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Discussion Starter #1
Anybody have experience as to the difference between these two horns. I have heard as little difference as look and as much as "everything". All opinions are much appreciated. Thank you. :)
 

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Check the Sax vs Sax forum or use the search function.

IMNSHO, they are very different. I don't like the 54. I own a 36.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I didn't think about the sax vs. sax thread.
 

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Both great horns, however from my experience with having played several of both the 54 & 36 tenors, I feel the 36 has a fatter richer sound in my view. It's my preference, however, there are several on this board that would lean toward the 54. One thing to keep in mind with the Reference horns is that they must be properly set-up in order for one to make a good determination.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. Does anybody know Selmer's official say on it, aside from "spirit of the mark VI" or whatever they are saying. That sort of thing doesn't give any real description. Thanks :)
 

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I am falling in love with some of my reference 36 attributes... only the fork e is unplayably sharp. everything else I can deal with.. I have gone back to my stock link 7 with a 3 and a half java...new discovery! I can't get subtone without the slur down past low c, but my altissimo is speaking like you wouldn't believe.
 

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Grantonsax it looks like from what you wrote that your horn is in dire need of a visit to the shop to check for leaks and various other things that might be out of adjustment. If your 36 has never been set up by a really good pro than your not really playing a ref 36, stock Selmers bite the big one when it comes to their set ups.

I have both of these horns, the ref 36 I've had for about three years. I've had a ref 54 for about two weeks. I'm currently in the process of going through and completely resetting up my 36 to play like my 54 that I just recently set up.

You'll find different opinions on the playing characteristics of both of these horns. Some people say the Ref 54 is darker, others say the Ref 36 is darker.

Basically the big difference between these two horns is the necks and the bow/bell size.

The ref 36 has a low arch neck, making altissimo a little bit tougher. Of course if you're playing a high baffle mouthpiece you'll never notice and the two will complement each other quite well. If your playing a rubber link than you might notice some stuffiness up on the high notes. Of course we've argued up and down on this forum about these matters and come up with all sorts of claims that there was never a problem....that I must suck if I have had problems and the fault is entirely my own. And then there are those that go on the new neck search to get the altissimo popping....series III neck for me and a few others fixed the problem. I've measured my neck aperture size with a micrometer and it comes out to .512 which is about correct opening for a responsive neck. I'd like to try a bunch of Ref 36 necks in the future as I'm certain that they do work.

The other part of the Ref 36 is that it has a bigger bow/bell section. Low notes will fall out of the Ref 36 like a hot knife through butter. Really easy to get a very fat velvety tone down low.

Ref 54 has a slightly darker sound than my 36, has a little easier altissimo, plays the overtone series a little easier. Doesn't have quite the bottom end that the 36 has. Of course the middle D is a little less stuffy than a 36 as well.
The Ref 54 has a slightly higher arch to the neck....not as high as a Series III mind you, so it makes sense that the thing is a bit less resistant than the 36 at times.

I would describe the Ref 54 as having a tone like a room filled with cigar smoke, thick and heavy. The Ref 36 is the same room stunk up with cigar smoke, only with an air filtration system that sort of malfuctions. Hows that for a description that means nothing?

Intonation is about as good as you can get on both of them. Both have a homogeneous tone compared to a good VI. No quirky notes that can make a horn sing and sound interesting.

Both of these horns are played with a NY Link 105 refaced by Mojo and RJS 3M reeds.

When it comes to these two horns you can't just try them out for 30 minutes and really know how they play until you've spent a few years with each. I'm still learning about the quirks of the 54, so take my review as worthless if you want.
 

