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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Last Monday, I went to the Boston Sax Shop to pick up my alto from getting some long-overdue maintenance, and decided to bring my tenor setup with me to try out a few horns Jack had in his shop that I might never get the chance to try again: a fully restored full pearls Silversonic Super 20, and n Inderbinnen tenor. While I was at it, I figured I may as well try some more tenors to see how they stack up against my 1977 Mark VII. The following horns are listed in order of how much I liked them.

Before we begin, I'd like to state that none of these horns were bad, and this is just my subjective preference based on what I like in tenors. I like dark, freeblowing, buzzy horns with a wide textural rage. I mostly play experimental music, and I'm not looking for something focused or even. You might really love the horns that did nothing for me, and that's cool! I'm not saying these horns are the best or the worst, just that I liked some more than others.

With that out of the way:

7. 1947 King Silversonic Super 20
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $10,500
IS IT WORTH IT? Sadly, no. This really breaks my heart. I've wanted to try a Silversonic tenor for ages, and I don't think I'll ever find a more perfect one than this. It's full pearls, and it was completely, beautifully restored and maintained. It looks like it was made yesterday, it's one of the mot beautiful saxes I've ever seen! And it sounds so boring. I honestly can't remember what this sax sounded like.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? Absolutely not.

6. Inderbinned Raw Brass
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $10,000
IS IT WORTH IT? Not on your life. This was the reason I brought my tenor stuff, because honestly: when else am I gonna get to try one of these? Besides, its previous owner was Troy Roberts, who's an awesome player. And honestly? It didn't do anything for me. It sounded good, sure, but a lot of horns sound good. If you want something with Yamaha keywork and a dark, fat, sound, save yourself $5-7k and buy a Custom EX.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? Nope.

5. 1963 Selmer Mark VI
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $6,800
IS IT WORTH IT? Really, that depends on you. No bones about it, this is a really nice horn. It's got silver plated keys, it doesn't need any work, it feels slick as hell, and $6,800 is on the low end for buying Mark VI in a music shop in Boston. But at the end of the day, it's just not what I want out of a tenor. It's too bright and too focused, and it doesn't have any grit to the sound at all. I doubt it's gonna stick around long, but I won't be buying it.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? Controversially, no.

4. 1957 Selmer Mark VI
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $9,500
IS IT WORTH IT? Not for me. Look, this is an awesome VI, and it comes close to doing what I want a tenor to do, but $9,500 is a lot to pay for a horn. It honestly just sounds a lot like my Mark VII, just with slicker keywork. I paid $2,200 for my tenor back when I lived in Oregon, and if I wanted to sell it in Boston, I could get $4,500 for it. So at minimum, I'd be paying an extra $5,000 just for slightly nicer keywork and the mystique that comes with being able to pose with a Mark VI. That's not worth the money.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? Sorry Mark VI devotees, but it's a no.

3. 1942 Martin Centennial
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $2,900
IS IT WORTH IT? You're god damn right it is! This is a great deal! Not only does it look gorgeous, it sounds incredible and has the most stable altissimo of any sax I've tried.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? No, but if I didn't have my VII, I'd think very seriously about buying this.

2. 1956 Selmer Mark VI
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $7,800
IS IT WORTH IT? You bet it is. Look, there's no getting around the fact that this is probably the ugliest of the 5 Mark VIs in BSS right now, but it sounds amazing. This was a horn someone really cherished, and you can see why. Honestly, this is probably the best Mark VI I've ever played.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? Ooooh, if I were a little more financially stable, I'd think about it. But only if another sax didn't catch my eye...

1. 1931 Selmer Super Sax
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $4,000
IS IT WORTH IT? I would ****ing sell my soul for this horn. Yeah, the keywork is a bit weird, but it's nothing $2 worth of Sugru can't fix. Besides, the sound of this horn is indescribable. This horn is FAT and BOLD, but retains an extraordinarily wide expressive and tonal range. This is everything I've ever wanted out of a tenor. It's perfect.
WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? I did!
 

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I am not a tenor player but I enjoyed your post. Thanks! I have a '32 Selmer Cigar Cutter alto . . . a wonderful old horn. DAVE
 

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Great explanation of why price is not a good indicator as to whether a horn is right for you.

........I play a Conn and a Mark VII. Own an SBA with is currently for sale. Funny how the most expensive horn in my arsenal is that one that is for sale. Sounds great, but it doesn’t fit me.
 

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That King S20 with the silver neck, bell and full pearls precedes the Silver Sonic moniker. They are extremely rare and one in excellent original condition is a true collectors item. I've never heard anyone describe a Super 20 tenor's sound as 'boring' but that's your experience. As far as the price goes for the pre Silver Sonic S20 model, I think it's in line for a rare collectable.
 

