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Discussion Starter #1
What's the big deal with neck pull-down?

So I know that a neck that has never been pulled down is better than one that has, but I've played on some necks that have been repaired and I really don't notice any difference. If you look at the marketplace and the questions you get when selling a horn, whether or not the neck has been pulled down always seems like it's the main dealbreaker right behind lacquer. I'm just curious to hear if you think it's really a big deal or not. (there is no right answer here, just thought it would be an interesting discussion)
 

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My impression was that if the neck had been bent and repaired, the strength was compromised. *Google search* It's called metal fatigue (thanks Google). Bending metal weakens it.

I do not know how repair techs fix the issue, if they do anything to counteract this fatigue. Someone more knowledgeable than I can help (and probably will).
 

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My impression was that if the neck had been bent and repaired, the strength was compromised. *Google search* It's called metal fatigue (thanks Google). Bending metal weakens it.

I do not know how repair techs fix the issue, if they do anything to counteract this fatigue. Someone more knowledgeable than I can help (and probably will).
If that's what Google says, it's very disappointing. Fatigue is repeated loading - emphasis on "repeated". Copper alloys will work harden during initial deformation. If the tech hits the affected zone with a torch, then it may be weaker.

I would be more concerned whether the neck is properly restored to its initial geometry.
 

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If that's what Google says, it's very disappointing. Fatigue is repeated loading - emphasis on "repeated". Copper alloys will work harden during initial deformation. If the tech hits the affected zone with a torch, then it may be weaker.

I would be more concerned whether the neck is properly restored to its initial geometry.
Thanks Doc.
 

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A pull-down is a big deal because the original shape of the neck has been changed and it now has a kink in it where the bore is at least ovate instead of being round. If it has been repaired, the work-hardening mentioned above changes the response of the brass - the neck was originally annealed. The result is the neck will be devalued which in turn devalues the sax, because the careful buyer knows he will have to find another neck for it. This is always a crap shoot because all necks are different. This is another reason why Vintage Selmers in original shape without that kind of damage are so valuable.
 

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A pull-down is a big deal because the original shape of the neck has been changed and it now has a kink in it where the bore is at least ovate instead of being round. If it has been repaired, the work-hardening mentioned above changes the response of the brass - the neck was originally annealed.
The neck was originally hammered to shape. Do we KNOW that it was annealed after forming to final shape? Regardless, it can be annealed again. I wonder whether the respected neck techs - Mark Aronson and Randy Jones come to mind - anneal the necks after restoring them to shape.

But yes, it won't be original.

P.S. This is one matter where stress relief via cryo processing is appropriate.
 

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It doesn't seem to be holding Seamus Blake back. Somebody should email him so he knows he should be obsessing over his equipment instead of playing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If that's what Google says, it's very disappointing. Fatigue is repeated loading - emphasis on "repeated". Copper alloys will work harden during initial deformation. If the tech hits the affected zone with a torch, then it may be weaker.

I would be more concerned whether the neck is properly restored to its initial geometry.
I agree with Dr. G on this one. As long as it doesn't get pulled down over and over a one time fix shouldn't be bad if it's put back to the right shape. I had one VI neck that I sent to tenor madness to be straightened out and it came back playing and looking great. The tech said they have a special guide tool for correcting this. Of course it will never be as good as it was originally, but close enough to where it doesn't necessarily ruin the horn or neck in my opinion.

I agree with Grumps' point as well that with all else being equal, a pull-down will negatively affect the selling price of the horn/neck.
 

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First, thanks to 1saxman for 'ovate'. I've been looking for the correct language when discussing pulled down necks. I have/had a few. Then, it seems to me that forming that ovoid shape meets the definition of a parabolic bore.

I've also heard rumors from older guys down here in Fl - which we know is a pretty strange place anyway - necks were intentionally pulled down and thought to play better.

Of the few I've had, not including my Mark 6, the horns had been professionally overhauled/relac'd. Both look to have been corrected to the proper angle but the ovaling remains. While it wasn't possible to compare to saxes with round bore necks, the ovals played fine.

My pulled down m6 original neck can and has been compared to other Selmers and always come in as a strong player. While it shows pull down and a dramatically ovaled shape, it shows no signs of wear or damage that I've seen on others. I leave it as is.
 

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Several years back I posed the question to acoustic researcher Antoine Lefebvre who was a member at that time whether or not "pull down" would have an acoustic effect upon how the saxophone plays. His answer was a bit surprising to me, and that was the oval shape would make no difference to the soundwave, but the reduced volume would have an effect. Those who would like to read his complete answer can go to this link. https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...he-soundwave&p=1671185&viewfull=1#post1671185
 

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Re: What's the big deal with neck pull-down?

