1936 Selmer Balanced Action Alto Saxophone, Video
21,xxx 1936 Selmer Balanced Action alto saxophone. The full serial number is 21756, which indicates that this is one of the earliest versions of this model. This is a nice example of an early Balanced Action alto made in the model's first year of production. Selmer made many significant adjustments throughout the Balanced Action era, and a close inspection of this sax shows some of these early features. For example, the adjustment mechanism on the lower stack is on top of the keys instead of on the back side. Because of this, there's no clothes guard. Also, the low Bb and B key guards are separate. This design quickly changed to a single key guard for both keys, so it's quite rare to find an alto with this setup.
Overall, this horn has been well cared for despite being almost 85 years old. The pads are in good condition and have a ton of life left. My tech performed a full service, so the pads are sealing well and the action quiet and efficient. The lacquer is not original, but the job was done very well. This horn is unengraved and was like this from the factory. The sax comes in a gently used modern Selmer case which is made by Bam. If fits the horn very well and is incredibly protective.
The horn plays very well from top to bottom. It's even and takes on air consistently from soft to loud. The core of the sound is slightly on the darker end of the spectrum, but it can really project well when pushed. It's a very lyrical player.
Selmer currently makes a Reference 36 tenor saxophone, inspired by these early Balanced Action saxophones. Instead of paying $8500 for a reproduction of this famous model, here's a horn that is truly the original and costs a fraction of its modern reproduction.