Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,338 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read a of how changes were made during the run. Some say early 60k serials plays dark. I only played one and it was not dark but focused and resistant.

I have owned a 123xxx and it was resistant and focused and robust , clean sounding. Kind of a modern sound.

I owned a 98xxx and that was warm and complex and compact.

My 226xxx was focused and kind of a bit dead sounding.

My 326xxx was very free and loud and big but kind of bland.

My 168xxx is clean,focused and pretty big and loud. Medium resistant.

In my opinion the 326xxx was no less complex in sound compared to the 60k. So how would you describe your tenor?
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2013-2016
Joined
·
7,891 Posts
326xxx would be firmly into SA80 territory...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,248 Posts
I’ve been playing a 97,xxx for almost 30 years. Definitely a compact, focused sound which is what I like anyways. Played a 226,xxx in high school - nothing spectacular but it took me into my second year of college. I did have it relacquered in 9th grade. (I didn’t know better and it was 1983). It was shiny and I was happy. 😀
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,478 Posts
My 183,000 when I played it with the original neck was a bit brighter in a grainy good way but also had kind of a dead resonance to it, never felt like it had any presence in a big room. I play the same horn now with an old Selmer vi neck of unknown age (no serial), but the curve looks much more like an early neck compared to my stock. This particular neck has been opened up at the cork end so I suspect it blows quite different than an unaltered neck of this era, but in a good way; it’s got very low resistance and has a darker tone color to it for sure than the stock neck. I’ve also had this horn repadded with earlier style metal resos and swapped out the plastic thumbrests for brass which I prefer. All in all it plays quite differently now than when I got it, it’s much richer more resonant tone now that I think sounds quite different than its original setup and neck. Not sure if it sounds more like an earlier Selmer or maybe more like something other than a Selmer due to the altered neck but I like it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,478 Posts
(I got this neck from Peter Ponzol who had owned it since the 70s, either he experimented with the neck opening being expanded and threaded on the interior or it served as a model for his line of aftermarket necks, not sure. But it plays open in a similar way, which is great because the only neck I liked on my horn prior to this was one of the modern Ponzol necks. Glad I happened to see Peter’s auction for it on eBay 3years ago, I’ve been happy with my horn since!)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
462 Posts
My 183,000 when I played it with the original neck was a bit brighter in a grainy good way but also had kind of a dead resonance to it, never felt like it had any presence in a big room. I play the same horn now with an old Selmer vi neck of unknown age (no serial), but the curve looks much more like an early neck compared to my stock. This particular neck has been opened up at the cork end so I suspect it blows quite different than an unaltered neck of this era, but in a good way; it’s got very low resistance and has a darker tone color to it for sure than the stock neck. I’ve also had this horn repadded with earlier style metal resos and swapped out the plastic thumbrests for brass which I prefer. All in all it plays quite differently now than when I got it, it’s much richer more resonant tone now that I think sounds quite different than its original setup and neck. Not sure if it sounds more like an earlier Selmer or maybe more like something other than a Selmer due to the altered neck but I like it!
No neck serial? It's worth having a look on the inside of the tenon. You may find a serial number scratched there.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,432 Posts
I suspect that if you played some different horns in those same serial number ranges, you'd get different, and contradictory results. IOW I wonder if those different characteristics are due to a difference in serial number or some other factor(s).

Anyway my 121,xxx tenor plays great, but I have no idea if another 121,xxx would play the same. I can call it 'focused', 'warm', 'dark' but 'bright' when pushed, and 'resonant.' But compared to what?? Those are all subjective and relative terms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
My 56XXX is a SBA tube with Mark VI mechanisms. It has a very even response throughout the range, and has been my primary player for the past couple of years. It is noticeably darker than my 73XXX, which is a blow-the-walls-down kind of horn, but overall, the tone is about the same: tightly focused, excellent intonation, responds very well dynamically.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,905 Posts
I have read a of how changes were made during the run. Some say early 60k serials plays dark. I only played one and it was not dark but focused and resistant.

I have owned a 123xxx and it was resistant and focused and robust , clean sounding. Kind of a modern sound.

I owned a 98xxx and that was warm and complex and compact.

My 226xxx was focused and kind of a bit dead sounding.

My 326xxx was very free and loud and big but kind of bland.

My 168xxx is clean,focused and pretty big and loud. Medium resistant.

In my opinion the 326xxx was no less complex in sound compared to the 60k. So how would you describe your tenor?
Mike Brecker told me an interesting story. He flew out to Tenor Madness determined to get a backup to his 82XXX sure that it had to be around the same series. When he arrived there he discovered that the owner, Randy Jones had covered all the serial numbers with black tape. Mike spent two days playing on twenty horns finally settling on one. When he pulled the tape off he discovered that the number was 125XXX. Phil Barone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,325 Posts
Mike Brecker told me an interesting story. He flew out to Tenor Madness determined to get a backup to his 82XXX sure that it had to be around the same series. When he arrived there he discovered that the owner, Randy Jones had covered all the serial numbers with black tape. Mike spent two days playing on twenty horns finally settling on one. When he pulled the tape off he discovered that the number was 125XXX. Phil Barone
That's a cool story, and not surprising. I love 5-digit VIs, but have played amazing ones through the serial range. My general take on tenors:

58k Mark VI: Sound a lot like late-model SBAs
99k: Tend to love the sound. Rich, with nice singing palm keys. Spread but with a nice mix of upper-mid treble
120k: I find these to be focused.
160k: Bigger open sound, less compact core
230k: One of my favorite ranges. A lot cheaper in price, but many have a similar sound to a great 5-digit.

