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Discussion Starter #1
Bought a Selmer Jubilee Ref 54 alto neck at Kessler music for my Selmer USA alto. Tenon fit and octave lever were perfect out of the box. Sound is fine and intonation is improved. It is kind of 'orange' but I guess that's the 'vintage' look. Price is right and this is a good replacement neck for most any Selmer alto but they do have Series II and III also.


 

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What changes are in Gen III? Was Gen II the addition of rifling in the tenon, or were there other changes?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think they're doing the grooves inside the tenon anymore, and it may have been Gen I. Gen III necks do away with the octave key guide behind the vent and they have reduced the mass in the octave key attachment. Notice the tenor neck which is a Gen II (Series III) - no grooves, old-style octave key attachment plus the key guide. So that leaves Gen I with the old-style under-brace, grooved tenon, key guide and old-style octave key attachment. A small point, but they have also cast the octave pad cup into the key rather than brazing on a round one with the circle on top. The Gen III octave key now flares out into the pad cup shape like the old Selmer USA and doesn't have the circle decoration on it. I also think generally the gauge of the tubing is reduced from what it was in the pre-Jubilee necks. And the final change I can think of is cosmetic - they have changed the Selmer 'S' a little and they are using the very dark blue paint like on the early VIs - it really looks black until you get it in the sunlight or shine a very bright light on it.
I have yet to play a Jubilee neck that did not play great.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thought of something else - the tenons on the Jubilee necks are typically very thin. This detracts from durability but I guess they are going all out for artistic excellence.
 

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Thank you for the feedback.

Interesting observation about the tenon.

Cheers,

George
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay, the Paris neck ultimately didn't work out for the Selmer USA alto. Its a wonderful neck but it is longer than the original USA neck plus it sounds too 'refined' for me. Probably it would be dynamite on any Paris alto. I saw a Selmer Bundy neck on ebay and I noticed it was exactly like the original USA neck except for the color of the lacquer. I got it and it arrived today. I jumped right on it, testing the tenon fit first which was correct, then adjusting the cork for my Guardala. I put it on and turned on my tuner. Intonation was better and I liked getting back the original more 'husky' sound of my Omega.
Oh, BTW, I don't think I mentioned why I needed a new neck - many years ago, probably around 1985, I cut the ring off the original alto neck because it played so flat. This was a mistake, of course, but I played it that way for many years. When I got the tuner it soon became obvious that I did not improve the neck at all, to put it mildly, so that's when I began to hunt for one. I'm pretty sure at this time that the Bundy neck is going to be the answer. I have a gig Saturday so I won't really know until after that but I'm pretty sure the hunt is over.
 

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Thank you for doing this review. I've been thinking about getting a new neck for my Selmer USA (of 82****- era).

Which Bundy era? I hadn't thought of one of those, yet.

Edit: I used to use my VI neck on it, but that horn is gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The same Bundy era as the 162 alto and 164 tenor - '80s. The Bundy neck looks just like it except has the yellow gold lacquer and a bright nickel octave key. I polished the key and hit it with gold lacquer. :) I used a VI neck on mine for awhile too but if I did it now I probably would find it similar to the Reference neck. I never thought of the Bundy neck either until I saw that auction and the light bulb lit up. I believe unless you find a USA 162 or A100 neck, the Bundy is the next best thing.
The Paris necks are longer and of a different design. You might be able to use them but they don't work for me on the USA. By that I mean they are definitely playable and sound great but more like a Paris horn than the original USA which is unique in the alto world. I think Earl Bostic would have liked it very much.

 

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Thank you for your response and info on the Bundy neck.

I am looking for something like the VI neck I was using on it before I sold. I'd like to get away with not having to pay $700 - $1000 for a VI neck, though. Can you recommend any other necks to research that might deliver a similar sound / playing experience?

Edit: this is all making me miss my VI alto and the Serie III that I had. I love this 162/Omega/whatever it is, but still...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just curious, what happened to the original neck?
No, other than the Bundy neck, I do not know of another similarly-shaped neck that would approximate the original. I thought I had the ultimate not long ago when I found somebody selling some prototypes that had been grabbed at the last minute when they were cleaning out the old building where Selmer USA had been for many years. I got Sterling silver USA tenor and alto necks - thought I was set for life - but neither one worked out and I ended up selling them. the alto was the worst as it was extra-heavy thickness and played very stuffy and dead. The tenor was thin-wall and played great until I tried it on the tuner. Now I play a Series III Sterling neck on the tenor and that is an exceptional match.
 

