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Thread: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

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    Default The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Everyone talks about that "thing" a good Mark VI has that Selmer has been unable to capture since they stopped making them.

    A few questions:

    1. Why did they stop making them? What did Selmer think people would gain from the Mark VII that they didn't get with the VI?

    2. Now that these horns are so revered, sought after, etc, why hasn't Selmer brought them back? I understand the Ref 54 is supposed to fill that void, but most opinions I read on it aren't nearly as glowing as they are for a real Mark VI. Is it wrong to assume that they would still have the tooling or casts (whatever) and whatever specs necessary to make them again? If so, why wouldn't they?
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Over time the tooling wears out and has to be replaced. The Mark VI was the longest production run in the company's history and, from what I understand, the tooling was simply worn out. When they re-tooled with the Mark VII, they tried to improve it. It just didn't work out the way they had hoped.

    Reproducing the Mark VI is pretty much impossible, I think. There are so many factors that go into how the instrument plays and every single one of those would have to be exactly the same as the old ones, from the alloy content of the brass to the way they were hand-finished to the tooling even down to the formula for the lacquer, which I believe could not be reproduced today due to EPA restrictions.

    This is why Mark VIs are so valuable today. They simply cannot be reproduced. There is also something to be said for knowing that you are playing an original vintage Mark VI. It probably does something to the player mentally that makes the horn seem even better.
    Website: http://www.soulfulhorns.com
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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    They could do any number of reissues, but why? Marketing? Saxophone manufacture has moved on since then.

    The MKVi is a great horn for its time and for many people has not been surpassed. But for many others it has and i think Selmer know this. Don't think they haven't discussed the possibility of bringing it out again. People won't want it, they'll still want the best serial numbers.

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Was the Ref 54 supposed to be a Mark VI copy essentially? Or were there "improvements" made to it?
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    I seen the Ref 54 and 36 in much the same light as the new Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro vs. their 60's counterparts... different animals entirely, but designed to capture the essence and spirit of the original. Some may argue that the new ones are far superior because they have all of the technical wizardry worked out, and others will embrace the nuances (warts and all) of the original and for that there's no equivalent.
    Disclaimer: My opinions are not based in any way on research, knowledge, experience, talent, insight, facts, or in some cases reality. Take any advice I offer at your own risk.

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by SactoPete View Post
    I seen the Ref 54 and 36 in much the same light as the new Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro vs. their 60's counterparts... different animals entirely, but designed to capture the essence and spirit of the original. Some may argue that the new ones are far superior because they have all of the technical wizardry worked out, and others will embrace the nuances (warts and all) of the original and for that there's no equivalent.
    Good way of looking at it, thanks.
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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekdowlin View Post
    They simply cannot be reproduced.
    Beg to differ. Nothing is so elusive in horn manufacture that they could not replicate if they want to - including (especially) the metal.

    Selmer does not choose to make an exact replica of the Mk VI.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    This is inexplicable to me too. All the stuff about worn tooling, alloy percentages, lacquer formula, etc. won't fly IMHO. Blueprints don't get worn out. New tooling could be made exactly like the old tooling. Any second year engineering student could go in a lab and tell you exactly what is in the brass. Lacquer formulas and application processes are easily duplicated. Nothing technological prevents Selmer from making a real, authentic Mark VI today. Nothing. They know absolutely everything about how they used to make that horn, and if they wanted to, they could make them today just as they did back in the day.

    I think it would be a fantastic thing for Selmer to reintroduce the Mark VI. Not an "in the spirit of" horn, but the horn itself. They already have no problem manufacturing and marketing several different high end horns at the same time. Why not add a REAL Mark VI to their stable of offerings?

    Of course I know that there would immediately arise a die hard group who would claim the new horn was manufactured when Jupiter wasn't properly aligned with Mars or something and didn't sound as good as a vintage model. But everybody else would know they have a real Mark VI to consider when choosing a new horn from among all the great modern offerings, and the artificial prices of old rotten horns would drop immediately.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bryant View Post
    and the artificial prices of old rotten horns would drop immediately.
    Amen. And we could then forget about the whole MKVI thing and get on with making music on the saxophone.

