Saxophone Forum


by sax_maniac
(984 posts)
10 years ago

Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

Well, I just took the Pepsi Challenge (with the blindfold off - anyone know what I'm talking about?) I played the Ref vs. my silver plate III and a standard lacquered III. I played both a vintage LT and a Vandoren JJ A55. The Ref played only slightly warmer than my III (which plays brightly anyhow) and played about identical to the lacquered III. So close to the lacquered III that I'd say that there was no noticeable difference as a player tone-wise. I swapped necks between the horns and didn't notice any difference at all. The tenons are the same size but the III neck was a bit longer with the octave pip slightly closer to the mouthpiece. High A rang nice and clear on both the Ref and the III. Maybe it's because I'm used to it, but I like the III's keywork much better. The high E on the III has a little bit of a lip to it which I've come to rely upon, apparently. The Ref high E is flat as the palm keys are below it. I also like the larger plafrom of the III RH pinky table. The LH pinky table played the same between the two as far as I could tell. And I'll attest that the III's middle C# tonehole most certainly DOES make a difference. The Ref's C# had that hint of flatness to it but was better than I've experienced on other horns I've played. Maybe Selmer's C# tonehole is specifically for some inherent flaw in their bore design or something. The lacquered III had a touch less brightness, but nothing terribly significant. It wasn't dull by any means. I like the feel of unlacquered horns, so silver works for me. Maybe colored lacquer dulls things to a noticeable amount, but standard lacquer vs. unlacquered or silver plate is simply a matter of appearance and upkeep in my opinion. So I'll gladly keep my III for now. I just wish they had a Yamaha 82Z or 875EX to try out. When I get the chance, it will be Iron Chef time. Who knows - maybe the III will go up for sale. BTW, I absolutely hated the Cannonball. Looks pretty but plays like shit. Better off with a YAS23 than with a Cannonball. At least Yamahas play in tune. I was very impressed (once again) with the Accent brand horn. Their soprano is from Taiwan (a great horn for the price), and their alto is out of Germany and is, too, an outstanding horn though not as cost competitive as their soprano.

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Replies

  1. by SaxMan
    (559 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

    We sell A LOT more series III's than references, the tone is bigger, tuning better, it isnt as ugly, it isnt as expensive, it plays better and is more comfortable.


    1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
      (767 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

      I thought you were most impressed with the Ref Alto before?


      1. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

        [I thought you were most impressed with the Ref Alto before?] I don't remeber, but I'm still not impressed with him. So it really dosn't matter. =)


        1. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          My III is up for sale - not on account of coming across the Ref, by the way. I absolutely love my III - it's just that it's replaceable and the cash would come in handy right now. Guess that's the one thing about a modern issue. You can always get another one - at least they're easier to replace. It's not like trying to replace an SBA that's worth crying over... And who knows. Maybe my next kick-ass alto will be a Yamaha or Yani. There's a mint early 80's YAS-23 I can choose to obtain at any moment. That would be very Zen to find peace in a YAS-23, wouldn't it?


        2. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Oh alto...right. Well we still havent sold the ref we have yet, but its a really nice horn. I wouldnt pick it over a III, but im a classical player. I would like to have one soem day though.


        3. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Selmer Reference 54 vs. "vintage" YAS-23 (alto)

          Ok. Check me into the looney bin, call a doctor, call a priest... I set up and tweaked the YAS-23 this weekend. Practiced a bit and used it at church yesterday. I'm going to make this 23 my main horn and sell the Selmer III. I played a new 23 in a local shop last year and didn't like the way it felt or sounded at all. I was embarassed for Yamaha. This old one I've got is a different animal. Don't know if it's the 'ol "dont make 'em like they used to" thing or what. Maybe it's the one really large key guard that covers all the bell keys. You can fit a bumper sticker on that thing! I've got awesome pictures if anyone wants to see the 23. They were done by a professional photographer. I've also got pictures of my III now. Yeah - the III is incredible and all, but for what I do musically, it's like using a Ferarri to deliver pizzas. I think that the III made me sound better than I really was (if that makes any sense) and it helped me get back into the habit of playing more often. Now that I'm back into the swing of things, All I really need is my tried and true mouthpieces and a well set-up horn to make me happy, apparently.


