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Discussion Starter #1
There is a lot of chatter about how the material of a neck or instrument affects sound (e.g. "silver is BRIGHTER" [ whatever that means]), or even whether the presence or absence of lacquer does so. But is there any real evidence that it does? I mean oscilloscopic or equivalent hard data from a sound analysis or 'fingerprinting' program. If no hard data, how about opinions from players who have compared. I am interested in issues relating to necks, horn finishes and compositions.

I have interchangeable brass and silver necks for my '39 and '46 King Zephyr tenors. Granted that I do not have such a program, there is no discernible difference in sound that I nor others can perceive.

Gloger makes necks in various metals. Anyone know if he has data on performance differences?

Thanks.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Where would that be?
I actually had many fellow saxophonists claim things like I don't like the metal mpc and Mark VI combination or other useless statements. Most people who don't have access to resources like SOTW are left with the mostly wrong and misleading claims sellers make. See Yamaha metal thumb rest or Cannonball stones...
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I actually had many fellow saxophonists claim things like I don't like the metal mpc and Mark VI combination or other useless statements. Most people who don't have access to resources like SOTW are left with the mostly wrong and misleading claims sellers make. See Yamaha metal thumb rest or Cannonball stones...
There could be various reasons:

  • They are just the people who believe all the marketing hype they read.
  • They are hearing what they expect to hear
  • They really do perceive a significant difference and assume it is because of the material
  • They have exceptional ears and can hear what to normal people is an insignificant difference
 

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There could be various reasons:

  • They are just the people who believe all the marketing hype they read.
  • They are hearing what they expect to hear
  • They really do perceive a significant difference and assume it is because of the material
  • They have exceptional ears and can hear what to normal people is an insignificant difference
Yeah I think most people fall into category 2 or 3. They also don't care enough about all this to go and do some more research. There is actually nothing wrong with that. Only arguing with them can be tedious.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am a neophyte, but in trying to learn all I can about saxophony I have encountered strong opinions about issues such as sound quality. Just trying to apply some objectivity. I have learned that different horns may feel and sound different to the player, but that such perceptions may not be shared by listeners. My understanding is that the reed and mouthpiece of a sax essentially act as a tone generator the substance of which is then modified by standing waves in the body tube. I doubt that much is contributed by the resonance of the body tube. If that is true, horns of different alloys would probably sound about the same with the same reed/mpc setup. The shape, but not substance, of the neck is probably a factor.

Trying to get at the "truth" of this if such is possible.
 

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I once owned a 3 neck Medusa -- if you know these horns then you know the neck design/profiles are identical. The differences in the necks are in plating and finish. I could not detect an appreciable difference in any of them. The difference being so minute as to be attributable to my imagination. At the time I also owned a black nickel CJS (stencil horn exactly identical to the 3 neck Medusa). Again -- I could detect no difference -- except that the lower budget stencil horn played better because I had it set up. :)

I now own a Yamaha 82Zs. When I had the original G1, I went into a shop and tried a lacquered G3 neck on it. If you know these necks, then you know they are of different engineering as well as the difference in finish. At the time, I perceived a more appreciable difference than my experience with the Medusas -- but it certainly wasn't $400 worth of difference. Due to hype, over time I waited it out and bought a silver G3 neck to match my silver Z. And I swear, playing them side by side (G1s v. G3s) there was v.little difference and that difference is probably attributable to what I expected to hear after having read pages and pages of SOTW on the subject.

But I am sure there are folks out there that have more discriminating ears than myself and hears HUGE differences!
 

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'Gloger makes necks in various metals. Anyone know if he has data on performance differences?'

How could anybody have any data on how you will relate to one neck or another? It's really not about what anybody else hears - it's about how the sax responds to your input, and how YOU feel about the results. Moreover, you have to play a neck (or horn, or mouthpiece) over a period of weeks under actual performance conditions before you can know if this is what you want.
 

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The only reason I can discern the difference in my dual necked saxes is because I sand down the cork on one of them to accept mouthpieces with a smaller diameter throat. The real difference in the sound is attributable to the mouthpieces not the necks. I have tried each of the necks and pieces interchangeably. I have NOT tried a Cannonball fat neck; however, and have no comment on that difference. I haven't used one with resonance stones either so although I have a hunch, I truly have no subjective opinion.
 

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Method or Madness ?

I am a neophyte, but in trying to learn all I can about saxophony I have encountered strong opinions about issues such as sound quality. Just trying to apply some objectivity. I have learned that different horns may feel and sound different to the player, but that such perceptions may not be shared by listeners. My understanding is that the reed and mouthpiece of a sax essentially act as a tone generator the substance of which is then modified by standing waves in the body tube. I doubt that much is contributed by the resonance of the body tube. If that is true, horns of different alloys would probably sound about the same with the same reed/mpc setup. The shape, but not substance, of the neck is probably a factor.
I cannot say I agree with all of this, but for the most part you are on the right track.

I do have to agree with Stormott, and others here as well....specifically: if you wanna really test whether changing on spec or aspect of the instrument alters the tone, then literally everything else has to remain a constant. There can really only be ONE single variable.

But when you start getting into replacement necks and such, whether one-of-a-kind custom.... or whether ones which are actually run in multiples to fit a particular horn...it's almost impossible to keep that variable singular.

Honestly, I don't even think the makers of replacement necks care to do that. Or makers of any other post-factory "improvements".

They just wanna sell their products....

So, in the (likely) absence of a scientific comparison of such, folks are left with their impressions. "I bought the replacement XXX neck and slapped it on, and oh, maaan, what a difference !" I don't begrudge that. I bet there is a difference.

Plus...who wants to read a thread which suggests that aftermarket necks are hype when they just unloaded 6 bill$ on one, then had to wait 6 months to get it ? The odds are, they aren't gonna agree with some of the commentary....

This is not to call the aftermarket neck makers frauds, because they know a hella lot about their craft.

While thus far the replies to your thread have been relatively homogeneous and along the same lines....if this thread hangs around for a while I am guessing the opinions might become more varied.

 

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I have a Yanagisawa A901 with the stock and model 92 bronze neck (the one that comes with the A992). I can't tell any differences in sound, but there is a little more resistance that I like with the bronze neck and gives me a little more control. Design of necks makes a big difference. I tried my Yani neck on my Buescher Super 400 before I sold it and the intonation issues went away and the horn sounded like the Yani.
 

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Moreover, you have to play a neck (or horn, or mouthpiece) over a period of weeks under actual performance conditions before you can know if this is what you want.
Man, this is so, so true! This goes beyond a discussion on material or horn finish, but when comparing two horns or mpcs or necks side-by-side you may notice some differences or find you prefer one over the other (or not) but that won't necessarily indicate how it will perform in the long run, on gigs, etc.

I've noticed that when I change from my VI tenor to one of my Buescher tenors, the horn I've been playing on a regular basis lately is the one that I seem to prefer. That's because I've adjusted to it. The Bueschers especially seem to take a few days (or a couple of gigs) playing on them before they start to reach their potential. They blow a bit differently than the VI (less resistance for one thing) and I have to stick with them for a period to get the most out of them. Same is true, but even moreso, with mpcs.

So this adjustment period is yet another factor (and a fairly big one, imo) to consider when comparing set ups. I rarely hear it discussed on here, though. I think it could be a huge monkeywrench in sound comparisons, sound clips, etc....
 
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