Saxophone Forum


by MISaxGuy
(1 post)
5 years ago

Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

Hey guys, new to the forum. I have the opportunity to get my hands on a Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone for around $2000. Is it worth it? Are there better quality horns out there? I've been playing the Alto for about 15 years professionally but never looked into Sopranos until now. I want to start trying some different stuff with my band and am looking for a good professional soprano sax. Thanks!

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  1. by kelsey
    (784 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

    I've owned 2 different Mark Vl soprano saxes. Both horns played flat in the upper register. I could play in tune but I really had to lip them up. I prefer the Yamaha professional line of sopranos although I play both a Mark Vl tenor and Alto. $2000. is probably a fair price....whatever, good luck............Kelsey
    Barry Kelsey

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    1. by MartinMods
      (63 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

      If your soprano plays flat in the upper register, you can improve the register relationships by using a mouthpiece with a larger chamber. A larger chamber mouthpiece will make the horn play flatter. You will then have to push in more to get your A=440, which will make the whole horn a little shorter. The short tube notes (high notes) will then be proportionally sharper than they were before, in relation to the low register. Then the horn should play fine. I'd go for the Mk6. It's a great horn if you know what to do with it. This is because one must match the volume of the mouthpiece chamber to the theoretical missing cone, but that is "I'm smarter than you." stuff, which is really boring.

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      1. by kelsey
        (784 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

        MartinMod, you all so full of it and yourself. The Mark Vl is a great horn, we agree there, but what's the comment about 'If you know what to do with it'? I certainly know what you can do with it!....Kelsey
        Barry Kelsey

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        1. by chalazon
          (547 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          yes, Martin...I'm pretty sure Kelsey knows what to do with the afore mentioned sopranos. TheVI soppranos have a reputation for having intonational difficulties..and are not everyone's favorite horn..I, too, prefer the Yamaha's to the VI's and my soprano is a Yanigaqsawa curved..very lovely, and works great for me..no mpc manipulations required...you might want to be come a little better acquainted with Kelsey ...your comment was a bit flippant..maybe not meant to be..but taken that way non the less....

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        2. by MartinMods
          (63 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          Which horn you prefer is a matter of personal preference, and you are certainly entitled to have one. You were apparently lucky enough to have a mouthpiece that matched you Yani. I played Selmers for over 35 years in recording studios, including numerous Mk6 sopranos. They all played fine when setup properly and not one of them played flat in the upper register. I personally can not stand to play Yamahas or even new Selmer sopranos, as I find the tone shallow and inflexible. I would gladly sacrifice a little "automatic" intonation in favor of getting the sound I want, like Gerry Neiwood or Jerome Richardson. Nothing wrong with their Mk6 soprano sound or intonation. You can't sound like that on a Yamaha. The older Yani's had that round ring in the sound too though.

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        3. by kelsey
          (784 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          It's OK everybody, MartinMod, the well known lizard sax player, has said that it's up to personal preference as to what we should play. This will come as a relief to many. Gee thanks Mr. MartinMod.
          Barry Kelsey

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        4. by MartinMods
          (63 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          Kelsey, "...the well known lizard sax player." I'm not familiar with that term. I live just a few hours drive from you. Perhaps I'll stop by 513 A St. and you can explain it to me personally. MM

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        5. by kelsey
          (784 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          I don't think we will get along any better face to face, but tell me where you live and I'll come over as I am continueing to search for a good sax tech!
          Barry Kelsey

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        6. by MartinMods
          (63 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          Let's go have some beers!

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      2. by MartinMods
        (63 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

        MISaxGuy, The reed and mouthpiece function as a substitute for the small end of the conical sax body which has been "chopped off". For any saxophone to work correctly, the volume of the mouthpiece chamber must be close to equaling the volume of the chopped off piece. If the mouthpiece volume is too small, the high register will be flat, compared to the low register. If the mouthpiece volume is too large, the high register will be sharp compared to the low register, after tuning to A=440 in both cases. Intonation, tone quality, and response will suffer, the further off the mouthpiece volume is, until eventually, the reed won't even vibrate at all. If you have played alto professionally for 15 years, then hopefully you know how important it is to match the mouthpiece to the horn acoustically, BEFORE you can make any accurate assessment of how the horn actually plays. To do otherwise, and then blame the horn for the effects of an acoustical mismatch, is a silly mistake often committed by even trained talented players, who neglected to learn the very basic fundamentals of their instrument.

