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Discussion Starter #1
I have the hots and (for once in my life) the cash for a new tenor, and I need advice.

I had a SBA stolen decades ago and recently tried out a reference 36. My hands melted into the keys and my few remaining brain cells (the '60s, ya know) said baby, you're home. Buy it.

Well, I still want to look around. I have heard much about the JK Shadow but have yet to play one. I have read (and had a few knowledgeable dealers tell me) that the sound is much like a vintage Conn. Well, my main horn is a beautiful 12M bari from the late thirties. I've read that you need major air support to make the shadow really sing. I play a 12M....

I LOVE the sound of the 36, and I LOVE the sound of the 12M. My usual solution to horn vs horn and mouthpiece vs mouthpiece questions was to drive 1.5 hours to the WWBW and PLAY. Unfortunately, since the bankruptcy, it's a mere shadow of it's former self with very little in stock. They don't have a shadow.

What to do... What to do...

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Welcome, Steve.

Ref 36. The J-K will feel very foreign. I, too, was a vintage Selmer (BA) guy for 20 years or so. The Ref 36 is it. I got one of the early ones just after they came out and have loved it ever since.

But if you're into something different that will still feel like old home, find a Borgani Jubilee. :borg:
 

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I own a Ref 36. You won't find a better modern horn once it's set up and if it comes with a good responding neck.

I know there's a small group of guys that love their JK's and some of them consider the Selmers "toys", but the crap about the fatter tone of the JK is exactly that. I think JK needs a long list of improvements.....Selmer already has these, so you might as well save yourself some money.

That and the value of the Selmer will stay intact 10 years from now. JK's have the worst resale of any of the big 4.
 

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I confess I have not tried a Shadow, but I own a Ref. 36, and it is a tremendous axe. I have read some comments and/or reviews that say it is not as responsive in the upper register as the Ref. 54 or other horns (everone gives it praise for the low end), but in my experience this is simply not true. I have been cursed over the years with MK VIs that aren't quite what I want: no knock on the VI, but we all know it can be hard finding the right one; the VI population is aging. I tried other contemporary horns; I'm just not a Yamaha guy (great horn for the right player); I owned an early silverplate Guardala (again, a fine horn, but not for me). Then I picked up the 36. That was it.

Clearly this will vary from player to player. Don't take our word for it. Try the Shadow, see what you think. Then buy what's best for you.
 

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I've played them both and you can get pretty much the same sound out either eventually but they don't start out that way. JK ergos are felt by some to be a bit awkward. If not that then at least not as efficient as, say a Yamaha. But I found the ergos on the Shadow more comfortable than on other JKs, so while the ergos between a 36 and Shadow might be different, I don't think the Shadows are worse.

Sound-wise I would characterise the difference in that the sound of the Shadow is a bit purer. It's a beautiful dark sound and very even throughout the registers. With the Selmer I could tell it was a Selmer. Playing the Shadow it didn't seem to have a particular characteristic core, comparatively speaking. The Shadow has incredible dynamic contrast and control.

Regarding the sound of the Shadow being like a vintage Conn, well I understand it is more that sound that in the JK philosophy on all their models. Ironically, as I remember it, I would think you could almost get a more Conn like sound out of the 36.

I have to admit that I didn't play the 36 long. That was because I had a Conn 10M at the time and was trying out saxes on the other end of the harmonic spectrum - Yamahas, Yanagisawas and other Selmer models. The Shadow I tried out at the Musik Messe in Frankfurt. I didn't live with either horn for a time so these are one-shot impressions.
 

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Ive played both. I think the 36 runs circles around the shadow. Not to hurt anyone's feeling as its all so subjective but I was underwhelmed by the JK. As I had a case of GAS at the time I really WANTED to like it...alas my money was spent on reeds instead!
 

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Sigmund451 said:
As I had a case of GAS at the time I really WANTED to like it...alas my money was spent on reeds instead!
Man - with that many reeds, you could have built another Noah's ark. :shock:
 

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Hey Bari Sax,

That's a decision I wish I had to make! Just wondering: if you do decide to buy a 36, where will you buy it and how much do you expect to pay?

Rory
 

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Discussion Starter #10
rleitch said:
That's a decision I wish I had to make! Just wondering: if you do decide to buy a 36, where will you buy it and how much do you expect to pay?

Rory
Probably from ProWinds in Bloomington, IN. They want $4769 for the shadow, and and $4695 for the reference 36. The WW&BW wants $4989 for the 36, and they have dropped JK with only a few leftovers in stock (no shadow).

I live near the WW&BW and it WAS a great place to compare instruments side by side, and the prices were good, but since Dennis Bamber went bankrupt and lost it to Giardinelli/Guitar Center/Musician's Friend, there is no point in going there. I was there recently and the stock and selection are reeeeal thin. Lots of huge holes in the inventory. Plus (based on what I played) horns appear to be sold as shipped to them, with little or no setup. Need a student horn? Might as well buy one at Sam's Club.

It's a real shame. I bought my first horn from Dennis when one of my kids started playing in grade school, probably 25 years ago. I found a great naked lady bari for not much money. Except for garage sale horns and my mint Mark VI alto that I got in High School, I've bought everything I have from them, and even have a "preferred customer" card that gives me a percentage off on everything in the store. It's saved me hundreds over the years, but is probably worthless now.

I have not found anyone withing driving distance that has both horns in stock. ProWinds stocks the 36, but has a 2-3 week delivery on the Shadow, so it is apparently a special order item. They are a pro shop that caters to the Indiana University School of Music, and everything they sell is tweaked to perfection.

