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I have been geeking out on Matt Stohrer’s YouTube Channel (thanks Dr. G for turning me on to him).
https://www.youtube.com/user/abadcliche

In one of his videos (sorry, can’t remember which one) he theorizes from his experience in repairs, that what makes a ‘good MK VI’ vs. a ‘bad MK VI’ (or any other horn for that matter, is a leaky neck.
He also states that more necks leak than people know, and a tight or proper fitting neck can still be a leaky neck.
Basically, the neck can feel like its fitting well but, if out of round, would still have a leak perhaps.

I don’t know much about him, but man the guy seems to know a heck of a lot about very minute details on many many rare and more obscure horns.

Wondering what you all think of this theory.
Seems easy enough to go and prove rather quickly.
 

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Matt is right. There are more "hidden problems" on older horns than a bad neck joint, but it's one of the most common problems. More so on Conns than Selmers in my experience.
 

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I’d imagine double socket necks would be particularly prone to having slight leaks as they would surely be more difficult to get correctly fitting.
 

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leaks in the tenon receiver can be incredibly difficult to spot and lead to resistance or deadness, one of the problems is of course to make them visible and the another would be how to deal with it.

https://musicmedic.com/neck-checker.html

I don’t know if this is the video that you are talking about. It all makes sense BUT It would be interesting to assess whether all “ dogs” are dogs because of necks with high or low spots or to determine if all great horns don’t have them.

 

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When play testing several Selmer tenors with a few players doing the testing, the "best" sound always went with the neck as they were being swapped between the various instruments. I agree that the neck is likely the determining factor but fail to see if one will fit better in a different instrument.

Im not arguing against the theory but would need more than anecdotal evidence to convince me that it is a leak rather than a manufacturing discrepancy.
 

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These neck, tenon and neck receiver issues are massively crucial and vastly overlooked. Both in term of leaks and the resonance of the horn going from the neck to body tube.

Neck receivers definitely leak, especially on Selmers The neck receiver is long and the solder joint can have micro leaks. It’s a real Achilles’ heel. Regarding the neck fitting into the receiver, you really need it fitting very snug, in fact as snug as possible just before it gets to the point where it’s a real PITA To take on and off of the body. There should be absolutely no wobble, not even with some effort, of the neck on the body of the horn.
 

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Notice the neck expansion tool Matt has there. It is much better that the old fashioned can opener style expansion tool IMO.
 

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When play testing several Selmer tenors with a few players doing the testing, the "best" sound always went with the neck as they were being swapped between the various instruments. I agree that the neck is likely the determining factor but fail to see if one will fit better in a different instrument.

Im not arguing against the theory but would need more than anecdotal evidence to convince me that it is a leak rather than a manufacturing discrepancy.
If the root cause were an issue with the neck, for example the tenon being just the least bit out of round, the issue would show on any body the neck was used with. OTOH if the root cause were a problem with the receiver it would be evident on any neck that body were used with.

I’d think there may also be other factors associated with the neck, complicating things even more. For example how much does even a subtle pull down affect the behavior of resonances and standing waves in the horn? Or other subtle irregularities in the shape or length of the path from mouthpiece to tenon? Seems that if things like mouthpiece baffles and chambers are so significant even minuscule differences in neck details would have a noticeable effect.

I’m not experienced enough to have the firsthand knowledge to tell but I’m sure others on here know whether the difference between a “good” or a “not so good” example of any horn is more the body or the neck. Robert’s comment suggests the latter; intuitively I’d expect both either/or. Because, it’s complicated...
 

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To take the discussion a bit further: There are some instances where the receiver and not the neck tenon is out of round or slightly oval shaped. What is even more common is that a "bubble" is created right below the tightening slot which has been cause by the player over tightening the screw to keep the neck from turning rather than having the neck tenon expanded which would have been the proper fix.

A technique I learned from J.L. Smith is to use a set of "pin plug guages" to find the closest fit inside the receiver and tap down the area where the "bubble" has formed. These can also be used to "re-round" a receiver by finding the snuggest fit and tapping the steel "shocking" the brass receiver to change dimensions until the plug loosens and then inserting the next larger size. This continues until tapping no longer loosens the tight fit of the plug which means the rounding has been achieved.

An acoustic concern associated with the technique shown in the video, is that when there is an extremely low area inside the receiver the extensive expanding and lapping is not only expanding the O.D. of the neck tenon, but the I.D. as well. Any significant change in the inside "geometry" of a saxophone---especially inside the neck can have a measurable effect upon the sound waves inside. Specifically, enlarging the diameter of the "tube" at the location of a note's velocity anti-node makes the corresponding note sharp. Enlarging the diameter of the "tube" at the location of a note's pressure anti-node makes the corresponding note flat. This is complicated by the fact that there is a similar effect upon the anti-nodes of all of the harmonics in a given area which effects the "harmonicity" involved as well.

An alternative repair, of course, is to replace the "damaged" receiver with a new one which means that for saxes no longer manufactured one must be made by a repair tech skilled at using a lathe.
 

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I’ve found that my Mark VI prefers mouthpieces with smaller chambers like the Soloist that came with it and Early Babbitt Links.
 

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i used to use a bit of cork grease on neck, is that good or bad?
The consensus view among repairmen is that this is bad because grit sticks to grease, and your grease winds up acting as a lapping compound over time.

However, it seems to me that this (using cork or tuning slide grease) might be an easy way for players to diagnose their own potential neck problems.

For example, if you liberally apply tuning slide grease to your neck tenon, then any minor tenon leak issues should temporarily disappear, no?
 

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i used to use a bit of cork grease on neck, is that good or bad?
There was a recent thread on this.

You don’t need it, and doing so may have deleterious effects. Not recommended.
 

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The consensus view among repairmen is that this is bad because grit sticks to grease, and your grease winds up acting as a lapping compound over time.

However, it seems to me that this (using cork or tuning slide grease) might be an easy way for players to diagnose their own potential neck problems.

For example, if you liberally apply tuning slide grease to your neck tenon, then any minor tenon leak issues should temporarily disappear, no?
Yes, but a clean, airtight metal-to-metal joint also improves response. I once had a tenor that had lacquer on the neck tenon. It was absolutely airtight, but when I removed the lacquer and refit the neck, the horn got a LOT better.
 

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I know exactly what video you're referring to, and agree completely. Keeping Matt's initial thought in mind has led me to investigate the notion with friends who feel like something is lacking with their horns. The neck leak is very common, but I'll add that ambiguous damage to the neck can completely change the characteristics of a horn. Pull down is the most common, but I've come across some other unique bends that aren't extremely obvious until you know how to look. A bent neck can also make the horn sound "dead". I believe that's the term Matt used in the video. And yes, Mr. Stohrer is a master at his craft. If you're a fan of his YouTube channel, be sure to keep up with the reading material on his websites as well.
 

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ahh yeah ok it is.... there is a different tool that my tech has which is more gentle and allows for more accuracy. The old can opener is a bit if a stab in the dark regarding how much expansion you get. He complains that its very very easy to accidentally over expand with the slightest twist. With my Serie lll alto neck he barely did anything to it, just a very gentle pass on the can opener and boom, it was too tight. then he had to take it down and the whole thing was annoying.

Umm, that IS the "can opener" style tenon expander Matt has. Same exact one I have actually, from Ferree's.
 
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