One of a kind 1960 tenor Mark VI, serial 87xxx in original US lacquer and engraving. This horn is the top, as it is one of the best periods of the MK VI but is also a totally unique and special instrument of this variety as well. There is no damage past nor present that I could find on this horn, structurally excellent and sound. There is normal lacquer wear on the body and most is gone from the neck yet the neck is physically perfect and wonderfully responsive.
This pads are not old, and set up with what I think are original Selmer plastic resonators it plays very well, but I think the setup could be a bit better when the right player determines it is time to address. I found no solders nor dents on the this horn, but of course there going to be normal scratches and small dings perhaps, nothing that caught my eye and I am meticulous.
Now for the most important part, the sound and response: There is simply nothing like this horn, anywhere. I have only ever played a few like this one. It is very loud and exceptionally lively, which is different than just being loud. It has what those in the know would call a kind of boldness to the sound, almost like a physical impact of sound.
This horn is quite edgy and cutting though it has an underlying warmth and color to the sound that makes it not what I would call excessively bright. It has a very aggressive, colorful and complex kind of edge to it. It is probably in the middle between dark and bright, has a mid-tone quality to the very loud cutting edge that is very hard to find along with the physically impacting fundamental bass. I can only wonder how it would function with metal resonators.
This is a very rare and special horn, I have only ever played one or two others that came close to it. I waiting a decade to buy it.
SBA 48xxx as rare as it gets. This horn is in 99-100% original US lacquer and Elkhart engraving. It has original resonators and a truly wonderful playing setup with quite new pads etc. It needs nothing and is ready for the gig out of the case. There are only minor dings and scratches to be found, no repairs that I could find, wonderful responsive neck with original matching number.
The pearls are brand-new sharp, the case is old and the zipper does not work but it is sturdy.
The response is exceptionally fast and fluid and the sound is very warm and kind of bouncy and expansive while still being focused as SBA’s are. This is a very loud and open feeling SBA, yet definitely not of the later design that feels a bit more like a MK VI, this is not at all like a MK VI.
I could keep writing but in the end, anyone looking for the SBA of a lifetime find would run with this after playing it for 2 minutes. It IS that good, best SBA I have ever played, no contest. Of course these are very rare, desirable and expensive, just the way things are now. No complaints, this horn sounds and plays that great.
This is a very very special piece, one which I ‘Marinated” and set up to perfection some decades back. I used it as a main piece for gigging and recording on early MK VI and SBA which I was using at the time in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I hand faced this to .095 to optimize its response and used it exclusively for a number of years. This piece can be heard here, on 64xxx and 62xxx MK VI tenors for all except one or two tracks:
For those who like the larger sizes we have two examples of an earlier FL 9*. The one on the left is an original no USA 9* at .115 tip and the one on the right has been refaced by SK at .117 (on my measurements). Snap them up!
This is an excellent prime period MK VI tenor serial 103xxx from 1963. The model period, just after 100xxx has a very special character. They tend to play slightly more compact than the late five digits yet still retain much of the early resonance and vocality. These add just a touch more bright edge and punch to the sound, slightly more compact and a huge amount of fun. I believe this particular design was inspired by the demands of emerging “hard bop” styles of jazz and amplified rhythm and blues and respond with power and edge it surely does. I personally love this period and prefer them myself. Within this range, 100k-115l (or something like that) I have literally never played anything but great and extremely satisfying horns.
This is a wonderful old player’s horn made in 1948. The serial number is 35xxx and it is a very interesting one in that it is a transitional or experimental design model. This is a true SBA as indicated by the improved bow to body band that has screws and is removable for better ease of bow repair. However, early SBA’s usually have the lower foot of the low B guard attached to the bow to bell ring, as they had a slightly shorter bell than the later design starting at usually around 38xxx. This long bell version starting around 38xxx was the model played by Coltrane, somewhere around 40xxx and has superior intonation to the early SBA models, resolving a slightly sharp set of bell notes.