So I know that a neck that has never been pulled down is better than one that has, but I've played on some necks that have been repaired and I really don't notice any difference. If you look at the marketplace and the questions you get when selling a horn, whether or not the neck has been pulled down always seems like it's the main dealbreaker right behind lacquer. I'm just curious to hear if you think it's really a big deal or not. (there is no right answer here, just thought it would be an interesting discussion)
A: Nothing.

You are right....and I find it quite silly that a horn when the majority of buyers come across a neck with some pulldown, or one where the seller has done the proper and honest thing and noted it has been repaired...people run for the hills waving their arms frantically; or more ridiculously, demand significant reductions in the listed price.

It is in the vast majority of cases one of the most straightforward, simple repairs a tech can make. Note: I didn't say easy. JUst not complicated. Also usually not very expensive.
And any argument that the repaired neck is somehow compromised is, 90% of the time, bull. Matter of fact, if memory serves I believe there are a number of threads suggesting anectodal evidence/opinion that a worked-on neck actually sounds/blows better.

It is one of the things buyers try to latch onto, I think...while ignoring or being unaware of a litany of things which are far more important and far less visible. Many a more pertinent question to ask. Many more conditions one should be concerned about than pulldown.

It's the antithesis of "a big deal"....because it's easily corrected.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for sharing that saxoclese, good stuff! So what I'm gathering from the replies so far is that if a neck is pulled down, as long as its restored to deliver the same volume of air and the metal is strong enough to contain the force of the air, the horn will still play just as good as it did before.
 

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Thanks for sharing that saxoclese, good stuff! So what I'm gathering from the replies so far is that if a neck is pulled down, as long as its restored to deliver the same volume of air and the metal is strong enough to contain the force of the air, the horn will still play just as good as it did before.
Wha???

Of concern to me would be whether the neck is sufficiently strong to avoid recurring pulldown if used by the same person that caused it in the first place. Maybe a different brace is appropriate.

Ever seen the brace(s) on the J-K Kirk Whalum neck?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wha???

Of concern to me would be whether the neck is sufficiently strong to avoid recurring pulldown if used by the same person that caused it in the first place. Maybe a different brace is appropriate.

Ever seen the brace(s) on the J-K Kirk Whalum neck?
I guess I left out a key assumption - they are smart enough to learn their lesson and not do it again! I honestly don't know how people pull necks down in the first place. I've been playing tenor for 29 years now and I've put my horns through the ringer....middle school/high school/college band. Marching season, drunk season, jazz tours, gigs in bars....you name it, I've been there with my horn. The one I got fixed was already there when I bought the horn. I've even done corporate relocations to 4 states and 4 foreign countries on different continents with them packing the horn. I've never managed to pull a neck down on my own despite all that abuse to my horns.
 

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the neck is the most important part of the saxophone,after mouthpiece/reed/person.
damaging any part of the saxophone depresses the value.
neck pull down is the worst thing one can do to a saxophone,and i don't know how people do it,but i know lots of them do.
fixing a neck is not easy or simple,but on the odd occasion,it can be.
the neck is the most important part of the saxophone.
 

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I seriously doubt that "neck pulldown is the worst thing one can do to a saxophone". Seems to me that dropping it off the porch would be a lot worse.

First of all, it's a phrase that trips off the tongue and is easily used, so it gets involved in marketing easily (these things run in fads; I already see a lessening of the re-lacquer stigma, and I expect in 10 or 20 years it will have ceased to be an issue).

Secondly, the effect of bending the neck is unpredictable, and could be negative, so people generally feel it's better to avoid it. Never mind that the horn might even play better (see Dizzy Gillespie's account of the bent trumpet); it adds another unpredictable element to the evaluation of an instrument from a distance. Better, of course, to just play the thing.
 

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I guess I left out a key assumption - they are smart enough to learn their lesson and not do it again! I honestly don't know how people pull necks down in the first place...
I remember attending a saxophone clinic at the ‘72 Reno Jazz Festival where the clinician had a habit of taking off his Mk VI tenor while he was talking, setting the bell on the floor, and leaning on the neck as if it were a walking stick. I don’t recall whether he had anything useful to share, but the image of him leaning on his horn is forever in my mind.
 

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the neck is the most important part of the saxophone,after mouthpiece/reed/person.
damaging any part of the saxophone depresses the value.
neck pull down is the worst thing one can do to a saxophone,and i don't know how people do it,but i know lots of them do.
fixing a neck is not easy or simple,but on the odd occasion,it can be.
the neck is the most important part of the saxophone.
If I'm not mistaken, they pull down on the end of the neck while it is in the receiver. :) Some extreme bends are difficult to repair and make it look as if it never happened. That is a skill I hope to have someday, but I'm not there yet. To reverse a bend that is not severe is really quite simple. One makes or finds a dowel that fits snugly in the receiver and puts the end in a vice. Then pressure is exerted pulling up on the end of the neck while pressing in the sides of the bend using the thumb and forefinger. In other words, to fix a "pull down" you do a "pull up". ;)
 
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