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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I finally own a Mark VI and a Vito (Yani S-6) Soprano at the SAME TIME. I’ve taken MANY photos with the 2 horns “back to back.” If interested send me your e-mail and I’ll get you the photos. If someone knows how to post the photos on SOTW, it may also me interesting.

This is a basic visual comparison. Both are wonderful playing horns. My general conclusion is that Yanagisawa took the best of the VI and made slight adjustments (corrections where needed) but also simplified construction (less expensive). The Vito also happens to be for sale in the HORNS FOR SALE forum.

Serial Number (I believe both were made in 1977)

Vito (Japan) 07775XXX
Selmer 269xxx

Length (This was very surprising)

Vito: 25 3/4 inches
Selmer: 25 1/4 inches

Weight


Vito: 2 Pounds 12.5 ounces (1.26 kg)
Selmer: 2 Pounds 10 ounces (1.19 kg)

Palm Keys

Vito:
Palm keys extend away from the body of the horn slightly more. Constructed with 3 posts and 1 long rod screw hold the three pakm keys. Tone holes are not in a direct line and has the additional high F# tone hole.

Selmer:
Palm keys sit very close to the body. My F key is built out just a bit. 5 posts and 2 rod screw construction. Tone holes are in a straight line.

Left Hand Table

Very similar in feel. Selmer has 2 rollers on Low B Key and Mother of Pearl on G# Key.

Low C# Mechanism

Vito: Has a reverse spring similar to Selmer Altos or Tenors
Selmer: C# Key has a spring – different configurations from Vito but both feel the same.

Forked F# (RH)

Vito: Plain Flat Brass touch – slightly lower than Selmer – A bit more comfortable.
Selmer: Mother of Pearl touch – slightly high – particularly in comparison to Selmer Tenor

Thumb Hook

Vito: Brass thumb hook similar to 5 Digit VI Tenors
Selmer: Plastic – (I prefer)

Right Hand Side Keys

Vito:
Typical Yani Large Metal Contruction (Not Post) One flat piece of metal bent into key Bracket. One bracket holds both the Side C and Bb Key. All three RH side keys are lower with the E key molded with a flare on top. VERY COMFORTABLE.

Selmer:
4 Post construction. Keys are VERY high with High E almost 2 high. All keys are FLAT. Oleg makes an adapter but I found that with the adapter the side keys are too high.

Adjustment Screws

Vito: Has a high C# adjustment screw for the Pad on Pad configuration.
Selmer: No High C# adjustment. Other adjustment screws are similar.

Octave Key

Very different configurations:

Neck Strap Ring

Vito: Standard Ring soldered to body
Selmer: No Ring – Oleg makes on that fits in Lyre Holder. (I prefer)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Discussion Starter #3
I didn't want to get too far into which horn is BETTER? I think they are both quality instruments that could be used in any musical setting. I can say that even thought the horns are considered "CLONES" they play VERY differently (not in a bad way)

VITO: Much more user friendly. Even though there are only a few modification to the VI design the horn seems FEEL much smoother. Particularly the palm keys and side keys. The sound is VERY warm and even throughout. Low Bb doesn't need much adjustment (Due to the extra 1/2 inch of horn). These are really nice and inexpensive horns that can be used in a professional setting. Many professional SHOW-TYPE players in the Syracuse area use the Vito Sopranos when needed. One even with the Syracuse Symphony on occasion.

SELMER: Well what can I say. Yes it is a little short and the side keys are 1/2 inch to high. BUT THE SOUND. There's something more in there. It has a certain flexibility that allows me to take it in many directions. It's really hard to explain. My father-in-law (who is not a musician) noticed the difference in tone quality IMMEDIATELY. Maybe it's imaginary.

I guess my point of the post was to get some non-objective information out there regarding the mechanics of the two horns. I also wanted to see for myself how similiar the 2 models are. Although the Vito and Yani s-6 are considered "CLONES" they are really different instruments.
 

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Thanks for the information. Yes you can get around the ergos and tuning compromises but sound is different. If you don't like the sound there's nowhere to go. I've had 62's and a couple of Yanas and tried plenty in shops and they are very seductive but I always prefer the Selmer sound. I hadn't played my old V1 soprano for a while because I'd been getting into my King saxello ( another great sounding horn) and when I did the sound just leapt out.
 

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The S-6 is a great horn. I find that they can vary in tonal quality from one to the next. Just listened to three of them recently and while they all played and sounded great it was pretty easy to hear some differences between them and even more while playing them.
 

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The saxello and I have parted ways. I made a decision to play only on modern curved sopranos after many years on vintage horns. I got a Vito Yani curved with Front high F and high F# and am not looking back. I am very glad for the time I spent with the saxello and vintage Conn's and Bueschers but I have found this is the setup that works best for me. The sound maybe does not have all the character and prescence of the King saxello but the ease of use and added facility and comfort are a good trade off.
 

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I've just had the opportunity to borrow a Mk VI (beautiful silverplate job) and compare with my s-6. I'd agree pretty substantially with your review, though at a pinch I'd say the playability is better on the Selmer - likely to be a function of player's shape, I guess. I found the Selmer intonation to be a little more flexible rather than less accurate.

The Selmer's palm F is ridiculously close to the body, though, and I found a riser made a difference there.

I did what I did in comparing my TT, and recorded them using the same setup. I'd have to say that with my 2 the sound was virtually indistinguishable in core tone, the Selmer being just a tad brighter, but both having the mid-range warmth I didn't find so much in the Buescher. What difference there was may very well be due to the set-up rather than anything else, but I don't think many people could guess right in a blind trial..

If somebody gave it to me I'd gladly use the Mk VI, but I'm glad to say that, at least with my examples, I can do more or less the same job and have $4K to spend on sweeties. What price cachet?
 
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