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Hey everyone. I may be in the market for a new Tenor soon. My usual horn is a 36 Balanced Action, and although I love the tone, I'm not a fan of the playability of the horn otherwise. How does a new Borgani compare to a modern Selmer? I tried my mentors Series II and hated it.

Thanks :b
 

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Hey everyone. I may be in the market for a new Tenor soon. My usual horn is a 36 Balanced Action, and although I love the tone, I'm not a fan of the playability of the horn otherwise. How does a new Borgani compare to a modern Selmer? I tried my mentors Series II and hated it.

Thanks :b
Welcome, Benjamin. My main horn, 25 years ago, was a Balanced Action. I went through a Selmer Serie III and a Ref 36, then discovered Borgani tenors. I have had an early silver pearl Jubilee (409J), then a slew of newer big bore Jubilees - silver plate, gold pearl, and unfinished, then a silver pearl OBT (smaller bore). The silver pearl OBT and silver plate big bore J remain. The OBT is a lil’ more nimble. Both are superb.
 

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I tried a pearl silver OBT and owned a silver plate Jubilee. They both had a big dark sound down low, but had a zing/brightness to the sound up high for me. One thing I remember about the OBT was it had a very clear sound, no breathiness.

My main horn is a 10M and neither of these were similar to the Conn, although I suppose if I were to compare them to a Conn and Selmer, I would say they had the bigness of sound of a Conn down low, and the zing/brightness of a Selmer up high. But really Borganis have their own sound and you just have to try one to see if it's for you.
 

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I tried a pearl silver OBT and owned a silver plate Jubilee. They both had a big dark sound down low, but had a zing/brightness to the sound up high for me. One thing I remember about the OBT was it had a very clear sound, no breathiness.
Ken, the two horns are different enough that I, too, don’t get the same response from each horn using the same mouthpiece. In an effort to get similar sounds, I found the answer was in tweaking my mouthpiece setup.
 

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I owned a Borgani Jubilee raw (UL) tenor and will caveat the following by saying there is variation between Borgani horns as there is with Selmer, and also by also saying that the different Borgani finishes do really influence the sound; Raw is the darkest, pearl silver is in the middle and the gold plate is brighter. Or at least that's what I figured from a full day at the factory in Macerata. If I had to pick one I'd probably go for the silver purely on tone alone. The gold was lovely too but too blingy.

The comparison is with a modern (2004) Ref 36 I now own. I owned both horns for a period before selling the Borgani raw to Buddy Lee.

The action: the Ref 36 has the better mechanism, the Borgani's Jubilee keywork alloy is softer and was more prone to wear after 10 years that a factory refurb improved. The Borgani front F is very ergonomic and wins, but overall the Ref 36 feels more dependable and therefore (for me) quicker.

Lower alt: the Borgani's top end pops right out and needs no adjustment. The Selmer needs more setting up to vent optimally across front E-F# and the strongest G uses the side F# key fingering in lieu of the simpler front fingering.

Bottom end: the Ref 36 has a big bottom end and is richer and possibly 'darker' than the Borgani's.

Tone: the Ref 36 has more the layered richness of tone and texture I am personally looking for, which is colourful, moderately resonant and very adaptable - easy to influence. The Borgani raw has more its tone; a percussive quality on top of a medium-dark fundamental quite specific to Borgani. Which *you* will prefer is just a personal thing (and *very* neck dependent).

Intonation: Both are excellent. Ref 36 tuning is practically slotted.

Overall build quality and finishing: I don't need to tell you which one is vastly superior...
 

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Bottom end: the Ref 36 has a big bottom end and is richer and possibly 'darker' than the Borgani's. Tone: the Ref 36 has more the layered richness of tone and texture I am personally looking for, which is colourful, moderately resonant and very adaptable - easy to influence. The Borgani raw has more its tone; a percussive quality on top of a medium-dark fundamental quite specific to Borgani. Which *you* will prefer is just a personal thing (and *very* neck dependent).
Interesting observations. My experience is exactly the opposite. I've owned a Ref 54, then 3 Mark VI tenors over past 20 years (59k~63k range). Still own 2 of those Selmers. I also owned 2 Borgani Jubilee, still own one of them. I feel the Selmer has a more mono-tonal sound, thinner on the bottom in comparison with the large and full of harmonics sound of the Borgani. I feel the Selmer is a precise machine while the Borgani is a fun instrument to play.
 

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Interesting observations. My experience is exactly the opposite. I've owned a Ref 54, then 3 Mark VI tenors over past 20 years (59k~63k range). Still own 2 of those Selmers. I also owned 2 Borgani Jubilee, still own one of them. I feel the Selmer has a more mono-tonal sound, thinner on the bottom in comparison with the large and full of harmonics sound of the Borgani. I feel the Selmer is a precise machine while the Borgani is a fun instrument to play.
I guess there is a lot of variation in most marques? Think Ref 36 has bigger bottom end than the Ref 54 due to bigger bow? Maybe I just got lucky with a great instrument, but for me the Ref 36 is exceptional. I also liked the Borgani, don't get me wrong, and I really liked its percussive, free blowing character. But we are talking personal preferences here: what instruments feel like to the player relative to one another, and small differences I guess seem rather more significant to the player than they will to the listener. Borgani's are definitely fun to play!
 
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