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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #1
Would anyone here that owns a vintage VI sell it and with the proceeds buy a Reference 54 and put some money in the Bank.....Just wondering?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Those Ref. 54 horns are overpriced (IMHO.) With regards to alto, if you sold your Mark VI to buy a Ref. 54, you'd not have too much scratch left over. Maybe enough for a mouthpiece and a nice dinner. If I wanted a pro modern horn that is like a VI and I wanted some money in the bank, I'd sell the VI and buy a 82Z.
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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I know a professional player who's played a Mark VI for 25 years. He played a Reference 54 alto a few times, and proceeded to sell his VI and buy a Reference 54. He's been perfectly happy since.

Saxaholic
 

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i love my markvi would never sell it have had it for a year and got it wicked cheaply it amazes me everytime i take it out i dont think any modern sax can stand up to this baby !
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
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I have a Ref 54, 36 and VI tenor. I wouldn't sell my VI for a ref horn. The Ref horns are good, but there's a liveliness and stronger core to the VI than the Ref horns. Some people have talked about more buzz in the VI and I'd agree with that. That and the action on the VI if its been played and not kept in the closet is one of the fastest.

If you buy a used Ref horn you might come ahead a couple of thousand or more, but that's not enough for me. There still isn't a horn made today that can compete with a VI tenor.

The ref 54 alto though is a good replacement for the VI alto IMO, but I still wouldn't sell a VI alto for any modern horn.
 

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(?):twisted:
 

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Not gunna do it....wouldn't be prudent at this or any other juncture.

When it comes to the tenors, I can see a role for the ref 54. If I was rolling in dough, I might have one in addition to my two VI tenors as a different tonal palette to work with they have a unique, dark sound, but with the right set-up, I can probably get that sound out of my VI along with sounds I can't get out of the 54. Remember, though, that every VI is unique. My 189K sounds very different from my 97K. I like them both, but they are different in terms of brightness & focus. Keywork is even slightly different. So if you compare ONE VI to a ref.54, it's not fair to generalize across every example of VI you find.

As for the Reference 36, those seem to have a more middle-of-the-road sound than the 54. Maybe they're a bit more flexible. I don't know. I didn't like them compared with either of my VI horns side-by-side, so I didn't mess with them too long.

As for altos, I'm no longer in that game, but I had a 99K VI (traded it for one of the VI tenors). It smoked everything I played it against (including several reference examples) except for one 107K VI that was somewhat better.

If you want a nice tenor, but save a lot of money, look at the P. Mauriat. If I couldn't afford the VI's I have, I think that would be my choice. The 66R seems vaguely similar to the 54 in sound. They are very free-blowing and have great intonation. I might even snag one of their sopranos in the future. They are impressive players for the money--even if their looks could be improved.
 

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I wouldn’t want to sell (my old MKVI) and put the money in the bank but I will say that after the first several weeks with the Ref 36 I received from Paris I haven’t wanted to play my MKVI (and it’s an old friend and an exceptional one). During the North Sea Jazz Cruise earlier this month the 36 got a continuous workout. It’s been 40 years since I bought my first MKVI, it’s to bad Selmer did not have the technical R&D back then to put some of the 36’s current attributes into those MKVI’s.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
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The biggest problem with getting a ref for the average guy is the amount of setup it's going to take to get the ref horns to play like a good worn in VI.

I've spent several days on each horn going over all the key work, using a hinge tube file to loosen up the keys, swedging keys, putting post where they were supposed to be, leveling all the tone holes and seating all the pads again, recorking/felting/siliconing everything because Selmer does one of the sloppiest jobs of building and set up. I've even had to resolder a couple of feet on my Eb and C guards because they came off, the solder was really dull looking, so I guess they don't have time to properly heat up the solder these days as well. It's virtually endless the crap you have to do to a new Selmer to get it up to spec. Once you've put a good amount of your life into the horn, it will play very well, but most people wouldn't do all this. Of course once you've played an old VI, you can't start out with a stiff and leaky Ref horn and be happy.
 

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I keep hearing about the poor set-ups on the Reference horns but I’ve not had that experience (maybe it was on some of the first on them that the US received several years ago). Earlier this year when I started trying out many new horns, at four different horn shops, I only played one Reference (a 54) that something was amiss on. And the 36 I got from Paris was and is perfection…or maybe I’m just damn lucky!
 

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"King In The Castle" & Distinguished SOTW Member
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I took a MK6 to a store in Singapore last year and tested a factory-new Ref next to it, and my verdict was - you guessed it - that, despite Selmer's rosy marketing on the Ref - it is nowhere near the 6, let alone replacing it.
 

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I would, in alto, but not tenor. I think the Ref 54 alto, properly set up, is better than a similar six in many ways, including better intonation and keywork. I also like the sound of a Ref. alto better. My MkVI alto was a 186xxx.

My Ref. alto took quite a bit of work to get sweet, though, including a repad and working over the cork and felts. Also, the ring on the bottom of the neck that determines tenon insertion wasa bit crooked and needed resoldering. The burble problem is still there just a bit with the intended neck.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
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RandyJ said:
I keep hearing about the poor set-ups on the Reference horns but I';ve not had that experience (maybe it was on some of the first on them that the US received several years ago). Earlier this year when I started trying out many new horns, at four different horn shops, I only played one Reference (a 54) that something was amiss on. And the 36 I got from Paris was and is perfection…or maybe I';m just damn lucky!
Your not lucky RandyJ. Selmer will once and awhile by accident turn out a horn that plays out of the box, but you can't tell me that they ever send out one that has been set up to perfection. No manufacture does that.

It also depends if you can do all your own work on a horn. A person that works on a horn is going to notice tons of flaws on a Ref horn in a heart beat. If you sit down and completely disassemble the horn piece by piece you'll almost always find numerous areas that need to be fixed. For me this is unacceptable for a horn that cost almost $5K brand new. I wouldn't spend that kind of money, but some people are and there not getting what they paid for.
 
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