After years of owning these two awesome horns I am finally doing a Selmer Mark VI vs Selmer Mark VII comparison!
The first saxophone I ever bought was a King Cleveland way back when I started playing as a teenager in the 1970’s. This sax did the job for the first couple of years. Then my sax teacher made a trip to Paris and offered to pick me up a brand new Selmer Mark VII right from the factory. I was excited.
It arrived without any engraving on the bell which seemed weird at first because this was a real trademark for every Selmer saxophone I had seen before. I figured that this was really cool and one day I’d get a special engraving put on it. Well, these decades later it’s still bare.
How I Ended Up With a Selmer Mark VI and a Mark VII
This Selmer mark VII was my main and only horn for the next dozen years or so. By then I was playing professionally and touring about 300 days a year. Then it hit me that if it was to be damaged during a tour, like bumped or dropped on stage I would be really screwed and the band would be out of a saxophone player for at least a day or more.
I talked my manager into buying me a second horn and that’s when I found my Selmer Mark VI. It belonged to a guy named Doug Johnson (keyboardist for rock band Loverboy) who decided he wasn’t using it enough to keep it. After trying it for about 6 notes I bought it! It just felt perfect…still does.
I know there are so many really nice saxophones available today, and I’ve even tried a few but nothing that would make me switch. If you’re considering a Selmer pro model then great, you won’t go wrong.
There are later Selmer versions such as the Super Action 80 that are also excellent horns. For some reason the most popular and sought after model is still the Mark VI.
Lower Priced Selmers
Of course you should know that Selmer makes several models that are much lower priced than the Mark 6 and even the mark 7. Under $2000 and up to about $2500 you can get the 500 series or the 600 series. Check out a few more lower priced options for Selmer Saxophones.
What are the Differences Between the Mark VII and Mark VII?
For me, the the biggest difference with the 6 and 7 is the larger bottom right hand note cluster. It’s a bit clumsier to play than on the 6. The overall keywork changed as well so the overall feel isn’t as light and smooth.
I would guess that the composition of materials is also different between these two saxophones and this does relate directly to slightly different tonal characteristics. This may be the reason why the Mark 7 weighs slightly more than the 6.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the Selmer mark VII never became as popular as the Selmer Mark VI. At the time, Selmer was having their problems with the 6. Share of the market was dropping, and even quality control which resulted in some not-as-good later Mark VI’s.
Even so, it was still the mighty Selmer and they did produce a quality horn with the 7. There are still some players who have had better experiences with them over the 6. Some also prefer their sound over the 6. I should also mention that during the production of the mark 7’s they only made them in alto and tenor, no soprano or baritone.
It’s all very subjective and so that’s why I did this Selmer Mark VI vs Selmer Mark VII comparison video. In the end it’s all about the sound and the music.
Give a listen and share your thoughts!
They say that to compare sounds, one has to listen to them both within 8 seconds.
Jeff, one of our members took my comparison track and spliced it into 6 second lengths using Audacity. The Selmer 6 piece then Selmer 7 piece, so its 6,7,6,7,6,7….through the whole song.
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