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  1. #1
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    Default Ponzol alto neck review

    I've been testing a Peter Ponzol neck for my Selmer alto for a couple of weeks and thought I would share my reaction for anyone interested in after-market necks.

    I respond to sound first, and then I back up from there. If I cannot get a good sound out of a piece of equipment everything else is irrelevant. So my first impression of this neck was the sound - which is gorgeous; a bit rounder and a bit darker than my Selmer neck, although the term “dark” is relative in this sense; maybe richer, and with more presence.

    When the neck came, I spontaneously grabbed my Meyer because I figured if I kept this neck it would be for jazz playing not classical. But when I blew just a couple of seconds I was floored. I loved the sound. To be honest, when I got the neck I thought, O.K. I’ll give it a good blow and evaluate it but I did not have any more expectations than that. But after a couple of seconds, I thought, this neck is not going back. No way. It is mine!

    Now do not misunderstand, the stock sound of my Selmer is great but the natural characteristics of this Ponzol neck gave me something I had been missing ever since I traded my Conn Lady Face for my Serie II and that was a certain kind of roundness to the sound. Additionally, response and articulation are excellent. Intonation throughout the horn is sound, altissimo excellent. Again, the altissimo on my stock Selmer is outstanding, but the Ponzol easily matched that.

    Now here is the kicker. I was not intending on using it for legit, being perfectly satisfied with my conventional Selmer setup. But since the neck was already on the horn, I left it there as I started practicing for two upcoming all-day rehearsals with a wind ensemble and unexpectedly, it added a richness and a wonderful smoothness to the sound. I decided to continue using it for the rehearsals and it was wonderful. I could not wait to play the exposed passages and solos just to let everyone else hear this rich sound. I am using it with a Rousseau/Vandoren trad/metal lig combination and what a sound! I still have my “beloved” French type sound but it has more body and less buzz to it.

    I also tested the neck in a big band rehearsal. Because you’re sitting in front of the brasses who are blowing their brains out, the advantages of the Ponzol neck weren't as obvious in the ensemble, except for blending better with the Chu and JK players whom I sit between. The advantage for me here is that, when blowing hard with the Selmer neck, I can play a bit shrill if I am not careful, whereas the Ponzol neck smoothed out that tendency without losing my sense of presence. In the solo playing it maintained its presence and richness but had the "pop" you needed as well.

    If there is one criticism of the neck, it might come from those who would say it “ditches” the Selmer core sound. My only response to that would be - which Selmer core sound, LOL. But I think I know what is meant, and for anyone wanting to retain what they perceive as a core Selmer sound, with a little reed and mouthpiece experimentation they can get back to that and at the same time retain the benefit of having the fullness and roundness to that sound that the Ponzol neck gives.

    Keep in mind, I am comparing this neck to a hand-selected, Selmer saxophone and neck and not to a problematic neck or horn. My alto was the pick of the litter when I tried it out so all the factors of the Ponzol neck are being made in comparison to the highest of quality. Anyone who does have problems with a neck and sax, especially regarding sound and intonation, should get one of these. Your problems should be either greatly diminished or eliminated and it should add an extra dimension to your playing. BTW, it is beautiful looking, being gold plated (over brass).
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    That's great to hear Gary. I think with the right horn and player the Ponzol necks are a very good buy.
    I bought an alto Ponzol for a MK VI about 15 years ago and loved it, though eventually I sold the horn, extra neck and all.
    Recently, I purchased an early 80's YTS-62 tenor and picked up a good looking Ponzol neck off of eBay for a good price. Wow!!! I am loving the texture of the tone and the response. It's very full and even from low Bb to alt F, and the intonation is great.
    I know this is the tenor model not the alto that I'm referring to, but since my experience is similar to yours, I thought I'd chime in........Daryl

  3. #3
    Forum Contributor 2007 fballatore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Gary - Thanks so much for your detailed comments on the Ponzol neck - very happy to hear you're liking it so much.

    And Daryl - thanks for your comments as well. I have a tenor neck on the way, and now I can't wait to try it out.
    "You can play a shoestring if you're sincere." - John Coltrane

    "If you can't play in time and in tune the rest doesn't matter." - Keith Ridenhour

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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by fballatore View Post
    Gary - Thanks so much for your detailed comments on the Ponzol neck - very happy to hear you're liking it so much.

    And Daryl - thanks for your comments as well. I have a tenor neck on the way, and now I can't wait to try it out.
    Awesome! Please let us know what horn you're using and what you think. 'Don't mean to hijack your thread Gary.....

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member LateNiteSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    I am sometimes using a Ponzol neck with my 86xxx Selmer tenor, and it is outstanding! In fact there are moments when I am sure it is better than the orig. neck, which is a helluva neck mind you.
    "We sax players need to stick together and save the world." Sonny Rollins, 1993 after a show.

