In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

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Horned Toad
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In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Horned Toad » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:28 pm

I saw a video on youtube that I found misleading and rather halfbaked using a lot of common hype assumptions. I felt that it would mislead a lot of people so I made a rather long video response. It might not be for everyone, but at least for some who want to learn about vintage Selmers from a rather experienced viewpoint this might be really interesting if you can make it through. I am on this video expressing many of my ideas from many years of collecting, playing and restoring vintage horns. Thanks for watching.

Originally posted here:
https://hornedtoadmusic.com/indepth-dis ... cngfy2ZMWp


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Jazz Paladin
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Jazz Paladin » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:11 pm

Saw the video earlier today. You seem objective, and whileI "personally" disagree, I will add a caveat to this statement. The qualifier itself, however , is that ,indeed, my own limited experience with VI''s, as you alluded to in the video mentioning the user who claimed to have owned "just" 8 VI's. I've only tried a handful in my life, and what I can say given that experience is that the horns I tried years ago (mostly during the 90's and early 2000's) did not merit the 5 to 7 thousand price tag they commanded back then.

There may indeed be horns that are much better than what I tried, but in the interest of time , I really did not have the compulsion or desire to make too much of a hunt for the "perfect" horn back then. I found myself liking the King Silversonics/Zephyrs that I ended up getting better than the VI's that were in my area, and went with those without looking back.

And when I came across the Mauriats, I took a gamble and tried them without having a local store, and just did a square trade with Sax Alley for them. The gamble for me ended up being worth it and just what I was looking for at the time, but 15 years later, finding myself rather pigeon-holed in with the sound I am getting, and now in the market, my frame of reference will probably be a bit different using the Mauriats rather than the VI's. We shall see what comes of things.

Rather ironically, it is funny how you mention how Mauriats, etc were modeled after Selmers. I hear that often said of a few other horns I've tried (Barone. and soon to try out Trevor James next week), but the funny thing is these horns all feel totally different from each other given their supposedly "common" source of reference.
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Horned Toad
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Horned Toad » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:07 am

One reason I mention how a small sample of VI's is not enough to form a conclusion is that for whatever reason the VI and Selmer in general are somewhat picky horns in terms of setup. Being that they are old horns now, if you find the opportunity to try them in shops they are often not exactly well attended to. There are a number of tiny and/or hidden adjustments and issues that can make them play poorly, not to mention obvious leaks and old setups.

Over the years, before I became more knowledgable about setup and repair, I tried many many old Selmers in shops. This was back before the online action started. They were always cool things to try but the vast majority played like shit or were underwhelming. Only years later I realize from working on many of them how fine the adjustments are and why they were underwhelming.

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Jazz Paladin
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Jazz Paladin » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:23 am

Horned Toad wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:07 am
One reason I mention how a small sample of VI's is not enough to form a conclusion is that for whatever reason the VI and Selmer in general are somewhat picky horns in terms of setup. Being that they are old horns now, if you find the opportunity to try them in shops they are often not exactly well attended to. There are a number of tiny and/or hidden adjustments and issues that can make them play poorly, not to mention obvious leaks and old setups.

Over the years, before I became more knowledgable about setup and repair, I tried many many old Selmers in shops. This was back before the online action started. They were always cool things to try but the vast majority played like shit or were underwhelming. Only years later I realize from working on many of them how fine the adjustments are and why they were underwhelming.
And I would imagine that only a tech would be in the position to have an observation of thousands of VI's, so I can understand why your perspective would be what it is. However, even back when I was trying VI's out years ago, they had a reputation for being poorly set up . or being in poor condition. I get the impression that things have changed now, and shops try to have them as playable as possible now in my area, but back then, it was very much a game of "you have to buy it and pay for the repairs first" before you can actually know what the horn is like. Realistically, how many people could have afforded that? Hence, it was easier to just go with the horns I could find that would play great right out of the box.
Jazz Paladin. Maker of jazzy video game cover songs. Check out Jazz Paladin VGM covers on FB, Spotify, and more.

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Horned Toad
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Horned Toad » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:59 am

I doubt they are in much better condition now than they use to be in shops. They are 60-70 years old many of them now. If they were in regular use their pads and setups are trashed mostly. If they were closet horns their pads are moldy mushrooms now. If they are in normal shops they will often be shit condition, because those shops repair depts are often inundated with student and customer horns. They don't have the free shop time to take on an extensive job like a MK VI, or, the repair dept is not high level enough to bother with the nuances of that instrument.

If they are in 'Pro Shops' those shops usually make their bread on overhauls and are not often spending that lucrative shop time on horns that just come in and will often sell based on serial numbers and condition alone. Many folks will want their OWN tech to set them up. I'd wager many now are just as crap condition as they used to be. I have heard talk of local pro shops that have beautiful old and collector's horns still having many of them in crap playing condition. Not surprised. I have a few here that have not gotten the time they deserved as well.

