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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed that Selmer has come out with a revision 3 for the Ref 54 alto.
The reviews for the rev 2 neck did not sound so great, but I am wondering if anyone has tested the newest neck.
If so, what were your impressions?
 

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I have both. The latest feels a little more lively. Never had any issues with 'gurgling' in the lower range. James Bunte selected my horn and necks for TM, so it is probably the best example. Maybe James can chime in?
 

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What do you mean "3rd Generation Neck"?
While Selmer Paris has kept the design of the neck tube itself the same since the Reference 54 alto release in 2003, there have been now 2 significant changes to the design of the neck overall that affect the performance.

2nd Generation Changes (2006)
In 2006, Selmer changed the thickness of the metal used for the tenon on the bottom of the neck. They went from using a gauge of .75mm down to .55mm thick. Since the outer diameter of the neck stayed the same, this switch actually increased the bore through the tenon of the neck by .40mm (.20 on each side). In terms of acoustics, this is a rather noticeable difference. The result is that the horn played a bit bigger and responded easier than before, especially in the lower range of the sax.

3rd Generation Changes
This change was primarily in the octave mechanism. The neck tube and the tenon thickness stayed the same as the design changes from 2006. The 3rd Generation neck brings in the octave key and mounting bracket implemented in the 2010 "Jubilee" release of the Serie II & III saxophones. The octave key itself has been reshaped to look more elegant and uses a slight revision to the appearance of the classic Selmer "S" logo on the neck. This series also saw the design of the octave key's mounting bracket completely changed. The new design is one that gives much better stability to the octave key and also is a smaller overall footprint. This lighter mechanism decreases the weight of the neck and allows for better vibration and response from the neck tube itself as the overall weight of the neck was decreased by 7%.

The tenon mounting design was also improved. The new design guarantees a better fit of the tenon on to the neck tube and eliminates some of the imperfections that can be caused to the bottom of the neck tube inside the tenon. This change was more of a manufacturing quality improvement rather than a performance change.

Will it work on a Mark VI?
Obviously this neck works with the Reference 54. However, it is also a very good fit for Mark VI alto saxes. While it is different than the original Mark VI neck, the 3rd Generation Reference neck gives excellent tonal response, color and slightly better intonation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What do you mean "3rd Generation Neck"?

3rd Generation Changes
This change was primarily in the octave mechanism. The neck tube and the tenon thickness stayed the same as the design changes from 2006. The 3rd Generation neck brings in the octave key and mounting bracket implemented in the 2010 "Jubilee" release of the Serie II & III saxophones. The octave key itself has been reshaped to look more elegant and uses a slight revision to the appearance of the classic Selmer "S" logo on the neck. This series also saw the design of the octave key's mounting bracket completely changed. The new design is one that gives much better stability to the octave key and also is a smaller overall footprint. This lighter mechanism decreases the weight of the neck and allows for better vibration and response from the neck tube itself as the overall weight of the neck was decreased by 7%.

The tenon mounting design was also improved. The new design guarantees a better fit of the tenon on to the neck tube and eliminates some of the imperfections that can be caused to the bottom of the neck tube inside the tenon. This change was more of a manufacturing quality improvement rather than a performance change.
Just that!!!
Except that looks like a 'copy & paste' from their site.
I am looking for a "down to earth" review, and yours qualifies.
Do you have a 1st generation neck to compare the other 2 to??
 

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I have a Reference 54 that suffered from the gurgling problem on some mouthpieces. It was suggested to me that getting either the 2nd or 3rd generation neck would fix the issue. So, I did. Comparatively, the 2nd Generation neck almost completely eliminated the gurgling issue, (it's still vaguely there at some times, depending on air pressure, the mouthpieces, tuning, etc).

Other than that, I noticed the 2nd Generation neck is considerably more responsive. I honestly can't remember what else changed, other than response, but I don't believe much changed tonally for me.

Of course, necks like all things have variations, and your experience could be drastically different than mine.

