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Discussion Starter #1
I guess I was one of the unlucky ones with the gurgly neck. Is there any fix for this other than getting a new neck? And if I do have to get a new neck, what is the closest in tone to the reference 54 neck? Other than the low C gurgle it seems fine, and I love how it plays and feels so if there is something I can do to the neck that would be great. If the neck is screwed, is there someone wanting to sell a neck to go on it? Is there a place to order the old reference neck that worked correctly? Why did they change from the old neck to the new? You guys could spend an hour answering all my questions lol. Thanks
 

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I bought my Ref 54 alto new in 2004. I never experienced the gurgles as others have reported. Recently, I've been using a Selmer S-80 C* with a Fibracell reed on all of my altos, including the Ref 54 and still no gurgles. Dave Kessler expressed surprise about my results because the C* was one of the pieces he said was prone to this problem.

But, and I've posted this before, I COULD make my Ref 54 alto gurgle whenever I used the left-pinky-table notes by merely being inaccurate in my finger placement on those spatulas. There is a brass connecting bar at the bottom of the table, accessible to the left pinky finger. If I touch that brass connecting bar, the C# will open ever so slightly. That will make the other low notes gurgle. When I avoid touching that connecting bar, none of the low notes gurgle.

Test it yourself and you will likely see what I'm writing about.

As far as necks go, I've been in contact with Macsax and Dave Kessler about replacement necks. The reason I'd like one is to create more focus in the horn's tone, NOT to correct gurgles. It was posted that the new Ref 54 neck will affect the tone.

Kessler was out of stock when I talked to him. I'm waiting for him to get some more Ref 54 re-designed alto necks in so I can buy one for testing. I'm thinking the new Ref 54 neck will be a better match for my horn, appearance-wise. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's only the low C that really gurgles, throw the end plug in and it plays but with a bit of resistance. I got it from a friend of mine that bought it new in 07. It's a great horn, just has a little quirk I would like to iron out. I'm using an optimum Al-3 and blue box 3 for classical and that's what I've noticed the gurgle using. I haven't tried any jazz pieces yet, but I need it to play classical more importantly than jazz right now.
 

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A wine cork is a better option than the end plug as it doesn't rattle. I have one in my Ref 54 bell full time and it just works and I forget about it. End of story!
 

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The new Reference neck fixes the problem. So does the Macsax neck although the gold is a darker shade. The new Reference neck is noticeably thinner the whole length of the neck. For me the neck plays brighter with a bit more resistance. That doesn't really make sense to me as the neck inside diameter is obviously bigger so I would think it plays with less resistance. I just put on a slightly softer reed and it played similar to the old neck.

I tried the wine cork thing but didn't like what it did to the sound of the horn. I even had a tech put some cork in the bottom bow but it felt like it lost some it's resonance that I loved.
 

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The new Reference neck fixes the problem. So does the Macsax neck although the gold is a darker shade. The new Reference neck is noticeably thinner the whole length of the neck. For me the neck plays brighter with a bit more resistance. That doesn't really make sense to me as the neck inside diameter is obviously bigger so I would think it plays with less resistance. I just put on a slightly softer reed and it played similar to the old neck.

I tried the wine cork thing but didn't like what it did to the sound of the horn. I even had a tech put some cork in the bottom bow but it felt like it lost some it's resonance that I loved.
When did you get your new neck Steve? I tried a few in Paris about 4 years ago but felt that they disturbed the intonation in a way I did not like. I don't find that the cork really makes any difference to resonance, but as always, our mileages vary!
 

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When did you get your new neck Steve? I tried a few in Paris about 4 years ago but felt that they disturbed the intonation in a way I did not like. I don't find that the cork really makes any difference to resonance, but as always, our mileages vary!
I got the new neck last week. The new neck doesn't disturb the intonation at all for me. I almost sent it back because it was brighter but then I thought I gave the first neck 7 years and I'm so used to it..........I should give the new neck more than a couple of hours...........
 

