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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This news comes from the Kessler & Sons website, which as usual has more information about the business side of Selmer Paris than Selmer's own website:
Discontinued
The Serie III alto sax has been discontinued as of August 2021 due to the popularity of the Supreme! Many of the performance elements of the Serie III (intonation stability, immediate response) can be found in the Supreme but at a higher level of refinement.
Kessler previously reported that the Ref. 54 alto had been discontinued as of May; sure enough, that model has disappeared from the for-sale section of the retailer's website. Meanwhile, both the Ref. 54 and the Serie III are still going strong on the Selmer Paris website, which blithely declines to announce any subtractive changes to the alto lineup.

This move -- assuming, as I do, that it actually has occurred -- makes perfect sense if Selmer's long-term goal is to reduce the number of different models it sells. Merely eliminating the Ref. 54 was not enough, since the addition of the Supreme would have resulted in no net change. As Kessler notes, the Supreme is for the most part an improved Series III, so the III had become superfluous.

I continue to believe that the Series II alto will be axed (Axosed?) if/when the Axos achieves a solid market position. The Axos is generally acknowledged to be pretty II-like anyway. A two-model alto lineup, with an entry-level and a premium offering, probably would best position Selmer for the long term, with respect to both customer satisfaction and financial prudence. But this is just my speculation.
 

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Yanagisawa seems to have done OK with just a pro and elite level horn of each type, in assorted finish options, although the body material choice of bronze vs. brass then doubles their offerings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yanagisawa seems to have done OK with just a pro and elite level horn of each type, in assorted finish options, although the body material choice of bronze vs. brass then doubles their offerings.
For most of the period from 1922 through the late 1990s, Selmer Paris offered only a single alto model at at time, so you'd think they'd have no trouble adjusting.

Interestingly, the Series III alto could end up with the shortest lifespan of any of the Series III models. (Of course, this is due in large part to the arrival of the Supreme alto as the first of its kind.) The Series III alto came out after the Series III soprano and tenor models, and it has been discontinued before them, so the outcomes of those races are not in question. But the Series III baritone, which debuted afterward, also may outlive the alto, depending on if/when a Supreme bari is produced.
 

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I wonder if there will be any deals on the Serie III to be found?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wonder if there will be any deals on the Serie III to be found?
At the moment, the online prices for a Series III alto -- in-between the Series II and Supreme prices -- don't seem to have changed anywhere. However, the horn also seems to be out-of-stock at Kessler's, though not at sax.co.uk.

Were there any clearance sales on the Ref. 54 alto? You can still get a new one now from Quinn for $5999, which is probably somewhat below the old price, but not exactly a giveaway. Probably nothing will ever touch that crazy sale he had on discontinued Yanagisawa models six years ago.
 

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For most of the period from 1922 through the late 1990s, Selmer Paris offered only a single alto model at at time, so you'd think they'd have no trouble adjusting.

Interestingly, the Series III alto could end up with the shortest lifespan of any of the Series III models. (Of course, this is due in large part to the arrival of the Supreme alto as the first of its kind.) The Series III alto came out after the Series III soprano and tenor models, and it has been discontinued before them, so the outcomes of those races are not in question. But the Series III baritone, which debuted afterward, also may outlive the alto, depending on if/when a Supreme bari is produced.
It makes sense to me. In my opinion the series II alto was an awesome horn. The series II tenor and soprano not so much. By that I mean the series II alto was good enough that there was no need for a series III.
 

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Conversely, I found the Series III tenor to be the most outstanding, at least for me. While I was in the market I tried a Series II, Ref 54 and a Ref 38. The III was just so easy to play, and to play in tune. Not that the other horns were bad, but I could tell in the first two minutes of playing the III that it was the horn I wanted. Now I have two, and feel set for life.

My previous horns were:
Conn 10M - sadly stolen in high school.
Getzen Capri - a $200 beater for college marching band with surprisingly good tone.
Mark VI - a relaq that had many issues with gurgling and those terrible noisy side key ball joints.
Balanced Action 28xxx - also a relaq, but a very smooth and mellow horn.
Mark VII - traded the BA for it even up looking for a more rock'n'roll sound. Hated the ergos.
Yamaha YTS-62 (no purple logo) - backup horn. Always thought it sounded kind of bland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It makes sense to me. In my opinion the series II alto was an awesome horn. The series II tenor and soprano not so much. By that I mean the series II alto was good enough that there was no need for a series III.
Well, the Series III alto definitely became the preferred horn among Selmer classical players, so in that respect -- dominance in its primary market -- the model was a success. Indeed, the Supreme is a refinement of the Series III design concept, not a rejection of it. The Supreme is like the Series IIIa -- as I said in the OP, they just don't need both. The more old-fashioned Series II is different enough to hang on until Selmer decides it needs to engage in further cost-cutting streamlining. Then, hello Axos!
 

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I have to say, I really don't miss my Series III alto. Sold it years ago, replaced it with a B&S-made "Guardala NY" alto which I love so very much and was half the price at the time (used).

For my taste, the Series II horns still tend to be the best instruments Selmer makes. Most of my favorite Selmers I've played have been Series II (especially altos).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hallelujah, my prayers have been answered. They ought to keep the III tenor though.
Selmer currently has five different tenor sax models. They're going to start dropping like flies after the Supreme tenor comes out.
 

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Well, let's hope the II tenor is next on the chopping block.
... with the Ref 54 tenor close behind it.

You're welcome, Selmer.
 

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Imagine a time when Selmer only had one saxophone model at a time - that's the way it was from day one until some point after the Super Action 80, Series II debuted. I always thought bringing out multiple models at the same time was bad business and bad for a 'boutique' manufacturing operation for mostly hand-made saxophones. Now they are forced to trim their line and possibly are planning to return to one model in the future. All I can say about that is 'its about time'.
A great saxophone is great in any kind of music or playing style, the same as a great violin. You don't need one for this and one for that. You don't need to try to sell a sax to every sax player - the ones who will buy your single model for all manner of playing styles will support your business, just as they did in the previous era of only one model at a time, IF you haven't forgotten how to make a great saxophone.
 
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