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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by tzman » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:31 am

I've had my share and more of Mark VI tenors. I own 2 right now and I love them. I have gone through many other horns and recorded on 10ms, another fav of mine. I keep coming back to the VI because although everything after 1970 seems to be some kind of copy of that horn, none really come up to what a good condition VI has to offer. There is a core to the sound that the VI offers that rewards practice and experience with the horn. It just seems more "dialed in" to me. I think people get a muscle and brain memory of playing on a horn for years and that informs what they "like" in a horn. Also, nostalgia tends to take hold after a few years of gigging on a type horn. But the rewards of a good VI are many.

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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Pete » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:28 am

Jazz Paladin wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:11 pm
Saw the video earlier today. You seem objective, and whileI "personally" disagree, I will add a caveat to this statement. The qualifier itself, however , is that ,indeed, my own limited experience with VI''s, as you alluded to in the video mentioning the user who claimed to have owned "just" 8 VI's. I've only tried a handful in my life, and what I can say given that experience is that the horns I tried years ago (mostly during the 90's and early 2000's) did not merit the 5 to 7 thousand price tag they commanded back then.

There may indeed be horns that are much better than what I tried, but in the interest of time , I really did not have the compulsion or desire to make too much of a hunt for the "perfect" horn back then. I found myself liking the King Silversonics/Zephyrs that I ended up getting better than the VI's that were in my area, and went with those without looking back.

And when I came across the Mauriats, I took a gamble and tried them without having a local store, and just did a square trade with Sax Alley for them. The gamble for me ended up being worth it and just what I was looking for at the time, but 15 years later, finding myself rather pigeon-holed in with the sound I am getting, and now in the market, my frame of reference will probably be a bit different using the Mauriats rather than the VI's. We shall see what comes of things.

Rather ironically, it is funny how you mention how Mauriats, etc were modeled after Selmers. I hear that often said of a few other horns I've tried (Barone. and soon to try out Trevor James next week), but the funny thing is these horns all feel totally different from each other given their supposedly "common" source of reference.
I play a King Silversonic tenor also in preference to VI's. But not because it's better--just different in a way that suits me. I've had a lot of VI tenors also because like to have one as a total alternative to the Sonic. Don't have one now but probably will have another before long. The Taiwan horns seem to me to blow more like a Conn or a King but not that successful in that. They are well made though and I recommend them (especially used at the very low prices they go for) to those without the money for something better. In short, the King is the main horn and always is here--VI's come and go as kind of a "hobby"

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Horned Toad
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Horned Toad » Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:37 pm

I have the opposite problem for many years; VI is the main thing and Kings come and go. But I love Kings and want to keep them.. just never attached to me quite as well.

Tsax97
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Tsax97 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:57 pm

Horned Toad: I have a Selmer Mk VI # 214,xxx. Selmer dated it as bing made on Sept 14, 1972. I play it w/a metal mid - 60's FL Otto Link 8* w/a # 2.5 Rico or Queens reed. It really works for me I love it. Never played a 5 digit Mk VI or a SBA or BA. However I've heard other guys play them and they sound great.

What do you think about Cannonball tenors? I bought a black lacquer nickel plated Cannonball as a backup.The lower register I believe is fatter and actually sub tones better than my Mk VI. However the upper register just does not have the complexity of my Mk VI. But both are really solid horns IMHO.

Larry W

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Horned Toad
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Re: In-depth Video Discussion of Realities of the MK VI & Vintage Selmers w/out the Hype

Post by Horned Toad » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:10 am

Tsax97 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:57 pm
Horned Toad: I have a Selmer Mk VI # 214,xxx. Selmer dated it as bing made on Sept 14, 1972. I play it w/a metal mid - 60's FL Otto Link 8* w/a # 2.5 Rico or Queens reed. It really works for me I love it. Never played a 5 digit Mk VI or a SBA or BA. However I've heard other guys play them and they sound great.

What do you think about Cannonball tenors? I bought a black lacquer nickel plated Cannonball as a backup.The lower register I believe is fatter and actually sub tones better than my Mk VI. However the upper register just does not have the complexity of my Mk VI. But both are really solid horns IMHO.

Larry W
I have never played a cannonball, but as far as subtoning better than a VI, I hesitate to validate that point. How well a horn subtones is mostly due to how good the setup is and how well the mouthpiece agrees with the horn/reed and then the player too. Selmers in particular subtone as well as anything when done right.

Jazz Paladin wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:11 pm
I play a King Silversonic tenor also in preference to VI's. But not because it's better--just different in a way that suits me.
Worth noting that I currently have a 375xxx Super 20 that feels amazing on the worst old pads ever leaking badly etc. This one i believe will be a keeper.

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