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!