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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would share this with you guys.
A few days ago I picked up a beautiful 1979 Selmer Mark Vii. My sax tech picked her up in an estate sale, the original owner collected nice horns but rarely played. She is near new condition! My tech replaced the pads (They were stale from sitting in the case for 40 years) Levelled the tone holes as they were not level from factory, set up the key action / height to my liking. I love the ergonomics, there incredibly light and quick - remarkably so like a Mark Vi, however the positioning of the keys are more suitable for me since I have large hands. I wasn't to concerned with how she sounds stock because I'll be getting my KB sax neck in a few weeks and that should really open up the sound. However, I'm pleasantly surprised with her stock tone!
A good friend of mine whom is my old junior high music teacher owns a 1967 Mark Vi (No high F#) He was over yesterday and we spent a great deal of time switching back and fourth between the horns, our conclusion was that they sound near identical! My Vii may even be slightly darker and more centred. I must have found a very special vii! I absolutely love how dark and focused she is, intonation is superb and I honestly can't wait to hear what the KB sax neck will do to her.
(In comparison, my Cannonball Vintage Reborn sounds like a chainsaw... lmao...)

This could not have happened at a better time - I've been wanting to upgrade to a higher quality horn, my dream was a Mark Vi or SBA, sadly I can't afford to drop that kind of money on a horn for the foreseeable future. This Vii I feel is every bit as good, and again with the KB Neck it should give me the sound quality of an SBA / Early Vi anyhow, with better ergonomics for me.

I've also removed the high F# key, I felt it added resonance and focus to the tone. I'll be keeping this horn for life, so I am not the least bit concerned about re-sale value.

Without further a due, here she is:)

I'm playing her with a Florida USA Otto Link STM 6*, 4M D'Addario Select Jazz Reeds, Solid Silver Ishimori ligature. (Reeds are a smidge soft, I'm waiting for 4H to come in the mail :)

-------> https://youtu.be/v2YfRb0HSo0

-------> https://youtu.be/CI7XjdJUHOY

Mark Vii.jpg Mark Vii 2.jpg
 

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Have you talked with KB about your horn and your desires/expectations?

I am curious to learn which neck you are getting, and what the conversation included.
 

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Sssshhhh.....

Please members, don't start talking up the Mark VII models now, after 40 years of everyone berating them. I'm looking to invest in a few and don't want prices to escalate, yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you talked with KB about your horn and your desires/expectations?

I am curious to learn which neck you are getting, and what the conversation included.
I have actually. I contacted Kim a few weeks ago when I heard about the Vii that my technician got his hands on. He informed me that the biggest fault in the Vii's design was the neck construction... Some of the Vii's were gems, however most sounded poor because of the neck. He also talked about the ergonomics and how there not desirable for most unless you have large hands. He told me that as long as I like the ergonomics, don't worry about how it sounds because that will drastically improve once I have the neck.
We also talked about the high F# key (I removed the high F# key on my cannonball with wonderful results) He agreed that removing the high F# key will make the Vii more resonant and focused, which it did :)
He said the neck will make this horn more focused, more resonant, more complex and colourful, improve intonation and bring out that "Selmer Core". This horn surprisingly already has a little Selmer Core, It's extremely centred, warm, dark and I love it! Over tones and Altissimo are not as easy on this horn as they were on my Cannonball (I've come to realize it's also because of the angle of the neck, I just need to tweak the way I play to make Altissimo sing the same way) Never the less the KB neck will improve this as well.

I've ordered the Hand Hammered Copper Neck. I placed my order a little over 3 months ago, initially it was going to go on my Cannonball, now that I have this Vii I'll be putting it on the Vii and the Cannonball is going up for sale.
Vii's with his neck will sound a lot like a very good SBA:)

I really do think Vii's could eventually become the new Vi once people recognize that all you need to do is replace the neck and properly set it up. This horn is extremely responsive and lightning quick - The upper stack is adjusted to around 65-70g, the lower stack is 75-80g. (For me this is extremely light) and the spring back is phenomenal! When I adjusted the cannonball this way it felt a little sloppy so I increased the tension to 75 & 85.
The upper stack is at 6.75mm and the lower is at 8.75mm - Intonation on this horn is much better than my cannonball as well. Removing the high F# key took off .26lb, so this horn is sub 7lb which feels extremely nice around my neck :)
I'm thinking that eventually I'll grind down the F# Tone hole, sauder on a copper patch that wraps half way around. It will look like an extension of the top cap and the copper will match the copper neck. ( Copper will be more mouldable to get the shape I need) That will provide a permanent life long fix and it will cover the silver patch next to the tone hole (It will look nicer), for now the JB Weld Epoxy should last an extremely long time.
 

