Saxophone Forum


by millstenor
(1 post)
10 years ago

Serie III... premature wear

Hey, I heard recently from a college saxophone professor that the Selmer Serie III Alto is getting a reputation for falling apart and wearing quickly. He made it sound almost as serious as a recall issue. Has anyone else heard this?

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  1. by SaxMan
    (559 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Serie III... premature wear

    Ask him if he learned this from a dealership that deals exclusively in yamaha. Yamaha is always touting this yamahas are rugged and selmers are destined to fall apart, but actually, this is the antithesis. Of all the major manufacturers, yamaha is the most pansy, lacking bell braces, cheap pads, thinner softer metals and more plastic than there should be. Selmers are the most durable of the 4. I have had my III for nearly 3 years now. the III has only been in production for about 4.5. there is nothing wrong with it other than 3 of the point screws keep backing out halfway, which isnt from wear - its from something else. and after about 2 years, it NEVER went out of adjustment. I mean, if I go some where for a few weeks and dont play it, itll need either some heavy playing or adjustment - like any sax. And instrument manufacturers dont recall - Yamaha let yamalloy out on all of their instruments. It was used for quite a while on the saxes, untill production started to dwindle due to the disgraceful corrosion issues. They kept using it on their brass instruments untill recently - I have never seen a single nasty valve on any respectable trumpet, but I have seen my share of really nasty yamaha valves. Their new metal is a lot better, but still kind of sucks - it can take a small amount of neglect, but not much. Selmer let their VII go for 5 years, and never recalled it. etc.

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    1. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Serie III... premature wear

      Just out of curiosity Saxman, what are the standard pads in the Custom Yamahas? I had mine professionaly setup before I even played it, so I don't know. Also, I had doubts about the missing bell braces in the new Customs...thought it might have just been a cost cutter. I actually played someone's old 875 with the brace, and the EX does play easier without it, so it wasn't a totally bad thing.

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      1. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Serie III... premature wear

        Its some non standard pad with REALLY thin cardboard on the back - about the same cardboard used on those manilla folders, except white. The pad itself is also rather rediculously thin - .160 instead of the standard 165 the leather is also a really thin, brittle leather - you can tear it quite easily with your fingers - not to say that there is a pad that you cant tear, but it tears almost as easily as paper - nicer pads take a little effort to tear. I think that when you had it setup - the tech probably opened the key heights a little - most techs these days go in and screw with everything imagineable which particularly torques me off on vintage instruments - also, your friends 875 might have had a few leaks - the yamahas arent like selmers, they will only play worse and worse and worse - with the selmers, it takes quite a bit before you can tell its leaking other than the left pinky notes. I also find that my conns play good witha bunch of leaks - my C melody leaks like a siv and it plays like a million bucks - the pads have been all but drowned in neatsfoot oil and wont reaseat - theyre too siff, and the 80 year old shellac behind them is too old. Ferees makes a replacement pad for the yamahas, I beleive, that I imagine is superior - they made the pads for selmer for about 45 years and only stopped recently. I think I will go check my catalogue in a bit and post the pad number if there is one.

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        1. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Serie III... premature wear

          Sorry, I laid down in my bed for "a couple" minutes - don't sleep much anymore, and it turned into, untill a few minutes ago. I might have been wrong about the pad thickness, now that I think of it, I put .160 pads in my truetone so that I could manipulate them more - the .305 pads arent made anymore so I kind of had to lay them just ever so up on the edge of the cup to get them right, though standard I do beleive to be .185. (Which, btw above, ".165" shoudl have been .185.) Ferees makes a few of the really thin pads - a few different styles and 2 different grades.

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      2. by sax_maniac
        (984 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Serie III... premature wear

        Yeah. That sounds like marketing horseshit. When I was shopping around for pianos years back, the Yamaha people gave horror stories about why they wouldn't carry Petrof pianos anymore. Like they were playing one and a key arm broke or some BS like that. And then I talk to several professional players who have a Petrof at home and they say that they wish there were Petrofs on the stage instead of Yamahas. Beware the lore.

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        1. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Serie III... premature wear

          Ok. Now that I've said that, I'll add that I don't like how Selmer is mounting their corks. They must be using some peel and stick junk or something. Within the first week of playing mine, I had to remount several corks, which is not a big deal, but still comes as a dissapointment when you spend $3000 on a horn and then proceed to play like a hack because the horn's not right. It was particularly embarrasing when the C# slider cork came off during rehearsal (unknown to me) and all of the sudden all my notes became total crap during a soli passasge. (My mistake to not break it in before going public, but I was just too excited to leave it at home.) My blue "S" paint got kind of flaky, too. What's with that? Having crossed that bridge, I still think that the III's are awesome horns. As good as Refs without the price hype - er - I mean "hike". Now if posts were falling off or something, I'd expect to hear about recalls.