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36 Newbie

I've had my 36 for about a month now and love it. I do have some reservations at this point though. The low end IS incredible, rich, warm, huge like brown honey. At first, I had trouble with high F and F# but just pushed my fibrecell medium up higher and adjusted the Rovner on my VD java 75 (no baffle) This cured the high notes, but now I feel although I'm getting the sound I want, I'm having to work too hard to get it. Moving the reed up added enough resistance, especially to the low end that I'm having to breathe more than I feel I should. Middle D is stuffy and way sharp, but not far enough that I can't deal with it (eventually). Generally, I believe most problems can be solved in the practice room, rather than tweaking, but I'm open to suggestions. Peaceout, T-dog
 

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T'dog, try another reed. I keep some in my case for "just in case" but I'd rather play a bad cane reed. Your horn will appreciate - and reward - your efforts. ;)
 

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Thanks

Dr. G. ... Thanks for the tip. I'm ordering some Legeres today. I love your tag "Go for the tone" as I'm a long tone junkie. My old teacher Ray Pizzi hipped me a long time ago. His long tone routine is the bomb. He would also take different approaches i.e. playing in the closet with the clothes pushed up around the horn. Sorta like running with weights, this makes for a HUGE tone. Some days he would mentally project the tone to the farthest point in the room or to the lightpole across the street. It's amazing that one can hear a difference when mentally projecting the sound. Anyway, I appreciate the help and will let you know how the Legeres work out. Peaceout, T-dog
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I like the sound of that 36 the way you guys are describing it. Sounds kinda like my 82z alto. High end needs to be forced out but down low is like a velvety chocolate. I am looking to get a tenor. I've been playing a yani 880 that I don't own for a few years, but I don't really like it. I also live in a small city so we don't have a music store that deals anything but student horns. Just looking at where I need to start, and I think that would be to the nearest big city to check out the music stores and play some horns for myself. I have played a few VI tenors and altos. I have also played a 54 alto, but that same day I played a buffet alto, that IMO played better. Anyway thanks for the help. Anymore 1st hand experiences are much appreciated :)
 

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Almost bought a bronze yani tenor (992?) before the 36. And believe me, there's no comparison in terms of testicularity, colors and expressive possibilities. The Yani would be good for classical I think but there's alot more versatility in the 36. Long tone man ...T-dog.
 

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Almost bought a bronze yani tenor (992?) before the 36. And believe me, there's no comparison in terms of testicularity, colors and expressive possibilities. The Yani would be good for classical I think but there's alot more versatility in the 36. Longtoneman ...T-dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Now I must play a 36 lol. I checked our music store to see what they had today, nothing better than a bundy... :( I guess I'll start at A in the phonebook. "Hey do you have a reference 36?" "Huh?! Who is this?!" "UUGH nvm"
 

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I have a question for you 36 owners; I have been playing a Selmer VII tenor and VII alto for years. They have both done well for the style gigs that I play. I wanted to look into a newer model sax and have tried a Yamaha Z, several K's including the Shadow and a Series III in matt and lacquer finish. Just received the Ref 36. What a horn!! It is a keeper.

My question; does anyone know which modern day "alto" would come close to the full, gutsy and loud sound that the 36 produces? I really like my VII alto. It is a screamer but I would also like to see what is out there that might have a fuller tone like the tenor 36. I may have missed it but I did not see a Ref 36 alto on the Selmer site. Thanks.
 

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John Laughter said:
My question; does anyone know which modern day "alto" would come close to the full, gutsy and loud sound that the 36 produces?
Ref 54 alto!! Lots of discussion about the Ref alto on here.
 

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Personally I don't think you can best a good VII alto, but if you've got the cash and want to pick up another alto then you couldn't go wrong with the Ref 54.
 

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John Laughter said:
I have a question for you 36 owners; I have been playing a Selmer VII tenor and VII alto for years. They have both done well for the style gigs that I play. I wanted to look into a newer model sax and have tried a Yamaha Z, several K's including the Shadow and a Series III in matt and lacquer finish. Just received the Ref 36. What a horn!! It is a keeper.
How 'bout that, John? Congrats and welcome to the Ref 36 club! :D

Wait 'til you've played it in a bit. They just keep getting better. Enjoy!
 
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