Saxophone Forum


by Gaurdala sax
(5 posts)
4 years ago

Selmer Tenor Mark vii

I have just purchased a tenor mark vii from a very very reputable source. This sax is being custom adjusted for me and is being fixed up by a celebrity "sax doctor". I want to know since I never owned one how a mark vii compares to other brand saxes. I have been searching forums and all I find is how is is not as good as the mark vi and how it was a dissapointment to the mark vi as a follower. I do not want to hear this anymore. I want to know how it compares on the sax market to other brands. Please forget that it is the predeccessor the mark vi. I had the opporutnity to by a buffet, a mark vii, a conn and a few others. All of the other ones didn't feel right in my hands. I'm sure I could have gotten used to them but it would have taken some work. I have read many discussions saying that the mark vii is heavy, big and cummbersome. I have very small hands. Smaller than most people. When I played the mark vii it seemed to work the best for me and didn't seem extra large at all. I play a Dave Gaurdala alto and love it. The set up of the mark vii seemed more similar to the GAurdala than the Buffet did. Maybe this is why I liked it. I am paying 3,200 for it. Please tell me where this sax stands among the rest of the vintage pro tenor saxes. Thanks!

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  1. by cuber
    (653 posts)

    4 years ago

    Re: Selmer Tenor Mark vii

    its tough to say what sax is better. when someone says X is better than Y, they really mean X is GENERALLY better than Y. really it depends on the horn and what you want and like in a horn. Mk VII-wise, ive heard the only difference from a mkVI is the keywork is designed by someone who has big hands. never playing one, i cant validate this, but the guy who said this knows his stuff.

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    1. by chalazon
      (547 posts)

      4 years ago

      Re: Selmer Tenor Mark vii

      I believe that there were changes to the bore on the MKVII...it sounds as though you've already made up your mind. I've play on 7s that played and sounded great ..I've played on 7's that didn't..all in all I feel for the money a well playing 7 is as fine a vintage horn as you could hope for...keep the faith..

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  2. by johnnybrock
    (2 posts)

    4 years ago

    MK-VII Who's your Daddy!!!

    Guardala, To answer your question specifically, The MK-VII is a very reputable horn. They have maintained their value over the years and there is still a market for them. Alot of Pro's have them as their primary Alto. If you've noticed, I'm sure we can we agree that the new horns are generally bulky compared to the old horns. My personal belief has always been that the conception of the MK-VII was solely responsible for the birth of the "Bulky." Selmer is usually the leader in INNOVATION and the other companies are real quick to jump on the Bandwagon. The MK-VII had all kinds of new stuff. Fatter spatula keys, the curve at the top of the side high-E, fatter low C and D# at a slight angle, etc. All for easier access and comfort and all standard on every horn since. Not to mention that before the MK-VII, the high F# was an optional feature, also now standard. There are some exceptions to all of this however, but what I'm trying to get at is that all in all, I believe that the difference between vintage horn and modern horn is the MK-VII. Never owned one, but back in the day when High Schools had loaner instruments, they just happened to have one with my name on it for the 9th grade and part of the 10th. I really got a chance to check out this horn. It played well, sounded great and I never once had a problem with it. As far as WEIGHT goes, it didn't matter. It was lighter than the Bari Sax I played in 7th and 8th grade. The MK-VII isn't going to be any "bigger" than any of it's counterparts. In order for your horn to be a Bb, it has to be a certain size. That's just the way it is. All of the new horns are a bit heavier because of and starting with the MK-VII. If I remember right, they are of ribbed construction instead of post, adding to the DURABILITY factor. (One isn't better than the other, just different qualities, mostly sound). The only other horn that stands out for me in really close COMPARISON would be the 62 series Yamaha, the other A-list new horn for that time period. The REPUTATION for the MK-VII was already etched in stone in 1936. You can't just show up one day and kick Daddy and Grandpa off the stage permanently and expect a warm welcome. If they came out with the Ref-54 or 36 back then instead of the MK-VII, they probably would have endured the same bad rap instead of enjoying the huge success they do today. In my opinion, the only reason why the MK-VII was doomed from the start is because of who it's Daddy is. It's doesn't go well when you send Junior out there to fill the biggest shoes of all time, thus putting Pops out to pasture. Regardless of what Junior's got going on. So due to this, any kind of research that you do on this particular model horn should be limited to manufacturer specs and hands-on analysis. How YOU personally rate this horn is the way to go here. It does however, look like you did everything right in going about getting this horn. You scored a Professional-level Selmer tenor at a good price that stacks up well with any Pro-level tenor out there, past or present. On a scale of 1-10 in the Professional Class, I would give the MK-VII somewhere between a 6-9 in general with a good set-up and a great mouthpiece. You got the set-up. Now go for the best piece sparing no expense and you'll be good to go. Happy playing, jb

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