Interesting here is that this is clearly an experimental or transitional model that would be replicated consistently in the later SBA models. This early 35xxx has the long bell of the later 38xxx as can be seen by the position of the low B guard foot. This means some intonation issues will be better and also the tone may be altered. I would love to know myself but I don’t have time to overhaul this horn to get a clear idea of it’s character. What I do know for sure is that early SBA’s have the most excellent tone in general and can be even more vocal, warm and organic sounding than the post 38xxx models. The tone is just very poetic.
I was very luck to be able to purchase this amazing instrument from the estate of Yusef Lateef, along with the paperwork of provenence. I have some friends in the repair biz who were also around Rayburn’s music (in Boston) years back and remembered Lateef bringing this horn around for service more than 30 years ago as well, so we know he kept it for a long time.
This project spanned about two years as some parts of it were slow and time consuming and I was also busy with a move and some family obligations during that time.
It was in a bit of disrepair when I got it, with some kind of odd insults and injuries, but structurally it was in very fine shape. Somehow, somewhere, the neck receiver had been sheared into three pieces two of which were broken clean off the horn. The strangest part is that this break, did not effect the body tube in any way, in any area. It was very straight with only some minor dings, very odd. I have yet to understand how that happened and never will I guess. The pads were old and crusty of course, it was not playing. Some screws were missing or mismatched and it was at least as far as proper saxophone service is concerned, just rather insulted.
In my imagination, I can see Yusef Lateef buying this horn in Europe while on tour and either it already had the broken neck receiver or that happened while in his possession. I can imagine him thinking “this is one of those special horns that ‘Trane was bugging Wayne Shorter to get” (see the interview with Shorter where he tells this story about Trane’s insistence on him getting just such an early SBA.) and him keeping it until he can find the right person who could handle the weird repair.
Maybe he knew what a great horn it was, generally I would trust the judgement of instrument quality to Yuself Lateef above almost anyone. I imagine he had to know what a special horn this was to keep it for so many years.
Anyhow with a lot of specific work and time I have finally restored this to very nice working order, it feels like a Ferrari now, set up with rather hard-ish pads and a set of original American-market Tone-X metal SBA resos from the 1950’s that I had here. It just blew my mind as I just played fresh one day after the overhaul, while ti is still settling in. It is very compact and aggressive in tone, barks, is very powerful and has an otherworldly biting bright ring to the sound that makes it sound like it is amplified. This is what the rare and great SBA’s do. I was a little rusty on the video but at least it was fresh and surprised me more than you who will watch it I believe.
Super rare Otto Link “double ring” original traditional. This has the short FL biteplate yet it is table stamped 4* (true Florida models were side-stamped). This piece is in very nice shape, I have not yet played it. Comes with original cap and ligature, slightly worn but present. The tip, side rail, and facing finish are all of the very early NY style, very thin and beautiful!
I have not cleaned this or done anything with it, just came out of the case of a 1961 Selmer tenor!
1951 is the year, “Super Action” (SBA) or “Super Balanced Action” baritone low Bb near perfect original US engraved masterpiece. This horn is 100% UNMOLESTED. It has a few TINY dings and scuffs, some honest wear, just a little and otherwise it is structurally perfect and nearly cosmetically untouched. It is SO rare to find one of these that has survived in this state.
According to Douglass Pipher this: “Selmer 44xxx is a US-Market baritone. It shipped in March 1951 as part of a batch of 30 Saxophones. (11 Altos, 13 Tenors and 6 Baritones)”
There simply were not many of these made and far far less of them still surviving in undamaged condition!
This has ALL original pads and resonators, never had an overhaul. The pearls are not worn, this had not been played much, but right now, it DOES PLAY, though should receive some attention. This has not been cleaned or anything, just exactly as revealed in the 1951 case, so there are a few insignificant water or strapping stains showing. The body, neck and upper brace all share the same 44xxx serial number (that has been obscured in the photos). This amazing jewel of Selmer model history and craftsmanship IS for sale but will not be shipped. Drop in, and fly this treasure out. This is for the top pro and/or collectors. Thanks for looking!