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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now that I have most all the popular necks that most on this forum have been using I have what I think might be helpful.

These necks were all test played on a Ref 54 tenor.

Ref 54 neck. I found that this offered the best intonation, full tone into the upper register, not the most free blowing, it's a little more work to get the high notes to pop. Overall tone is kind of dark.

Ref 36 neck. Very similar to the Ref 54 only a little clearer sounding and a bit more work in the upper register. I have two ref 36 necks and have found that some play stuffy and some are freer on the upper end.

Series III neck. The Ferrari of the selmer necks. It's noticeably brighter, much easier altissimo, intonation is surprisingly good on a Ref 54 tenor. I did find that there is a shrill quality in the upper register that could be annoying in a recording studio, but for being able to fly around the horn this neck is one of the easiest that selmer has to offer. Over all a brighter neck that offers a fast response.

Barone. Mine is a Bronze neck. I found that the tone is fatter than a selmer neck, but intonation can be a problem especially in the middle register. Altissimo really isn't all that impressive as this neck is described as being a larger bore, but the aperture actually measures (as small)smaller than the Selmer necks, the neck does flare out more where it meets the tenon however. I'm not blown away by this neck as I felt the altissimo was a bit mousy and some of the high notes like the G where a straight up b**ch to hit consistently and get a decent volume. I found this neck didn't completely take away the selmer sound, but it's not an american sound either. It will get the job done and I think the palm keys sound fatter than with any of the selmer necks, so work your butt off for those high notes and clean up the intonation and you might have something you like.

Peter Ponzol Gold Plated Brass. Very fat sound, fatter than any of the other necks in the upper register. Effortless altissimo(or as effortless as you can get), intonation however is a bit screwy as you need to pay attention in the middle register and especially in the palm keys. I would describe the sound you get with this neck as buttery and thick on a Ref horn. It has the largest opening at the aperture. You will totally lose the Selmer core with this neck.

Ref necks are low arch necks.

The Selmer III and Barone side by side are very similar as far as arch and shape, they are high arched, but not as high as the Ponzol. The Barone is a hair lower arched than the III, but not by much. The Barone does seem to have a larger bore towards the tenon, but the apertures of the III and Barone are about the same size.

The Ponzol is a very high arch neck and thus shorter than the others.

Apertures for all these necks were .507-.510

The Ponzol aperture however came in at a whopping .517. (measurement amended see post below).

All these necks were played on a Ref 54 tenor with a Mojo NY Link .105 and RJS 3M reeds.
 

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Necks

Heath,

Thanks for the comparisons. I think this will prove useful for anyone thinking of taking the "neck" plunge.

I'm using a '69 MKVI Tenor with the Barone Copper neck. This horn is naturally on the darker side tonally speaking. I can only compare the stock neck with the Barone; I didn't find any problems with intonation with my set up. I use either the Morgan 8M or a Barone Vintage 7* HR. I notice that it blows a little more "free" with the Barone, more "clear" sounding. The tone is slightly different, not sure how to describe it at this point, but it has a warm and rich sound just the same. My altissimo is pretty good with this set up as well, so I guess mileage does vary with types of horns, mpcs and reeds. I'm currently using Francois Houle reeds, strength 3 1/2.

I got the neck for a good price, one of Phil's sales, so I'm happy with it for that price. I've yet to try the other necks, but maybe someday...Thanks again for the review!
 

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heath said:
Ref 36 neck. Very similar to the Ref 54 only a little clearer sounding and a bit more work in the upper register. I have two ref 36 necks and have found that some play stuffy and some are freer on the upper end.
Can you measure the opening at the cork end of your two pieces? I've tried three Reference 36 and only liked one of them. The one I liked I didn't have to wrap paper around the cork to make the mouthpiece fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay I remeasured every neck I had. I went around the inside several times to get an average size of each aperture.

Ref 54: .507

Ref 36: the neck I don't like was .509
Ref 36: the new neck that isn't stuffy .511

III: .508

Barone: .507-508

Ponzol: .520

Some of my other necks.

VI: .509

VII: .510

These were measured using a Craftsman machinist caliper.
 

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amoram said:
Waw, that's usefull.
Thanks!
ditto --thanks Heath:)
I have never measured the necks but I owned and thus play tested a Barone, a Ponzol, a Bosken, and the original neck(post tweeking by Oleg) for my 64 M VI tenor. The handmade thin wall bare brass Bosken is simply wonderful on the VI:!: Fuller free blowing easy overtones/alltissimo vibrant. Thus, I sold the Barone and Ponzol and put the VI neck in the safe.
Does anyone know who makes the Barone Ponzol and Oleg necks--the same company? Are they Asian made?:?
 

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Thanks for the interesting comparison. Have you tried the Ponzol on your MKVII? I believe the Ponzols are made for Series I&II, which share neck design with the MKVII. Is intonation also an issue on your MKVII?
Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The neck arch is similar between the VII and the Ponzol, but the sound is fatter with the Ponzol. The VII is more focused than the Ponzol. Still the VII neck is the best for the VII....at least on my VII.

I come away with the idea that the Ponzol is truly a different neck than all the rest of these others. It ditches the selmer core big time like nothing else. And like I mentioned before theres nothing like running a chromatic scale up to D4 with a large chamber NY Link without having to use your jedi powers.

To tell you the truth all this experimenting has caused me go back to square one again....minus some cash in my pocket of course.

What I think now is that Selmer actually knows what they're doing when they match a certain neck to a certain model. These after market necks are fine, but the stock necks line up in the intonation much better than after market. And Selmer stock necks don't have the little quirks that these after market necks have.

