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Selmer Balanced Action Alto 1945 Fresh Overhauled Original Silver Plate Excellent Condition$ 5,650
Get your Paul Desmond tone going with this beautiful, freshly-overhauled, original silver plate Selmer Balanced Action alto saxophone from 1945. This is the sort of alto Desmond played on Take Five, among many other recordings, and it is the sweetest sounding Selmer alto ever made in my opinion. The ‘Balanced Action’ in the name refers to Selmers revolutionary new keywork design that came on this instrument. It probably doesn’t seem revolutionary to you, since every saxophone made today is made in imitation of Selmer’s ‘balanced action’ design!
The upshot is that you get an alto with a beautiful, warm, lyrical vintage tone, but with keywork that feels quite modern under the fingers. That’s what makes the Balanced Action model such a sweet spot for vintage Selmers. The earlier Selmers are great, but the keywork feels more antequated to many alto players, who, as a general rule, seem less interested in vintage tone unless the keywork also feels more familiar. Tenor players are in general more dedicated to tone, and will work with vintage keywork if it gets them the sound the want.
Anyway, it would be hard to find a nicer example of a Selmer Balanced action alto saxophone than this one. It has nearly all of its original silver plate intact, and it has no dents or dings, and no resolders. The bell flare, bow, neck, and body tube are clean and undamaged. The neck is particularly nice. This sax also comes with a recent overhaul done by Jack Finucane, and it feels good under the fingers, with everything nice and snappy and sealing well. You won’t have to put money into this one to get it playing well, and it won’t need more than regular maintenance to play well for a nice long time.
It even includes the BAM case in the photos, so this is really a great deal at this price. Whoever gets this horn is going to be pretty lucky I think. It’s warm and lyrical, medium spread, but with a nice, solid core tone. You can take the sound in lots of directions, from classical (Selmer’s main design idea at the time) to jazz, smooth jazz, west coast, rock, or really whatever. It’s flexible enough to work with a variety of mouthpieces and still tune well. This is a great alternative to buying some boring new horn for several reasons: better overhaul, better tone, much better resale value, better build quality, more beautiful. But mostly for the tone.
Only one available.
Selmer Balanced Action Alto Saxophone Fresh Overhaul! Original Silver Plate Great Tone$ 5,150
This is an amazing, fully restored Selmer Balanced Action alto. It just got a wonderful high-end overhaul, complete with some spot plating on some keys and along the back of the body tube where the silver had begun to wear. This is one gorgeous alto, with the rare British market two-tone finish, and gold wash bell. The spring tension is on the lighter side, like with most Balanced Actions. If you want stiffer spring tension, we could discuss replacing the springs, but right now, it has a light flute-like feel like these originally had.
Tonally, If you want an alto that people are going to want to listen to, this is the one. It plays extremely well, with a warm, powerful voice that is effortlessly lyrical and makes you not want to put it down. It has high-end reusable domed brass resonators and sounds very good on them. Keywork is snappy, and ‘dry’ under the fingers, like it should be. This comes with a new BAM Softpack alto case, or you can swap that for a Cabine for +$100. These British market Balanced’s are my favorite finish on vintage Selmers, and they are few and far between.
There’s only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Alto 1962 Original Lacquer American Engraved Original Pads 102605$ 7,950
This is a beautiful, original lacquer, American engraved Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone from 1962. It has the matching serial number on the neck, and it has no dents or dings. There are no resolders or other past repairs, save a couple of small dings removed from the back of the bow and a tiny one from the neck. The whole horn is in excellent condition, and it even still plays surprisingly well on the original factory pad job from Elkhart. They really did it right back in the day at the Selmer assembly shop. It feels just perfect under the fingers, and it would be a good feel to copy if you get this overhauled to play seriously.
Just for fun, here’s Phil Woods putting a similar VI through its paces!
