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Selmer Radio Improved Alto Original Lacquer, Recent Overhaul 19276$ 5,350
If you read around on here a bit, you’ll see that I love Selmers from the 1930’s and the Radio Improved in particular. This one has most of its original lacquer intact, and is in quite good condition. it is also in great playing condition with a recent overhaul done by Jack Finucane (from a couple of years or so ago before he stopped doing overhauls), and feels nice and snappy under the fingers. The pads look a little funny in photos – that’s because of some powder from Yamaha powder paper that is on the leather. But the pads themselves are in excellent condition and are nearly new. The resonators look like a Reso-Tech set made to match the vintage Selmer Tonex resos, but slightly oversized, and very slightly domed. They are a good match for the horn, and they almost look like vintage Selmer resonators. It didn’t get played much after overhaul, as the owner is in a military band and plays a modern horn most of the time for work. It’s on consignment now, and I think it’ll likely sell quickly.
The tone of a Radio Improved alto is the reason to buy it. It’s like a Selmer blended with a Conn almost- delicate lyrical core that reminds me of an SBA, but with a wider, warmer, more spread feel like a Conn. The keywork is not modern. This is before the ‘Balanced Action’ keywork improvements, so you will have to get used to the left hand pinky keys if you haven’t played a vintage horn before. If you have, then it’s no problem. I barely notice keywork differences anymore after playing all the different styles out there. This one is more comfortable than most, and I like the direct action bell key mechanism.
The original lacquer is in beautiful shape and looks great – deep honey gold. The only spot that isn’t original lacquer (and you’d have to really look closely to tell this) is at the neck receiver, where it looks like Jack had to resolder the neck receiver and then mix up some matching lacquer to over spray there. The only way to tell is that there’s just a little sign of overspray of the new lacquer on top of the original lacquer just below the receiver. That resolder often needs to be done on a 30’s Selmer to make the neck receiver strong again after 80+ years of use. (It was done on my personal RI, so I specially look for it). These horns are very uncommon, and this one is nicer than the great majority of RI’s out there. Only 1140 RI altos were made, and this is probably in the top 10% of those.
Only one available!
Selmer Radio Improved Alto Relacquer Great Deal 18901$ 2,350