Dennis is an IU performance sax grad and built the store of his dreams. He had a great thing going, but screwed it up with the Zapf's / Music 123 debacle. I don't know what he did to p*** off the former owners of Zapf's, but whatever it was cost him his life's work. A real shame.

Can I afford either horn? Not really, but I recently got diagnosed with the big C. The prognosis is better than even, but if I am ever gonna have my dream horn, now is the time. Besides, my kid (who can play me into the ground) will end up with my horns sooner or later, (hopefully much later) so maybe it's a gift to him. I'm just a hack. Compared to my kid, he's a player. I'm a saxophone owner.

It is what it is.

To quote Fats Waller, "One never knows, do one..."
 

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bari_sax said:
Probably from ProWinds in Bloomington, IN. They want $4769 for the shadow, and and $4695 for the reference 36. The WW&BW wants $4989 for the 36, and they have dropped JK with only a few leftovers in stock (no shadow).

I live near the WW&BW and it WAS a great place to compare instruments side by side, and the prices were good, but since Dennis Bamber went bankrupt and lost it to Giardinelli/Guitar Center/Musician's Friend, there is no point in going there. I was there recently and the stock and selection are reeeeal thin. Lots of huge holes in the inventory. Plus (based on what I played) horns appear to be sold as shipped to them, with little or no setup. Need a student horn? Might as well buy one at Sam's Club.

It's a real shame. I bought my first horn from Dennis when one of my kids started playing in grade school, probably 25 years ago. I found a great naked lady bari for not much money. Except for garage sale horns and my mint Mark VI alto that I got in High School, I've bought everything I have from them, and even have a "preferred customer" card that gives me a percentage off on everything in the store. It's saved me hundreds over the years, but is probably worthless now.

I have not found anyone withing driving distance that has both horns in stock. ProWinds stocks the 36, but has a 2-3 week delivery on the Shadow, so it is apparently a special order item. They are a pro shop that caters to the Indiana University School of Music, and everything they sell is tweaked to perfection.

Dennis is an IU performance sax grad and built the store of his dreams. He had a great thing going, but screwed it up with the Zapf's / Music 123 debacle. I don't know what he did to p*** off the former owners of Zapf's, but whatever it was cost him his life's work. A real shame.

Can I afford either horn? Not really, but I recently got diagnosed with the big C. The prognosis is better than even, but if I am ever gonna have my dream horn, now is the time. Besides, my kid (who can play me into the ground) will end up with my horns sooner or later, (hopefully much later) so maybe it's a gift to him. I'm just a hack. Compared to my kid, he's a player. I'm a saxophone owner.

It is what it is.

To quote Fats Waller, "One never knows, do one..."

No one don't, do one? Go for it, man. Get the horn of your dreams. Get two. Wail on.

Best of luck to you.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
SaxyAcoustician said:
How about letting him decide then? :dontknow:
Wow! what a great idea. He's in Atlanta. Anyone know of a good place?

By the way, I told my kids that I fully intend to become an eccentric geezer and a burden to my children...
 

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bari_sax said:
Wow! what a great idea. He's in Atlanta. Anyone know of a good place?

By the way, I told my kids that I fully intend to become an eccentric geezer and a burden to my children...
This is from another thread here:

Let me say that I could not be happier with my local music store. It is Careres in Atlanta (Dunwoody/Doraville area to be precise). They are the epitome of why mom and pop stores should be around. If you are in Atlanta and a horn player (especially any wind player) this is definitely the place to be. The folks running the store are also playing pros. I really cannot say enough good about them.
 

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I got a 36 about 4 months ago...I haven't played my P. Mauriat 66R since I got the 36 back from Tim Glesmann of Sax Alley. I paired it with an RPC 105R in June. Love the look, love the sound, love the action. It's the whole package.

I played a Shadow at WWBW last summer. The horn was very leaky, very tight action but had a reasonably good tone. It was just hard to give it a fair review given the shape of the horn they handed me. No wonder they went into Bankruptcy!
 

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I recently played a Ref54 and a Shadow side by side and was more impressed by the Shadow in all aspects.
 

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GAS_Wyo said:
I got a 36 about 4 months ago...I haven't played my P. Mauriat 66R since I got the 36 back from Tim Glesmann of Sax Alley. I paired it with an RPC 105R in June. Love the look, love the sound, love the action. It's the whole package.

I played a Shadow at WWBW last summer. The horn was very leaky, very tight action but had a reasonably good tone. It was just hard to give it a fair review given the shape of the horn they handed me. No wonder they went into Bankruptcy!
I'm playing exactly the same setup: Ref 36 + RPC. Great combination.
 

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bari_sax said:
. . . I've read that you need major air support to make the shadow really sing. . .
You know what? With apologies in advance if this is overstepping boundaries, here's my take in view of your situation (i.e., touch and go with the big C). If you can get to Atlanta and buy the horn with your son, that's probably more important than which brand you buy. In the end, your choice of brands is a rather lovely dilemma anyway. Pick the specific horn that plays best, working it out with your son however seems best to you. Once you decide, don't look back. Just enjoy the pads off your horn every day you can.

That said, I love my Shadow and have limited experience with two Mk VIs. The Shadow requires just a bit more air than the Mk VIs, but not to any significant degree. You may find that the voicings on the Shadow differ from Selmers. In any event, the key layout, even on the Shadow, is a bit different. I'm not saying any of this is better or worse, just different. I mention this because if you are on the cusp, it is worth considering that you will probably accommodate to the Shadow (as you would to any horn).

Once again, my apologies if anything here seems presumptuous, and good luck.
 
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