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· Distinguished SOTW Technician
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Okay, here's what I have discovered in the course of playing hundreds of 6m's.
The 6m's with the tuner neck play better. I don't know why and I don't care. I'm not an acoustician, I'm a player and repairman. There is a caveat though. You have to push the mouthpiece all the way in and use the tuner neck to tune the horn (like Bailey says). Pulling the mouthpiece in and out on the cork does not have the same result.
I first discovered this when I did an alto job with the Brian Setzer Orchestra (I play mostly tenor) and they wanted me to play lead on one tune in particular (I don't remember why). The alto I'd been playing at that time was a beautiful 277xxx 6m with the "New York" neck (No tuner). A friend in Pittsburgh (where the gig was) was interested in a silver 6m (283xxx) I had for sale. It had the tuner neck.
I decided to take the silver horn to Pittsburgh, play it on the gig and, if he wanted to buy it, sell it to him and come home without it.
Not being an altoist, I took my lead alto responsibility very seriously. I practiced on that silver 6m day and night. I worked quite a bit on intonation also, sitting at the piano for hours matching pitches. In the process of all this practice, I experiminted with tuning using the old method (put tuner all the way in and pull in or out on the cork) and the method for which the tuner was intended–– push the mouthpiece on as far as it will go and use the tuner to tune. The results amazed me because I had always thought that the tuner was "jive." I assumed it was an experiment that failed because no other company ever made a tuner neck. If it was a good idea everybody would copy it, eh Selmer?
To make a long story was easier to play in tune and it sounded better when I used the tuner neck. You may all posit theories as to why this is so but, being a practical sort of guy, it doesn't really matter to me WHY the 6m's with the tuner neck play better, they just do.
In Pittsburgh my friend bought the horn, I returned to Boston and sold my beautiful 277xxx and got one with the tuner neck. The gig was nice, especially the well-endowed girl in the front row pulling her shirt up.
And we lived happily ever after.
Disclaimer: this should not be construed to mean the "New York" model horns don't play good, they do. For those looking for a brighter sound they may even be preferable to the "tuner neck" 6m's. But for me, the tuner neck rules. Dude
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