. The Mark VIs are not that rare, if that is what you want. If you want to spend around $5,000.00, you can get a good to great horn for that.
I would reluctantly agree. You can get a Yani, Keilworth, or maybe a yamaha for less, and get more.

Unless it's really minty...
 

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And you occasionally find SA-80 Series I baris pretty cheap. I've been told by knowledgeable techs that the original series SA-80s baris are really just mark VIs with different engraving. I used to have one. It was a great horn I regret selling (for $2200 with a Walt Johnson case!).
 

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While the altos and tenors seemed to have peaked with the mark VI design - I find that the sopranos and bari's have continued to improve through the years. I'd gladly play a Super Action 80 bari or a Super Action 80 Serie II bari. The intonation is improved over the Mark VI and the action of the horn remains great.
 

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Best bari that I've seen - and this in a multi-brand roundup including peak vintage Conns, Bueschers, Selmers, ad nauseum, was a B-992. One of my friends sold her Mk VI low A for one and she had been playing that horn since college (~15 years). Another friend owns Mulligan-era Conns, my old Buescher TrueTone (that was previously "best of class"), and prime Selmer MkVIs (low A and low Bb) and a couple Yanigasawas (including a 9930) - his favorite is also a B-992.
 

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I have played quite a few baris myself, and owned a few, and while I cannot say all VI baris have floated my boat, the low Bb horns I have played were preferrable to the low A horns.

Price wise, if the horn is a relaq, $4,500 range is more realistic price. This is what I have seen the most, YRMV. Also low Bb horn I have seen for sale rarely went into the 5k range, unless it was a closet horn or owned by some sax god.

A low Bb SBA bari (which I have) is an extraordinary horn.

I find myself coming back to my SX90 bari a lot though. I am in the early stages of being totally enamoured with the Conn 12M tranny, but it is a slow process.

Other baris to look at seriously: Cannonball Raven, Antigua, and yes..the Yani (in al flavors and models). I used to have a B6 that was to die for.....till a WJ case killed it.
 

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Mine is Nice

I play a fair bit of bari, and have a low Bb VI that is very nice. I've tried owned several different baris -- a Yamaha 62, a The Martin, a Couf Suberba I Low A that I still have and that is also very nice. I have also test played a couple of Conns.

To me, the VI has the richness of tone guts of the Martin without the weird (for me) placement of the left hand table and mouthpiece fussiness of The Martin that I had.

The one I have is a very nice horn. If you shop around you and are patient can eventually find a bargain. The low Bb VI baris to me are far more reasonable than the VI tenors and altos, generally. (But that is true of the other brands as well.) I have never played a low A VI.

The main thing is to know what you are buying. I don't think it would be impossible to find a VI low Bb in a private sale for somewhere in the mid $3000 range -- particularly if you don't care about a bit of missing lacquer, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
thanks for all the replies.
I should have been more clear: I don't care what horn I'm buying, as long as I'm not overpaying.
I just buy locally, and as long as I can resell quickly at minimal loss, I'm happy to try it out. Fun.
This is what's available. I personally don't really care for Selmer, but I love bari.
I just don't know what market is, with all the different combos of sn, finish, keywork (A/Bb, hi F#).
And I know Selmers get a premium.
For ex: I don't care if I get Bb or low A. But I need to know which one the market puts a premium on (if any) and how much that is.
This is because I haven't seen the horn myself yet, and when I do I've got to make a decision right then.
I wouldn't need advice for a Conn or Buescher, etc......just with Selmer because the prices seem all over the map.
So again....don't care if something else is better or cheaper. Just want to know the basic price range for Selmer Mk VI in order to DEFINITELY recoup my money quickly if I don't keep it.
Thanks again for all the input to date, please keep it coming......
 

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The VI Bari has the articulation of a VI tenor or alto--the way it moves cleanly and rapidly from note to note--but it has a light sound. Even when you could buy a VI cheap, players preferred Conns, (e.g., Carney and Mulligan) and many still do because of the big, warm sound. If you like a vintage sound, $5K will get you a very nice Conn.

Glenn
 

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Some of the price variation may come from the mechanical condition of the instrument. I played several VI's enroute to buying mine; some of them felt mechanically sloppy, like a rattletrap taxicab with a lot of miles on it. I suspect it could be a particular problem with baritone saxes (longer rods, larger masses being moved around, etc.) when they've seen a lot of hard use.

Probably an overhaul with new springs, swedging, etc. would help but at significant expense.

A horn in this sort of state should cost less.. of course, the most expensive one I played was like this, but still cost $7500 because it had belonged to a mighty famous player (still active, but didn't keep this bari for some reason).

Off topic a bit -- 12M's sound great, but the ergonomics can be a tough adjustment if you're used to modern saxophones.
 

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Like all Selmers ('ninos to Basses) there will be dogs and glorious singing angels in a run. Mine is great. The one I played in college was a dog. C'est la vie.

gspiegel: have a look at Michael Ward's list for players who obviously didn't prefer Conn's.

It basically comes down to personal preference and what your personal sound concept is. (as well as what feels comfortable in your hands.)
 

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gspiegel said:
If you like a vintage sound, $5K will get you a very nice Conn.
You'll save another couple thousand if you can buck the bandwagon and play a Buescher TrueTone. Yes, I've compared Mulligan-era Conns to them.
 

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Dr G said:
You'll save another couple thousand if you can buck the bandwagon and play a Buescher TrueTone. Yes, I've compared Mulligan-era Conns to them.
Bob Mover showed me a wall full of Bueschers (with maybe a Conn or two thrown in) when I was bari shopping in NYC; couldn't play test any of them, though, because they all needed repadding! Hard to think about buying a vintage horn if it can't be play tested :?. Heard great things about them, though.

Of course the same shop had a mint Mark VI in the window with a $12K price tag on it :shock: and for some reason I didn't go for that one. Talk about yer Mark VI price variation. I'd assume at that price it didn't need repadding.
 

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I found some beautiful, vintage MKVI's that have been fully over-hauled and had some re-engraving done on this site:

http://www.saxquest.com/catalog.asp?Category=Vintage saxes

If that's a little pricey, they also have I think at least one regular, good condiction MKVI on there. Happy Hunting!
 
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