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Oh, OK that recent, I'll have to check them out. Is there a part number or code to tell them apart from the older style?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I am looking for a good fix as I'm getting this horn that is absolutely MINT for $3000 :) So any suggestions would be great. I don't want anything that will change the tone, and I like the amount of resistance until I get down to a low C. With the end plug in there I feel like the resistance of the horn changes once I get below a 2nd line G, and it sounds "Muffled", so I don't really want to have to go that route.
 

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Oh, OK that recent, I'll have to check them out. Is there a part number or code to tell them apart from the older style?
There's another very similar (and very recently active) thread on this subject that you should read http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?106660-Selmer-Reference-54-Alto-Neck(s)

Here's what Dave Kessler says:-

I sell them. Any Conn-Selmer dealer can also order it for you. It is simply the SPN7200 part number and Selmer USA keeps it in stock most of the time.

Selmer does still make both necks. The original neck is a code SPN7200TH. The changes to the necks were made in 2006. The change was made simply to the metal thickness on the tenon. The new models use a thinner guage metal than the original ones. Since the outer diameter stayed the same, this means that the inner diameter increased.

If you are looking to "fix" a gurgle issue, get your D# spring changed. This is something we do on any new Reference alto. Selmer uses a lighter guage spring than they really should. We always bore it out and put in a new thicker spring to help make sure that they D# stays shut.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So, if the neck change was made in '06, I should have the new one as this was purchased in September 2007. Is there a serial number guide to tell me when this horn was actually made? It's a 662192
 

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There's another very similar (and very recently active) thread on this subject that you should read http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?106660-Selmer-Reference-54-Alto-Neck(s)

Here's what Dave Kessler says:-

I sell them. Any Conn-Selmer dealer can also order it for you. It is simply the SPN7200 part number and Selmer USA keeps it in stock most of the time.

Selmer does still make both necks. The original neck is a code SPN7200TH. The changes to the necks were made in 2006. The change was made simply to the metal thickness on the tenon. The new models use a thinner guage metal than the original ones. Since the outer diameter stayed the same, this means that the inner diameter increased.

If you are looking to "fix" a gurgle issue, get your D# spring changed. This is something we do on any new Reference alto. Selmer uses a lighter guage spring than they really should. We always bore it out and put in a new thicker spring to help make sure that they D# stays shut.
I corked my D# shut tight and my horn still gurgled on the old neck so I don't think this was causing the issue for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I also corked the D#/Eb tight and it still gurgled, no difference, then I taped over the hole, and then corked it shut, still no change. Not my issue.

I don't have a Mic. here but my dad's got one, maybe I'll get ahold of it and give it a try.
 

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Steve, does your new neck have a 'groove' in the brass ring at the cork end? Just wondering whether this is a distinguishing feature between the old and the new, or whether it's just something that mine has for no particular reason.
 

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Steve, does your new neck have a 'groove' in the brass ring at the cork end? Just wondering whether this is a distinguishing feature between the old and the new, or whether it's just something that mine has for no particular reason.
It does have a groove before the cork starts. I was thinking of getting it corked over as I like cork right to the tip of the neck. I also wondered if this might cause a bit of resistance because of the small gap there. I don't know if my old neck has this groove as it is covered in cork.
 

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snip

But, and I've posted this before, I COULD make my Ref 54 alto gurgle whenever I used the left-pinky-table notes by merely being inaccurate in my finger placement on those spatulas. There is a brass connecting bar at the bottom of the table, accessible to the left pinky finger. If I touch that brass connecting bar, the C# will open ever so slightly. That will make the other low notes gurgle. When I avoid touching that connecting bar, none of the low notes gurgle.

Test it yourself and you will likely see what I'm writing about.
There is an adjustment screw on the low B pad cup which keeps the C# from opening when moving around the connecting bar in the left hand cluster. It can be adjusted so that the C# pad cup will not open when your left pinkie is sliding around.
 
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