Being that I recently visited Saxplayer1 and listened to him play his silver plated 82Z and Ref 36 I'll throw in my two cents. That particular Z sounded the most Mark VI like of any modern tenor sax I have ever heard including a few Ref 54s I have recently tried and if I were blind folded and had to guess what he was playing before I saw it, I would have guessed it was a Mark VI.
As far as the 82Z and Ref 36 were concerned it would be more a matter of preference in sound and feel vs. one is better than the other IMO. The 82Z being a more focussed and centered tone with a very good ring to it, the Ref36 more spread and a bit darker than the 82Z. It had the usual selmer ring to the tone and leaned more toward a vintage "type" of sound, very nice horn in my view. Both tenors were played using a JJ DV mouthpiece and would say it matched up very well with both of them, I have really not cared for the darker mouthpieces on the 36.
I can see why there are players in different camps on these: Ref54, Ref36, 82Z.
Well, think about how this will concern your sound. I have a naturally bright sound, so I seem to enjoy playing Yamahas more, beacuse I feel like they facilitate that sound better. I have tried a few Mark VIs with satisfactory resultys, but it was too husky for my style and provided too much resistance so my sound didn't 'pop' out of the horn as much. So, if you have a naturally darker sound, go for the Reference 54, and to facilitate a brighter tone, go Yamaha (Unlaquered w/o high F#).
Hey guys, I'm just having some fun. It's great to stir up controversy every now and then. I personally prefer the 36 over the 54 for it's added richness and depth. The Silver Z I own, which Tony is referring to was a "drop in the store for some reeds, mess with some horns while I was there, and suddenly, I stood speechless syndrome like an idiot absolutely floored" since I was never a real Yamaha fan. But as Tony said, this "Z was the most MK VI like of any modern tenor I've ever heard," seriously the closest to a good MK VI I've ever come accross, a tenor on steriods if you will, so impulsively I bought it. It was so different over the lacquered models I tried that day, so perhaps I found a Yamaha jewel. No regrets in buying this horn. It's awesome, lightning fast and responsive. You can do stuff on this horn other horns will resist. My view of Yamaha's has changed.
Other then that, aside from my old 65 MK VI, the Ref. 36 and Silver Z are some of the best tenors I've ever played, and I've played and owned a lot of them. Love you guys and appreciate your shared experiences & comments.
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