How can you tell if you have a 2nd or 3rd generation neck?
You could measure your neck tenon to find out. We used to a caliper to get accurate measurements from a few different places on the neck. As the 2nd Generation neck was implemented in 2006, if your horn is newer than that, you can expect to have the new neck. If you're unsure how old your horn is, you can e-mail M. Doublon of Selmer, via their contact page. Or, comparatively, my horn is a 6748xx from 2005.

Good luck,
Bubba
 

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Wow! Thanks for the quick reply. I just recently purchased a Reference 54. The Reference I found is a difficult horn to play. I found the intonation difficult and playing some notes in tune difficult. It is getting better.
 

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Wow! Thanks for the quick reply. I just recently purchased a Reference 54. The Reference I found is a difficult horn to play. I found the intonation difficult and playing some notes in tune difficult. It is getting better.
astabear, how long have you had the Ref 54. Generally, that horn is definitely not "a difficult horn to play". Perhaps you should have it looked at by a technician. If you just recently purchased it, maybe it was not in adjustment when you bought it.
 

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This is actually the 2nd Reference that was sent to me.

The first one was way way out of tune. I tried everything, changing mouthpiece, changing reeds, bought a new ligature, etc. Finally, I took it to a technician who tired to adjust the middle "D" pad. This did not work. The technician played the horn and tried to get it in tune. He could not. He looked over the horn and finally told me that there was a major issue with the horn. Not what I wanted to hear.

I complained and was sent a replacement horn, which is much much better. But, middle "D" is still a small issue. By adjusting the way I am playing I can get it in tune. This is going to take some time.

The 2nd horn I can tell a huge difference on the neck. It is more responsive and seems to open wider. Overall the horn plays a lot better, but it does take a lot of breath and is not an easy horn to play.:|
 

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Overall the horn plays a lot better, but it does take a lot of breath and is not an easy horn to play.:|
What were you playing before? What would you call an easy playing horn? The Ref 54 is one of the 'easiest' altos I've played.
 

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I noticed that Selmer has come out with a revision 3 for the Ref 54 alto.
The reviews for the rev 2 neck did not sound so great, but I am wondering if anyone has tested the newest neck.
If so, what were your impressions?
What are you playing now out of interest?
 

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The Cannonball was way easier to play. The Reference 54, I found is very difficult. But, let me qualify this and say, I am working improving my playing and am by no means an expert.\

I bought a new Selmer because I wanted better action on my horn and a good sound. Not that Cannonball is not a good sound. It is. But, it is a much heavier sax than the Selmer!
 

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........While Selmer Paris has kept the design of the neck tube itself the same since the Reference 54 alto release in 2003, ........
I have to disagree with that statement; although theoretically you may be correct (and I'm definitely not trying to pick a fight), in practice I think there have been changes to the tube.

I have 3 Ref 54 necks; two of them are from the 1st generation and one is from the 2nd gen (and has the thinner tenon).

My 2nd gen neck has quite different intonation characteristics to the other two; in some ways it is similar to a Series 3 alto neck, but not quite as pronounced. The octaves on my 2nd gen neck are much wider than on the 1st gen necks and the bottom register is broader and much less inclined to gurgle. I bought it hoping to be able to even the scale a little and cure the gurgle, but after a few months practice I decided that the change in voicing needed to bring the octaves into line actually defused the tone of the second octave too much. Also the notes from C#3 upwards became even sharper in relation to the bottom octave than they were before, which was for me undesirable (as we know, the Series 3 alto has the compensating mechanism to bring those notes flatter).

I'm not sure all 2nd gen Ref 54 alto necks are like mine. I tried about half a dozen at Selmer's in Paris the year after I got my alto and it seemed to me that some had a greater octave spread than others. When I booked to go over to Paris and explained my reasons - to try more necks - the Artist Liason at the time told me that Selmer had made a concerted effort to cure the gurgle that some horns seemed to have. IMHO by curing the gurgle, the character of the horn was seriously disturbed in other ways.

I reverted to playing the original neck that I got with the horn, so if anyone was interested in 2nd gen neck, I'll would probably sell it quite reasonably.
 
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