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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Your experience may be completely different and this is for TENOR sax only, but I'm sharing this hoping that it will help somebody else experiencing the same middle D and G#2 moisture buildup/stuffiness issues that I was having with my Ref 54 tenor. Mine is in the 682,700 serial range and is all factory original. It often felt blocked up with numerous mouthpieces/reeds that play those notes beautifully on my other tenors. The G#2 just refused to glide out effortlessly and the horn acted like I was taking my L thumb off of the octave key when I wasn't and was still pressing it all the way down.

I was lucky to get an appointment this weekend with a super repair tech who sets up and keeps most of the pro's in CO playing. My Ref 54 tenor had a very snug #39 bit octave vent opening and he opened it up by one size larger (Which is a ridiculously small difference, but made a gigantic improvement) and wow did that truly solve ALL issues I was having with G# and middle D. Any skilled tech can do this if you are having the same issues.

This entire time I was thinking that I had simply gotten a bad individual tenor, but now she blows beautifully, more open and is very reed/mpc/ligature/embachoure friendly. I no longer have any problems getting those notes to glide out.

If you're going to do this, it's critical that you only jump up one size and then play test it. Don't go insane and try opening it up 2mm because the walls are thin and you'll throw the horn into a sharp-pitched nightmare.
I hope this helps somebody else. 馃槑

As an aside, the electronic tuner says that I'm pegging the needle nearly perfect and this adjustment did cause me to have to pull my rubber FL Link Slant out 1/8" further than I normally do on my other tenors' neck cork.
 

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Thank you for sharing that. A #39 bit is .0995" and #38 bit is .1015" for a difference of just .002". To put that in perspective it is about 1/2 the thickness of a post-it-note which measures .004". I'm glad you found a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Funny you mention that! He pulled out a slip of paper and mentioned it would be less than the paper thickness. You guys are both on the same frequency! I'm so thankful that this was an easy solution. There was no way that I was going to keep stuffing bent pipe cleaners into that pip to keep the vent open. I almost unloaded a killer tenor 馃槡馃槍
 

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I sent my SA 80 Series II alto back to Conn-Selmer for this problem in 1994-1995. After keeping it for 5 months they sent it back and told me nothing was wrong with it but when I spoke with guy who was head-tech there at the time he commented "Well, it's within spec but, lots of pros are having that body vent drilled out to get the G & G#2 to speak correctly." Had mine drilled out and, like yours, it fixed the problem with little other impact. I've played many other Series II altos that have this same problem. I've owned over a dozen saxophones modern and vintage and that was the only one I've ever had that problem with.

Lots of techs have been drilling that body vent pip out for years on many different Selmers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I sent my SA 80 Series II alto back to Conn-Selmer for this problem in 1994-1995. After keeping it for 5 months they sent it back and told me nothing was wrong with it but when I spoke with guy who was head-tech there at the time he commented "Well, it's within spec but, lots of pros are having that body vent drilled out to get the G & G#2 to speak correctly." Had mine drilled out and, like yours, it fixed the problem with little other impact. I've played many other Series II altos that have this same problem. I've owned over a dozen saxophones modern and vintage and that was the only one I've ever had that problem with.

Lots of techs have been drilling that body vent pip out for years on many different Selmers.
What you experienced is really pretty awful QA/QC, IMHO. My tech experienced the exact same issue as you with his Serie II tenor. It sounds like this is endemic with so many II and Ref 54. I've never had this issue with Serie III tenors. I love this 54 now. I was sad and thought perhaps it was reed hypersensitive for a very long time. It had moments of brilliance and then it would just fight me. That's just an awful experience.
 

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What you experienced is really pretty awful QA/QC, IMHO. My tech experienced the exact same issue as you with his Serie II tenor. It sounds like this is endemic with so many II and Ref 54. I've never had this issue with Serie III tenors. I love this 54 now. I was sad and thought perhaps it was reed hypersensitive for a very long time. It had moments of brilliance and then it would just fight me. That's just an awful experience.
It鈥檚 a matter of all the tolerances stacking up in the wrong direction. I had a similar conversation 15 years or so ago when I had my Ref 36 set up. It has been a common fix on Selmers for a very long time - but not all of them need it. If you just drill out all of them, there are poor response issues on other notes. On a horn that is borderline, not all players will have the same problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It鈥檚 a matter of all the tolerances stacking up in the wrong direction. I had a similar conversation 15 years or so ago when I had my Ref 36 set up. It has been a common fix on Selmers for a very long time - but not all of them need it. If you just drill out all of them, there are poor response issues on other notes. On a horn that is borderline, not all players will have the same problem.
Agree. Some players will be lucky and won't have to deal with the issue. Definitely don't drill if your sax plays well for you and/or tunes well. The rest of us who got a sax built on a Friday when Pierre and Jean-Louis decided to crank up the accordion music and start swilling sherry at 11AM will have to though. 馃槈
 

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Experienced players will play D2 the first thing when trying out a sax. Sure, it can be fixed, but why buy a problem? So many horns...
 

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In my case it had little to do with D2 it was G2 & G#2 when approached from below didn't want to speak. You got a duck-call sort of sound roughly the pitch of the low G/G#. Since I've been mostly a tenor player all my life, for months I thought it was just me not voicing the notes right. Eventually after playing a bunch of other brands/ models of alto I decided it wasn't me, at least not completely. I suspect if you're playing these horns with a classical setup and hard reed you might never have a problem. I don't play anything extreme on alto just a Meyer 7M with a 2 1/2 reed and if I squeezed down on it enough I could make the notes speak but I didn't want to have to play like that.

I had the issue taken care of and then sold the horn. I miss the sound of that horn but the keywork wasn't great for me - right hand side keys I felt were too high, not away from the horn but too far up the body tube. The build quality was terrible as well. Corks, felts, and pads fell off of it regularly and the left hand thumb rest even fell off one night. It was by far the most unreliable horn I've ever owned.
 

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Hi, this is very very interesting. I have a Series I 80 tenor that has ever since given me that G/G# problem in the middle register, exactly as The Big Woo has described it. I never had the idea it could be the horn, just me not good enough to play a Selmer. And yes, I do not have this issue on my other tenors. I麓ll forward this thread to my tech. Thanks SOTW!
 

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So my side octave vent was 2,49 mm. Now it is 2,54 mm, my tech even custom made a drill. And: no more split tones on G and G#, D is more stable, even when playing super soft. That worked really well. Two thumbs up for SOTW and The Big Woo.(y)(y)
 

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What a great tip. Thanks for sharing, Big Woo.
 
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