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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello fellow saxophonists,

So long story short, I have recently purchased a SX90R Shadow Alto with a sterling silver neck.

At first, after playing a bit I thought there was a problem with the octave key mechanism on the neck, I thought it didn't seal properly. I bent the mechanism part back until it sealed properly and kept playing.

But now I figured what really happened to the neck. It bends! Not the mechanism part, but the actual neck!

I remembered that the first time I played, I applied some pressure on top of the mouthpiece (as I'm used to having it support the weight of my head from the older sax) and it felt like I bent the neck down.
I didn't pay attention to it, thinking it was just an illusion. I thought I can't possibly bend the neck with my teeth.

Then I saw that it's the actual neck that has bent forward and it has deformation dents very visible on it. I unbent it back to its normal position but now the neck has lost its original cylindrical shape in some places and has deformation dents on it.

I also started noticing that it's harder to play lower notes on this neck and the intonation on some notes is a bit off :(

It's probably my fault, since silver is a softer material and apparently bends easily. I am still not sure whether or not the neck should be built in a way to support the weight of my head. I know I am not getting this problem on the stock neck of the Shadow.

I love the bigger and more resonating sound of the silver neck, so I hope it can somehow be fixed. Do you guys think a repair shop could do anything about it?

Thanks!
The neck bending sax player
Gennadiy
 

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You've got to determine if something's wrong with you or the neck. I'm pretty hard on my saxes and have one with a sterling silver neck. I couldn't imagine bending it by playing it. My teeth would fall out first i think. If it's new - send it back.
 

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yikes I never support the weight of my head on my neck of the sax . I have The nickel silver SX90 R with the Nickel Silver Neck
 

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A repair shop should be able to fix it no problem. What you might want to do is to find a shop that will put some braces on the neck so it won't bend. This is what Kirk Whalum did with his silver neck on his SX90R.

 

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At first I thought you were taking to much mouthpiece when you said you bent the neck with your teeth!
You got "pull down" which is usually caused by forcing a mouthpiece on a too tight cork or dropping the horn on the neck. Have it professionally straightened and the aforementioned bracing put on. Early Martin altos had no bracing on the underside and around 1928, they started putting the brace on the underside.
 

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silver necks are indeed notorious for being more sensitive to bending if they are not braced, although we are talking probably thin walled necks since the Gloger neck for my super 20 ( that I once had and that now Brasscane has) had no brace but was quite a bit thicker than the original super 20 neck.

I love the brace on Kirk Whalum's horn
 

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I agree the brace is a good idea, and also that it should not be top tooth pressure. As Bruce says it's usually from adjusting a mouthpiece that is stuck a bit tight. Always remove the neck and hold carefully when doing that.

If it is actually due to embouchure, then look seriously into working on it to bite less.
 

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A repair shop should be able to fix it no problem. What you might want to do is to find a shop that will put some braces on the neck so it won't bend. This is what Kirk Whalum did with his silver neck on his SX90R.

Kirk did this for resonance, but it does also strengthen the neck. Also note that the points where the rods are attached to the neck are offset.
 

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Kirk did this for resonance, but it does also strengthen the neck. Also note that the points where the rods are attached to the neck are offset.
Oh my gawd!...........[rolleyes]:faceinpalm:
 

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Oh my gawd!...........[rolleyes]:faceinpalm:
Heheh. I knew that would bring up something. But my info is pretty darn correct. I had this discussion with Kirk. Those braces probably do little to strengthen a silver neck.

But on a more valuable bit of info, I've seen Chris Potter take the neck off the horn to adjust the mouthpiece. It was in between songs.
 

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the fact that someone did it (even a famous player) means nothing to the effect of what it does..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have left the neck in the repair shop today. The guy said it's a thing that does happen quite often and they can fix it no problem. He can also add a strengthening metal pass to prevent this from happening again, which I will probably do now :) Maybe by putting the brace it will also make me sound like Kirk ;)
The repair guy was also very impressed by the difference the neck made to the horn. The stock neck plays well, but it lacks the volume and resonance of the silver one. It almost feels dull after playing the silver one, which really makes the whole horn vibrate.

