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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched the forums and could not find a similiar post. Last year I was able to get a hold of a series II tenor which I immediatly tested and compared with my series I.

Even though the series II in general has more favorable reviews than the I (note this is probably due to the longer production run and greater availability of the II) I found both to be surprisingly similiar. Actually I believe that they are nearly identical. After playing on both back and forth for several hours I feel that their playability was the same. I ran the same NY Otto Link 7* for both and found that they had the exact same intonation tendencies, most notably the front fingering for high F# that requires me to use the high F# key as opposed to the side key typical for this fingering. The standard fingering is about a 20 cents flat. Altissimo, subtone, response, and the low notes came out exactly the same. Both horns could be tamed to a whisper or brought to a roar. In fact if I were blindfolded and wearing thick gloves (see key differences below) I would not be able to tell the horns apart.

The differences are cosmetic mostly. To the best of my knowledge, the issue involving acid bleed in the lacquer had been corrected with the series II. I make this assumption because I have found some older II's that do not have a spot of acid bleed, but have not yet found a I without at least a spot of acid bleed. The keywork has two modifications that I could find. The first being the auxilary F is a metal teardrop on the II opposed to the pearl of the I. The second is the shape of the high F# key. The I has a flat bar design while the II has a key that is the same size except that it is bent like the III's and Reference tenors. Oh yes, and the II tenors have that little "Serie II" engraved on the neck and bell.:)

I have only been able to do this comparison with the tenors. I'm interested in hearing the views of anyone else who has compared these two models (any pitch) back to back. Did Selmer essentially come out with a cosmetically revamped Series I or did I just happen to play a II that was remarkably similiar to my I?
 

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SuperAction80 said:
The keywork has two modifications that I could find. The first being the auxilary F is a metal teardrop on the II opposed to the pearl of the I. The second is the shape of the high F# key. The I has a flat bar design while the II has a key that is the same size except that it is bent like the III's and Reference tenors.
I don't have it in front of me to verify, but I believe that my 1987-ish Series II tenor is actually keyed as you describe the Series I above regarding the high F#...maybe there was some overlap. I haven't seen any issues with acid bleed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That would not surprise me either. Selmer has been notorious for overlapping during the transition of series. Though I hear a lot about how the late Super Action is similar to a Mark VI and a late VI is like an early VII, I have not heard much regarding the "overlap" of the series I and II. Do you happen to have any pictures of your horn?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Martinmann, are you the original owner of the II? Do you know if any of the ribs ever had to be resoldered? Of course there are always flukes in the line I suppose. From a few techs I've talked to as well as posts I've read on this site, I've gathered that the series I was notorious for acid bleed on areas that never had solder touch them, such as certain parts of the body tube and bell. My original neck has a lot of lacquer missing for a horn that is only about 20 years old.

Sycc, thank you, that is the type of article I have been looking for. I would not consider the S80II I played as any brighter than the S80I, but I have not played as many of each as these gentlemen probably have played either. I do agree that the series III is the brightest of the S80's.
 

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Series I additionally has low Eb/C cluster supported by two posts as opposed to series II where a single post supports both keys. Also series I still has serial number stamped on the rear of the bell.

Have seen acid bleed on MKVI, MKVII, SA80 series I, II, III, and Ref horns. Never heard that production was better on the series II in this or any other regard.
 

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SuperAction80 said:
Martinmann, are you the original owner of the II? Do you know if any of the ribs ever had to be resoldered?
Yes, I am the original owner, no I don't know about the ribs, but I doubt they have been resoldered. It would have been factory, in any event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Martinman said:
Yes, I am the original owner, no I don't know about the ribs, but I doubt they have been resoldered. It would have been factory, in any event.
Eh, well it could be worse. Didn't someone post a thread about lacquer chipping away on a 3 week old Reference alto? Oh well, I keep telling myself that the "used" look adds to resale value.:) Not that I'm looking to sell.

Thank you Brasscane, I've checked with a picture of a Series II and indeed they did move to 1 post for the Eb/C cluster. I'm a little disapointed that I didn't catch this myself. I'd imagine that Selmer was trying to reduce weight or cut costs...maybe both. Seems that they kept the single post design with the Series III and Reference models. And yes the S80I does have the serial number on the rear of the bell below the bellbrace. It is kind of out of site out of mind. Actually, the serial number is upside down.

