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· Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
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Many folks know that I see current neck-swapping trends to be mostly financially driven by marketers. But it may surprise some to know that I don't play the original neck on my Buescher True Tone alto, though I still have it in my possession. Like many that love their vintage True Tone altos, I came across the common intonational quirks that have always lessened the magic. Workable however, but I'd read long ago that the next model after the True Tone, the New Aristocrat, was pretty much a True Tone with neck choices for better intonation. So when I found an ebay auction for a spray painted Aristocrat 01 alto neck that wasn't advertised as same, I bit. Suffice it to say, that after promising initial results, I had the neck stripped, re-plated and fit to match my horn. No different sound. No different vibe. Just better intonation, as designed by the maker, Buescher.

The old thread with more detail for those seeking same can be found here:
Buescher 1 01: Neck Trial w/ TT | Sax on the Web Forum
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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38,341 Posts
Many folks know that I see current neck-swapping trends to be mostly financially driven by marketers. But it may surprise some to know that I don't play the original neck on my Buescher True Tone alto, though I still have it in my possession. Like many that love their vintage True Tone altos, I came across the common intonational quirks that have always lessened the magic. Workable however, but I'd read long ago that the next model after the True Tone, the New Aristocrat, was pretty much a True Tone with neck choices for better intonation. So when I found an ebay auction for a spray painted Aristocrat 01 alto neck that wasn't advertised as same, I bit. Suffice it to say, that after promising initial results, I had the neck stripped, re-plated and fit to match my horn. No different sound. No different vibe. Just better intonation, as designed by the maker, Buescher.
I imagine they could have instead made a neck with a different sound and bad intonation, and called it a Selmer, but that was already taken.
 

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SBS311 Bari, ProOne Soprano
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41 Posts
I have seen some people in other high schools with different necks on their saxes. I’m curious about what it exactly changes. Does it make as big of an impact as getting a different mouthpiece?? Or is it smaller? And what are the perks of getting a different neck? It obviously changes depending on the sax and neck. I’m not planning on buying one or anything I just want to know.
It's especially apparent during marching season, but don't let those fancy-silver necks get to you! It's either the neck was just terrible or broken, or a gimmick. It definitely felt like I was left out when I saw those in other bands but just let those feelings pass if you get them.
 

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It always puzzled me how an arbitrary shaped/size removable section of tubing obtained special status over the rest of the horn. It can be short, long, curved, straight, bent, non-removable, yet it's treated as if it's as critical as a mouthpiece. Sax could have just as well designed a goose neck for an alto, or moved the tenon up or down several inches, or made it un-removable entirely, yet the end result is the same, a conical tube with a fixed slope to match the rest of the horn.

Sure, if it's designed badly, it's going to produce a different timbre or bad intonation. But if it's designed for the horn it's going to work and sound just fine. Tweak it a little, and the response changes a little, but not near as much as a different mouthpiece, reed or embouchure from the player changes. For those whom a different neck makes a big difference, I can only say that the neck it replaced was defective on some level to begin with.
 

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400 Posts
It always puzzled me how an arbitrary shaped/size removable section of tubing obtained special status over the rest of the horn. It can be short, long, curved, straight, bent, non-removable, yet it's treated as if it's as critical as a mouthpiece. Sax could have just as well designed a goose neck for an alto, or moved the tenon up or down several inches, or made it un-removable entirely, yet the end result is the same, a conical tube with a fixed slope to match the rest of the horn.

Sure, if it's designed badly, it's going to produce a different timbre or bad intonation. But if it's designed for the horn it's going to work and sound just fine. Tweak it a little, and the response changes a little, but not near as much as a different mouthpiece, reed or embouchure from the player changes. For those whom a different neck makes a big difference, I can only say that the neck it replaced was defective on some level to begin with.
So, are you arguing that all saxes are the same? Because they're just conical tubes, right?

Clearly they aren't, there are differences in the shape of the cone that matter (among other things of course). And once you accept that, it's also obvious that the shape of the cone closest to the source of sound production has the greatest impact, and also affects every note (as opposed to the shape of the cone in the bell, for example).

Anyway, gear is less important than skill, we all know that, and focusing too much on it is counterproductive. But I do find it odd that people who have no problem recommending horns that cost 4-8k USD will be so critical of trying out necks that generally cost more than an order of magnitude less and make up about 50% of the timbre, response, intonation of the saxophone.
 
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