Thanks for the embouchure tips. The actual bending did not happen from the casual tooth pressure, it was more due to the angle at which I held the new horn, not being used to it and trying to "find the proper posture", I guess.

At the same time I do have the habit of resting my head on the mouthpiece, which helps me relaxing my posture and throat. Do you think that might not be the best idea?

Thanks again for the quick and helpful responses, they are appreciated!
Gennadiy
 

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A saxophone mouthpiece is NOT a pillow.
Find somewhere else to rest your head to relax your posture and throat.
 

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At the same time I do have the habit of resting my head on the mouthpiece, which helps me relaxing my posture and throat. Do you think that might not be the best idea?
I'm sure your tech will love this idea. Then you'll have to keep bringing in the neck for repairs. And by the way, I think you just solved the mystery of how you really messed this horn up. As Bandmommy said above, it ain't a pillow... and it ain't a toy either.
 

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the fact that someone did it (even a famous player) means nothing to the effect of what it does..........
I had a similar brace installed on my Super 20, because the silver neck had been pulled down. The brace worked great for keeping the neck straight. It did nothing for the sound.
 

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I had a similar brace installed on my Super 20, because the silver neck had been pulled down. The brace worked great for keeping the neck straight. It did nothing for the sound.
which is what I would expect from a brace!

Anyway, some necks might be more or less resistant than others or be damaged by abuse . One thing, in this respect, is for sure and that is that although one should not be scared of handling a saxophone in a normal way one should also treat it wit the respect and care that any " instrument " (as in a mechanical device) deserves and use it appropriately.

That doesn't include leaning or pushing on it with your head (weighing around 5 to 6Kg but if you push you increase this force considerably).

Re-evaluating one's posture is a good idea in order to prevent both damage to the " instrument" as to ones's body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again for the tips guys.
Unfortunately, that's one of the habits I've been taught early on and just stuck with me over the years. It never has been a problem until I switched to the neck made of a weaker material.
In any case, we're not talking TONS of pressure, just a minor support to help me be steadier and more relaxed. But I will definitely be much more cautious with it from this point on.

Grumps,
What did I do to deserve a response in such a key? Was that your saxophone that "mystically messed up" (well, some minor dents on the neck, but you can exaggerate) and was treated "as a toy"?
I personally don't respond to people on forums unless I want to help and try to at least show respect towards people I'm not acquainted with. Just my 2cents.
 

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I don't know of any 'teacher' who would have a student rest their head on the mouthpiece in order to relax the throat and posture.
The neck of the saxophone is not meant to 'bear weight'.
If you want to rest, put your chin in your hand with your elbow on your knee. The neck will not sustain any further damage.

As for Grumps.... He's a big teddybear. :)
 

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the fact that someone did it (even a famous player) means nothing to the effect of what it does..........
Maybe not to you.

I've had 3 necks braced before, simply for the purpose of stability. Not or sound issues. All with a single rod on the underside of the bend. Not on the sides as in the KW pic. There was a noticeable difference with the before and after. The "feel" is not the same. There is a more resonant feel without then with. Kind of similar to what a french file cut does to a reed.(Think RJS file/unfilled cut). With the brace on the neck, there is more focus but the trade is a bit of resonance. The brace does a great job of cementing the neck proportions in place. The bend of a neck is as different as finger prints. I don't think I've ever played 2 necks that are exactly the same.

On a side note, I have a fitted ring that fits over the barrel on my mpc. With it on, there are less highs and lows to the sound and it plays more focused. Without it, the horn feels more vibrant and spread. It's just a simple ring on the barrel.

You can believe what you want about all this, as this is only my personal experience on the subject. I have no wish or need to force that opinion on anyone.
 
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