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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I've been playing the same Mark VI tenor since I started playing professionally and all through college. It's a great horn, it feels and sounds great, but the intonation has always been wild. Not in any way that can't be overcome with embouchure adjustments, but it's been still noticeable and I'm getting tired of putting in the extra effort. I know it isn't just me, either. I've played many other players' Mark VIs and SBAs over the years and they were all really locked in by comparison. I've experimented with different mouthpieces, key heights, etc, all to no avail. I'm beginning to think it's the neck, which has been slightly dog-legged for as long as I've had the horn.

Anyone else deal with crazy intonation on vintage Selmers? Do you think a new neck would fix the problem?

Thanks,

Craig
 

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I had a some intonation issues (particularly in the upper register) on my Mark VI whose neck was repaired after pull-down. An aftermarket neck definitely made a difference. I don't know if it is a cure-all, but it is worth a shot, provided you have the ability to try before you buy.
 

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Hey all,

I've been playing the same Mark VI tenor since I started playing professionally and all through college. It's a great horn, it feels and sounds great, but the intonation has always been wild. Not in any way that can't be overcome with embouchure adjustments, but it's been still noticeable and I'm getting tired of putting in the extra effort. I know it isn't just me, either. I've played many other players' Mark VIs and SBAs over the years and they were all really locked in by comparison. I've experimented with different mouthpieces, key heights, etc, all to no avail. I'm beginning to think it's the neck, which has been slightly dog-legged for as long as I've had the horn.

Anyone else deal with crazy intonation on vintage Selmers? Do you think a new neck would fix the problem?

Thanks,

Craig
I agree it's worth trying a good aftermarket neck to see if it helps, though one with a return policy if possible.
 

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I had a Mark VI tenor I bought new in 1959 or 1960 and it had intonation issues, but most saxes of that era also had intonation issues.

I traded it for a Mark VII when they came out, intonation was much better, tone was much worse :( So I traded that for a H.Couf Superba which had good gone and intonation.

The horn I have with the most challenging intonation is a H.N.White (King) silver plated alto from 1925

I think modern saxes have gotten better in the tone department.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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Get a Buescher Aristocrat or Conn 10M. Problem solved, and if your Selmer is in generally good condition you'll have some $$$ left over.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I thought about that, getting a 10m. The issue is I'd have to find someone who would be willing to trade me. That, and I don't like to play large chamber mouthpieces, which tend to be the best fit on Conns.

I'm thinking about trying one of the KB Sax necks sometime down the line.
 

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Hey all,

I've been playing the same Mark VI tenor since I started playing professionally and all through college. It's a great horn, it feels and sounds great, but the intonation has always been wild. Not in any way that can't be overcome with embouchure adjustments, but it's been still noticeable and I'm getting tired of putting in the extra effort. I know it isn't just me, either. I've played many other players' Mark VIs and SBAs over the years and they were all really locked in by comparison. I've experimented with different mouthpieces, key heights, etc, all to no avail. I'm beginning to think it's the neck, which has been slightly dog-legged for as long as I've had the horn.

Anyone else deal with crazy intonation on vintage Selmers? Do you think a new neck would fix the problem?

Thanks,

Craig
Your description of the intonation problems is too vague to give an intelligent response to your question. Are there particular notes that are unusually sharp? Is a particular register sharp or flat? Are there some octaves that are wider than others? Are some narrower than others? There is an amazing app called "AP Tuner" that allows you to play a chromatic scale up and down the sax and then it "maps" the intonation of each note played for your review. Collecting this type of information can be of great help in diagnosing any types of physical or mechanical problems with the saxophone and allowing thoughtful solutions to be put forward.

That said, getting together with another player with a Mark VI tenor of close to the same vintage and playing your sax with his neck and his sax with your neck might help to provide the answer you are looking for. Better yet do the same test with two or more similar tenors if you can round them up.
 

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I agree that an aftermarket neck can help. I am currently playing one of the Boston Sax Shop's Heritage necks on my Mark VI, very good and much better than my stock neck (which also had some damage issues, fixed but the neck still wasn't quite right). Also make sure that your current neck has the tenon fit properly.