The early 100k serial VI altos are my favorite Mark VI altos for tone. This is the exact same horn as a 95k serial alto, so it is the same as a 5-digit, but for a lower price. The tone is medium-dark, powerful, and punchy when pushed, with a good amount of focus. These are the most tenor-like of the Mark VI altos, with a depth and body to the sound that reminds me of a larger saxophone bursting out of an alto voice. This has the long bow, which means nothing really if you’re playing jazz, but if you’re buying this for classical sax, then with a small tip opening mouthpiece and hard reed you will find low B to be a little flat on your tuner. With a jazz setup, I don’t even notice it, and the tone that you get is just fantastic.
If you’re in the market for a great Selmer alto, this makes a much smarter purchase than a new Referene 54 at $6700, because the Reference will be worth 70% of that at best, as soon as you buy it, and less as time goes on, where a beautiful vintage Mark VI will still be worth what you paid for it or more when you go to sell it, if you ever need to. You’re tying up the money in a horn, but it’s money you can get back out, meaning you can own the horn nearly for free, or for the cost of upkeep, which is not the case buying most other sorts of big ticket items. Certainly not vehicles! Plus it’s satisfying to own and play, is built extremely well, and sounds better than a new one. Just for fun, here’s Phil Woods putting a similar VI through its paces (using a Meyer Bros NY alto piece).
Only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Alto 1970 184973 Original Lacquer American Engraved Fresh Overhaul!$ 6,000
This is a sweet deal on a freshly-overhauled original lacquer Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone from 1970 serial 184973. This was a one-owner alto before I got it, and the guy was a pro player in the NYC/NJ area. He took great care of it, and now that it’s freshly overhauled, it is all ready for its second life. If you read around on here, you’ll see that I really love the Mark VI altos from the late 60’s and early 70’s like this. They finally got everything right on the Mark VI alto at this serial, after making incremental changes to the bore, bow length, and neck from 1957-1967 or so. By ’67 the alto hits its stride, and the 1970 is basically the same horn. Because the market is not fully rational, you can get some of the best Selmer Mark VI altos for this sort of price, even with a full overhaul, where some of the earlier serial ones will cost much more. That makes this one a great deal.
If you have the cash, I think you might as well buy the nicest alto you can, and enjoy playing it. Pro altos are easier to play than student and intermediate ones, and the Mark VI is among the easiest vintage saxophones to play and to own. It’s easy to get worked on, well-built, and stays in adjustment well over time. The keywork design set the standard for all modern saxophones and feels great under the fingers. The tone is gorgeous, and the intonation is good. It’s the one horn that does everything the best on average, which is why it is so popular.
This particular alto has a tone that is medium between bright and dark, and is a nice, balaced player. Not brash and bold like a 220k VI, and not dark and laser-focused like a 60k VI. It’s flexible, dynamic, and easy to take where you want it to go tonally with the right setup. The intonation is good, and the pads feel nice and snappy under the fingers, as they should on a good overhaul. The neck is in good condition and the neck ‘fit’ is all perfectly sealing in the tenon, which is one of those small but important things to have done on a vintage horn to take it from good to great. Cosmetically, you can see this horn has been played, and has some honest wear throughout. After all, it was lovingly pro-owned for many years, but aside from that, it’s very nice. The only past repairs are a resoldered foot of the low C guard that popped loose as it does on so many VI’s, and a few small dents removed from the back of the bow, which is now dent-free. Neck is beautiful, bell flare is in great shape. Tone holes are all great of course.
It’s a very good deal on a solid Selmer Mark VI alto. This would be, to me, much preferable to spending $6700 on a new Reference 54 alto, which, unfortunately, will probably need an overhaul on top of the purcahse price in order to play its best. This will go up in value, hold up better to prolonged use, and get you your money back should you ever want to sell it. It comes in the new BAM case in the photos.
