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Discussion Starter #1
Seems like all through my career I've had a thing for necks. My first tenor (1961) was a very nice first-series Super 20 with a silver neck. The neck mania didn't really manifest itself until 1990 or so when I bought a Selmer USA 'Sterling Plus' neck for my Series II tenor. I did return to the original neck later and sold the silver one. Then I traded off the Series II and got another MK VI.
Around 2005 I bought a Selmer Paris Series III Sterling silver neck for it which went really well. I had previously bought a Selmer Paris MK VI replacement neck for it which wasn't that great. I ended up using that neck on my Selmer USA tenor - the original neck just stunk - if I had to play it, I could not have kept the sax.
Lately I bought another Series III neck, brass lacquer, which is great for the VI and the USA, but the silver III neck is magic on the USA. Meanwhile I had the original VI neck tweaked by Kim Bock who found some irregularities with it - non-round tubing, first curve behind the cork too flat and the opening actually too big. This neck now plays much better but I probably will play the III neck on it most of the time - but I am really digging the silver neck/USA combination so I'm playing that at the moment because the VI really needs an overhaul.
Then we have the alto. A Selmer USA 'Omega' 8210xx. I thought I'd try a neck on it, a new Selmer Paris 'Ref 54' 'Jubilee'. This is also quite a neck and stabilizes the intonation while giving a more 'French' sound (more focused). I need to have some work done to the original neck so I don't know which one I'm going to stick with.
And the baritone; I bought a spare neck for it to give an extended trial to a mouthpiece with a much smaller shank bore than my regular mouthpiece. Both necks play the same but the mouthpieces are very different - but both good. But before all that, I had bought a Sterling silver neck for it. The neck was fine but really didn't make any difference in playing, at least on my baritone. I was able to sell it without losing too much.
So I've entered a quieter phase now and just need gig time on these necks. Fortunately, the economy is cooperating and gigs are rolling in.

Lessons; the smaller the neck, the less difference it will make to the horn. The tenor is the main sax that will show vivid differences with a neck change, because it is the largest neck and it has a double curve which adds nearly infinite permutations to design. The current Series III tenor necks are the best thing to have happened for the Selmer tenor and they are affordable compared to original MK VI necks or custom necks and available in many materials and finishes. The modern baritone neck is so tiny relevant to the size of the horn that a silver neck is pointless. Its also not very visible so it doesn't even look cool. When trying necks, use a tuner - you will see differences, good and bad from neck to neck. When you're having intonation trouble and you put a different neck on and suddenly it starts centering that tuner, it is an amazing feeling, particularly if the intonation is accompanied by a better response/tone.
 

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I tend to find that the opening in the small end of the neck (where the mouthpiece goes) plays a really big factor as well. I guess you would call that the bore but I have always thought of bore as the volume of the entire inside of the neck.

I've had a few necks that seemed pretty darn good but opening this section up made a big difference to how the neck responded. I have done it with 2 necks before in small increments at a time with sand paper so I felt pretty confident doing it to my current horns neck. Again it made a world of difference and my YTS-61 feels a lot more open and free blowing compared to how it was before the slight modification.
 

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Yes,I’ve been through the neck thing too on my later series mark vi. The stock neck was always stuffy and lacking ring for me. Never had success with any aftermarket necks other than a gold Ponzol neck which played how I hoped a good neck would. I only replaced it with another older Mark VI that has been opened up at the cork end which I purchased directly from Peter Ponzol. It’s the best of both.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
'Opening' the end of a tenor neck is not a thing that should be done casually as it can play hell with the upper register intonation for one thing.
 

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. The tenor is the main sax that will show vivid differences with a neck change, because it is the largest neck and it has a double curve which adds nearly infinite permutations to design. The current Series III tenor necks are the best thing to have happened for the Selmer tenor and they are affordable compared to original MK VI necks or custom necks and available in many materials and finishes. The modern baritone neck is so tiny relevant to the size of the horn that a silver neck is pointless. Its also not very visible so it doesn't even look cool. When trying necks, use a tuner - you will see differences, good and bad from neck to neck. When you're having intonation trouble and you put a different neck on and suddenly it starts centering that tuner, it is an amazing feeling, particularly if the intonation is accompanied by a better response/tone.
Have you tried KIm Bock’s custom made necks? The KB Sax handcrafted necks are made by stamping out the two sides of the neck, which are then silver soldered together to create the neck tube as opposed to the traditional crafting method which is bending the metal tube over a form to give it a specific shape.

I heard great reviews on those necks and I was thinking of getting one for my sba. Thoughts?
 

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Well, my buddy has my old vi neck and Bob Sheppard himself opened that one up and it plays great. I would venture a guess that Peter Ponzol also knows what he’s doing concerning neck openings, but yes I agree; not to be undertaken lightly.
 

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Also, the diameter of the opening of my aftermarket Ponzol neck was much larger than the stick vi opening fwiw.
 

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When I had my MKVII Tenor I quite liked the series III neck on it.
I believe it focused the sound a little more than the original neck.
Tuning wise i didn’t notice any real difference between the 2.
On Baritone I have noticed some differences between various necks.
I have a solid silver Yanagisawa neck on my B6 which really brings it to life.
As a bonus this neck also fits and plays well on my MKVI Low Bb horn.
I also have a Barone Copper neck that I really like in the Vi as it seems to darken the tone more than the original neck.
Other advantages are that you can have different cork thicknesses on each neck to accomodate more mouthpieces.
 

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Have you tried KIm Bock’s custom made necks? The KB Sax handcrafted necks are made by stamping out the two sides of the neck, which are then silver soldered together to create the neck tube as opposed to the traditional crafting method which is bending the metal tube over a form to give it a specific shape.

I heard great reviews on those necks and I was thinking of getting one for my sba. Thoughts?
Just spent 2 hours there today. Absolutely amazing necks, well worth the money. Recommended to try several before settling on the tone and feel you like best. Redwood or Vanguard are his best sellers, and each does slightly different things. But tuning and response all the way up on all of them were preferable to an original BA neck.
 

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I should add every single one I tried was an improvement on the stock BA neck in terms of evenness, response and control. The different models feel different to the player and have a somewhat different tonal character but they are all the best necks I’ve tried.

If I had to summarise the Redwood is the more traditional sounding and the more lyrical, very even. The Vanguard is more direct and mid range focused, offers a bit more control and facilitates sub-tones incredibly. Then the different materials (brass, hardened brass, copper and bronze) make a difference, as do the finishes (raw and clear lacquered or silver plated).

If you can’t visit it’s worth a conversation with Kim to help you select the most suitable neck for your purpose.


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Discussion Starter #11
I haven't tried a KB neck but he did a great job recently on my original MK VI tenor neck which had a few problems - not round throughout and somebody had messed with the opening. I'd say if he makes necks they're probably pretty good. I bet he got that 'two-piece' idea from the Link metal mouthpieces which were done the same way - left and right parts brazed together.
 

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His ethos is to create a neck with equal wall thickness throughout, and posits that bending a neck into form around a mandrel distorts the metal and creates inconsistencies in wall thickness. And that that in turn compromises the sound. Hence the 2 halves formed and silver soldered. His necks blew me away.


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