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Thanks for that detailed response, Ple' - much appreciated.

Regarding the switch of the intended horn for the neck - will KB make any changes to the taper, or just change the tenon diameter to fit your VII?

Enjoy the new horn!
 

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Sssshhhh.....

Please members, don't start talking up the Mark VII models now, after 40 years of everyone berating them. I'm looking to invest in a few and don't want prices to escalate, yet.
I like the discussions of re-lacquering and out of tune low notes that let me get a 1938 Balanced Action tenor cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for that detailed response, Ple' - much appreciated.

Regarding the switch of the intended horn for the neck - will KB make any changes to the taper, or just change the tenon diameter to fit your VII?

Enjoy the new horn!
KB doesnt change the design or shape of there neck. They simply attach a tenon that is meant to fit on your horn.

To the other fellow whom asked how my vii sounds, check out the YouTube clips I have posted above.
 

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I don’t necessarily think you got particularly lucky with finding a VII that sounds good.
I have played and heard quite a few now and they all sounded good.
When I had mine I often used a series III neck on it and really liked the results.
 

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KB doesnt change the design or shape of there neck. They simply attach a tenon that is meant to fit on your horn.
Got it.

That's interesting. I assumed they might have subtle differences in taper for various horns.

Looking forward to your review when everything comes together.
 

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I have actually. I contacted Kim a few weeks ago when I heard about the Vii that my technician got his hands on. He informed me that the biggest fault in the Vii's design was the neck construction... Some of the Vii's were gems, however most sounded poor because of the neck. He also talked about the ergonomics and how there not desirable for most unless you have large hands. He told me that as long as I like the ergonomics, don't worry about how it sounds because that will drastically improve once I have the neck.

He said the neck will make this horn more focused, more resonant, more complex and colourful, improve intonation and bring out that "Selmer Core".
... ahh yes, neck experimenting...I've done my share.

Sax Gordon apparently played a VI and VII neck fitted to a Couf Superba and he sounds fabulous.

There is nothing wrong at all with the neck to my VII tenor . It delivers the Selmer core.

Yeah III,36, 54 and Barone tenor necks (all of which I have) improve the playing angle standing, but do not significantly improve the tone of my original VII neck, imo.

Good luck with the KB.
 

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Its totally hit and miss with these horns. Some of these Vlls are fantastic, and some are the absolutes worst...SERIOUS lemons. Just stuffy and dead as you could imagine.

The last Mk Vll I had was a gorgeous early one, 244,xxx. and it was just terrible!! My System 76 tenor completely destroyed it... like it was night and day!!

Then again my friend Dave has a 256,xxx that went toe to toe with the incredible SBA I had a while back. Different for sure, but just as big and free blowing and colorful.

Regardless definitely look into different neck options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Its totally hit and miss with these horns. Some of these Vlls are fantastic, and some are the absolutes worst...SERIOUS lemons. Just stuffy and dead as you could imagine.

The last Mk Vll I had was a gorgeous early one, 244,xxx. and it was just terrible!! My System 76 tenor completely destroyed it... like it was night and day!!

Then again my friend Dave has a 256,xxx that went toe to toe with the incredible SBA I had a while back. Different for sure, but just as big and free blowing and colorful.

Regardless definitely look into different neck options.
My horn is a 297xxx, she is absolutely incredible as is! Never the less I'll be throwing a KB neck on her.
 

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Congrats on the new horn. :)

I've played some Mark VII tenors from (pro) friends and liked how dark they sounded and how well they played (not what I did expect, based on the negative information you often find about them on the internet). That being said, my main horn is a late SBA tenor (1953) and that's a complete different horn compared to the VII's I tried (better IMO). The same goes for some early (5 digit) Mark VI tenors I've tried.

I'm sure your new neck will have an impact on the sound (I own two SBA necks and both bring a different vibe to the sound), not sure if it will bring you closer to the older Selmer vibe. Let us know when you get it! Would be nice to hear a sound compare clip between the standard and new neck.
 
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