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.
Here’s a little Desmond just for inspiration. Jimmy Dorsey’s alto was only slightly earlier than this, for another point of reference, though there were so many players who played a BA in the 40’s.