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When it comes to Selmer Mark Vl's it seems there is NO consistency. They are all truely individuals. While its true that serial numbers do tell much about a horn's timbral characteristics and feel, they vary so widely, especially in resposiveness and stufiness/free blowing-ness, you never know what you are going to get. I tried two 71xxx tenors, both USA engraved, set up beautifullly and in exact same orig laquer (about 98%) and one blew the pants off of the other. Even trying them with the same neck, one body was just deader than the other and a real lack of resonance. Really nite and day. I am considering a newer Selmer as a backup to my Mk Vl. Are the Series ll tenors very consistent or do they vary as widely as the Mk Vl tenors? I've also heard that the factory setup is weak, and that a custom setup, with attention to pads, tone holes, etc really helps bring these Ser. ll horns up to speed. Is this true also? Thanks
 

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my theory is that the Series II were mass produced and therefore... there are lots of hit & miss. My preference would go to SIII (early Nos, ie from last century!) or SI (even better value for the money, my pro friend finds my SA80 very close to his pre 100k MkVI).
This being said you might find a wonderful SII. There's nothing like t/playing them with an open mind... or considering a non-Selmer as a back up ....interested in a Beaugnier stencil maybe? ;-).
Again, my pro friend had a Yami custom as a back up to his tenor for a while (the modern horn closest to the VI in his opinion and taste).... but he eventually got another more recent VI as a back up!
 

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I second the III as a back up horn. The III is consistently unstuffy and even though they might be a little brighter, you'll be able to pick it up and just blow without having to worry about getting used to it. You might have to work a little harder with the II. You can find used III's for cheaper, although they are becoming a little scarce with everyone buying the II or the Ref horns.

As far as set up, I set up all my own horns. I've never come across a horn that plays like I want it to until I sit down and go over it.
 

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heath said:
I second the III as a back up horn. The III is consistently unstuffy and even though they might be a little brighter, you'll be able to pick it up and just blow without having to worry about getting used to it. You might have to work a little harder with the II. You can find used III's for cheaper, although they are becoming a little scarce with everyone buying the II or the Ref horns.

As far as set up, I set up all my own horns. I've never come across a horn that plays like I want it to until I sit down and go over it.

Totally agree. I have a III as a backup to my VI. They have a similar feel. I had a II as a back up before and the transition, especially the neck angle, took a little getting used to.

Anthony
 

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I recently spent an afternoon with a Yamaha Z (mine), and Selmer Series II, III and a Ref. I did not play several of each, so this will not answer your question directly. However, I played one of each and every one of them was an excellent sax with no particular variance in quality. If Selmer can do that with three each from the different series, I would have no reason to believe that there would be a wide variance within any one series particularly.

This is not to say, of course, that each within the same series will be exactly alike, but I would suspect the difference would not be great either. When I tested altos last winter I played several of each series and, while I believe the one I selected had something extra over the others, the quality was pretty uniform. I would also add that they were all set up before I played them.

Regarding the differences between Selmer models, since I prefer the Serie II alto over the other Selmers, I expected to do the same with tenors. Not so, though. I did a blind test and, while the Ref and III were pretty close, the II just wasn't in the same category. (Disclaimer - keep in mind I only tested one each.) BTAIM, I would only be using the tenor for jazz and pop and liked the other two much better. Regarding the differences between the Ref and III, I could've lived with either. I would have had to spend a lot more time A/Bing both to make a decision. If I couldn't make one, I would probably go for whichever had a better price and if the shop would throw in a couple of freebies, like a case of something.

BTW, even though they were all set up beforehand, my experience playing new Selmer altos and tenors this past year makes me think that Selmer's quality control has improved.


FWIW, I decided that, for what I was getting out of all these saxes, that there was not that much difference between the Yamaha Z and the Ref and III to justify replacing my Yamaha for a Selmer. Also, LateNightSax, an acquaintance, Dino Govoni (go to his web site if the name doesn't ring a bell) was looking for a back up for his Mark VI and settled on a Yamaha Z UL, not another Selmer. Furthermore, he has found himself playing that horn as much, if not more, than his VI, so you this might be something you might consider and (not your primary goal I'm sure, but good icing on the cake) save yourself a good chunk of money in the process.
 

