Saxophone Forum


by sgt17594
(31 posts)
10 years ago

What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

Recently, I got my company's year end bonus (no a big amount, about $4000 USdollars) and want to buy the Selmer Tenor. I search a lot of web site and found that the selmer SBA and Mark VI are more expensive than Mark VII. I really want to try then but you can't find that sax. in Hong Kong. What's the difference between them? Actually, I want to buy the Mark VII due to the price and save the money for Japan travelling! any good suggestion and advise?? Merry X'mas for all !!

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  1. by slawless
    (1 post)

    7 years ago

    Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

    I own a MKVII and have played a MKVI. The MKVI has a bigger bore and is an easier blow. The MKVII has much bigger keywork and really only suits someone with big hands. For this reason it was not liked by many people. Simon Spillet plays a MKVII so if you want to hear what it sounds like (when played by him) check out one of his Tubby Hayes covers. I would say that the MKVII has a modern bright sound but you can change the tone considerably by using different mouthpieces. I used to use a Link but now use a rubber mouthpiece and prefer the darker tone.

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  2. by irvkms
    (16 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

    I bought a new MKVII tenorshortly after they came out. Over the years I've had people say "that mk VI sounds great." When I say it is a VII the response is like some of the negative comments above. There are great SBA's VI's and VII's and some duds. As with vintage horn you have to try them to see if you can get the sound YOU want. I have found the sound of a VII can vary greatly with different mpcs and reeds. I agree with the general wisdom that the low end blows easily and the layout is more manageable if you have bigger hands.

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  3. by saxitect
    (1 post)

    5 years ago

    Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

    For all of you who comment on a horn you never played.....get real! I have played a 1976 MK VII since 1982 and it has been a fabulous player. It is heavier than the VI and is a bit darker overall. If you can't afford a VI sometimes you will find lemonade where people say there's lemons. Mine is in the 248xxx range and I have been told a couple of the keys on the G# paddle and D#/C pinky don't look "typical" for a VII. Could be one of the many selmer anomalies, In any event, it is a great sounding horn from vintage cannonball to desmond. Good classical with the soloist c* as well. Don't judge a book by the cover.

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  4. by sonnyrollins57
    (17 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

    Theres a lot of cheaper vintage horns than the selmer balance ation,selmer mark VI,and the Mark VII.You could easily just get a conn 10m, a martin tenor(martin committee), a martin handcraft or even a buffet super dynactionThose horns are about $3000 to $2000 dollars cheaper than the selmer horns, and even have more character, and sound better and are prefessional saxes.

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  5. by blackfrancis
    (396 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

    I have experience on Balanced Action and mk. VI - both are fine horns deserving of their reputations. I tried a mk. VII and found the action fantastic but the tone weak. I agree, try a Conn 10 M or a Martin. Great horns regardless of price differences. Also try a King Super 20 or a Zephyr.

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    1. by connsaxman_jim
      (2336 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

      I wouldn't suggest a Mk VII. Honestly, I've never played one, but from what I've heard, they just don't begin to compare to the Mk VI or the SBA or even the newer Super Action 80 or Reference. I've heard that there were some design issues with the MK VII as well. Like I said, I've never played one, just telling you what I've heard. I'd recommend a vintage Conn, King, Buescher or Martin, but it sounds like you're set on buying a Selmer. In that case, rather than buy a Mk VII that you might be disappointed in, I'd spend the extra and buy the MK VI that you really want. You won't regret it, and if you sell it, you'll definately get your money back out of it.

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      1. by p-apple
        (49 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

        I haven't tried a mark vi either, but if you go to saxpics.com and go to the selmer section they have a lot of good information about the SBA, Mark VI, and Mark VII. Apparently the mark vi and mark vii are different and you shouldn't let the similar names fool you. - william

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        1. by ppamhk
          (4 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

          I started to play sax in 4Q 2004. I bought a Selmer SBA alto from a reputable dealer, and I love its sound - much better than those of brand new HK$4000-7000 Taiwanese made or Buescher altos used by my peers. Given your budget, I think you can buy a decent vintage Selmer from a reliable dealer. Unless you want to buy a new sax, I don't think you have much choice in Hong Kong for vintage sax. ppam - a HKer

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        2. by Selmk7ag
          (5 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

          Mark VII's are excellent Selmer Paris horns in their own right if you get a good one. The keywork was re-designed and the neck has a higher arch. They have a different taper & bore for greater altissimo and a big fat bottom end. I have a VII alto and a Serie II Super Action alto, both are fine horns, and I wouldn't sell either.

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      2. by terrryc
        (5 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

        hi there..the super balanced action was the best selmer before the dawn of the mark 6. before world war 2, conn and buescher tended to rule the saxophone roost. after the war, there were great horns coming out of elkhart (king and conn were still respectable, buescher top hat & cane horns) but selmer started to devote itself to being the standard bearer. many old timers preferred the sba to the 6, because of a reputation for intonation irregularities. the 6 was the last word in saxophone quality until somebody got the great idea of screwing with it. selmer should have simply re-tooled it's worn out equipment and continued the 6. the 7 is a totally inferior product, but good ones are around. try a late 40s era conn or buescher. if you have to have a selmer, try the earlier series II sa 80. the series I horns are uneven, and the series III horns make great lamps for your den. at least this time, selmer kept the II series before going off the deep end again. i will match my series II against anything (tenor). if you have to have a new horn, look at the top of the line keilwirth.

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        1. by HornPlayer1969@aol.com
          (1 post)

          7 years ago

          Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

          The bottom line is you have to go out and test drive the horns for yourself. I play a Keilwerth SX90 Tenor. This after having test driven both the SX90R and SX90R Shadow. Despite those models being more expensive, the SX90 had the most appeal to me. Addionally, don't write off the Mark VII entirely. Many of them with serial numbers beginning with the "M" prefix are extremely under rated horns. These were made in the early part of the 70's. I've heard and played some that were identical in sound to the Mark VI

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          1. by selmer 4evr
            (309 posts)

            4 years ago

            Re: What's the difference between Selmer SBA, Mark VI & VII Tenor!

            Interesting I am VII player and I believe nothing comes close ,, the VII actually has a larger bore than a VI and way more consistent in timbre YET!!!! It is the BEAST in the Selmer lineup (actually a Stallion this by all means is no Mare ) and hardest animal to tame ,,but once tamed watch out it can take the Kentucky derby in record time

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