Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I would really appreciate some insight. I’m the parent of a college performance major in classical saxophone. My son has a gold lacquer Selmer and has been talking about getting a silver neck for a darker tone. I would appreciate understanding how beneficial is the investment. Obviously, not cheap so I wanted to understand if this is something that aspiring performers do at this stage or later on? I do not have a musical ear, is this something that really improves the sound? I’ve never seen someone perform with a gold lacquer sax with a silver neck, is that unusual? Thanks for your help.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,889 Posts
There is no base to think that a silver neck would give your son a “ darker tone”

It’s a much debated theme with not base whatsoever in any acoustics.

Posting the same question in different areas of the forum is against the rules and serves no purpose,

You asked once and that suffices
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,027 Posts
Sorry to be bearer of "bad news", but the finish or plating on the outside of the neck has no effect whatever on the soundwave inside or its harmonics. There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence by saxophone players and manufacturers that the plating makes a difference in the brightness or darkness of the sound, but there exists no credible evidence to back that up.

To pursue a "darker tone" which in most cases means fewer high overtones and a strong fundamental one needs to find a mouthpiece with a larger and rounder chamber that lacks a baffle of any sort. In my classical playing I have found that the Rousseau 5R helps to facilitate my "concept" of sound. Rico Reserve Classic reeds have a cut that helps to achieve that concept sound for me---may now be called D'addario now. Using a thick mouthpiece patch helps, not by absorbing the vibrations of the mouthpiece, but by helping to open the teeth. Lastly from the French school of playing as espoused by Marcel Mule at the Paris Conservatory one can use a "donut" mute. This works on the acoustic principle that the higher harmonics (above F#3) go past the open toneholes and straight out the bell. This mute tends to dampen those frequencies while allowing the lower frequencies to pedominate. The pictures below show how the mutes are constructed and how they are placed inside the bell.

View attachment 223200 View attachment 223202
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,453 Posts
First some background; typically when we say 'silver neck', we're talking about a Sterling silver neck. These have always been viewed as premium upgrades for any sax. Selmer and Yanagisawa have in the past decade really delved into silver, making not only necks but whole saxes of Sterling as well as most any combination such as silver neck and bell (like a King Super 20) for example.
Then you have the brass neck which is silver plated. These are included with silver-plated saxes, of course, but sometimes they will be used on lacquered saxes because the player just happened to find the neck he liked and it happened to be silver-plated - like Michael Brecker for example. It is not unheard-of for a Sterling neck to be gold-lacquered but this is exceptionally rare today because if you're going to pay the premium for a silver neck, you don't want to paint it 'gold'.
To the question, I would say a college student of the saxophone should have a professional instrument with a good neck. Chances are the neck on his Selmer is a good one. If the neck should need replacing, maybe it would be okay to try a silver neck but it is not necessarily going to change his tone. It could give a 'clearer' sound and smoother response. With any neck change one of the most important things is to thoroughly check out the intonation of the combination before getting excited about how it plays - it may not be possible to use it. New saxes at Selmer are played before shipping and sometimes necks are swapped for various reasons. Having a Selmer with its original undamaged neck has some merit and it might be difficult to find a 'better' neck for it no matter whether its silver or brass.
If this player wants a 'darker tone' he should concentrate on playing darker. Frequently the mouthpiece will be changed for this reason much more so than the neck, but that opens up another whole 'can of worms'.
 

·
Formerly mdavej
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
Snake oil. Change your reed, mouthpiece, throat/mouth shape, air stream angle, etc. or get one of those mute thingys. Now if you want to buy your son a silver neck because he wants something new and shiny and you want to make him happy, buy it by all means. But if he's really only interested in changing his sound, there are much more effective and cheaper ways to do it. Problem is that it's almost impossible to talk a believer in snake oil out of buying that snake oil. But you can in this case since you hold the purse strings. Once he's out of school and making his own living, he can buy all the necks he wants. For now, a neck is not going to make or break his degree or future career.

BTW, I used to play a King Super 20 with a silver neck and sounded pretty much exactly like I do (quite bright because of my mouthpiece and playing style) on every other sax I've ever played with various non-silver necks. But that King sure was a beauty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,073 Posts
Etobin, what has his saxophone teacher said? Did his professor suggest a silver neck and you have come here for a second opinion of sorts. That would be exactly like having a doctor tell you that you have cancer and then coming to an online medical forum full of non doctors for their opinion. (Not webMD, a medical forum). Or did your son just say he wants a silver neck because he heard it is darker? These are two very different things.

Yes, he is likely referring to Sterling silver that comes at a very high cost which is likely why you are asking. Sterling silver is *supposed* to make the sound darker and silver plated is *supposed* to make it brighter. So don’t mix these two up.

I would say the biggest things to consider are what school your son is attending and what the teacher has suggested. Most college professors have their students best interest in mind and have a lot of knowledge and experience.

In general, sterling silver neck players use them for something they perceive to get out of it musically. If they just wanted a pretty color they would just get silver plating at half the cost or less.

People need more info to give better information.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top