Big fat asterisk to the above is the horns are highly variable, and the condition of the pads make quite an impact too.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,343 Posts
Great Story Phil,

I have a 117xxx 1964 (same year I was made)

It replaced a Reference 54 and I am happy that horn is gone.

It is less focused than early versions I have played...but I would still consider it focused. I would call it resonant and very full through the range with a nice amount of warmth. I consider the tone fairly open but not lacking in core. Frankly, it sounds better when other people play it :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,478 Posts
Phil, can you shed some light on neck alterations like on the neck I described above? Was (is?) it a common practice to expand the diameter of the neck opening at the cork end and/or thread/rifle the inside walls? Any thoughts on who was doing those types of neck alterations in NY at the time? (70’s)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,741 Posts
Mike Brecker told me an interesting story. He flew out to Tenor Madness determined to get a backup to his 82XXX sure that it had to be around the same series. When he arrived there he discovered that the owner, Randy Jones had covered all the serial numbers with black tape. Mike spent two days playing on twenty horns finally settling on one. When he pulled the tape off he discovered that the number was 125XXX. Phil Barone
Nice - Mine's a '68. Original neck is smoky, newer SIII neck is edgier. MVI's are versatile and respond well to different mp's and necks, IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,905 Posts
Phil, can you shed some light on neck alterations like on the neck I described above? Was (is?) it a common practice to expand the diameter of the neck opening at the cork end and/or thread/rifle the inside walls? Any thoughts on who was doing those types of neck alterations in NY at the time? (70’s)
Geez, I don’t think anyone was doing it back then. I experimented with it before I made my own necks but I honestly was never able to make a significant change because there wasn’t enough material to work with. A change has to be pretty dramatic to make a difference. But it’s simple, it’s the same as a mouthpiece, a bigger bore will give you a darker, warmer, more spread sound but the thing is a bigger bore is also more free-blowing and when you push it, it gets brighter so you can get both a big, dark sound with lots of stuff in the sound if that’s what you want but it’ll be spread and some guys want a more focused sound, especially the rock n roll players. The only problem with a bigger bore is that if it’s too big the sound can start to lose color and sound generic and bland. That’s how I feel about a lot of the new horns like Yamaha, Selmer and Yanigazawa. They made them too perfect, too free-blowing but more in tune. Fine for classical playing but not jazz.

I know a guy who modified the necks by changing the bend but I never had any luck doing that and if you’re not careful you can ruin it. I’m certain the changes I made were psychological thus temporary. The guy I know ruined Mike Brecker’s neck, that’s why he ended up playing the silver one you see. No, minor changes don’t make much of a difference at all, you got to change the whole neck then you’ll see a big difference. The neck is more important than the rest of the horn. In order of importance it goes player, reed, mouthpiece, neck then horn. Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,016 Posts
Hey Phil, have you ever heard about the rumor that some induced pull down to get that narrowing (oval shape) into the bore of the neck? Whether intentional or not, would ovaling the neck make an impact on tone or resistance feel?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,905 Posts
Hey Phil, have you ever heard about the rumor that some induced pull down to get that narrowing (oval shape) into the bore of the neck? Whether intentional or not, would ovaling the neck make an impact on tone or resistance feel?
No, I can't say I have but I seriously doubt that it would make a difference unless it was psychological. I used to do blindfold tests all the time and found so much of the technical hype was in people's minds. Your tone is determined by the way you PHRASE, not so much gear. Sure, you can tweak it a bit but you have to do a lot of work to change the character of the sound. It's not that hard to sound like someone else though, you just have to imitate them but finding a genuine personal sound is something else. I studied with Sal Mosca, a very heavyweight piano player and student of Lennie Tristano and Sal used to recommend that his students go into psychotherapy to explore who they were and to become great players.

I gotta say though, I think tone and gear is overblown. Players only went into the tone craze after Trane and before that it was more about the notes you played and the story you told. I believe in focusing on ones solos, not tone, because if you play unique lines your tone will become unique because your phrasing will influence the tone. Phil Barone
 

·
SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,394 Posts
A repair guy pal once gave me a pulled down bent and perfectly creased on both sides JUPITER tenor neck.

For fun I threw it on my newly re-lacq'd Chu tenor and the sound literally exploded. I was blown away at the improvement vs the orig neck. WAAAAYYYbetter.

NOW on the other hand back in the day I bought and sold a couple grands worth of Boutique necks and even a couple fancy Solid Sterling jobs for my beautiful '68 Silver VI tenor, well I discovered after many trials and tests no real difference whatsoever.

So ya just never know...
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top