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Item# 463115
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4.92 based on 13 Customer Reviews13 Customer Reviews Write a Review
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The essence of the legendary Mark VI alto saxophone with the comforts of a modern mechanism.

Selmer Paris Reference 54 Alto Saxophone
Inspired 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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  • Level: Professional
    Key: Eb
    Neck: Reference Series
    Neck Material: Yellow brass
    Body Material: Yellow brass
    Bell Material: Yellow brass
    Key Material: Power hammered yellow brass
    Finish: Vintage Dark Gold Lacquer
    Range Up to: High F#
    Springs: Blue steel
    Pads: Leather
    Resonators: Plastic
    Engraving: Selmer Paris Reference engraving
    Thumb Rest: Adjustable metal
    Pivot Screw: Tapered
    Includes: Flight-style case, Selmer Paris Super Session E mouthpiece, ligature, cap, and care products
    Crafted in: France

Customer Reviews
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"Great Horn."

by Azrayl - 8/9/2009 11:15:09 PM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
Been playing since 1990. Jazz, classical, rock, blues, newgrass, small ensemble, etc. Cinci, Ohio
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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.

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"Sweet Sound"

by Greg Harberts - 3/15/2011 11:24:48 PM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
Active Classical, and blues. Houston, Texas
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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.

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"Worth every penny!"

by Cody Norling - 8/15/2009 5:04:30 PM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
Student Jazz Champlin, MN
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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.

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by Don Rogerson - 1/28/2009 9:45:19 AM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
Professional Jazz and rock. Utah
56 people out of 60 found this review helpful

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?

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"As Close to the Mark 6 as you can get"

by Dustin - 1/28/2009 9:45:19 AM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
Student Jazz..Classical Tennessee
16 people out of 17 found this review helpful

I bought this horn at the WWBW last June for college and it still amazes me...The intonation and tonal color are simply amazing on the 54. I tried out the Keilwerth shadow, Yamaha 875ex and custom z, and the Selmer series 2 and 3. The closest runners up were the Custom z and the Selmer Paris 2. I felt that the sound of the reference was much darker than the super action 80 so it got put back. The Custom z took some time to bust through; I liked the key work of it until I picked up the reference again.

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by Brant Poindexter - 1/28/2009 9:45:19 AM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
High School Sophomore Jazz, classical, big band Tennessee
14 people out of 18 found this review helpful

This saxophone is amazing. I used to play an Olds, and moving to this is like a dream come true. I tried many Saxes, like the Series III, Yamaha Custom and Professional, and few Cannonballs. None of them measured up to this one. This sax has an amazing altissimo range. I play on a Jody Jazz 7 and ZZ reeds. For classical I play on a Selmer S-80 and GCS reeds. It produces an amazing sound throughout the whole range of the sax. Even my private instructor is jealous. Aside from the price, this sax is a must. It is amazing, and will last me through college.

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"Truly Spectacular!"

by MIke T. - 6/1/2009 8:15:27 AM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
12 years; High school junior Jazz, funk, classical Oceanside, CA
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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.

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"selmer's attempt to copy the mark VI"

by Zachary - 8/15/2009 6:38:13 PM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
play in college Jazz Fort Lauderdale, Florida
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

the selmer reference 54 alto saxophone is selmer's attempt to remake the selmer mark VI, but with the action and advancements of a new modern horn. I have played a couple selmer reference 54 altos and have to say that some of them are amazing and have all the characteristics you would want in a new saxophone. The one thing I would recommend to anyone who is going to buy this saxophone or who plans on ordering one is that the necks that come with the selmers are not consistent in being very free blowing with each reference horn. I found that yamahas, keilwerths, and yanagisawas are very consistent and have there own unique sound. Even though these other horn companys may be more consistent with each horn they make, the selmer saxophones will produce a sound that will just blow the competitors away. I would recommend this horn to any serious musician mainly based on the price of the horn and because I feel that he or she will most appreciate this horn if they are a advanced player.

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"Pretty much amazing!"

by Robert Hagy - 1/28/2009 9:45:19 AM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
10 years, 2nd Year in University Classical and Jazz Plymouth, NH
21 people out of 30 found this review helpful

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.

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"Wonderful Saxophone"

by Lyndsay - 5/27/2010 6:37:46 PM  Share
Musical Experience: Style of Music: Hometown:
College Music Major Jazz and Classical Anna, OH
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love this saxophone. I've had it for over a year now and I can't believe how well I can get it to play. It still amazes me when I get it out to play how beautiful the tone is. HOWEVER, I do have a few problems with this horn. The pads are so sticky especially during the hot weather. I took it to Florida in the winter and I couldn't believe how sticky the pads got. It's also very bad in the summer and is almost impossible to play. Also, I have had several felts fall off already. I would definitely still have gotten this horn while knowing these things, I just wish that I would've known that it would have been this big of a problem to get my pads treated. I was told that I would get reimbursed for any problems it had during the first year or two I had the saxophone. I have yet to receive that money or someone who can help me or give me an answer to my question.

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