Saxophone Forum

by SteakNShakeJake
(5 posts)
4 years ago

Selmer Mark VI Serial Number Preferences

Hello, everyone!

I have been an avid fan of the Mark VI series for years now. Aside from the characteristic French tone and comfortable keywork that these horns offer, I have additionally always been drawn in by the "mystecism" that these horns have embodied throughout their decades of existence. Aside from the claims that the early VIs were made using repurposed WWII mortar casings, the history of this saxophone series has always captivated me. 

Here is my potpourrie of questions:

What are the sought-after serial number ranges for these horns, and why?
What are some of the specific characteristics (length of the bottom bow, lacquere variations, neck variations, etc.) that have possibly determined why certain serial numbers ranges play and sound better than other serial number ranges?
When and why did these changes take place?
When did specific labeling and engraving changes like neck octave key stamps, bell stampings, and stamping on body tube/bottom bow/bell connecting rings (featuring the "s" scroll stamping on earlier VIs) occur throughout the VI's history?
When and why did these changes happen?

Feel free to voice your opinion, as well! What are your personal favorite serial number ranges? I always feel like there's too much of a concensus that simply agrees that certain serial numbers are inherently better just because they were close to the horns that Trane or Brecker played on. 

I know that I am partial to the 1966-67 VIs, due to a dark tone with a slight resistance that really allows me to "lean-into" the horn.

My serial numbers:
Sop: 141,xxx
Alto: 136,xxx
Tenor: 135,xxx
Bari: 133,xxx 

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  1. by GFC
    (794 posts)

    4 years ago

    Re: Selmer Mark VI Serial Number Preferences

    Some additional comments on the 5-digit mystique and quality variations: 

    From what I've been able to glean, design changes were driven by attempts to improve playing characteristics and adapt the sound qualities to trends occurring in the 1960s, and 1970s, largely due to the increasing dominance of amplified instruments.  Whether or not they were improvements is a value judgement driven by the individual player's goals.

    Bottom line, you're a lucky happy guy with your Mark VI SATB set.

    BTW, Trane played a SBA, not a VI. 

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    1. by SteakNShakeJake
      (5 posts)

      4 years ago

      Re: Selmer Mark VI Serial Number Preferences

      Man, that sure doesn't look like an SBA..... 

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