So the end of the story is that my Ref 54 actually sounds and responds best with a Ref 54 neck......who would have thought such a thing. :) .....Although I'll admit I do like the series III neck for the zip and zing and it lines up intonation wise very well with the ref horns both the 36 and 54.

My experimenting days are over with necks I'm happy to say.
 

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heath said:
What I think now is that Selmer actually knows what they're doing when they match a certain neck to a certain model. These after market necks are fine, but the stock necks line up in the intonation much better than after market. And Selmer stock necks don't have the little quirks that these after market necks have.
Yeah, though I've matched a later Aristocrat neck to my alto True Tone to clean up intonation, I certainly wouldn't want to buy a new horn, but have to be looking for a new neck as well. Experimentation I'm sure can lead to desired results, but just how far is one willing to take it.
 

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heath said:
So the end of the story is that my Ref 54 actually sounds and responds best with a Ref 54 neck......who would have thought such a thing.
Phil, would have, for one. When I bought a neck from him for my vi and told him I have a 54, too, he said the 54 doesn't need a new neck. He is right.
 

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When I asked Randy Jones to fit a spare neck to my Ref 36, he balked also.

I tried several other necks (Gloger and Selmer) on my Ref and those have all since gone to other players.

There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.
 

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Interesting comps :) I'd wonder how well these would do against higher priced Bosken or Gloger necks. Being a Gloger fan myself. But, as we all know, price doesn't tell the whole story.
 

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heath said:
...theres nothing like running a chromatic scale up to D4 with a large chamber NY Link without having to use your jedi powers.
:sign5: Good one, heath!

And thanks for posting. Great evaluations and things to think about.
 

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This may be opening a whole new can of worms, but how would these necks compare to, say, a Yamaha G1 neck? I ask because I recently bought a Yamaha with the G1 neck. Out of curiosity I tried the neck on my Kessler and it made a large difference in tone (fullness, depth, warmth), bringing it very close to the Yamaha. Now I'm thinking seriously about buying a new neck for the Kessler and making it my official back-up horn (or, maybe, putting the G1 neck on the Kessler and buying a new neck for the Yamaha...). My uneducated theory is that Asian-made necks might work best on Asian horns, but I'm curious how the G1 compares to some of the aftermarket necks out there.
 

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Greg, I haven't tried new necks but FWIW an aquaintence Dino Govoni got a new Yamaha custom tenor and he said he had tried different necks and prefered the G1 on his sax.
 

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For your amusement:

I own a Selmer SA80 series I tenor, i.e. by definition the worst tenors Selmer ever made. I happen to love it, so much that I sold a Ref. 54 I owned and kept the SA80. Aside from the fact that according to consensus this shows that my ears must be even worse than my technical skills (not being able to hit D4) and I am bordering on insanity, it bothered me that in other threads about these horns and necks, it was suggested by several that the main reason why the SA80s are such terrible horns is the neck design.

Hence, I bought an Ref. 54 neck, which fortunately had an opening >0.500 - according to consensus an absolute requirement for a decent sounding Selmer neck. Unfortunately, the Ref. 54 didn't fit because the octave lever on the SA80 is too long and collides with the support underneath the Ref. 54 neck. I wasn't going to mess with the original octave lever so I ordered a replacement lever. I cut down the replacement octave lever to match the Ref. 54 neck but this turned out to be a bad solution because it was too short to provide adequate leverage. So instead I used a Dremel tool to trim the bottom of the support bar on the Ref. 54 neck with virtually perfect cosmetic result. The neck fits the socket perfect and matches the octave lever perfect. Everything perfect until the final test, which reveals that the original neck sounds better than the Ref. 54 neck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Personally I felt I was wasting a lot of shed time playing around with all these necks. I've been on a quest to finally once and for all get my altissimo smoothed out. Of course the neck swapping helps, but there's no substitute for focused hours of overtone drills drilled into your head.

It seemed with the after market necks I could get something, but it would take something away. And even switching the 36 for the 54 or the other way around messed with the formula that Selmer came up with.

The sad thing is if you damage your VI or VII neck you could be screwed as these really do go with the horns. So be careful because they aren't making anymore.
 

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tjontheroad said:
Interesting comps :) I'd wonder how well these would do against higher priced Bosken or Gloger necks. Being a Gloger fan myself. But, as we all know, price doesn't tell the whole story.
I tried a Gloger neck on my Buescher Aristocrat tenor and could detect no difference in any way from the original neck. Luckily I bought it on a trial basis and was able to send it back for a full refund. Wish I could have also tried the Gloger on my MK VI, but it was slightly too big (the Buescher has a wider-diameter neck than the Selmer). Anyway, I think I learned something from this experiment.
 

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JL said:
I tried a Gloger neck on my Buescher Aristocrat tenor and could detect no difference in any way from the original neck. Luckily I bought it on a trial basis and was able to send it back for a full refund. Wish I could have also tried the Gloger on my MK VI, but it was slightly too big (the Buescher has a wider-diameter neck than the Selmer). Anyway, I think I learned something from this experiment.
I have 2 silver Glogers. One for my SC-992 and one for my SDA alto. On the SC-992, I noticed an instant difference with tonal character and responsiveness. OTOH, when I later got the one for the SDA, I wasn't as taken by it right away and had thought of returning it. It was only after using at a gig and then later asking my teacher for an opinion that decided it was a keeper. There was a slight change in the resistance in the horn so that when I adjusted to it the true benefit came through.

Funny thing is... I would not have likely ordered the second neck if I had gotten the SDA neck first.
 

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One thing to consider with aftermarket necks is whether the maker is trying to create a direct replacement or to enhance something that was missing in the original (or just wrong).
 
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