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Discussion Starter #1
Let me preface by saying I've read the past posts, including the archive.

I'm finding that when F#2 is tuned to 440, my G1 thru C2 are 20 cents flat consistently. The mouthpiece leaves only about 1/16th inch on the cork. If it goes in much farther the horn goes very sharp overall. So I think I've ruled out the most common cause.

I've tried this also with a well set up brand new Series III with the same issue. I do not have the same problem on a brand new A992.

This occurs with both S90/190 and AL3 mouthpieces with Vandoren 2.5 and 3 Traditional reeds.

I'm still getting back into shape after a long break from playing, but I have a hard time believing that both Selmers would play that out of tune, so I assumed that it has to be me, but no issues with the Yani makes it more perplexing.

(and thanks Dr. G for the PM's)

Any ideas? Thanks.
 

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I've long felt that Series III altos had screwy intonation, and always wondered if the factory fix (for bad G2's) of drilling the body octave pip had anything to do with it. Folks will tell you though that the horn plays perfectly in tune and you must still be compensating due to a vintage horn (or bad horn) that you'd gotten used to. As if a brand new Selmer ain't gonna play in tune...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Problem solved

By getting a GREAT Series II instead...
 

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IMHO, the altos were by far the best of the series II horns. The Refs are fantastic but not necessarily better than the series II, just (very) different. I never much liked the series III altos. I couldn't say the same for the tenors.
 

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Mike F said:
I never much liked the series III altos. I couldn't say the same for the tenors.
Same here. Though I don't like the III altos at all, I've played several III tenors that I really dug.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I played 10+ Series II's yesterday from the upper 300 to upper 600 serial number range and was surprised at how vastly different they could be. Also interesting is that the pearls are very different, some are very cupped, some were nearly flat.

It's interesting that there is so much discussion around Ref's and III's, but when I talk to "pro's", the II seems to be the preferred horn. Again, not an opinion, just an experience.
 

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rdf2 said:
I played 10+ Series II's yesterday from the upper 300 to upper 600 serial number range and was surprised at how different they could be.
It has been generalized elsewhere that the post 500K II's are brighter horns than the earlier ones. That's also about when the III came out. What's your take on that after trying all those II's?
 

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I don't know what at what level you play, but maybe it's not the horn, but it's you? Probably not, but maybe this will help... lol
 

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May I ask why you don't play the Yani if it plays better in tune? Other issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
amoram said:
I don't know what at what level you play, but maybe it's not the horn, but it's you? Probably not, but maybe this will help... lol
Yes and no:

No-this seems to be consistent with Series III's-I tried four and had the same pitch issues on the same notes (at least they are consistent).

Yes-This obviously does not stop people from playing them, and those players adjust with voicing, etc. After my long lapse from playing, I haven't regained enough of my ability to compensate. This particular Series II had more notes that were out of tune, but less out of tune, ie 5 cents instead of 20. At my stage of development, that is much easier for me to compenstate for.

I'll get to the other questions this weekend.
 

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the third octave vent on early series 3 altos was slightly too small, and the only way to fix it is drilling it out, and lots of techs refuse to because of the risk of getting it wrong, later on Selmer fixed the fault, i think
 

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My Series III alto is managable. I will say that the intonation is not perfect. I have learned to get around it, and have made the following modifications to the horn:

The high C "warbled," and was fixed by removing a spacer between the left first-finger "B" key and the front "F" mechanism, giving it a little more room over the tone hole.

The metal ring at the mouthpiece end of the neck was filed down a bit, to allow me to push in my mouthpiece a little further. My mouthpiece seems to have a smaller "bore" than most, but after this change was made, it plays great! Hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
maestroelite said:
May I ask why you don't play the Yani if it plays better in tune? Other issues?
In the end I didn't like the Yani's tone as well. My concept is the Selmer sound, and the Yani does not quite get there, the Selmer seems fuller, richer. Also, while going through some duets with my teacher, I couldn't blend as well; switching to the Selmer was significantly better.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Grumps said:
It has been generalized elsewhere that the post 500K II's are brighter horns than the earlier ones. That's also about when the III came out. What's your take on that after trying all those II's?

Grumps-I'm not sure how valuable this will be, I'm certainly no expert.

1. There is an extreme amount of variability in the horns. This is to be expected, but the difference was vast. The horns were not set up perfectly, but this dealer has a huge inventory, and I'm sure does final set up before shipping to customers.

2. The 600+ serial numbers were very bright-they were both 660+ I think, I didn't like them at all. (My Series III was a 597)

3. The older horns had very cupped pearls which I did'nt like.

4. The 430-500 sn seem to have the best tone for classical.

In the end I picked a NOS 587xxx that Mark had got from a small music store. It is in brand new condition, excluding a weird blemish on the bell, and some minor surface scratches. No acid bleed, no lacquer wear. This was the best of the bunch, my teacher (the REAL deal) would have bought it if she had the funds. My only complaint is that I like the Series III metal thumbhook much better than the Series II plastic. I think I was very fortunate.

Oh, I did also play a relaquered SBA...if only...
 

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rdf2 said:
Oh, I did also play a relaquered SBA...if only...
Funny you mention that. I had my relacquered SBA alto with me when I tested a bunch of new Selmers years ago. I found the II closest to it overall. The classical players do seem to go for those pre-500K horns. They must have the same impressions you did.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The SBA had a wonderful sound, but I didn't like the keywork. I should have added that I liked the III's ergos better than the II, but the II was the better horn overall.

I'll repeat what I mentioned earlier, that even though the III's and Ref's are getting all of the attention, the II's are just as good, and by no means a second line horn as some seem to believe.
 

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My series II alto 434xxx was so stuffy I couldn't get the top end to play worth anything and the horn did seem overly dark. I switched out the II neck for a III copper neck and started using a NY Meyer copy mouthpiece. I wasn't after a classical tone, I wanted my alto to have some zip and zing and the III neck gave that to me. Intonation is very good with no quirky notes that I've found and altissimo is much much easier with the III neck. It made the horn very free blowing.
 

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One of the best altos I've ever had was a 401XXX Series II. Should have kept it.

Heath, I don't mean to hijack this thread, but did you post up your impressions of that Ref 54 tenor that you got some months back? I've been away for a while and may have missed it.
 

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I can't remember if I really laid it all out on the table as far as the Ref 54 tenor review. I've probably mentioned that I like the horn quite a bit. I've been using it exclusively since I set it up awhile back. To tell you the truth I've been swapping necks on the 54. The stock neck works fine, but I've been using my ponzol neck and I'm actually expecting a Barone Bronze neck that I'll get fitted to it as well. Reason for neck swap is my uncontrollable fetish with altissimo. The bigger bore of the ponzol, higher arch whatever does allow me to get along a little easier in the extended range. None of this is necessary to get the high notes to pop out, but I can get the high notes with the ponzol to speak a little more clearly, I'm hoping the Barone might do the same. I've been on an obsessive mission lately to get a more fluid full 3 1/2 octave range. It can drive me crazy and I'm sure it does my next door neighbors as well, which probably explains the reason they put a for sale sign in front of their house a few weeks ago.
 
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