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Just curious, what happened to the original neck?
No, other than the Bundy neck, I do not know of another similarly-shaped neck that would approximate the original. I thought I had the ultimate not long ago when I found somebody selling some prototypes that had been grabbed at the last minute when they were cleaning out the old building where Selmer USA had been for many years. I got Sterling silver USA tenor and alto necks - thought I was set for life - but neither one worked out and I ended up selling them. the alto was the worst as it was extra-heavy thickness and played very stuffy and dead. The tenor was thin-wall and played great until I tried it on the tuner. Now I play a Series III Sterling neck on the tenor and that is an exceptional match.
I still have the original neck. The last time I play the horn was soon after I got rid of my VI, so I think I was still spoiled and expecting something different. It's also when I decided replacing the neck would help. I need to put some more time on it to see what I think. I do have a line on a less expensive neck that I'll try and grab if it's what I'm looking for. Who knows. Tenor is my main focus, but I still like alto.

Here are some pics of the neck and one of the horn. Based on what I'm reading, I think I have an early AS100 (824***), but again, I have no idea. I got the horn for $100 at a music store that was closing down. The let me go into the back rooms and storage areas and grab what I wanted to buy, then they told me a price. I had just decided to start playing, so I knew nothing. I grabbed a bunch of mouthpieces, this horn, and went to the front. They sold all of it to me for ~$120. The thing was crusty, pads falling out, dry rotting, etc. It was a wreck. I showed it to a friend and he suggested sending it to Sheldon Kanis. A few months and $800 later I got something back that felt beautiful. So balanced and pop-y. It's like a dirty stray that turned out to be a regal floof.

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, that's the correct original neck and it looks to be in fine condition. I can tell by the mouthpiece print on the cork that it plays just as flat as mine which is simply typical. Don't cut your neck shorter whatever you do. I would concentrate on the original neck. Is the horn and neck clean on the inside? If you want something different from it you'll probably have to look at mouthpiece changes rather than neck changes.
BTW, does it fit good and tight in the sax? That can make a huge difference if its loose.

I think its a Model 162 because it still has the pearl front F and round pearl alt F# along with the early-style Eb/low C keys and other features of the 162 Omega even though it has the oval pearl high F# instead of the Omega flat bar. It is a transitional model to the AS100 but almost every sax they made was a transitional because of ongoing revisions through the whole run.
 

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Yes, that's the correct original neck and it looks to be in fine condition. I can tell by the mouthpiece print on the cork that it plays just as flat as mine which is simply typical. Don't cut your neck shorter whatever you do. I would concentrate on the original neck. Is the horn and neck clean on the inside? If you want something different from it you'll probably have to look at mouthpiece changes rather than neck changes.
BTW, does it fit good and tight in the sax? That can make a huge difference if its loose.

I think its a Model 162 because it still has the pearl front F and round pearl alt F# along with the early-style Eb/low C keys and other features of the 162 Omega even though it has the oval pearl high F# instead of the Omega flat bar. It is a transitional model to the AS100 but almost every sax they made was a transitional because of ongoing revisions through the whole run.
The neck is a tight fit and neck and body are clean. I have a PhilTone Meyer and John Thomas .080. I dig the Meyer with it a bit more. I know it's subjective, but what pieces have you found favorable to yours?

Overall, I'm trying to talk myself out of trying some Yani's. I don't need a new horn (alto / tenor) at all. I don't. My horns are more than I need.

Must..

..not..

..GAS...

...

..

must
...

..recite...

prayer..

------------------------------------------------------
This is my horn. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My horn is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My horn, without me, is useless. Without my horn, I am useless. I must play my horn true. I must play more precise than I did yesterday. I must shed so I don't suck.

I will...

My horn and myself know that what counts in music is not the number of notes we play, the squeak of our reeds, nor the faces we make. We know that it is the melody and groove that count.

Not...

My horn is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, and its idiosyncrasies. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my horn clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

GAS...

Before God, I swear this creed. My horn and myself are the purveyors of my music. We are the masters of our flow. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until my playing is pure and there is no waste!

Until I throw the damn thing against the wall because I can't play in tune or find a decent reed.. AND I CAN BUY A NEW HORN!!! WOOOO!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, I know the feeling. OTOH, my new neck set-up turned out great last night and the alto was a blast to play. This was a very lucky thing finding/trying that Bundy neck on an Omega, but for anyone in the same boat it is a very legitimate replacement for the original, except for the nickel octave key which is easily colored. You don't really notice the difference in the neck lacquer color unless you're looking for it.
As far as mouthpieces, I have only had two on this alto - 1983 to 1989, Brilhart Level Air 7*, and 1989 to current, Guardala Studio. I know this is not what you typically find here on the forum so I'm not recommending anything like this, just stating the facts. I did recently make a couple of minor alterations to the Guardala that took just enough 'edge' off but I have to say in retrospect that the Level Air really was the better mouthpiece on the horn for the way I play.
But if you did decide to cash in that USA alto for a different horn, you'll find that you can most likely get about a five-fold return on your $120 investment.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Forgot to mention why I didn't simply put the Omega octave key on the Bundy neck - it would fit but the USA has a small-diameter pin and the Bundy has a large-diameter pin - not compatible.
 
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