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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey, I have been playing tenor sax for a while and thought it would we a good time to upgrade from my old Yamaha Student sax that was almost falling apart to something nice. So began my research and found quite quickly a nice looking Selmer sax at my local sax shop. I have always heard that Selmer is like the top of the line saxes and I have always been a big fan of their sound especially Mark IV. The sax was a Selmer SA80 (SERIES 1) So got it home to test it and it was really nice but little too dark maybe. So my question is if the tone will get better/brighter with a series III neck or not and if it does is it a better idea to buy a series III sax instead?
Let me clarify, What’s the difference between series I (SA80) and series III? Which one is better?

I mainly play funk and soul but like jazz too.

Setup:
Mouthpiece: Berg Larsen SMS 105/2
Ligature: some random ****
 

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Re: Selmer SA80

If possibile, try a bunch of horns just to see how they work with you. A Series III is brighter for many people, but when I tried one, it was dark, with not much zip.

You could try a brighter reed, like a Rigotti Gold, and see if that gets the Series I where you would like it. How long have you been playing?
 

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Re: Selmer SA80

I know from experience that the intonation is and low end of the horn is better with a Series III neck on a Series II. I have no experience with the Series I, but I'd be willing to experiment with it. I have some recordings somewhere I can try to hunt down of a trial my friend and I did on our respective horns with the series III neck. One was a Series II and the other the Yamaha 875 EX. We both play Series III necks now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Selmer SA80

If possibile, try a bunch of horns just to see how they work with you. A Series III is brighter for many people, but when I tried one, it was dark, with not much zip.

You could try a brighter reed, like a Rigotti Gold, and see if that gets the Series I where you would like it. How long have you been playing?
Maybe like 4years but been playing other instruments before that but I kinda have this situation where there like
No saxophones for sale and this is the only one. Do you think I should wait to later buy a series 3 when that comes out for sale or should I buy this one and maybe change the neck and Reed? I mean it don’t sound bad but I wonder if it can sound better :)

(I play vandoren traditional reed)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Selmer SA80

So the the series 2 is better with a series 3 neck, I’m just wondering if not the series 3 is better horn then I mean if the neck is that haha or I don’t know ;)
I have heard that people think that series 2 and 3 don’t have the “Classic” Selmer sound and that series 1 is the last ”real” Selmer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Selmer SA80

I would try a Rigotti Gold reed and see how that plays. A Vandoren blue box is a dark reed. I play one on a Jumbo Java high baffle mouthpiece to get a more woody tone.
Okey thank you so much for your help but do you think that the series 3 is a better horn I mean if the neck works better on a series 1 and stuff like that?
 

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I don't like the Serie III at all. It does not respond to me, its tone is bland. It must be the way I play it. I was surprised to discover it has alot of fans, and sounds pretty good in other players hands. So it must be me, but everything just feels wrong about it.

I do like the Serie II though. But I disliked it until I tried it with a Saxholder, then it balanced near perfect for me. I still wonder what Selmer was thinking with the high necks, without the Saxholder they are uncomfortable for me.

A Serie 1 tenor I have not tried with a Saxholder, and disliked it with a neck strap and Gemini harness. Same with a Mark VII tenor.

You will not be able to zero in with what works best for you without trying the different horns.Then you will know for sure. The US Air Force tried to design a pilots seat that would work for the pilots. They averaged out the data of pilots measurments assuming it would work for everyone. What they ended up with was a chair that uncomfortable with everyone, because the average size pilot did not actually exist. You could be going down that road trying to figure out what is best without actually trying other saxes.
 

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Series II and Series II are basically the same horn in term of bore design...

The Series III has a different bore for the body and the neck.
The keywork is different (lighter!).

The Series III sounds a little more Selmer: more mids, the resistence is distributed in a more even way than the Series I/Series II.
It leans more towards some "dry sounding" Mark VI (like the ones made in the early 70's).

The Series III neck is very different: lower profile and longer... different bore.
Many Series III have no guard under the bent and no octave key fork: this is for making the neck lighter.

