Saxophone Forum


by SaxMan
(559 posts)
10 years ago

Played a reference alto today

I was talking to the boss today and he got the clue that I have sax fever once I talked about how after seeing his bass that I was fired up to get one again and a bunch of other saxes when he started telling me I should buy a bunch of stuff from him when he mentioned the ref...I just had to play it. I just happened to have my new york limited with me and some ZZ reeds, so I went back there, got it out, sat it on the counter, opened it up, and god that thing is just GEORGEOUS - probably the most beutiful horn I have ever seen - and I have seen a many few. I put it together, and played swing low. The sax was incredibly flexible, extremely rich and warm. The keyboard, beleive it or not, I found to be MORE comfortable than my series III, though it isn't the same as the VI keyboard before anyone goes down that road. I might just have to buy one of these one day. I was originally disgusted by miles' recording, but he must have some MAJOR issues!!! If anyone else has any other questions, post one.

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  1. by joles
    (3 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Played a reference alto today

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  2. by semipro
    (17 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Played a reference alto today

    Well, Let me start by saying that I am a Yamaha man by trade. I've been palying a Yammie 52 for 13 years. My sophomore year of college was my only Mark VI experience and to say that I hated it was an understatment. Having short fingers the left spatchula keys were much more comfortable on the Yamaha thatn the Mark VI. Well on the 7th of this month a frined of mine and I went to South Bend. He was in the market for a backup horn for his series III. While there I had the unfortunate oppurtunity to play a reference '54. I say unfortunate bcause I ame in LOVE with this horn. I played a series II and III. Still don't like the ergonomics or sound for that matter. I have read that the keywork is based on the series III but I found everything right where I would expect it on this horn. This is the best horn I have ever played. BTW I also tried the SX 90R in Black and the two Yamaha Customs 875EX and 82Z. If i had to rank them it would be the 1. Reference 54 2. Custom 875EX 3. Custom 82Z 4. SX 90R 5. Series II 6. Series III 7. Yamaha 52 No I don't think the reference 54 is a Mark VI and I thank god for it!

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    1. by SaxMan
      (559 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Played a reference alto today

      you can't just play one mark vI and say you know the mark VI. And, there isn't a signifficant enough of a difference in the III keyboard and the ref keyboard for it to be any problem. If the VI was a problem - the III would most certainly be less of a problem than the ref.

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      1. by golferguy675
        (600 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Played a reference alto today

        Yeah, went I went to highschool, there was a markVI and it sucked, it was just in bad condition. Saxman is right, just because you played a beat up one, or one that wasn't working right, doesn't mean you're right in saying Mark VIs are bad horns.

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    2. by semipro
      (17 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Played a reference alto today

      I know which is why I let you know that mi experience with the Mark VI was limitedf. Iknow that I am stepping on a sacred cow by saying that I don't like a Mark VI. I'm just saying it's not the horn for me.

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      1. by semipro
        (17 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Played a reference alto today

        By the way guys and Gals, I don't mean to imply that the horn was in bad shape it was not. I could not conform to the key placement of the spatchula keys and the D, E, F palm keys. Go to a music store that has both selmer Series II or III and and just place your hands on it. Then place your hands on a Yamaha 62. Most Selmer guys tell me that their hands are cramped on the Yamaha. Thet fit is Perfect for me.

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        1. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Played a reference alto today

          I have owned the III and 62II, and have played the II. They were all fine. I think you need to quit worrying about your fingers and worry about the horn. Adapting to different key tables does take time, but it happens. I don't really think you should base your purchase on how your fingers fit the keys, since that can be adjused relatively easily.

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        2. by semipro
          (17 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Played a reference alto today

          Saxman and Golferguy I agree that it doesn't take much time but for me a sax is a tool and it should be made with your comforts in mind and if you are not comfortable playing it, it is not the horn for you. That is just me. and no I did start on a selmer it was just that when I bought my new horn when I asked guys what i should buy. I was told there will be times when you will spend lots of time with this horn and if it is not comfortable it will make you want to quit. So get a horn from a reputable company that has a good tone that is comfortable in your hands. In the weeks that I had the 2 selmers (II and III) the Yamaha just felt more comfortable. I had to work like hell to get the tone I wanted but for me it was worth it and a journy I would gladly take again. The pain I experienced in my left hand with the Mark VI just wasn't fun.

