|Dimensions||26 × 13 × 8 in|
Absolutely the best Reference 54 alto on the market right now. This horn is almost mint condition, plus I just dropped the equivalent of an overhaul into it so that you get to play it how it was meant to sound. As you know from reading around on this site, the Reference horns are great, IF you fix all the weird choices that Selmer makes in the factory setup. This horn just had that done, to my picky standards, and now it rocks.
What was done? Full disassembly, remove every pad, add lots of shellac behind the pads so that they seal well and will seal well for a long time, clean, change the oil, adjust key heights, swap out many of the adjustment materials for better ones/correct ones, and do a full ‘neck fit’ which means laboriously making the neck/body joint seal perfectly all around. Once you fix all that stuff, these are just about the best modern do-it-all altos on the market. Warmer and richer than the Series II and III, and compatible with jazz mouthpieces (Series II and III seem not to like non-Selmer mouthpieces in many cases). Excellent keywork, comfortable ergonomics, fast response, free blowing feel, and great intonation. You could get a slightly cheaper, more worn Ref 54 on eBay or whatever, but then you’d need someone picky to go completely through it to get the full experience, which is expensive, and not even that likely to go right unless your repairman is willing to do all that stuff to a modern horn that already ‘plays ok’ as is. But it’s worth it! Check out the Reference 36 in the tenors section, which has also just been rebuilt, or the Series II alto just below that had a full overhaul and is also glorious.
Plus this particular horn got a rich, dark lacquer that I have rarely seen on a modern Selmer. I don’t know whether it was a special order or what, but it’s really nice and dark, almost like a 50’s Mark VI.
Only one available!