I ran a search in an attempt to refind some of the lacquer comments about the S80I. It took me a while, but I was able to find one of them here. http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=37273&highlight=Super+Action+Series The comments are in posts #8 and #12. There was another thread or two discussing this, but with 15 pages of threads to sift through, well I gave up.
 

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I own a SA80 I. I believe the main difference is the neck design which was changed from a higher arch on the I to a more shallow arch on the II. Apart from that there were minor keywork changes.

My impression is that the SA80 is darker in tone. I now use a series III neck on the SA80 and it is brighter and less stuffy.

Good horn.
 

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I forgot to mention above that it obviously depends on what year series II you compare with. The series II is the biggest selling saxophone of all time and has undergone additional changes over the year. Body-to-bow and bow-to-bell joints have changed, engraving diminished, the arch holding the left pinky cluster and the attachments of the arch to the body have been altered. Now they are back to where they started but for a short while the arch was in one piece (no solders for the pivot screw heads) and attached to the body by screws on both sides. I am failing in providing a good description but hopefully you get the idea. Surely there have been other changes that I am missing.
 

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They also fiddled with the cosmetics of the octave mechanism. I say cosmetics because there is no change in how it plays, just what it looks like.
 

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I own a Series II alto sax. Bought it new and have been playeing it about 13 1/2 years. Recently a professional musician mentioned this sax has a "dark sound, like a saxophone." Interesting comment. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
captain blowhard said:
My impression is that the SA80 is darker in tone. I now use a series III neck on the SA80 and it is brighter and less stuffy.

Good horn.
I've been waiting for someone here to say that. That's my setup as well. There is nothing really wrong with the original neck, but the III neck does open the horn up a lot. I like the feel of a more free blowing horn as opposed to a horn with a lot of resistance.

And yes I suppose that Selmer has been making the Series II for quite awhile now. It has been a little over 20 years hasn't it? I thought that 1986 was the first year of production. I was told that the series II I played was an earlier model from the late 80's and I still have to get my hands on a newer one. Brasscane, how did Selmer change the engraving pattern? I was under the impression that the floral pattern has been about the same since the late Mark VI/Mark VII. Recently I played a series III tenor and the engravings were almost the same as the ones on my horn.
 

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The engraving under the bell lip is gone from both tenor and alto. From alto, the bow engraving is gone as well. It doesn't just apply to Series II but III and Ref36 as well. Not sure about the Ref54 alto but I am positive that it does not have engraving on the bow either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
brasscane said:
The engraving under the bell lip is gone from both tenor and alto. From alto, the bow engraving is gone as well. It doesn't just apply to Series II but III and Ref36 as well. Not sure about the Ref54 alto but I am positive that it does not have engraving on the bow either.
I really didn't want to believe this, but I just found some pics of newer Selmer horns on eBay which confirm your statements. I understand that Selmer had to raise their prices to compensate for increasing cost of goods, increased wages/benefits for their workers, ect. I can not understand however why a company would choose to cheapen its product and still expect us, the consumer, to pay top dollar/euro/peso for it. Oh well, I don't want to make this an economic rant. I hope that the overall playability of these horns won't be affected by some accountant who probably never even played an instrument. Does anybody remember the CBS purchase of Fender in the 80's? How bout the UMI purchase of Conn? Perhaps some higher up at Selmer will stumble across this and get my point.
 

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captain blowhard said:
I now use a series III neck on the SA80 and it is brighter and less stuffy.
Has anyone compared the size of the octave pip on the series III neck with a series I or II? I'm just wondering if that might have anything to do with the improvements people are seeing.

A tech recently bored out the pip on my Series II neck so that it would match the size of a MKVI pip, and it really seemed to open up the top end of the horn.

It's not a modification I'd suggest that everyone run out and try for themselves because it's irreversible and probably easy to do incorrectly, but I was pleased with the result.

The potential downside is that altering the pip too radically might mess with your intonation. In my case, it didn't "change" the intonation per se, but I would say it made the pitch more "flexible" from A2 on up--if I alter my embouchure, the pitch seems to bend more easily than it used to. To me, this is a good thing, but it might not be for everyone.
 
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