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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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Finally, a response and sound like I had when I was in college with a Mark VI. The Reference 54 has a wonderful response all over the range of the instrument. I previously played a Serie III but, have always been disappointed with the response in the lower range, and intonation problems in the upper range. The Ref 54 solves all of those issues, with a smooth sound top to bottom. I use the Selmer Super Session D mouthpiece, Rovner ligature, and a Vandoren V16 3 1/2 strength reed for a great tone and intonation that rivals all others.
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 switched from a Super Action 80 Series II to the R54 and I can't believe how much better I liked it. I also compared it to an old Mark VI and I prefered the R54. I'm using a metal Otto Link 8 and a Lavoz med. reed and I'm getting the best tone I've ever gotten from any instrument. This is my fifth alto. I spent years switching from horn to horn trying to find the right one for me and I finally found it. It's awsome. I've tried older Selmers, newer Selmers, Yamahas. I even played on a Borgani for a while because I liked the tone. But that one took a beating on the road gigs. And the R54 is fragile so be careful with them. It's not a cheap plastic case. It's made from carbon fiber the same thing they make mountain bikes out if. It's very sturdy and extremely light weight. Who could ask for more?
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.