Only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Alto Near Mint Original Lacquer Original Pads 216700$ 5,500
Selmer Mark VI Alto Original Lacquer American Engraved Great Deal 214844$ 4,750
Extremely good price for an original lacquer Selmer Mark VI alto. This horn has older pads, so plan on getting it overhauled. But it won’t be a complex overhaul – just the regular, and Selmer Mark VI’s are easy and fun to restore at your local saxophone expert’s place. The later VI altos have a beautiful, balanced tone. Selmer finally got the alto really nicely in tune by the end. It plays with an even scale and feels great with a lyrical French Selmer core and plenty of warmth and complexity to the tone. It’s medium between bright and dark, possibly medium bright when pushed, but it will really do most anything you want it to, depending on your choice of mouthpiece. So for the price of a new Yamaha, you can get the storied Mark VI and own and enjoy it while it goes up in value. What’s not to like about that?
Only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone 160941 Beautiful Original Lacquer Matt Stohrer Overhaul!$ 7,650
Just overhauled by Matt Stohrer, this is one exceptionally fine Selmer Mark VI alto. It feels better than new, and it plays so effortlessly, with a warm, complex, medium bright tone that is rich and singing. If you’ve been looking for one alto that does everything well, this is it. It gets my highly-coveted ‘exceptionally fine player’ designation. That means is the best of its kind that you can get in a saxophone in my opinion.
The 160k range is excellent for the VI altos specifically, because you get a rich tone and well balanced intonation. If you want one of those life-long, world-class VI altos that also has the world’s best overhaul (that I have seen at least), then get this one. Matt’s work on a VI looks like it came fresh from the factory, and feels like a million bucks. Effortless to play, and dependable to maintain. It has all the little touches that take a horn from good to great.
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone 1956 66928 Factory Relacquer (looks original) Very Good Condition$ 5,000
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone 1967 145964 Original lacquer Very Good Condition$ 9,000
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone 1967 146243 Original Lacquer Excellent Condition!$ 10,500
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone 1969 176329 Original Lacquer Original Pads Excellent Condition$ 5,750
Beautiful example of an original lacquer Selmer Mark VI Alto saxophone. This instrument had only one owner, who took great care of it. It still has almost all of its original pads, and it has never been repaired. There are no dents, no dings, and no resolders. The neck is in excellent condition and has not been pulled down. A few small dings were removed when I got it – one on the bell, and a couple on the back of the bow area. They are quite hard to see now.
The Mark VI altos made in the late 60’s are probably the best overall buy among pro altos today for people who want the Selmer style keywork. It wasn’t till the mid 60’s that Selmer finally figured everything out on its Mark VI alto. The early VI’s are good too and have a darker, more compact tone, but by the mid 60’s you get a real sweet spot of one alto with the following features: excellent intonation, including low register and including with a classical or concert setup; even scale; a warm, medium bright tone that is neither brash, nor shrill, nor stuffy; great response and projection. Take all that, and add the basic Mark VI ‘French’ lyrical core tone, and the comfortable Selmer keywork, and unbeatable build quality, and you have a really superb alto saxophone.
It’s a good buy for all of the above reasons, and because it will definitely continue to go up in value over time. Higher-end Taiwanese horns are now selling for $4500+ new, when you can get a beautiful, original lacquer Selmer Mark VI for not much more. It’s kind of wild. And it’s a good time to buy a vintage Selmer for that reason, among many others. Nothing is more all-around satisfying to play and own, and nothing has stood the test of time better than the Mark VI.
Only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone Original Gold Plate (Vanishingly Rare) Japanese Market Near Mint 156928
Possibly the nearest to new condition original gold plate Selmer Mark VI in the world. This might be a keeper for me, because it is also in the best serial range for altos to play well. My favorite VI altos have all been in the early medium bow range like this. Plus it’s an original Japanese market horn, which is rarely seen. One of a kind.
There is nothing rarer than original gold plate Mark VI’s like this. This is the first I have seen that was definitely original gold for sale. Rarer than Full Pearls Silversonic King saxophones, rarer than mint Super Balanced Action tenors. Pretty hard to beat.
Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone Original Overhauled Excellent! 165069$ 6,950
This is one of those altos you don’t want to put down. It’s just gotten a complete overhaul / mechanical restoration, which means that it feels and plays like new or even a bit better. I wanted to get this horn overhauled, because I had a really good feeling about how it played even on the original pads that it had when it got here. If you want a VI that will be problem-free for many many years, and plays better than any modern horn on the market, (and will go up in value) this is what you want!
This was a one-owner horn that was well cared-for for decades before now, and now it is getting a good start on a new life with a top shelf overhaul. This thing has a beautiful voice. Medium between bright and dark, rich, and resonant. The late 60’s Mark VI’s are my favorites for all-around Selmer altos, because they do basically everything well. Intonation is good, scale is even, low notes are saturated even at pianissimo, upper register screams. This has the ‘medium bow’ if you’re wondering about such things, which means the low register tunes the best of the Mark VI’s. You can’t beat a Mark VI alto like this for build quality and all-around satisfying playing experience. You get the beautiful, unbeatable tone of a Mark VI, the comfortable key work, the excellent intonation, and the feel of a new horn under your fingers, and all for less than a (let’s be honest) comparatively poorly made new Selmer alto. Plus this holds its value and appreciates, while your new horn is going to be worth approximately half the new price in about one second after you unbox it (gasp).
Comes with the original case, and you can add a great BAM case for a big discount if you contact me.
Selmer Mark VI Soprano Saxophone 253537$ 4,850
Beautiful original lacquer Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone in excellent condition. The pads are a mix of older and newer, mostly older. But it plays nicely on them with a warm, resonant tone. This is a great VI soprano and sounds rich, and also tunes quite well. Original case is in good shape too. No dents or dings, no resolders. A bit of stand wear inside the bell flare is about all there is to say about this very nice Mark VI soprano!
Selmer Mark VI Tenor 143865 Exceptional Player Original Lacquer Very Good Condition$ 7,350
Freshly overhauled with domed nylon resonators (much like what would have been originally installed on this instrument at the factory) this Mark VI tenor is in good condition and plays very well, with a full voice and very even up and down the scale. The spring tension are currently set moderately heavy, and although this instrument is over 50 years old the overhaul combined with the spring tensions make it feel and look almost like a new instrument. The spring tensions can be adjusted before shipping if you have a different preference, but the lacquer is still going to look nearly new!
The original lacquer is in exceptionally good condition, and this horn might be what others would describe as “mint condition” due to the lacquer, but there are a few past repairs to mention that bring it out of that rarified atmosphere and bring the price down without affecting the tone. These repairs were very well done, and each has been addressed with care and competence: a resoldered low Bb key guard foot, a few repaired dents on the body, and a past neck pulldown that has been repaired (and the neck refit). All in all, a nice Mark VI that has a very tidy overhaul on it, ready to play and needs nothing.
Selmer Mark VI Tenor 195260 Original Lacquer American-Engraved Plays Well$ 5,950
Selmer Mark VI Tenor from 1973 Saxophone Original Lacquer Overhauled Great!$ 6,350
Just overhauled. This horn plays REALLY well. Super nice under the fingers, great response. Plays, feels, and responds better than most 5 digit tenors out there. If you want the loud, powerful late VI tenor sound, this is hard to beat.
This is a mechanically very clean original lacquer Selmer Mark VI Tenor saxophone with American engraving. This horn has some speckling in the lacquer, as you can see, but if you look at what counts, this Mark VI tenor is in excellent condition. There’s no damage, no resolders, neck is in great condition. It JUST got a complete overhaul / restoration done, and it’s back to factory fresh mechanical and pad condition. (An overhaul takes around 25 hours of skilled work, and represents a big added value to any saxophone.) That means all new pads, corks, felts, setup, mechanical work, neck fit – whatever it needs in order to play like a new horn.
