Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a super balanced action alto.
It has a sharper bend in the neck compared to a MK VI for example.
The angle causes me to bend just a tiny bit to position the horn/ mouthpiece.

This compromised posture is causing serious neck stiffness (MY neck - the one attached to my head that is).
I've been playing for 28 years mostly pain free and find this problem only on vintage horns (which tend to have a sharper neck bend).
By vintage I mean:
- conn curved soprano 1912 patent
- selmer balanced action alto
- selmer super balanced action alto

Has anyone ever come across about similar problems/solutions/tragedies.

For your info do have a MKVI replacement neck which solves the posture problem and plays easily in tune - but doesn't sound as warm as the original neck. When I got it 20 years ago i picked it out of a dozen at a Selmer factory (assembly plant which was in Toronto). It was more focussed sounding than the others - that's what I wanted at that point in time/

The present ongoing discomfort is enough to make me consider any option:
1. (less risky?) have work done on the MK VI REPLACEMENT neck to open it up especially near the top and hopefully make it much like the super balanced's original neck - just more comfortable.
2. Throw caution to the wind and get the ORIGINAL neck's angle straightened slightly - and hopefully not screw up the sound ! ... If it ends up slightly different, but basically as warm and fat as it is now I'd be very happy.

I'm not thinking so much about resale value - more getting the sound and posture I want and playing it for another 43 years.

Any success/failure stories involving sax neck re-shaping?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,486 Posts
i don't fin my SBA's neck angle to be at all sharper than a 6, are you sure the neck hasn't been pulled down?
perhaps pull the horn higher up on the neck strap and hold it slightly by your side.
or perhaps get the strap hook moved up or down on the horn?
or try pushing your right hand out a little so the bow is further away from your leg, that could also change the playing position.
definitely don't mess with the original neck,
look for another fix.
hold the horn so the mouthpiece/neck position is comfortable and look at what needs to change to hold out that position.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
Actually these horns do have a lower arch on the neck. It's part of the reason for the warmer sound. Same is true with the lower arch necks on many older horns. People think that the bore size is the secret, but the angle affects turbulence just like the way water rushes through pipes with sharper bends.

I wouldn't touch your original neck. You could check to see if it's been bent down by rubbing your fingers on the sides of the neck close to where the neck bends. If you feel spots on both sides that feel flat or not round then it's possible that it could have been bent down. Usually the fix is putting the neck back in receiver and giving a nice gentle bend back up to proper position. Of course this is the fix for tenor necks and then bracing the underneath of the now weakened neck. Don't even try to bend a neck yourself as you can trash it real fast.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
28,606 Posts
ernie tollar said:
I have a super balanced action alto.
It has a sharper bend in the neck compared to a MK VI for example.
The angle causes me to bend just a tiny bit to position the horn/ mouthpiece.

.....
Consider using an over-the-shoulder strap, or maybe even a harness. I doubt that changing the neck angle will alleviate your stress/pain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
not really possible to make it "happy" they aren't bent from a straight tube (taper). they are formed like that.
Would probably ruin it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
update

thanks for the responses to this thread folks,
I've had some success with a harness that allows the horn to be moved easily sideways. When I move it to my right, adjust the mouthpiece and neck pipe position I get a more upward angle into my embouchure. the strap seems to help because it's more to the right of my body - not because it's taking weight off of my neck!
the previous post was an email reply from Ken Fornetran and excellent repairer and player in Toronto,

I'll try to get used to the different feel of this strap - it's called 'Gemini'
designed by Gino Nobili in Toronto. not sure if they are made still
cheers
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
The Gemini harness are indeed still made. I purchased two of them a few months back. I switched full time to a harness for my tenor, but alto I still use a regular strap.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,228 Posts
Neck angle

You may want to experiment with a Codera. Go to Codera.com click on wind instruments and tools then click on Products and then ADDjust Balancer. It works great on tenor, ok on my Conn alto but the neck angle is still the wrong angle on the Conn.

I have always wondered if the tenon was removed, and the neck re-solderded to the tenon at an angle up and put back on the sax if that would solve the neck issue. The tenon may have to be cut into to acheive this.

You may want to try an O-ring or two and put that over the top of the receiver. It will raise the neck a bit and possibly make it a more comfortable angle as a result.

I have seen saxophone mouthpieces on ebay that have been modified so they angle up at a sharp angle on the neck. It involves cutting the shank and reattaching it. I am guessing that adds a bit of turbulance and would not take away from the tone.

Cowboy boots can allow more comfort playing. It partially compensates for the weird neck angle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Heath,
that's an interesting concept - that the angle is part of the warm sound.
as i've played wind instruments hat aren't curved (straight sopranos), bamboo flutes etc. i would also hold on to the conventional wisdom that broad bore tends to be rounder and smaller gives more overtones. bal actions definitely have broader bores than VI's though i believe. The typical difference in the curve and turbulence seems to make sense also, in accordance with my personal experiences on stgraight and curved sops.

Are your gemini harness' comfortable? Are they mostly nylon straping?
I actually have 2 which i got from gino nobili a great repirman in toronto who designed them. I'm curious if I have the best/most updated model or not. One is a prototype - or first edition - called Nobcor. The 2nd one is called Gemini though. Been giggin mostly on soprano/bamboo flute though so I haven't had the real test with the harness yet. I'll see how my body feels after this weekends jazz giigs on alto.....


cheers
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top