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gary said:
Regarding the differences between Selmer models, since I prefer the Serie II alto over the other Selmers, I expected to do the same with tenors. Not so, though. I did a blind test and, while the Ref and III were pretty close, the II just wasn't in the same category.
Also my experience. The Series II alto is a very fine horn but the II tenor is well behind the III and Refs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ok thanks guys. I will check out Yamahas, In particular does anyone have an opinion about YTS-62ll 's? A real improvement over the YTS 62? How do they stack up? You guys really dont like the Serie ll tenors! I've only tried a couple through the years and didnt care for them.
 

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You know I couldn't get past the matte finish either. Until I purchased one and to tell you the truth people always come up to me after I'm done playing and want to know about my horn. They've never seen anything like it.......that is general audience people that don't know anything about horns. I used to think the 54 was butt ugly, but now I think it's kind of cool. Someone mentioned a long time ago that the finish will grow on you and that seems about right. Also you can scratch this horn and it doesn't really bother, unlike the my ref 36 where you watch out for that stuff.

And I agree the 54 and 36 are going to be more touchy. The III would be the best pick up and blow backup horn I could think of.
 

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LateNiteSax said:
ok thanks guys. I will check out Yamahas, In particular does anyone have an opinion about YTS-62ll 's? A real improvement over the YTS 62? How do they stack up? You guys really dont like the Serie ll tenors! I've only tried a couple through the years and didnt care for them.
Just a reminder - the 62 and Z are different animals.
 

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AhCheung said:
my theory is that the Series II were mass produced and therefore... there are lots of hit & miss.
aren't they all "mass produced"?
 

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heath said:
As far as set up, I set up all my own horns. I've never come across a horn that plays like I want it to until I sit down and go over it.
Ditto...personalizing the setup (and in most cases just making it play right) are essential for a horn to be 'just right'. This is in large part why I'm amazed at people who go into a store and try 8 or 10 horns and then decide they have to buy a model XYZ and go order a different one from the web. If you're looking at pro horns and you're open-minded, chances are pretty good, that if you get a good design, find a well-matched mouthpiece, work with a local tech to get it just right, and practice hard on it for 2-3 months, that you will find it plays wonderfully.
 

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I can't get past that matte finish either on the standard ref 54 tenor. I call it the "designer bathroom fixture" look. That's why when I bought a 54 last year, I got a closet used LE with the rose gold lacquer finish. Lovely horn. And quite the player.
 

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rdf2 said:
aren't they all "mass produced"?
touché ! What I mean here is that I got the impression that with the Series II Selmer started producing many more horns per year (tried once an SII tenor which had terrible intonation and sounded like... no offense -- I am playing a Weltklang bari -- an Eastern Block student instrument...probaby one of these Friday horns).
Also I believe they were more careful when they launched a new Series (ie early Series I or early Series III are often regarded as better as what came next) but I guess this can be corrected with proper set-up as pointed out above...
 

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gary said:
FWIW, I decided that, for what I was getting out of all these saxes, that there was not that much difference between the Yamaha Z and the Ref and III to justify replacing my Yamaha for a Selmer. Also, LateNightSax, an acquaintance, Dino Govoni (go to his web site if the name doesn't ring a bell) was looking for a back up for his Mark VI and settled on a Yamaha Z UL, not another Selmer.
hm.... reminds me of Phil Woods who switched from a VI to a Z (UL I believe)... but you are talking about tenors in this thread, sorry.
 

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AhCheung said:
my theory is that the Series II were mass produced and therefore... there are lots of hit & miss.
Can you expand on this? Were the Series II production methods vastly different from the other 80 series horns?-edit-apologies, I completely missed your reply.


Interestingly your comments above validate the fact (that we all know) that we and instruments are all individuals-I just got rid of an early Series III alto (597,xxx) in favor of a later Series II alto (587,xxx)!
 
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