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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all the price is very right. Including the 250 tech fee for some COA, pads replacements, tone-hole leveling etc, I am out half the cost of a Yamaha new YAS-480. Even when it was almost unplayable, I know that the tone was special, so I jumped on it.

Some say that the Mark 7 tenor was unwieldy and is for big hands. Well, the only qualm I have with the Mark VII alto is the reach of the low C key and how the palm keys are too far out, but nothing I can't deal with and adjusted to in about 10 minutes. It is a Selmer, sweet focused tone and versatile and if you are a speedy player hard to outplay this. Compared to the B&S, volume and timbre range is more on this horn. And yes you can play altissimo easy but I think that's really more player dependent.

The tone is just wow. I currently have a B&S Blue Label transitional (west Germany made rather than GDR) which has served/serves me well. I also borrowed one pf my buddy's 6M and had a YAS52 briefly. In the past have played Mark VI altos but really do not remember the sound but I think the feel is the same. I think I just prefer focused tone even though the 6M is lovely. The B&S is also focused but it always played darker and the bell tones were sharp. The Mark VII also has a clear D1 and D2 also.

I really do not have much experience with altos and don't consider myself as an alto player. I started in 89 or so with a Bundy but sold that when I got my cheap Winston soprano. I got my B&S alto in 2004/3 just around when I joined this forum. I just had an alto if I am asked to play for one. I only had one alto for 14 years.

With me starting on Baritone last year and hearing one of the 10MFan videos of an alto player sounding soprano like on an alto, I have been playing the alto more and somehow the Universe just presented me with an opportunity to get a pro level one for relatively inexpensive. To be fair the B&S was ribbed construction, F#, metal resonators and pretty much pro-level too.

Here she is. Original lacquer and engraved (I heard that it was not as common for M7) The neck had issues but fixed by my tech. I have a Ponzol and Eastern Music copper necks as well but the original sounds the best. I think this is a 74 but have to check. Spread the love for the Mark VII's friends. They deserve it.

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I hear ya!!!

My Mark VII alto was one of the last made, I believe, since it was purchased new in 1983 for me by my parents. I consider myself a tenorist mostly, yet I had to switch back to alto last year because the community big band I joined already had three tenors.

Thus, for the first time in over twenty years, the Mark VII saw regular action again, and it soooooo deserved it! Past tense, "saw," because I fell so much in love with it all over again that I was getting paranoid about clumsy kids at rehearsal, nefarious thieves at concerts, breaking neck straps, unsafe stands, etc. etc. .... -- that I bought myself a Magenta Winds alto a year ago as a backup (which is a SHOCKINGLY good horn in its own right, given the price, as I've detailed elsewhere).

The Mark VII is so precious to me that it comes out of its case only the fortnight before a gig. And every time it does, I just can't put it down. It's the oddest thing...

So, the proverbial desert island dilemma isn't one for me, really: if I could take only one horn with me, it'd be the Mark VII, and I wouldn't have to think about it for a second!

-j.
 

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Congratulations- an underrated horn for sure. Briefly had a VII alto and it sounded great. I just didn’t get along with the LH pinky keys. At the time I was doing a lot of buying and selling and slightly regret letting it go.

Sold it for $1200. 90% Original lacquer and played well. Made a couple hundo on the deal but I needed the $ for a tenor so off it went.
 

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longtime MarkVII alto player here, couldn't agree more! Have never played anything that i like better. The early ones like yours and mine (254XXX) are so killer. Enjoy!
 

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I picked up a Mark VII alto a couple of years ago. I wasn’t looking but a guy who heard me play got my number from a trombonist friend and called me. Being that I wasn’t really looking and didn’t care if I got it or not, I offered him $1350 and he took it. I’m not even sure how I came up with that number but it sounded like something he might go for.
I’ve played two gigs on it and haven’t even taken it out of the case for a year and a half but it’s a mint condition engraved 248xxx.
It’s an nice horn but I still miss my mint 1953 SBA that was stolen 30 years ago.
 

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Very nice! I'm guessing you will love yours more each time you play it.

The alto I keep coming back to is a 243xxx two-tone (light lacquer body, silver-plated keywork) with no engraving, and a smaller-than-usual low C key. (My Boston-area tech insists that key is original.) Every Mark VII alto I've played has resonated with me like no others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You may want that neck repaired or maybe look for another. It still looks out of round.
I know a guy who’s really good at that.
Just like I told in the OP, the neck has been repaired as best as my tech can. I also have a Ponzol neck and when I was at the shop we even tried a Mark VI and Series II neck and the original neck sounds better and blows better. At this point it is cosmetic and in person it is not that bad, I am going to live with it. Thanks for your concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
How are the octaves A through to C sharp ?
They are fine. No sticking. Like I said hard to outplay this even if you are a speedy player. Second Wind is the go to place in this state and even guys from El Paso and southern Colorado bring their horns here. She has been fixing horns since 1984 I believe,
 
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