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        1. by cuber
          (653 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

          wait.... yamahas are inflexible? my experience tells me otherwise. frankly, theyre more flexable than anything else ive played, which i realize isnt as much as some of you, but is still a couple horns (including a conn stencil, martin, 6m, super dynaction, among others) and my yamaha has the biggest variety of sound i can make it do and still sound damn good. regarding the matching the mouthpiece/horn thing, my yamaha has taken everything from a C* to a rousseau JDX8 to a otto link super tone master, and has preformed EXTREAMLY well with each mouthpiece. my martin certainly couldnt do that. (nothing against my martin, its better at what its designed for than anything else ive got, it just cant do much else well)

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          1. by MartinMods
            (63 posts)

            5 years ago

            Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

            Cuber, I said that I find (and that's my personal experience, which may or may not have any similarity to anyone elses' experience) that Yamahas are tonally less flexible than the horns I prefer to play - Martins, Mk6, Conn, King, Buescher. I've owned Yamahas. They are great saxophones. I just can't get the sound and response that I want out of them. I guess I just don't know how to play them. You have to go with what works for you, and for me, it's not Yamaha. Big deal. Mouthpiece matching: Some horns are more adaptable than others. With most modern mouthpieces on modern horns, one won't have too much problem. Vintage horns though, are a different animal, because they were designed differently. The soprano, by nature of it's small size, is more prone to intonation tendencies caused by mouthpiece mismatching than a tenor. It's still a very flexible instrument though,and the player can lip it all over the place to make it play usually. If you have intonation issues, like, a flat upper register, are bothering you, you can either find a different horn to match your mouthpiece, or find a different mouthpiece to match your horn. Mouthpieces are cheaper.

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            1. by haduran
              (52 posts)

              5 years ago

              Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

              I've had a similar personal issue with the Yamaha Custom (not Z's, which I haven't owned) tenors. Very nicely made and thought out- played just about perfectly in tune out of the box, but left me feeling like I was playing an appliance. I've owned two for about a year each- one in SP one in lacquer. My old YTS 61 was, on the other hand, a mildly quirky but overall very responsive bit of work. The 675 Yamaha soprano though, suits me very well both in tone and flexibility. I far preferred it to both a Selmer SA-80 II (which I owned for several years), and a VI which I just didn't care for. As MM points out- a very personal preference. There is no substitute for trying the horns out yourself- and preferably for more than ten minutes in a showroom.

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            2. by haduran
              (52 posts)

              5 years ago

              Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

              As an addendum- If you like (or dislike) a Yamaha YSS-675 (or other Yamaga model) you can look for that model and be pretty sure that any horn of that model you find in comparable condition will sound and play very much the same as the one you tried. This is not at all so with a Selmer- and less so as the year of manufacture gets older. There are very noticeable horn to horn variations and one VI may be absolute bliss for you in every regard. The next VI, made in the same year, might well be - for your purposes- a dog.

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            3. by satbwinds
              (1 post)

              4 years ago

              Re: Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone

              a large part of this is due to major manufacturing changes in the industry. All horns now are machine drawn with the assistance of various jigs and templates to assure conformity from horn body to body. Each body is rigidly fit to a soldering jig to assure absolute accuracy in rib and post placement. Those old school selmers relied a great deal on thecraftsmanship of the individual. I love my Mk VI soprano, (1972) but every modern horn that I try is easier to play, more ergonomic and almost magically in tune. They do not however, SOUND better. I am unwilling to go through "the great mouthpiece search" it would require to match the sonority of the MK VI. IF I were to buy a modern horn, it would probably be the Yanigasawa, as they come closest to the timbre of the older Selmers. I'm pretty lucky. Not only do I play, but I also run a band shop. I get to try every horn that comes through. I tied a Mauriat the other day that was amazing. Not only did the palm keys respond with no effort, I was able to take it to a double G with little adjustment. Now if I can just get the dog to come back . . . . .

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