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I know this has probably been discussed dozens of times, but there's so many posts on these horns that it's incredibly time-consuming to find this precise information. So the basic question is simply: what years/serial numbers are generally regarded as the best ones for a great SBA? And what about for a great Mark VI?
Thank you!
 

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I'll start. For a MKVI tenor, mine is the best: 121,xxx, 1964. :)
 

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I read all those "time-consuming" threads so I'll sum it up for you :

1. There's no "best" year. Horns within a series just have different flavors. You may prefer one to another and the next guy another yet.

2. Selmer is known to have experimented and implemented slight changes through the BA, SBA and MKVI series. So while it's possible to roughly differentiate those horns based on their serial numbers, it can only be be an approximation. Basically a late BA is more like an early SBA, a late SBA like an early MKVI.

3. Setup makes or breaks the horn, especially with Selmers.
 

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So the basic question is simply: what years/serial numbers are generally regarded as the best ones for a great SBA? And what about for a great Mark VI?
Are you curious or actually shopping for a new horn?

If shopping, it's not a matter of "best" as much as "different" - especially with the Mk VI. If you better define your needs, then "Best" will have more meaning.

If I had the Big Buck$ and lived in Europe, I'd find a nice shiny silver plate SBA and get it overhauled to my preferences. And, if I couldn't find one in my price range, I'd find a recent silver plate Borgani Jubilee and get a custom setup on that. Oh, wait, that's what I did!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And, if I couldn't find one in my price range, I'd find a recent silver plate Borgani Jubilee and get a custom setup on that. Oh, wait, that's what I did!
LOL!!
Seriously, I am simply starting to do research in advance on something than I plan to buy in a year or two, when (and If) I do get those big bucks... So yes, it's mostly curiosity
 

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I have read some of those long discussions, and there are a lot of theories... There seems to be a lot of people convinced about the superiority of "five-digit" mk vi tenors, i.e. from 55,xxx in 1954 to 99,xxx in 1962. Incidentally this coincides with the time of peak performance and legendary recordings of some of the major saxophone players, so 5-digit-skeptics argue that just playing the same serial no as Coltrane did on this particular recording will not make you sound like Coltrane. However, many modern saxophone giants, including Michael Brecker, seem to also have preferred the 5-digit tenors, and this is perceived as support for their case by the 5-digit-believers. For alto there is one additional theory about the greatness of 140,xxx mk vi altos, i.e. around 1966-67, as far as I understand, this is mostly because David Sanborn seems to play this particular range. From my own very limited experience, I play a 1958 (78,xxx) alto which is fabulous, but have never tried the famous 140,xxx, which might be even better... :) For tenors, I happen to play one from 1964 (123,xxx) and one from 1958 (77,xxx), and, as it is, I slightly prefer the 1958 one, but have no idea if it has anything to do with the production year. Probably it just happened to turn out as a good horn, and, not least, it is well set up. Anyway, those familiar with statistics will appreciate that my sample size of 1 alto and 2 tenors is far too small to conclude with any confidence on this subject. My feeling from those long discussions is that many people, like myself, find it interesting to discuss this topic despite having far too limited sample sizes, while few have actually played enough horns to actually conclude with authority. I think also, given the subtle differences and subjectivity of the issue, the placebo effect may be a strong factor, i.e. if you are a 5-digit-believer, just "knowing" you have a legendary 5-digit horn may affect your playing a lot, maybe more than the horn would if you were unaware of its history.
Greetings and good luck
 

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No wait! The best sounding MKVI tenor is my 1974 226xxx.. It has a nice clearity and the intonation is better than the series II i played before. Keywork is the best out there. I guess its in the setup.
 

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my ex mark 6(just sold) was a great 123xxx... it did kinda have noisy keywork....apparently they changed certain construction at serial # 116k. so if that makes a difference to you it gives an added desirability to pre 116k
 

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it was however a KILLER horn
 

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my ex mark 6(just sold) was a great 123xxx... it did kinda have noisy keywork....apparently they changed certain construction at serial # 116k. so if that makes a difference to you it gives an added desirability to pre 116k
there's no noisy keywork, there's poor key fitting :mrgreen:
 

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Tip: most of the "rattly and noisy" feel on the VI RH stack comes from one overlooked spot. Most guys are OK at swedging, they do great on the F, E and D keys. But in the additional key, they go a good job only on the upper part of the hinge (that's double hinged). They move then to the lower part wich is only a renforcement for the low D key to link with the additional key. Here's the problem- If this little hinge is not perfectly aligned it will ALWAYS click. On really worn keys, you need to unbraze the hinge or the arm, swedge or replace the hinge, then braze back together on the rod so it will be perfectly aligned. And the clicking goes away.
 

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No wait! The best sounding MKVI tenor is my 1974 226xxx.. It has a nice clearity and the intonation is better than the series II i played before. Keywork is the best out there. I guess its in the setup.
Is that the 226XXX Mark VI on your sound samples or the Series II? You sound great, incidently. If it's the Mark VI, that should put to rest any debates about tone and preferred serial numbers.
There's a guy on youtube called soundfuga who demonstrates all sorts of Selmers from Balanced Actions to Mark VIIs. From his demos it seems hard to draw any real generalizations regarding serial numbers, imo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYeyYqH0Fus
 

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Is that the 226XXX Mark VI on your sound samples or the Series II? You sound great, incidently. If it's the Mark VI, that should put to rest any debates about tone and preferred serial numbers.
There's a guy on youtube called soundfuga who demonstrates all sorts of Selmers from Balanced Actions to Mark VIIs. From his demos it seems hard to draw any real generalizations regarding serial numbers, imo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYeyYqH0Fus
Thanks for your comment Honeyboy. It must be the series II you think of cause I do not have any recordings of my mark VI online yet... Soundfuge does have a lot of samples yes. Tenor madness has some nice recordings also.
 

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It's all about 100xxx-110xxx for me. Although the 85xxx (Brecker range) are is considered by a lot to be the ideal tenor range.
 

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I have played killer mark Vi's that had 213*** stamped on them. I like the Selmers before they went to those balls on the side Bb key and alternate C key...My alto is killer, 110*** , original lacquer and totally wails, but I have the Long Bow, so check that out too... My tenor is a 50*** SBA it's all original and it is unbelievable, but it needs all new pads, the original pads from 1952 are shot...It has original metal tone boosters that I will transfer over to the new set of pads...Set-up is everything for a Selmer... It has to be done right. The best in the world right now is ISHIMORI in Japan, he did Mike Brecker's horns...He did one of my USAF Mark VI's (Relacquered) and it was still unbelievable 7 years later!!! They made me give back all the USAF horns when I retired after 23 years of USAF service. It was a sad day to say good by to that tenor.....Now I'm back to my personal horns...I got my UNCLE AL'S Martin Commitee model tenor from 1937 that he bought brand new....it's the Searchlight model... killer tone...
 
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