The later VI tenors are excellent players. Better tone and feel for the dollar than almost any other saxophone that you can buy period. And this one is mechanically very nice, which is what you want. If you have been wanting a solid pro tenor that is easy to play and sounds excellent, but is in the mid-range of price for a pro tenor, that’s this. Plus, rather than depreciate like a new horn, this Mark VI tenor will go up in value, and will be easy to re-sell at any point later. Buy it and get playing!
Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone 1959 Great Player! Original Lacquer 79919$ 11,450
This is one of the most desirable versions of the Selmer Mark VI Tenor ever made. Original lacquer, American-engraved from 1959. The original neck has the matching serial number, and the neck is EXTREMELY nice shape. Usually original necks don’t look quite this good. My personal (favorite of all time) VI tenor is 81k serial, and this is 79919, so they were made only a few months apart, and play virtually identically. The tone is dark, centered, and rich, and brightens up and gets a bit of an edge to it when pushed. Not as bright and projecting as an 87xxx for example, and the extra focus and complexity of the tone gives it a special beauty. It’s very free blowing and responsive. This tenor had a dent removed from the back of the body tube that was basically right behind the spatula keys, near the bell/body brace. You can still see some evidence of it having been removed, but it was removed so well (by Aaron Barnard) that it is almost not there anymore. Besides that, you have a few small dents removed here and there – a couple removed from the bow area (front and back), very small one or two on the bell flare, and one under the D palm key. Just normal stuff for a 60 year-old horn that has been played professionally.
Repair wise, this tenor received a fresh overhaul a few years ago, done by David Saull (Denver, CO) who works on tons of pro horns in that area and has an excellent reputation. It feels great under the fingers with a nice, snappy, ‘dry’ pad feel and very even action. Tunes well, altissimo is easy, low notes are easy. Just what you’d hope for from an excellent VI.
It comes in a brand new BAM case. It’s in a Softpack in the photos, which is one of my favorites for an all-around BAM tenor case, as it has some storage under the horn, and a separate place for the neck, but it is nice and small and light to pack around. Comes with backpack straps as well. You can swap this out towards another case if you want a different BAM or something else. Happy to make it work for you. 2% discount with a low-fee payment method (bank transfer, transferwise, check, venmo etc.).
Priced to sell. You don’t normally see a 1959 in the 80k serial range selling for this kind of price. Could be much higher, but it’s on consignment, and the owner wants it to move quickly.
Only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone 1963 111641 Original Lacquer Excellent Condition
Ahh. The look and feel of a vintage Selmer Mark VI Tenor saxophone. It’s calming and delightful! This one stands out from the crowd with its beautiful dark lacquer. This is a gorgeous 1963 Selmer Mark VI Tenor saxophone 111k serial, which makes it the same version as the late 5-digit tenors like a 95k serial. The tone is medium dark and powerful, with a good amount of focus and projection. Nice and free blowing. This was a 1-owner horn that I got from an extremely friendly ‘greatest generation’ WWII vet (later band director/musician) who owned and played it the whole way through. He took uncommonly good care of it, along with the rest of the horns in his little collection. This sax still has most of its original pads, but it still feels almost brand new, and I’m tempted to say you might want to just seal the original pads with a leather treatment and keep playing this horn for a while. I rarely say that, but it feels like it was freshly overhauled last week. Selmer did SUCH a good job with the initial pad work on the Mark VI at this period. Man. The only past repair is a crease removed from the bell flare. Typical ‘bumped the bell on a stand’ type of thing. Looks good now. There’s also a tiny flat spot in the bow guard. Besides that, the horn is clean! Exceptionally good condition. It comes in the cool Pro-tec trey pak case in the photos, which has wheels and a pull out handle.
Only one available!
Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone 1968 Original Lacquer Very Good Condition 151919$ 7,950
Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone from 1970 American Engraved$ 6,450
This is a beautiful example of a Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone from 1970. It is American engraved and assembled. The entire horn is original lacquer. Except for the neck, which has been relacquered, but still completely matches the horn in look and color. The neck evidently had a dent removed under the octave key, and the original owner wanted it to look as good as the horn, so had the dent removed and the neck resprayed. Anyway, it’s not a big deal playing wise, but I’m lowering the price of the horn by around $1500 to give someone a great deal on an original lacquer VI in excellent condition that is also cheaper than buying just a regular new Selmer tenor sax. Compared to a new Series II tenor, or a new Ref 54 or (gasp) Ref 36, you are saving hundreds to several thousands of dollars and getting a horn that is better made, plays better for almost any style but classical (nod to the Series II and III purists here) and will hold its value or go up in value rather than going down like a new Selmer would.
To keep the price low, I’m selling it with all of its original pads still intact. It actually still plays quite well on the original pads, and seals up with little ‘note like’ pad pops all the way down to Bb. It’s a joy to feel the high quality pad work that Selmer Elkhart did on its original factory setups.
All in all, this horn is in AMAZING physical condition. You very rarely find original lacquer horns that are 48 years old that look so great. It’s a great opportunity for someone to score a really eye-turning VI tenor for a discounted price.
Only one available.
Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone Original Lacquer Very Good Condition 164xxx Fresh Overhaul!$ 6,750
Selmer Mark VII Alto Saxophone 244831 Excellent Original Lacquer American Engraving Near Perfect$ 3,650
The Selmer Mark VII, the last remaining relative bargain Selmer-wise, is a very well-built vintage Selmer with a slightly odd left hand pinky table, but it more than makes up for it with quality, value, and tone. Speaking of tone, the VII alto features the same big, powerful, and deep tone of a late VI alto, and I find them to be very similar (and I really like late VI altos, especially the American-assembled ones).
This particular instrument has recently been serviced, and plays very well on a mix of older (some original) and newer pads. It has not seen much use in its life based on how little wear it has, and the lacquer is original and in extremely good condition. There is no evidence of past repairs, dentwork, or resoldering, and the original case is still in very good condition as well. The ergonomics, although slightly different from a VI (and the following model, the Super Action 80) in the left hand pinky table and Eb/C spatulas, are easy to get used to, and some players with large hands even find it preferable over a VI. I possess hands of merely average size, but I don’t find it to be different enough that I really notice it at all in playing.
All in all, this is an excellent condition alto that plays very well and represents an uncommonly good value for a Selmer.
Selmer Series III Alto Saxophone SOLID Sterling SILVER Near Mint w/ Full Overhaul$ 10,000
Just freshly overhauled!! This alto has the distinction of being the best playing classical alto saxophone that I have played. Ever.
If you are not used to used saxophones, that means someone with a bunch of years of training in the craft of saxophone repair is going to be spending somewhere around 25-30 hours of skilled labor on this saxophone to make it totally fresh and new (better than new). It costs somewhere around $1000-1500 to have done. It will play so much better than any other Series III you might find for sale that you will be surprised that they are even the same model of saxophone. Not kidding.
If you play classical alto and you want to play the best, and set yourself apart tonally from the crowd, this is your dream alto. There really is nothing like it. I try to avoid overusing superlatives in saxophone descriptions, but this horn deserves them. The tone is dark and centered, and it has a haunting quality that is extra special among saxophones. This is the alto for a serious alto player who wants something that is built for saxophone study and performance. These are especially nice for classical playing. Doug O’Connor’s tone on one of these has left a lasting impression on me. Just gorgeous. I recently got to hear Doug play the Bach Chaconne on this alto, among other pieces, and I have to say, it was a high point for me in experiencing transcendent music on the saxophone.
There’s no damage, no wear, no past repairs. This horn has not been played much since new, and it’s in near mint condition. The neck is great. The whole horn tunes well with a classical setup. You can buy one of these new for $18329 online, or you can get this one OVERHAULED! for right around half price here. It’s a great investment if you are wanting the best.
Original case, fresh overhaul, and the original S80 mouthpiece is included also.