    As long as it has the right serial number

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    I'm VI-o-holic but the Mark VI isn't perfect. I've seen some really nice features on newer horns that would greatly improve my VI if added. I think the P. Mariaut tenor is really getting close to a VI thing.

    Tenor - '61 Mark VI w/Tenney Slant Tone Edge 7
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    Clarinet - '68 Buffet R13 w/B45

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bryant View Post
    This is inexplicable to me too. All the stuff about worn tooling, alloy percentages, lacquer formula, etc. won't fly IMHO. Blueprints don't get worn out. New tooling could be made exactly like the old tooling. Any second year engineering student could go in a lab and tell you exactly what is in the brass. Lacquer formulas and application processes are easily duplicated. Nothing technological prevents Selmer from making a real, authentic Mark VI today. Nothing. They know absolutely everything about how they used to make that horn, and if they wanted to, they could make them today just as they did back in the day.

    I think it would be a fantastic thing for Selmer to reintroduce the Mark VI. Not an "in the spirit of" horn, but the horn itself. They already have no problem manufacturing and marketing several different high end horns at the same time. Why not add a REAL Mark VI to their stable of offerings?

    Of course I know that there would immediately arise a die hard group who would claim the new horn was manufactured when Jupiter wasn't properly aligned with Mars or something and didn't sound as good as a vintage model. But everybody else would know they have a real Mark VI to consider when choosing a new horn from among all the great modern offerings, and the artificial prices of old rotten horns would drop immediately.
    See this is what I thought... they made the horn for 20 years, you'd think they got pretty good at doing it and had schematics/records/formulas for making them locked up somewhere. I wonder why they haven't done it?
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    I think that the workers who made so much of these horns by hand are all gone now and they can't reproduce the horn. Selmer doesn't get it. The ref series horns are expensive, but nowhere near as good as the old horns were. I have only played 1 bad mark VI, where I have only played 1 good reference series horn, go figure!

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by buddy lee View Post
    I wonder why they haven't done it?
    Because they don't want to make backward step? A good series II is way beyond a good MKVI, in my opinion, and in Selmer's opinion (I'm sure) all their modern horns are better so what would be the point in trying to sell a modern recreation to a vintage oriented market? Well Fender have tried it.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by A Greene View Post
    I'm VI-o-holic but the Mark VI isn't perfect. I've seen some really nice features on newer horns that would greatly improve my VI if added. I think the P. Mariaut tenor is really getting close to a VI thing.
    You mean reinventing the inherent imperfections of the Mk VI? Who'd want that?
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    Because they don't want to make backward step? A good series II is way beyond a good MKVI, in my opinion, and in Selmer's opinion (I'm sure) all their modern horns are better so what would be the point in trying to sell a modern recreation to a vintage oriented market? Well Fender have tried it.
    You're probably right that Selmer thinks they're making better horns now, whether that's true or not I guess is a matter of conjecture.
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    There's one question that nobody has asked, but I'm pretty sure that Selmer has asked and answered: "Who would buy it?"

    I guarantee you that if the answer resulted in more $$$ coming Selmer's way, there would be a new old horn available for sale right now.
    Steve Keller

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    (whoopsy)
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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeller047 View Post
    but I'm pretty sure that Selmer has asked and answered: "Who would buy it?"
    Not many people. (Didn't I already say that?)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by buddy lee View Post
    The same person who would buy a Ref 54 I'm guessing?
    I doubt it. The Ref 54 is not a MKVI, it's avery different horn with different action. Maybe some people bought a ref 54 buying into the hype that it's a MKVI reissue, but I think most people buy it for the horn it is. In some respects it's better than a MKVI, in other respects it's not.

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    Default Re: The Mark VI "thing": Why can't they get it back?

    For the price of a series iii? I'd buy one tomorrow.

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