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          1. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Serie III... premature wear

            I've never had any thing like that happen on mine except once. I had 2 concerts in one day, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. It was the middle of winter, and colder than usual - no more than 0 - more like -10. After the morning concert, we went to eat lunch real quick at a place we though was casual - but ti was semi formal and ended up being in there for over an hour and a half - all the time while my III is sitting out in the truck. after lunch we raced down to the second concert, I got my series III out - still cold and shit hit the fan. it was about 100 degrees in the auditerium with all the fat people breathing, and my sax was still about 20 degrees. being winter, luckily it was quite dry - outside the humidity is aobut 20 percent, but when you heat -10 - 0 degree weather up to a hundred degrees, it REALLY gets dry, so there was no condensation, but 3 corks fell off, my S cracked and I couldnt get the neck in as it had warmed up faster than the sax did - those corks werent glued on, I can see evidence of minute amounts of glue around the corks, but that temperature change was the thing. Do you humidify your sax by any chance? And did it come from wwbw? If I am not mistaken, wwbs's main ware house is in the desert - texas, and they dont appear to do ANY climate control. But anyways, I leave a humidifier in my case, and my pads seal better, they are quieter, the whole action is quieter and none of the corks are compressing a bit - it would also help with the falling off issue. The way I fixed my S was that I filled up a bowl with isopropol alchohol, took the octave key off and stuck it in the bowl just for an istant - the little bit of alchohol left melted the enamel, smoothed it out. Just had to hold it still for a LONG time while the alchohol evaoporates - might want to turn the ehat way up in a room or something.

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          2. by sax_maniac
            (984 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Serie III... premature wear

            No, my horn didn't come from WWBW. I got it from Mathew Aaron (saxforte). I never thought to humidify my horns, actually. I can see where that might help keep the pads in control, though I've never had a problem with that. My horns don't generally ever sit in extreme temperatures (either hot or cold) as they are either in my house or with me on my way to playing them somewhere. Nice trick with the alcohol. It's a shame that Selmer doesn't go the extra mile with their finishing touches. I guess their reputation has carried them through these little sorts of things, but the competition is on their tail, so they'll have to execute more than marketing hype (ala Reference series) to justify their price premium. At least the new owner of my III won't have to break it in and deal with any of these petty (yet still annoying) issues.

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          3. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Serie III... premature wear

            This story got em talking to a friend today, and I recomended him the alchohol thing, but he came up with a MUCH better idea. He put some alchohol ina hair spray bottle and tightened it WAY up so the mist was exceptionally fine and gave it a spritz every few minutes, just to smooth out the surface - didnt have to worry about rocking the octave mech back and forth for an hour while the enamel dried, he just sprayed it, set the sax on his stand and went off to his previous buisness.

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        2. by stutrane
          (15 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Serie III... premature wear

          I've been playing a Series III tenor for about 3-4 years of heavy playing, and it's rock solid. My selmer case was the dodgy thing- the strap broke while carrying, and bent my horn, then the material of the case ripped... and I'm talking the flight case, not the cheap one! My biggest complaint with the Selmer SIII is that I have a large amount of solder bleed beneath the lacquer, I'm really annoyed about it. Also, Selmer uses those metal resonators, which rust to buggery, and damage the pads, so I had them replaced. On the whole, though, I think the Series III is a decent horn.

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          1. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Serie III... premature wear

            the top part is from abuse - though I cant imagine the bend being much more than a bell bend - they are more for massive impact , not shock protection. Or could you mean the light case? those are utter junk. Did the horn happen to be a wwbw B or C stock? or B or C stock from anywhere else for that matter? Those resos wont rust if they dont get scratched - a substandard tech might have caused that.

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            1. by stutrane
              (15 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Serie III... premature wear

              no, the horn was new line stock, I got it from a reputable shop in Melbourne, Australia. The case tore from being carried to and from uni for 3 years, I treated the horn like it was made of gold... laughs. Yeah, I was surprised the resonators rusted, maybe that's it... I wondered why they'd put something that would rust in a sax.... ah well...

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              1. by SaxMan
                (559 posts)

                10 years ago

                Re: Serie III... premature wear

                Well, I mean, I ahve slipped on the ice before, and my case slip about 3 feet down the drive way and it didnt tear my case. My resos are starting to rust, but thats because I started to dick around with reseating pads aobut two years ago, and I thought the resos were solid silver, so i didn't concern myself about scratching them - they started to rust about 5 months ago, I polished them a bit with some silver polish, then put a coat of hard as nails on it and the rust hasnt advanced an micrometer.

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            2. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: Serie III... premature wear

              I was at Ferree's today and saw some pads that they will be selling soon that are non-rusting replacements for the current Selmer Paris resos that seem to have this rusting tendency. Nice seamless domed metal resos that look and perform virtually the same. The only issue is that if you have Selmer's internal magnetic key clamp for you III that they it won't grab the Ferree pads (or anyone using non-steel resos).

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              1. by sax_maniac
                (984 posts)

                10 years ago

                Re: Serie III... premature wear

                The 15 year old plastic resos on my old alto haven't rusted one tiny bit! Sometimes progress isn't so.

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                1. by selmerfan
                  (67 posts)

                  9 years ago

                  Re: Serie III... premature wear

                  I've been playing my Serie III since the first year they came out and I love it! It doesn't need tweaking any more often than my VI, and it covers legit little better for me, more even tone, and I love it for jazz, although I still love clubbing with my VI, it's missing half the lacquer, plays great and looks fantastic in a smoky dim bar. I'm with the guy who said the solder leaking through is annoying, but other than that, Serie III is the best horn they've made so far, and yes, I've tried out several alto references at Tenor Madness in Randy's basement.

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