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thanks for the post.
mark7 saxophones are very good and still "cheap" in the selmer line these days.
these older selmers are fantastic sounding saxophones and also still "cheap" in respect of the "other" selmers.
glad you found your horn.
again,thanks for the post.
 

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Last Monday, I went to the Boston Sax Shop to pick up my alto from getting some long-overdue maintenance, and decided to bring my tenor setup with me to try out a few horns Jack had in his shop that I might never get the chance to try again: a fully restored full pearls Silversonic Super 20, and n Inderbinnen tenor. While I was at it, I figured I may as well try some more tenors to see how they stack up against my 1977 Mark VII. The following horns are listed in order of how much I liked them.

Before we begin, I'd like to state that none of these horns were bad, and this is just my subjective preference based on what I like in tenors. I like dark, freeblowing, buzzy horns with a wide textural rage. I mostly play experimental music, and I'm not looking for something focused or even. You might really love the horns that did nothing for me, and that's cool! I'm not saying these horns are the best or the worst, just that I liked some more than others...
I’m sure you realize that your choice of mouthpiece may have been a better match for some horns than others, but given your preference for a Mk VII, I’m not surprised that Mk VI horns failed to trip your trigger.

Enjoy that Super.
 

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A cool review, Saxman! Glad to see that bringing your setup along worked out, even better than you probably expected. A good day, in Boston, I guess?!
 

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Ditto what others have said, really like your descriptions. Absolutely worth it to compare as you did, plus you had a tonal concept as an anchor. Hope you continue to enjoy your new (to you) tenor!
 

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Congrats on finding the horn for you! Interesting about the Martin, thanks for your insights.

Holy smokes that Super 20 is pretty. 292k is very early for a sterling bell, almost suspiciously early. Sonic + full pearls is super rare and crazy collectible. Too bad it doesn't have the personality of Sonics I've played ... the altos especially are killer, but good luck finding one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Is that 5 grand for a TH&C alto for real? Sounds way higher than what I've ever seen them go for.
I think it's because it's mostly been untouched. It's a collector's item more than it is something you'd play a lot. That said, it's been in the shop for quite a while lol
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I also enjoyed your review, thanks. Congrats on your new Super. Is the Centennial basically a Committee III?
I'm not knowledgeable enough to say, though it does look an play very similarly.
 

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1. 1931 Selmer Super Sax HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $4,000, IS IT WORTH IT? I would ****ing sell my soul for this horn. Yeah, the keywork is a bit weird, but it's nothing $2 worth of Sugru can't fix. Besides, the sound of this horn is indescribable. This horn is FAT and BOLD, but retains an extraordinarily wide expressive and tonal range. This is everything I've ever wanted out of a tenor. It's perfect. WOULD I SELL MY MARK VII FOR IT? I did!
Glad to see you found the right horn, very pleasing and satisfying to the soul. It's amazing how some think that due to reputation or whatever, one horn is better than another rather than how it plays and sounds. Kind of reminds me of a hot shot mechanic who sneered at my Craftsman lifetime warranted automotive tools because Snap On made them better mechanics. Back in the 80's, I found an old King bari in a storeroom of a reserve military band I was in. We were short a working bari. It didn't look like much, needed some work. I borrowed the band's instrument repair kit tool box and took the bari home.

I replaced a couple bad pads, did a little key straightening, installed missing cork bumpers and felts. It had an amazing sound, I played it for the next couple years. We sat in with an active band we were filling in for their blanket leave period during annual training during a concert performance prior to their leave. Some of their woodwind players commented on how well the King bari sounded even though it didn't look like much.

Then, shortly after, the leadership decided to excess the King bari for a newer looking Martin bari being excessed to them. I played it, lacquer looked nicer but I didn't like it, the King sounded so much better and played much better in tune. Go figure.

7 years ago, I bought a 1950's vintage (earlier than the Duke, left pinky key pattern was earlier) Le Blanc Beaugnier Vito Bari, for a little over $300 off the Bay. It was in very rough condition being a prior school instrument with many dings and repairs, must have sat in a dank storage room or cellar for a while prior, but it had good pads. It played badly out of tune, but over time I straightened the key rack, corrected pad heights, removed a few dents, resoldered posts. Lo and behold, now it plays very well in tune, easily hits falsetto, has the darker sound of the older horns. I also learned that this sax was hand made, Beaugnier factory discontinued making these hand made saxes around 1970 because they could not compete with modern machine made ones. About the only difference between the beginner and pro models was, the pro had better tuning, fancier engraving and better jewels.

It now needs several pads replaced, so I'll need to get busy with work, but even in the rough with over 50% of lacquer gone (a little periodic brass cleaning fixes that), it has become my favorite sax.
 
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