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      2. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Played a reference alto today

        There hardly isn't a horn that puts your hand sin the wrong spot - other than yamahas. What yamaha has done is rotated the keys around the tube so you can play with the sax in front more comfortably which is wrong - sax should always be at the side. Brass instrument playing band directors have been pushing yamaha student models for years for some odd reason I cna tunderstand yet - probably because of the low price and the fact that it is a main stream instrument. Though, selmers new stuff is going to change that. but anyways, I am going to assume you have always played on a yamaha. you get used to onw thing then you cnat relearn it very good. I used ot have a hell of a time going back to my AS300 for the first time after summer, but I ahve os many saxes now that it isnt a problem anymore.

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    3. by Kitch22
      (98 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Played a reference alto today

      What sax do you own now? (-Edited for readability by Saxquest administration on 8/7/2004 2:36:44 PM)

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      1. by golferguy675
        (600 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Played a reference alto today

        I went to the last convention and got an unbelievable deal on two of them, and I couldn't pass it up. I talked to the president, he was showing all of the latest horns, and I got two references for 3700. The cases on those things are georgeous. But if I were to pay the full price for one (about 5 grand), then I think I would rather pick up a good Mark VI.

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        1. by mazedull
          (6 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Played a reference alto today

          you paid 3700 for 2. the gods smile on you that day, but thats about the price for one new one correct? five grand sounds a bit exorbitant. the ones ive seen have all been between 3700-4000 peace and love

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          1. by golferguy675
            (600 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Played a reference alto today

            I dunno, the ones tthat I have seen were around 5 grand. But the idea behind the reference series is to replicate the Mark VI. So I was saying, if they cost almost as much, why not pay a little more and get the real deal?

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        2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Played a reference alto today

          Saxman plays a Series III (since he hasn't had the time to answer yet) I have played a reference alto. Best alto I've ever played.

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          1. by sax_maniac
            (984 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Played a reference alto today

            I gotta say - as much as I absolutely love my silver III alto, there's a ref hanging on the wall at my local shop, and I am tempted to do a side by side before too long. But I am approaching the end of my gear-quest, so I don't know that I feel like teasing myself. Who am I kidding? I have to try it, and if I want it, I'll do what it takes to get it. It's all part of the sickness...

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            1. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Played a reference alto today

              I know how you feel saxmaniac..... I just found a solid silver series III with polished brass keys. This horn is a gem. I've tried probably 7 series IIIs, and disliked them all. They were to resistant, too dead, and to stuffy. This horn is AMAZING it's so vibrant and resonant, it just screams. The bad thing is it's just insanely expensive because of it being solid silver, but I can't stop thinking about buying it... I just don't have the money though, I have 4 different altos now, it's getting ridiculous. I'm going to sell one of those reference I got. I already found someone that will pay 3500 for it, and I got two for about that, so I'm making 100% profit! That's just a dent in the price of the series III though.

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            2. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Played a reference alto today

              I have never heard of a reference above 3750 - though what you got was a steal!!! How did you score that? were they the demo models at the show? i have found that good series III's are about 1 in 5, really phenominal ones like mine are 1 in 10. My teacher used to be the tester outer at the shop, and he says he has never seen any other series III play so good. My theory is that selmer accidentally sent me a clinician horn. But anyways the ref....I would say it is like the VI - on the contrary, it was quite different from the ref, but it did have some common characteristics, like the richness and flexibility. The keyboard like I said earlier is not the same as the ref, though I beleive that it is a combination of the VI and the III keyboard.

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            3. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Played a reference alto today

              Yeah, since the Series IIIs are handmade, not one is alike. I've found ones that are plain terrible, and I've found ones that play amazing. I got those refs at the last NAMM conference. The Selmer president was there at the showcase showing off all the new stuff, and he cut me a great deal.

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            4. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Played a reference alto today

              Yeah, they were demos set up on the glass, which is actually what you want. They make the demos extra good so when you play it you really want to buy one. Well, I bought them before they were even played, so after I bought the two, they just put another two out.

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            5. by SelmerParisPassion
              (59 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Played a reference alto today

              I played a reference once when an instrument dealer friend brought one by. I prefer the Series III still, but it's a close second. i found the f# keys on the side uncomfortable.. what is up with the small round dot button? Ugh. If I got a Reference, I'd also definitely get tighter springs put on... I love the snappy spring action... but I guess that's just me.. Christie J.

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            6. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Played a reference alto today

              They based the ref keyboard off of the III keyboard, but mixed a bit of mark VI key setup characteristics into the mix - that dot is one of them. My series III used to be reall stiff, and at first I prefered it, but ti started ot give my wirsts problems so I had it stiffened a little - makes the notes a little cleaner. I would actually prefer to have kept it stiff, but my wrists were bothering me. the ref was a little soft for my tastes too, but it would only be a simple matter of having the dealer tighten it up free of charge, as stuff like that is covered under the warantee.

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