How Do I Choose the Best Saxophone Necks?

Shereen Skola

The neck of the saxophone is the segment that connects the mouthpiece to the body of the instrument. Serious saxophone players understand that the neck of their instrument has a tremendous influence on its sound, intonation, and response. If a saxophone neck becomes damaged or if a player becomes unhappy with the instrument's sound, a replacement could offer significant improvement. When choosing the best saxophone necks, consider factory-made parts, inspect the neck carefully for fit and quality, and see if you can test the neck out to make sure it produces the sound you're looking for.

The best replacement neck is one that matches the brand and model of the existing saxophone.
The best replacement neck is one that matches the brand and model of the existing saxophone.

Often, the best option is a factory replacement created for your specific brand and model. No two saxophones are made in exactly the same way, so this is the easiest way to ensure that your new neck will fit your instrument. If your saxophone is an older model, it may be impossible to find a factory replacement for your exact horn. In this case, you'll want to choose one of the many after-market saxophone necks. In some cases with older or rare instruments, it might even become necessary to have a neck custom made to ensure that the bore size matches both the mouthpiece and the body.

Collectors typically prefer saxophones with their original necks.
Collectors typically prefer saxophones with their original necks.

When choosing used saxophone necks, inspect each one carefully. Make sure the opening on each end is perfectly round and fits your saxophone snugly. There should be no visible dents on the neck, and the seam should be free from cracks. Check to be sure it matches the type of saxophone you have, whether it's an alto sax, tenor sax, soprano sax, or baritone.

Some saxophone enthusiasts change necks to achieve a specific tone or sound. A variety of after-market necks are available to fit the personal preference of the musician. While the vast majority are made of metal, wood and plastic resin necks are also available. Brass necks are the most common variety; these are often plated with nickel, silver, or gold. Prices vary widely.

When choosing after-market saxophone necks, it's important to experiment. Every musician has a unique idea of what sounds best to his or her ear and the sound he or she is striving for. After-market neck manufacturers customarily allow trial periods to allow musicians to test out saxophone necks before making a commitment to buy one.

Collectors usually prefer their saxophones to have the original neck, with a serial number that matches the body. For the player, it's usually all about personal preference. Whether you are replacing the neck on your saxophone due to damage or our of the sheer desire to create the most beautiful music possible, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

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