This is a beautiful, late Radio Improved tenor that is just gorgeous in its original silver plate. The Radio Improved is a real sweet spot for tone, desirability, and collectibility among vintage Selmers. With a sweet, spread tone that sounds like a golden age Selmer, these horns are hot! The keywork is surprisingly comfortable too, which is why the rare, and slightly later Dorsey Model brought it back for Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra a few years later. This horn is interesting, among other reasons, because it is a very late Radio Improved – one of the last ones – there are probably even some Balanced Actions with slightly earlier serial numbers. And the neck on this horn resembles a Balanced a bit more than an early Radio Improved neck would.
This thing plays super well on current pads, so I’m not getting it overhauled, but it will get a thorough going-over by Matt Stohrer before it ships. So if you buy it now, it will be a couple of weeks before I can ship it. Condition wise, this is a horn is a great player, and for that reason, it has been played. The pearls show a bit of wear, the strap hook got moved lower for more modern balance, and the neck looks like it had a small amount of dent work done at some point. The thumb hook area also looks like it has been spot plated with fresh silver plate in that area, where there was some plating wear from use. I’d be happy to give you a more thorough ‘in hand’ description if you have any detailed questions about condition, and do take a look at the many large photos below (and take advantage of the ‘full screen’ expander arrow in the upper right).
Radio Improved tenors are hard to find, with only around 500 made at the most, and this one is among the best that I have played. If you love great tone, love vintage Selmers, and want a distinctively lush tone, this would be the horn for you. I’m pricing it a bit on the low side because it has been played, and because I’m not getting it freshly overhauled, since it already plays great. It includes that cool Selmer light case, which is one of the only modern cases that fits the left hand bell keys and gives you a significant amount of storage.