Saxophone Forum


by srr
(3 posts)
10 years ago

Super Balanced Action vs. Balanced Action tenor sax

How is it possible to know if a horn is one model or the other? i mean, SBA(s) and BA'(s) are not labeled as such on the horn, like a mark vi. Also, it appears that the serial numbers are just a guide, and not a definitive answer, either. For example: Steve Goodson's serial number list differs from the list on the Selmer internet sight. Can anyone help me out with other physical features of the sax that would distinguish it as a SBA or a BA?

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  1. by jazzax
    (30 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Super Balanced Action vs. Balanced Action tenor sax

    While perhaps not definitive, the serial number list on Selmer's website seems like it would be the best source. Seems like the only time there might be a mix of the two would be during the published first year of production of the SBAs (like 1948 or late 35,XXX serial numbers). Another characteristic I've noticed is that later SBAs had a single key guard for the lower B and Bb keys (as with all mark VIs and later models) whereas it seems all BAs and some early SBAs had separate key guards for low B and Bb. Not very diffinitive, but something I've noticed. Having just tried a BA and an SBA, they were very similar as far as tone. Very sweet. I prefer my early Mark VI personally as I can get a tone that is just as sweet, but it is easier to get a more aggressive sound. Just more flexible really. Also, the comfort of the action on the Mark VI is quite an upgrade and allows for much more fluid speed. Just little things like the comfort of the left hand thumb rest and the octave mechanism. I know I'm am too spoiled by it to really enjoy playing a lot of other vintage horns, so my search has been over for years.

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    1. by srr
      (3 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Super Balanced Action vs. Balanced Action tenor sax

      Hi there, Jazzax: The information is very informative. I recently bought a 35,xxx (1st series) SBA. IT's silver and plays and sounds great. My only concern was that is it REALLY an SBA, like the seller told me or a BA. I'm am less concerned now from what you and others have told me. I'm not sure where exactly I heard this, but someone stated somewhere, that there were sum 2,000 SBAs made prior to the official market opening of this new SBA product. I guess one is now mine. Take care, Steve and thanks again.

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      1. by jazzax
        (30 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Super Balanced Action vs. Balanced Action tenor sax

        Right on Steve! What does it really matter as long as you love it. I'm sure your horn is SWEET! Just play it and enjoy it. Great horns definitely don't sit around, they just beg to be played so you can keep getting that sound out. My old VI is pretty ugly and been through a lot, but I don't sit around and look at it, I play it. That's what it's all about. Cheers! Jason

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    2. by cfsatb
      (11 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Super Balanced Action vs. Balanced Action tenor sax

      I own a BA & SBA tenors. the BA has an inline tone holes; the SBA has off-set tone holes. I like them both; and I sold my VI's b/c these have the sound that I prefer. michael

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      1. by srr
        (3 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Super Balanced Action vs. Balanced Action tenor sax

        HI there, Michael: Thanks for the info. I own a mk6 and now an SBA. I don't know which one to play first. But I guess this is a positive problem. Rock on! Take care, Steve

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