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Selmer USA Omega Professional Alto Saxophone

This a fantastic professional grade Selmer Omega alto saxophone that was produced for a few short years in the 1980's. The Model 162 Omega was one of the last professional grade saxophones manufactured in the USA before they packed up the factories and moved them overseas. It's all gone now but back in the 80's, there were still a few American mfrs building saxophones. At the time, Selmer had a student line of horns called the Bundy, an intermediate line known as the Signet, and of course, there was the flagship Selmer professional models Mark VII followed by the Super Action 80 Series One being made in Paris, France.

The problem was that Selmer's main competitor Yamaha was producing a professional grade horn that was well under the price of a professional French-made Selmer models. The Omega was essentially built by American Selmer as a more economical professional grade horn that could compete with the Yamaha that fit between the Signet and the Super Action 80 Paris Model. Back in the mid-80's, these sold in the $1,500 range and were about $600-700 cheaper than the Paris Model. The Omega was designed closely after the famous Selmer Mark VI which was produced from 1954-1973. The alto was called the Model 162 and later a tenor version was introduced called the Model 164. These had all the ergonomics of the Mark VI with blued steel springs, adjustable thumb hook, hand engraved bells, PLUS the modern addition of the high F# mechanism. Unfortunately, they must have been expensive to make and keep at such a low price point because they seemed to have produced relatively few of them. Today, when you find them, they seem to be confined in the 820,000 to 830,000 serial range. According to the various boards and websites, there is mentioned gradual decline in quality towards the end of production before production was moved to Taiwan. This one is in the 824,000 range at a time when the quality standards were still high. I remember back in the 1980's, a lot of professionals who owned coveted Mark VI's purchased Selmer Omega or Yamaha 62's as their stage axes for gigs. If you've ever played in bars and clubs with a rock band on a tight stage, you'll understand the perils of the risks involved with owning an irreplaceable vintage horn.

I grew up playing the saxophone from 5th grade all the way into my first couple of years of college. I started out on alto until I got an opportunity to switch to tenor as I entered high school. Like most young adults, life got much more serious once I reached my early 20's and had to join the real world and start making a living. My playing days took a 20+ years hiatus until a friend of mine talked me into joining a band that played mostly David Bowie and Roxy tunes from the 1970's. Of the roughly fifty songs we played, there were three that required an alto Sax due to the range. That said, I had to get an alto to cover these parts and remembered back to how highly these Omega Selmers were praised back when I was growing up. It took me a while to find a good one. Once I found the right one, this one, I had it completely overhauled with all new pads and domed metal resonators to help better cut through the amplified electric instruments of my bandmates. This was just a year ago and since I only needed it for three songs, it has been played sparingly. I played this horn in several gigs from bars to birthday parties and it wails! I never had a problem being heard. I was very careful with it and kept it out of trouble which wasn't easy! It has 95% of its original lacquer. For being 30+ years old, it's in remarkably nice shape. I had a couple of minor dents removed but left a quarter sized one at the front edge of the bow as it's under the brace. The neck is straight with no damage and no extra pickup holes added for a microphone. The case is the top-level leather bound models that the Omega and the Super Action 80's came in. It even has the original case cover. I do not have the key for the locks but I'm sure one can be acquired. These old Omegas are really starting to take off in the vintage market as they're highly praised and had such a limited production. I'm starting to see vintage saxophone dealers with price tags in the low $2K ranges which is still cheap for a professional grade horn. As I no longer need it, I am putting it up on the market. I think this horn will really work out nicely for someone on a budget who plays out a lot or a student who needs a professional grade horn for playing in a jazz band or ensemble.

Item# 1886




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