Selmer Series II Alto Saxes in Clear Lac, left, Black Lac, Silver Plate and Matte; Selmer Series III Altos in Silver Plate, Black Lac and Solid Silver, gold keys far right - Images Courtesy of
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Review Selmer Series II Alto Saxophone

Selmer Series II Alto Saxophone, clear lacquered

Selmer Series II Alto Saxophone, clear lacquered with engraving. Picking this up I immediately could feel the quality. Selmer's seem to have a nice soft feel to them; they look very round and solid. The finish itself is quite understated with simple engraving, and I thought that this was reflected in the way that it played.

The sound that came out of this horn seemed to me to be almost three-dimensional with great depth and presence, but still retaining an overall lighter air to the tone. Controlling note production with a wide range of dynamics was almost effortless, particularly with the Meyer mouthpiece. For me the action was a little stiff, but that is being really picky. I would have it lowered a little and some of the tension taken out by an experienced repairer. Saxes are quite often 'personalized' by saxophonists, just to get the right feel.

On the whole I really enjoyed playing this, especially a selection of classical studies by Guy Lacour. The response was excellent and playing felt very easy and comfortable.

Selmer Series III Alto, clear lacquered

Selmer Series III Alto Saxophone, clear lacquered with engraving. This is Selmer's latest reincarnation of the Super 80 Series of saxophones and has had a few modifications. The most important development is the addition of a venting key to improve the tuning on the notoriously out of tune C#. There is also a new model out which has an extra harmonic G key mechanism. The venting key definitely works and is a welcome addition to the saxophone.

I found this worked really well and intonation on this horn is excellent. It has been a criticism over the years that Selmer Saxophones are difficult to control but I didn't find this the case. Control and ease of blowing was very good; I was able to concentrate on playing the music knowing that the sax would take care of itself. The overall tonal color was slightly darker and it seemed to deliver more volume than the Series II.

My only criticism is that I had to put a lot of effort in to get the best out of it, but that is not necessarily a bad thing as it shows that the instrument can respond when you need to blow hard.

The two Selmer horns are both fantastic saxophones worthy of any saxophonist, but of the two I would have to favor the lightness and smooth sound of the Series II Alto.

Selmer Series III Solid Silver

Selmer's are full of pleasant surprises these days. Just when I'd thought I'd got to grips with Selmer's range, they present another world-beater. I like the Series III Solid Silver a lot, thereís something that takes the instrument into exciting new territory, (erÖ probably the solid silver!) I hear sax players complain about sax makers trying to emulate saxes from various past eras of jazz, rather than looking forward, innovating to create new sounds. Well I can tell you; this horn has one heck of a new sound.

By using solid silver, Selmer have taken the Series III to a higher level and the most immediate feature is the tone. It has authority and richness - punchy, bright, sweet and oh so full. Like a Steinway grand piano you have an intuitive sense that the instrument is very, very special and feel privileged to play it.

I find the standard brass Series III Alto slightly resistant, but the solid silver really opens up the sound and it's amazing how easy and free blowing it is. It plays with the instant response that one expects from the best Japanese Saxes but with all the character of a Selmer, and surprisingly it responds even better than a Yani. The rest - harmonics, multiphonics and all that funky stuff are sooooo sweet! Iím not sure why silver has these phonic qualities; I believe it's something to do with silver vibrating at a different frequency to brass. I'd forget all the physical analysis and just enjoy playing it.

The action is light and more free than the standard Series III Alto, as if the sax wants to work with you whatever your playing style. Like the other Series III models the intonation is excellent, a significant improvement on the Series II.

Aesthetically it has a rather understated look with no fancy engraving, just the classic "Selmer Paris" stamp with the "series III" logo. The look of gold keys over a silver body is a question of personal taste and it's not my favorite combination but like a great sports car itís performance that really counts and this Selmer goes like a Ferrari! - TC.


Selmer Series II, Series III Alto Saxophone Reviews used by Permission, from is now established as one of the worlds leading suppliers of saxophones and accessories. Based in East Sussex, England, we provide an international mail-order service and at the same time we welcome players into our store to come and test our saxophones and mouthpieces. Our range is always expanding, and currently we have over 200 saxophones on display, stocking all the major brands including Selmer, Yanagisawa, Yamaha and Keilwerth, along with Rampone and Cazzani, Trevor James, and many others.

Thanks to and to Jim Cheek for sharing these Alto Sax Review with the Sax Reviews readers, worldwide!

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