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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know of a resource that describes how the Ref 36 has evolved from inception to today? They have been around for quite a while now.
 

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Interesting question. I’d be surprised if there has been any/much evolution since the Ref series has only been around about 20 years.

Most of its innovations in key work - spring-loaded pivots, etc. - came from the Serie III. I was playing a Serie III tenor when the Reference tenors came out, and bought an early Ref 36.

Thanks for this. I’ll be watching and learning.
 

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I'll be interested to hear the history as well. My Ref. 36 tenor is one of the few horns that I sold, and could kick myself for doing so.
 

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I bought the special "Flamingo" release of the Ref 36 when it came out, with no high F# key and it has become my main horn- love the tone and playability. I'm interested in the evolution of the model as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Twowheels- oh wow I didn't know you could get em with no f#. I seem to like both -). Go figure. The reason I ask is because I used to have a new one around 2002 or so and from what I remember it played way differently than the new one I just got. Love it. But haven't had much of a chance to try out mouthpieces. I need something that easy to play in tune and that sounds darker in the palm keys and up. Currently getting used to a very nice RR Super D 7. It's amazing what changing reed strengths can do to make playing easier. Sometimes we forget these things.

Well if anyone has info on the evolution of these great horns, I'd figure they'd be here somewhere.
 

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There have been discussions from time to time over the years, on SOTW regarding the high-F# key. I don't have a strong opinion either way, and I bought the horn for the tone; not a big deal to me, to use alternate fingering for high F#. If anything, it is one less leak that I have to worry about.

Your new Ref 36, do you feel like you were happier with the older one than the new? Is it brighter or darker than you remember, more resistance or less? I love Selmers but haven't tried any new models since 2007, pre-Jubilee. I remember the new ones being more consistent but still slightly different tonal nuances within the same model category. Before selecting the Ref 36, I tried a couple of Ref 54's but they didn't do it for me...the Series 3 was nice, too, but I decided on that special edition Ref 36. Link-style mouthpieces work best for my chops (my sweet spot is .105" - .108", and I play Gonzalez 627 #3 reeds), never liked my tone with high-baffled pieces. Not thin is the palm keys at all.
 

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One item regarding Reference series tenor history (both 36 and 54) was that there was especially wide variation in the necks in the first several years. It may have continued but I stopped measuring them. The difference in response, commensurate with the measurable variation in inner diameter at the small end of the neck, was considerable. I recall measured ID values from .498” to .510”, and preferred necks with the larger bore.

It would be interesting to measure and report values here, so people could see where they are tracking today.
 

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One item regarding Reference series tenor history (both 36 and 54) was that there was especially wide variation in the necks in the first several years. It may have continued but I stopped measuring them. The difference in response, commensurate with the measurable variation in inner diameter at the small end of the neck, was considerable. I recall measured ID values from .498” to .510”, and preferred necks with the larger bore.

It would be interesting to measure and report values here, so people could see where they are tracking today.
Necks....a few years ago I tried a sterling silver Reference neck on my Ref 36. To my ears, it took away some of the richness of the tone- was more focused at the expense of "presence" (didn't fill the room as well as the Flamingo neck) so I sold it. While not objective with pre-identified measurement parameters (it's gone so I can't measure the bore), I'd say the sterling neck made the tone slightly brighter/more focused with a little less projection.

But I want to try a different neck in the future, starting with a second brass Ref 36 neck. One of my local area mentors recently replaced the original neck on his Mark VI (old neck was patched when a pick-up was removed...but was corroding so a matter of time before it had to be replaced) and he tried out 4 Kim Bock necks and posted some sound clips. They affected the tone on his horn in a subtle but still noticeable way, and each had it's own vibe when listened to side-by-side. He did end up picking up one of them and sending the others back to KB.
 

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Necks....a few years ago I tried a sterling silver Reference neck on my Ref 36. To my ears, it took away some of the richness of the tone- was more focused at the expense of "presence" (didn't fill the room as well as the Flamingo neck) so I sold it. While not objective with pre-identified measurement parameters (it's gone so I can't measure the bore), I'd say the sterling neck made the tone slightly brighter/more focused with a little less projection.

But I want to try a different neck in the future, starting with a second brass Ref 36 neck. One of my local area mentors recently replaced the original neck on his Mark VI (old neck was patched when a pick-up was removed...but was corroding so a matter of time before it had to be replaced) and he tried out 4 Kim Bock necks and posted some sound clips. They affected the tone on his horn in a subtle but still noticeable way, and each had it's own vibe when listened to side-by-side. He did end up picking up one of them and sending the others back to KB.
Was the silver Reference neck labeled either 36 or 54? The best way to kill the core of a Reference 36 - in my experience of a few Ref 36 and a few Ref 54 tenors, and several necks for each - was to put a Ref 54 neck on it. That leads me to wonder if the silver neck that you tried was a Ref 54 geometry.
 

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Doc, it was labeled "Ref 54" on the box but there was no marking that I could find on the neck itself. I bought it to see if the Ref 54 neck would give the 36 a different vibe. It gave me a different vibe, not one I liked. Was easy to resell and recoup my money.
 