On a Series I/II, the Series III necks adds mids, allows a different distribution of the blowing resistance (leading to much more ease) and remove (almost at all) the tendency of the Series I/II (and Mark 7 as well) to be sharp in the high register (... yes the Series III makes every Selmer to be much easier to play locked in tune...).


That's a matter of tastes.
I've always loved the combination of Mark 7/Series I/Series II + Series III: you get more of the character older Selmer became famous for.

In general... I think the Series III (body + its necks) is the most versatile Selmer made (tenor in particular) after the Mark VI.
 

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The Series III neck represents Selmer's return to the neck design of the late MK VI. In fact, the entire horn was intended to emulate the VI to some extent. If I were going to buy a new tenor sax, I would try as many IIIs as I could find.

Putting a III neck on a I or II is potentially a good idea. You would have to try it to see how it affected everything but I am playing a III neck on a late MK VI and it really does the trick. I also played a II for ten years with the original neck and a Selmer USA 'Silver Plus' neck, both essentially the same profile. This was a very good set-up but I ultimately went back to a MK VI. I think if the II you tried turned you off right away, you should forget that particular sax and find something you like with its original neck. The purpose of neck swaps is to make a good sax great, not try to make a bad sax good.
 

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The Series III neck represents Selmer's return to the neck design of the late MK VI.
They are still very different.
The Series III neck has a wider angle (on the mouthpiece side) and it falls higher.
The bore is significantly smaller on the Series III neck (quite similar to the pre-1962/1963 Mark VI necks).

The Reference 54 is more similar to the late 60's/early 70's Mark VI necks (despite the bore is of the Ref 54 neck is based on the bore of a Series II neck).
 

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Hey, I have been playing tenor sax for a while and thought it would we a good time to upgrade from my old Yamaha Student sax that was almost falling apart to something nice. So began my research and found quite quickly a nice looking Selmer sax at my local sax shop. I have always heard that Selmer is like the top of the line saxes and I have always been a big fan of their sound especially Mark IV. The sax was a Selmer SA80 (SERIES 1) So got it home to test it and it was really nice but little too dark maybe. So my question is if the tone will get better/brighter with a series III neck or not and if it does is it a better idea to buy a series III sax instead?
Let me clarify, What’s the difference between series I (SA80) and series III? Which one is better?

I mainly play funk and soul but like jazz too.

Setup:
Mouthpiece: Berg Larsen SMS 105/2
Ligature: some random ****
I owned and played a Selmer Serie III tenor for many years. It was my first new Selmer after playing a Balanced Action. I thought it was a great horn, and I would recommend the horn that I had for playing funk, soul, jazz, whatever. I played mine in a contemporary big band, a swing dance band, a classical quartet, and a ‘Retha Franklin tribute band. Get a good one, match it with mouthpieces appropriate to your genre, and play.

I have played Ref 54 and Ref 36 tenors too. I never found a Ref 54 that I could get along with, but owned and enjoyed a Ref 36 when I determined that I wanted something a lil’ darker, a lil’ more resonant and full. Bottom line, I didn’t really need it, but had a jones for a new horn. I played that Ref 36 for 10 years or so, then went looking again, found Borgani Jubilee horns, and have been playing those for the last 10+ years. Now I’m not even considering swapping horns again.

The Serie III could be your lifetime horn. Try one - actually, try a few if you can.
 

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I have a SA80 Series I since the 80ies. Played a lot in young years, and picked up the tenor again 2 years ago after long break. It is still rather resistant from G2 up. Tried a Series III neck, a VI neck and a Reference neck. Intonation is best with the original one. With the others, it plays louder and more open, but intonation suffers, in particular E2. Now that I have both enough money and the internet, after lots of trying, I switched to a fine used and affordable SX90R. At some point, I visited a shop offering lots of new and old Selmers. Several Mark VI, VII, SA80 and SA80II did not touch me, there was only one VI at 8.500€ that was really a bit better than my Keilwerth, but hey, I just decided to keep on practicing. So: just try lots of horns, and only buy when you think: that´s it! Just do the effort to find it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I owned and played a Selmer Serie III tenor for many years. It was my first new Selmer after playing a Balanced Action. I thought it was a great horn, and I would recommend the horn that I had for playing funk, soul, jazz, whatever. I played mine in a contemporary big band, a swing dance band, a classical quartet, and a ‘Retha Franklin tribute band. Get a good one, match it with mouthpieces appropriate to your genre, and play.

