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Selmer MK VII Opinions? (Compared to more modern saxophones)

4442 Views 28 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  Paulou
Hi all, I’m about to bite the bullet on a new tenor sax, and I’ve been able to find Mk VIIs in my budget.
I am shopping used, and for around the same price I’ve found cannonball vintage reborn tenors (I’ve had the
Chance to play them and I really like them)

The only issue is, while I love the sound of mk vi and mk vii tenors, I’ve never been able to play one,
And I don’t believe there are any I can try near me, I’d be buying them online via Reverb.

Opinions? I’ve heard the mk VII is criminally underrated and are often considered by those who own them to be fantastic horns.

P.s. The ergonomics won’t bother me (coming from a 1934 King H.H. white)
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Well, the Mark 7 is kind of a barren shoot on the Selmer family tree.

"More modern" as you call them horns are prettty much all copies of the Selmer Super Action 80 which was an updated copy of the Mark 6. So one could actually make an argument that the Mark 7 is more modern and that teh majority of current production saxophones are actually throwbacks to the 1954 design of the Mark 6.

The Mark 7 has little finger keys designed for someone with huge hands. This can be a real issue. There are players out there who use them, but the only one I knew to do so successfully was a big bruiser of a guy with hands like a bunch of bananas, and even he had had the tilting low Bb key disabled and soldered into a fixed position.

I think there is also a lot of variation amongst them as to intonation - some very good, some not so.

Coming from a King it is almost certain you will have to work to adapt to the way the tilting low Bb key requires you to apply high force in exactly the weakest direction of the weakest finger on your two hands, but then it falls away from you just when you most need it to be positive in action. And it's spongy as all get out too. Compared to a King with a simple direct acting light action, there will be adaptation.

A Mark 7 in good condition is a very well made instrument. But the newest are pushing 40 years old and given how much the saxophone community hated them, I would bet a lot of them have suffered through marching band.
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Like I said above, one can make a case that the Mark 7 is actually MORE modern than the current crop of saxophones all derived from the Selmer Super Action 80 (in its various forms) which was a copy of the Mark 6 with a few changes, due to the poor reception of the 7. So those "more modern saxophones" really data back to the 1954 design of the Mark 6; the Mark 7 goes back to, what, about 1975? I propose that the 7 IS the modern saxophone.
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