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Doc, it was labeled "Ref 54" on the box but there was no marking that I could find on the neck itself. I bought it to see if the Ref 54 neck would give the 36 a different vibe. It gave me a different vibe, not one I liked. Was easy to resell and recoup my money.
Hah! Thanks for corroborating my guess. Yes, the best way to suck the life out of a Ref 36 is to put on a Ref 54 neck - the Ref 54, IMNSHO, is just another modern horn. The Reference 36, while not so much a Balanced Action, at least takes a step in the right direction.
 

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Hah! Thanks for corroborating my guess. Yes, the best way to suck the life out of a Ref 36 is to put on a Ref 54 neck - the Ref 54, IMNSHO, is just another modern horn. The Reference 36, while not so much a Balanced Action, at least takes a step in the right direction.
I'd love to try one of the KB necks some day....they are a little pricey at around $1300, though.
 

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One item regarding Reference series tenor history (both 36 and 54) was that there was especially wide variation in the necks in the first several years. It may have continued but I stopped measuring them. The difference in response, commensurate with the measurable variation in inner diameter at the small end of the neck, was considerable. I recall measured ID values from .498” to .510”, and preferred necks with the larger bore.

It would be interesting to measure and report values here, so people could see where they are tracking today.
Dr G, that’s only +-1% around .504”. It doesn’t seem like much to me.
What was your sample size?
Do you have data on any other saxes for comparison of their process capabilities?
 

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Dr G, that’s only +-1% around .504”. It doesn’t seem like much to me.
What was your sample size?
Do you have data on any other saxes for comparison of their process capabilities?
I agree that it is not much, but it is where it matters - and maybe it is a reflection of what other dimensional differences exist between necks. My sample size was 10-12 necks. Forgive me for not writing them all down, but it was a long time ago. I wrote about my observations at SotW, but that is now passed to the archives.

And no, I don’t have data on other saxes. After the Selmers, I found the horns that deliver for me, and I haven’t made a measurement since (well, since I measured all the tone holes of one of them for a custom set of resonators). :borg:

All the best to you and yours,

George
 

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I'd love to try one of the KB necks some day....they are a little pricey at around $1300, though.
But those KB necks are so good. I bought one on a recent trip to New York, with a '41 Balanced in mind, and was able to use one of his BAs as the basis for selection (28xxx from memory so a year or so earlier than mine). I spent 2-3 hours trying out every neck model and material, and settled on a Redwood in bronze that Kim then silver plated for me. It adds more presence/ body, opens up the altissimo and tightens up intonation. It preserves the inherent grit and old soul of the BA and doesn't introduce a new tonal concept. I could have picked any number of KB necks that would have been an improvement on the factory silver plated BA neck, but chose this particular one for its combination of body and focus. It's hard to think of how I could have spent the same money better...
 

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But those KB necks are so good. I bought one on a recent trip to New York, with a '41 Balanced in mind, and was able to use one of his BAs as the basis for selection (28xxx from memory so a year or so earlier than mine). I spent 2-3 hours trying out every neck model and material, and settled on a Redwood in bronze that Kim then silver plated for me. It adds more presence/ body, opens up the altissimo and tightens up intonation. It preserves the inherent grit and old soul of the BA and doesn't introduce a new tonal concept.
Just to be clear: Are you attributing the changes in presence, etc., to the neck or to plating the neck?

Regardless, thanks for sharing your experiences. That sounds like great fun.
 

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But those KB necks are so good. I bought one on a recent trip to New York, with a '41 Balanced in mind, and was able to use one of his BAs as the basis for selection (28xxx from memory so a year or so earlier than mine). I spent 2-3 hours trying out every neck model and material, and settled on a Redwood in bronze that Kim then silver plated for me. It adds more presence/ body, opens up the altissimo and tightens up intonation. It preserves the inherent grit and old soul of the BA and doesn't introduce a new tonal concept. I could have picked any number of KB necks that would have been an improvement on the factory silver plated BA neck, but chose this particular one for its combination of body and focus. It's hard to think of how I could have spent the same money better...
The player I know says the same thing, and his tone/sound remain superb. Thanks for sharing....one of these days I'm going to check them out.
 

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Just to be clear: Are you attributing the changes in presence, etc., to the neck or to plating the neck?

Regardless, thanks for sharing your experiences. That sounds like great fun.
Was great fun!

The changes in presence are down to the neck. I selected it from all the others pre-plating, and then asked for it to be plated to match the silver finish on my BA. The essential character was there before plating.

Kim feels silver plating adds a bit more focus to his necks, and its possible that's the case, but it's hard to be sure when I was play testing the pre plated version on a different horn in a different room. It's still got everything it had before it went to the plating shop, and yes, possibly a touch more mid-range focus.

Kim's got a video on his website/ YouTube that does a before and after plating comparison and shares his thoughts on its effect, so worth a look!
 

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Was great fun!

The changes in presence are down to the neck. I selected it from all the others pre-plating, and then asked for it to be plated to match the silver finish on my BA. The essential character was there before plating.

Kim feels silver plating adds a bit more focus to his necks, and its possible that's the case, but it's hard to be sure when I was play testing the pre plated version on a different horn in a different room. It's still got everything it had before it went to the plating shop, and yes, possibly a touch more mid-range focus.

Kim's got a video on his website/ YouTube that does a before and after plating comparison and shares his thoughts on its effect, so worth a look!
Thanks again for sharing the details of your trip. That’s my idea of a sweet summer vacation.

All the best to you and yours,

George
 
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