I have played Ref 54 and Ref 36 tenors too. I never found a Ref 54 that I could get along with, but owned and enjoyed a Ref 36 when I determined that I wanted something a lil’ darker, a lil’ more resonant and full. Bottom line, I didn’t really need it, but had a jones for a new horn. I played that Ref 36 for 10 years or so, then went looking again, found Borgani Jubilee horns, and have been playing those for the last 10+ years. Now I’m not even considering swapping horns again.

The Serie III could be your lifetime horn. Try one - actually, try a few if you can.
Fun to heard that you owned one! I would love to try as many as i can but the thing is that the saxophone market in sweden is kinda **** right now and im kinda desperate to find a horn. Theres like 3 Selmer saxes for sale in sweden right now, but one is a Series III
What is a reasonable price for a Series III if its not perfect looking but plays well? I can get my Series I that i have home and testing for £2200
 

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Yes, the Series III Neck will make the SA80 sound a bit brighter if that is what you are looking for. In fact, that is the combo I have used for the last 10 years. I briefly owned a Series III tenor for a time, but sold it as I liked the SA80 (with the III neck) better. The Series III tenor leans more toward the Yamaha sound - a brighter somewhat more focused sound and locked in intonation. The other thing about the Series III (and II) is they have the spring loaded screws which impart a slightly spongy feeling to the keywork.

I would not say one is "better" than the other, just a different character and feel.
 

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I have a Series I and, with the original neck, found it initially unresponsive from Low E down. I then tried a Series II neck but the higher arch gave a similar response. Based on a similar thread from some years ago I tried a Series III neck and the horn "lit-up". Effortless low end and consistent pitch and timbre through the horn. The lower arch also makes the LH palm keys more ergonomical (for me anyway). But, as others have posted, start with a good horn and try different necks to enhance the response and sound you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have a Series I and, with the original neck, found it initially unresponsive from Low E down. I then tried a Series II neck but the higher arch gave a similar response. Based on a similar thread from some years ago I tried a Series III neck and the horn "lit-up". Effortless low end and consistent pitch and timbre through the horn. The lower arch also makes the LH palm keys more ergonomical (for me anyway). But, as others have posted, start with a good horn and try different necks to enhance the response and sound you want.
Alright fun to hear! My horn sounds good but it’s not like “wooow” but I think it’s because I play it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yes, the Series III Neck will make the SA80 sound a bit brighter if that is what you are looking for. In fact, that is the combo I have used for the last 10 years. I briefly owned a Series III tenor for a time, but sold it as I liked the SA80 (with the III neck) better. The Series III tenor leans more toward the Yamaha sound - a brighter somewhat more focused sound and locked in intonation. The other thing about the Series III (and II) is they have the spring loaded screws which impart a slightly spongy feeling to the keywork.

I would not say one is "better" than the other, just a different character and feel.
So you consider the series 1 with series 3neck better Then a series 3
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have a SA80 Series I since the 80ies. Played a lot in young years, and picked up the tenor again 2 years ago after long break. It is still rather resistant from G2 up. Tried a Series III neck, a VI neck and a Reference neck. Intonation is best with the original one. With the others, it plays louder and more open, but intonation suffers, in particular E2. Now that I have both enough money and the internet, after lots of trying, I switched to a fine used and affordable SX90R. At some point, I visited a shop offering lots of new and old Selmers. Several Mark VI, VII, SA80 and SA80II did not touch me, there was only one VI at 8.500€ that was really a bit better than my Keilwerth, but hey, I just decided to keep on practicing. So: just try lots of horns, and only buy when you think: that´s it! Just do the effort to find it.
Why didn’t they touch you?
 
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