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Woodwind & Brasswind
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This instrument or product has been carefully played/used and returned to us in
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Selmer Paris Reference 54 Alto SaxophoneInspired by the legendary Selmer Mark VI, which was released in 1954, the Selmer Paris 72 Reference 54 alto is a professional saxophone that integrates the Mark VI's legendary acoustic characteristics with innovative modern key work and better intonation. Since its introduction, the Selmer Paris 72 Reference 54 has become a favorite among jazz saxophonists. The Reference 54 alto saxophone offers a rich, throaty sound that even "barks" well in the lower register. The keywork of the Selmer 72 alto saxophone is extremely fluid and reacts well to even the most brisk, nimble playing.The Reference 54 comes with a shaped flight case, Selmer Paris Super Session mouthpiece, cap and ligature, and care products. Join the jazz saxophonists who have rediscovered the sound of the legendary Mark VI, and have made the Selmer 72 Reference 54 alto saxophone their horn of choice. The Reference 54 alto takes its inspiration from a 1958 mid-70,000 serial number Mark VI. It plays, feels, and looks like a vintage Selmer, but includes a longer bell to improve intonation, and a dark lacquer finish. It is a very special instrument. If you are seeking a primary professional horn, you owe it to yourself to consider the Reference 54.
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First off i would like to say that i bought a Reference two years ago and it plays better than anything i ever played. (and believe me Ive tried a lot) Right off the bat the horn responds amazingly, the horn was built with an enlarged bow and body to improve the response and projection, which is important especially for jazz work. The key work is light and "snappy" and fits right under your hands. The palm keys are slightly different so you have to adjust. The side keys are flat like a mark vi as opposed to the raised keys on most modern horns. It is overall a very vintage feeling and sounding horn. The weight and tone and projection is parallel to the mark vi. It was patterned after a great 5-digit Mark VI and was designed by Selmer in conjunction with Pierrick Pedron. The one down side is the price, but if u r willing to go the extra mile for an amazing horn that is completely made in France, then the Reference is right for you.
The matchup involved with my new sax purchase came down to the Yamaha YAS-875EX and the Ref 54. I played the Yamaha first, followed by the Ref... NO CONTEST! The Ref sang beautifully throughout the entire range - especially altissimo. It's got a rich, full tone throughout, no matter if you're playing fortissimo or pianissimo, with a bit of blowing resistance (I'm a fan of it). And on the fortissimo subject, the Ref can get loud. I mean crazy, why-are-you-using-a-mic loud. I've used a Berg Larsen ebonite mpc w/ Rico Select Jazz 3S reeds for all my jazz playing, and I've never heard a horn this well-playing. The only (miniscule) downsides are the height of the Front F key, and the factory-set height of the action (easily adjustible by a tech). Overall - the best horn I've ever played (and seen - the lacquer is beautiful!). Period.
I bought this horn in 2005 and have used it as my main horn ever since. I love the velvety tone, smooth action and overall superior performance of this horn. I don't experience the normal intonation quirks of most altos, either. Resistance is even throughout the horn, making the low end and high end very easy to play in tune and at all volumes from ppp to FFF without issue.
This horn, you will not be disappointed in. If you're a vintage only player, I don't know if this could lure you away from your Mark VI, but you'll definitely be tempted. As for modern horns, it beats the majority of what is out there on the market in modern horns.
The super session mouthpiece that comes with the horn works well with the horn, which surprised me. I usually opt for an after market piece, but I actually like the super session with this horn.
(I have overly large hands, so I installed the usual key risers on the left stack, a simple/cheap/reversible modification.)
The Reference Flight case however, is junk as for as any serious protection goes. Sure it looks cool, but it's just an overpriced, glorified gig bag. It offers little protection, other than scratch protection. With the case empty, you can actually TWIST the thing and with little effort, you can cave the case in, not good for such an investment. Also, the plastic accessories compartment cover and compartment itself are a botch job. Placed under the body of the horn... if there is ever any substantial pressure placed on the case the hard plastic cover could easily bend/dent/harm the horn. Don't get me started on if you would ever drop your horn while it's in this case... Repair headaches, to say the least.
The case is flimsy and not worthy the horn that's placed inside it!!!
I never understood Selmer putting this great horn in such a junker of a case. Go with a Selmer Light, Selmer Vanguard, Pro Tec or another hard shell case.
If you have the money to drop on this horn, it's well worth it and if you're buying this horn as an investment in your college/professional career you won't be disappointed.
I went down to WWBW headquarter just about 2 years ago to pick up one of these. A senior in my college sax studio had a Selmer Series II, but ended up going to the Reference 54. After playing on hers, I needed to get one of my own. The keys are a little loud at times (as mentioned in others reviews, clacking and such), but the sound is beautiful. I primarily play classical, but am getting more into jazz, and it possesses a beautifully warm and rich sonority. Overall, I have had only a few issues, high register being out of tune along with the middle D, but I've seen that on just about every saxophone. Other than that, it has been a great horn to me! I absolutely love this saxophone and would recommend it to anybody who is serious about continuing there education or experience on the saxophone.
I started playing R&R in 1956. I spent 20 years in night clubs and have played just about all types of music including classical and big band. These days I am with party bands playing party music for wedding receptions and private parties. I have played and owned several altos including the VI but needed a horn that would scream and went to the VII. It kicks and has the volume that I need. That was until I tried the ref 54 alto this year. I have never played an alto that responds like this horn. I use a Rover "Deep V" gold model 40 #9 m/p and Rico tenor plasticover reed. However, I just purchased the Rovner "mass-loaded" metal ligature and that has done the trick. With this setup there is nothing that will get in the way of some enjoyable playing. Intense volume when needed and sweet sounds when required. Fat tone from top to bottom! Selmer has done it again and the trick is to find the m/p and lig that takes it to another level.