        4. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          ------------------------------------------------------ Oh alto...right. ------------------------------------------------------ You were talking about Tenors initially? Here I would have to agree. Selmer's so called Mark VI copy was among the least favorite tenor's I've played. The funny thing is, wasn't the SA 80 a Mk VI copy, and the series II, as well? To say nothing of the overtures I've heard about the Series III being a copy of the vaunted mark VI, and what about the early Yanagisawas and the YAS-62? Weren't they heralded by their makers as Mk VI copies? The Mark VI is an advertising boogieman, and I'm not sure they really ever existed. :D


        5. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Yeah, i was messed up. I wouldnt know if the SA 80 was a copy or not, I just heard it kind of sucked. I am sure the II and III IS NOT a copy, because neither play anything remotely like the VI other than the selmer core sound. Maybe they were designed to look similair to it...like the key guards, but other than that, I cant find a similarity between the II, III and the VI. The 62 was a joke, and overly bright monstrosity that has a life of about 25 years unless you take precarious care of it. The yanagisawas actually resembled the VI in some fashion.


        6. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Due to the variation on Mark VI's, it's holy grail reputation is a testament to it's marketing moreso than it's manufacture. And now there's horns that claim to be Yani copies, so where does it all end? Let me offer some further rhetorical questions - (that means don't bother answering them if you are a "know-it-all'). Was the Mark VI design based on the SBA or was it delivered by the aliens that brought us the pyramids? What modern horn will be admired 50 years from now? Will a Selmer III sell for $35,000 in 2050? What modern horns do non-endorsing professionals prefer? Some people take pride in their '58 Chevy. I'd rather be driving a Z06.


        7. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Not to turnt his into a Chevy thread...but the Z06s are over rated. The 70's stingray styles and the 60's hatchbacks are way better.


        8. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Damn right golfer. those new pieces of junk are unbecoming of domestic engineering.


        9. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          While the Stingray styling will always be my favorite (it's the hips, man. the HIPS!) , you can't possibly say that the old Vettes are a better car overall - unless you don't care about performance, ride, handling, etc. Hmmmm... a parallel with regard to saxophones, perhaps??? "They don't make 'em like they used to." (Thank God)... And SaxMan, I'll be sure to pass along your objective review to the Chief Engineer. Maybe your inspiring comments about his award winning "pieces of junk" will drive him to make the next C even greater. But I'm guessing you've driven neither and are once again rectally extracting your opinion.


        10. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          those new monstrosities turn out 450. the ZL1 does 6-700. actually I have driven both, the 73 was a friends that I drove down the street - didnt know how to shift then - it had rubber in all 4 gears. I drove a 2000 piece of junk - that was at a dealership - a friend of mines dad owned it, it wasnt anything compared to the 73. heck, an ls6 puts out 450, you could EASILY push that to 2000, I would be surprised if you could press a modern corvet to 1200. please do, maybe they will start to fix them - theyve slightly fixed the camero, but they have a long way to go.


        11. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Don't forget to turn off the traction control. That's what I love about my SRX - a minivan that can smoke the tires and pull over .8g "They've slightly fixed the Camaro?" Too bad - they haven't been in production for a couple years now. The GTO from Holden should make RWD folks happy, though it's not much to look at. Oh. Sorry. Saxophones.... Kind of a "driver's car" similar to a "player's horn"


        12. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          Yup, Camaros, Firebirds, and Trans Ams have been out of production since 2002.....cryin shame Rectally Extracting??? Never heard it put it quite that before... @_@


        13. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Selmer Reference 54 vs. Selmer III (alto)

          similair? not really.