Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' clarinet
Joined
·
7,461 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m getting an old Selmer neck with a “Varitone” pickup. It also has a small cable-holder soldered to the side. What is the best way to remove the pickup and cable? I want to make this like a normal mark vi neck. Does the whole thing need to be relacquered? Thanks.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,136 Posts
the original Varitone has a “ cup” that needs being removed and the resulting hole being plugged.

Unless you want to spend a bit for this procedure you can use the original screw-in lid to close it and play. Very likely you would need some spot relacquering.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
8,090 Posts
It sounds to me like you have an original Varitone MK VI neck. If it is, and it is in good original condition, you might consider not messing with it at all until you at least get some idea of what it might be worth. The Selmers that were rigged up for the Varitone from the factory are RARE. A neck would likely be worth even more that a non-Varitone neck if you can imagine that with regular necks pushing $1K now. Sure, plenty of them were modified for the pickup including my 130491 neck but that was a fast experiment. The Varitone was kind of cool, but most guys didn't want to get saddled with carrying around the equivalent of a guitar amp plus the control box that was attached to the sax.
So, if you do remove the pickup, the tech will sweat it out and also remove the wire guide. He will make a plug out of sheet brass and round it like the neck. He will make it the same shape and size of the hole, then solder it in, finishing maybe with some sanding and polishing. You're going to lose some lacquer if it is an original Varitone neck because it was lacquered after all work was finished. This is why I suggest you NOT convert it if it is a real one. If the neck is a conversion, it probably was not relacquered.
Show some pictures when you get it and you will get some educated responses.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
8,090 Posts
If you need a neck for a MK VI, try a new Selmer Paris 'Jubilee' Series III neck. They are in the exact shape of a later MK VI neck plus they're affordable and play great on VIs, MK 7 and 80 Super Action. I'm using two of them now - a Sterling silver one on my Selmer USA tenor and a brass one on my VI tenor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,406 Posts
I’m getting an old Selmer neck with a “Varitone” pickup. It also has a small cable-holder soldered to the side. What is the best way to remove the pickup and cable? I want to make this like a normal mark vi neck. Does the whole thing need to be relacquered? Thanks.
I wouldn't do it. As 1saxman points out, only a small number were ever made and a bunch of those had the pickup fittings taken off in the 70s and 80s. If you are really concerned about the presence of the little blip in the neck bore you could easily seal it up with beeswax (fully reversible). I would rather see you get a replacement neck (and there are many available).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' clarinet
Joined
·
7,461 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies guys… especially turf3 and 1saxman. I'm very surprised you think these may be valuable. "Rare", yes. But realistically these pickups are ugly and the cable hanging off the neck is constantly in the way (even tho I coiled it up pretty small). Then there's the fact that the Varitone system is completely outdated technology, I would think most players would prefer a standard neck… making that more valuable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
702 Posts
All other things equal, I'd much rather have a regular neck than a Varitone neck. Is there still anyone out there who would realistically consider using the Varitone system?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,136 Posts
there are company still producing piezo pick ups, Nalbantov for example.

They can be applied on the neck (and the company would sell you the pick up with an alternative neck, probably Chinese) but many prefer to apply them on the mouthpiece.


this is a young player on a king/Vox system


As for them being rare and need being preserved I am afraid that that is not the case.

There are quiet a few sold on ebay
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,464 Posts
I’ve met a few guys who play in Baltic bands who have drilled holes into perfectly good necks to add pickups.
Generally they were more interested in Max Keilwerth horns than Selmers.
Most often paired with Colletto mouthpieces for some reason.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,136 Posts
probably because that musical subculture, like Italian dance music players of the style called “ liscio”, appreciate that type of “ direct” sound and the brightness of the Colletto.

There are advantages to a pick-up as opposed to a microphone. See this bass clarinet player discovering a pick-up neck ( he compares contact pick up elements to the ones drilled through the neck)


 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,604 Posts
The part probably has a shoulder and is sweat soldered in place.
Taking the tube out is no big deal. Shouldn’t damage anything. A plug will be installed like Matt shows here.
https://youtu.be/EkIxvmXbuFg
Note there’s no guarantee the color of the metal/lacquer patch will match. It’s extremely difficult to get a no-show patch on a lacquer type finish.

Why can’t you pull it off then put a cap on the thing and be done with it?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,136 Posts
Unlike other systems (Like the King/Vox) selmer varitone has a “ cup” where the pick up screws in, “ restoring” the neck does not just removing the screw and plugging it in, as in the video. One needs removing the cup.

Screw lids are a very easy solution and guaranteed to attract attention ( you can then say it is a variable impedance device to change the sound, by the way this could be actually true!) or even better, put a scrw in weight and claim that you are actually changing the sound by adding mass! :twisted:

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,464 Posts
I had one removed from the neck of my Selmer Super Series Tenor neck.
The tech did a nice job of it and didn’t use a patch.
You can just make out the slight solder colour difference.
I remember him telling me it was a prick of a job as mine was located on the underside of neck and corrosion around that area had made the material thin in that area.
I’m glad it was removed as it was an annoyance and I always thought it had the propensity to leak.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,464 Posts
I had one removed from the neck of my Selmer Super Series Tenor neck.
The tech did a nice job of it and didn’t use a patch.
You can just make out the slight solder colour difference.
I remember him telling me it was a prick of a job as mine was located on the underside of neck and corrosion around that area had made the material thin in that area.
I’m glad it was removed as it was an annoyance and I always thought it had the propensity to leak.
Looking at the photo Milandro posted, mine was a different type of pick up.
It was nowhere near as bulbous as that one.
I would imagine that would leave a decent scar.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,136 Posts
yes, if it wasn’t like that yours was probably not a Varitone but another type of pick up.

Vox/King (Like the one I have for sale on my Selmer M7 tenor neck) has a very much less intrusive mount (and a volume control!)

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,604 Posts
Well if that neck in post #13 is what soybean has, yikes that’s a big hole. Maybe a cork from a nice French wine will do. Soybean how about a picture?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,136 Posts
If it is an original Varitone that’s what it looks like and the cup is soldered on the neck (you can remove it and then plug in the hole, which is much smaller but the scars will be considerable.

Other brands (like mine in the pics above) have a very small screw insert which allows a piezoelectric element to be screwed in . When not in use you can use the pin plugging the hole.

Even if there will be no real discontinuity once the plug is applied, many prefer to completely remove and then to make a restoration as it happened on my original Super 20 neck


 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' clarinet
Joined
·
7,461 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well if that neck in post #13 is what soybean has, yikes that’s a big hole. Maybe a cork from a nice French wine will do. Soybean how about a picture?
Yes, mine looks exactly like the photo in Milandro's post (#13). My tech says it's a pretty easy repair although I might see a little "remnant". I'm pretty convinced now that removing the pickup is the right choice, even if some here say the neck should be preserved in it's original condition.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top