I would try that first before falling for a Conn...
 

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I agree that your prime suspect at this time is the neck since you suggest it has been damaged. I recommend you try some Series III necks since they are in the exact same MK VI shape. I had trouble with the neck on my Selmer USA tenor and just today tried the III Sterling silver neck on it I used to play on my MK VI. The old neck was giving me wild swings - I have a new tuner app on my phone and it has been quite the eye-opener. Not only did the III neck correct the intonation but it played and sounded many times better.
I guess I played that one on my VI for about 10 years or so before going back to the original neck - I sure am glad I didn't sell it.
Also, since you mentioned KB sax, you might call them about reshaping your original VI neck. If Kim can't do it there are many others. One time I had a totally crushed neck that I thought was finished. I took a chance and sent it to the Woodwind and Brasswind - I don't know if they still do repairs - and they fixed it perfectly, I couldn't believe my eyes. And, it was only $75. Of course, that was many years ago but even now it would be a much better alternative than giving up on the original neck.
 

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Sounds like trying a different neck would be the next step, as long as you feel that the key height adjustments were done by somebody who knows Mark Vis very well. The trouble with trying different necks on an earlier Mark Vi is the variability in tenon diameters.

I have three Mark vi's(81xxx, 104xxx, 228xxx) all bought from and set up by excellent technician/dealers. The intonation is very good on all of them- surprisingly so (to me) since I had read I could expect issues on a Mark VI. All three have F# keys, which some have said hurts intonation further. And when I say "very good" I mean at least as good as the YTS 82ZII and Yani TWO20 I have owned. The 228xxx has very close to the same intonation with its original neck as it does with a 124xxx neck and a Series III neck.
 

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I'm not going to get into a mark 6 intonation debate but for a time, I had 4 necks for my 105 tenor. The best one was a Varitone neck and a gold plated Ponzol was right up there with it. There's a Ponzol in the marketplace now. Won't break the bank like some of the exotics, either.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I agree that your prime suspect at this time is the neck since you suggest it has been damaged. I recommend you try some Series III necks since they are in the exact same MK VI shape. I had trouble with the neck on my Selmer USA tenor and just today tried the III Sterling silver neck on it I used to play on my MK VI. The old neck was giving me wild swings - I have a new tuner app on my phone and it has been quite the eye-opener. Not only did the III neck correct the intonation but it played and sounded many times better.
I guess I played that one on my VI for about 10 years or so before going back to the original neck - I sure am glad I didn't sell it.
Also, since you mentioned KB sax, you might call them about reshaping your original VI neck. If Kim can't do it there are many others. One time I had a totally crushed neck that I thought was finished. I took a chance and sent it to the Woodwind and Brasswind - I don't know if they still do repairs - and they fixed it perfectly, I couldn't believe my eyes. And, it was only $75. Of course, that was many years ago but even now it would be a much better alternative than giving up on the original neck.
Thanks for the recommendation, I just sent Kim Bock an email. We'll see what happens with that... Can't really afford to invest in a new neck without a way to try it first. Seems like an all-around bad idea to me.
 

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I'd also suggest getting your key heights checked. Proper alignment can make a huge difference in intonation.
 

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Agree with saxjare01 often intonation issues can be fixed adjusting the palm keys aperture and Ken is the master. If doesn’t work, a new neck is the way to go.
If you send the horn to Ken Beason your intonation issues will most likely go away. He’s that damn good.
 

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I bought one of these for my Balanced Action because the original has some poorly repaired damage.
I’m surprised how well it plays. Really opened up the sax.
I always complain about poor Chinese quality but one key and one hole doesn’t leave all that room for error like an entire sax.
I’ve tried in on my Mark VI and it played really well too.
I’m not prone to intonation issues. I don’t have perfect pitch but it’s good enough to hear it, play it.
At $80 and a return policy I’d give it a shot.
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/223345166528
 

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I just sent my neck to Kim, we'll see what happens with it.
This is very interesting to me and I'm sure many others - please post the results! My original MK VI neck I think is a little out of whack too and the horn needs an overhaul....maybe KB is the answer.
 
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