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    Forum Contributor 2008 mhoyoux's Avatar
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    Wink Re : Ponzol alto neck review

    I'm very tempted by this PONZOL neck...Thanks Mr GARY for your clear review : I 'm still searching for a replacement neck for my SELMER S II alto.

    Despite, the fact that :

    - I have no problem with my two CONN alto (chu and tranny) for playing in altissimo register with my MORGAN mouthpiece.

    - I have no problem to play altissimo on my curved YANAGISAWA soprano sax

    => The High B, C are very tiny and great resistance like the high E. So, I've try several mouthpiece bu the result is always the same with this particular notes... Lots of people have replaced the stock neck S-II with a S-III.

    But what do you think about that model in particular :

    http://www.thomann.de/fr/selmer_sbog..._vergoldet.htm

    The PONZOL necks are "hand-made" ? They are produced in asian factory ?! It's just a details.

    Thanks again for your contribution !

    And a nice day to all SOTW members !!

    Max.
    It don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)..." Duke ELLINGTON

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Re : Ponzol alto neck review

    Allo Max!
    In response to some of your questions/comments:

    I'm still searching for a replacement neck for my SELMER S II alto.
    FYI the Selmer alto that I was trying the Ponzol neck on is a Selmer Serie II. The neck is made specifically for Selmers.

    But what do you think about that model in particular:
    http://www.thomann.de/fr/selmer_sbog..._vergoldet.htm

    No idea without trying it. If it's Selmer I would think it's excellent. Based on my experience, I would definitely also try a Ponzol and compare them before you settle on one or the other.

    One thing, though. That is a III neck and personally I think the IIIs play bright enough as it is, so I would not look for a III neck on my II.

    The PONZOL necks are "hand-made"?
    I would think so, but I can't guarantee it.

    They are produced in asian factory?
    No idea. From what I am now seeing from Taiwanese companies it all gets down to design and quality control because, otherwise, these companies are turning out quality products. My experience with Ponzol products is that the designs are sound and his quality control is excellent, so I wouldn't personally be concerned if they were made in Lower Slobovia as long as the final product was excellent.
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


  8. #8

    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Gary I know that you have used Barone Products in the past. Yet I am courious if you have used one of (Barone's) Neck's. And if so how it compares to the Ponzol?

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW member daigle65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    On his web site he says that if you play a Mark VI you have to send him the original neck so he can measure it because of the variations in tenon size.
    Though he doesn't mention BA's (my alto) or SBA's (my tenor).
    " M'enfin ! " ....Gaston Lagaffe

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by daigle65 View Post
    On his web site he says that if you play a Mark VI you have to send him the original neck so he can measure it because of the variations in tenon size. Though he doesn't mention BA's (my alto) or SBA's (my tenor).
    I don't want to guess about that, so you had better send him an email (it's on his site) if you are serious about getting one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbs View Post
    I am courious if you have used one of (Barone's) Neck's. And if so how it compares to the Ponzol?
    carbs, I haven't played a Barone neck.
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Two questions gary:

    1. Intonation. Is this affected at all?
    2. Did the tenon (think that's right word?) need adjustment to fit?

    Although i do have an aftermarket neck for my tenor (and like it), these are the two issues that tend to make me a little nervous of aftermarket necks..
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Thanks Gary, for answering my Question. I had known that you had played some of his mouthpieces from what I had read earlier, but I didn't know if you had tried one of his necks...

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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    My experience with the Ponzol alto necks is similar to Gary's. They are very good. I've let several skilled players try mine and they all agree.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    1. Intonation. Is this affected at all?
    2. Did the tenon need adjustment to fit?
    1.) I did not have an improvement or detriment to the intonation. I was pleased with my horn's intonation in its stock setup except that my horn has a really flat middle C. I'm half the way out the door at the moment, but I'll compare the intonation of the two necks when I get back. In any case, the intonation was not changed for the worse with this neck.

    2.) No, the tenon didn't need adjusting; only the first nine.
    Sorry, it was there. Actually the neck fits just a tad loose but not so that it doesn't fit snugly when I tighten the screw. I saw David Sanborn with a neck so loose he had to hold it with his free hand when not playing, so I'm not inclined to worry about just how snug it is as long as it plays well, which it does. I might decide to have it expanded just a wee but I won't do that without asking Peter for his opinion. In any case, the fit of the neck does not seem to be an issue and if you got such a neck and wanted it expanded a hair it would not be a problem to have it done.
    ____________________________________________________
    You can't blow it if you haven't lived it.

    TK Melody UL soprano
    Selmer S80 Serie II alto
    Julius Keilwerth SX90R tenor


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by daigle65 View Post
    On his web site he says that if you play a Mark VI you have to send him the original neck so he can measure it because of the variations in tenon size.
    Though he doesn't mention BA's (my alto) or SBA's (my tenor).
    I called Peter up about this years ago and said that the MK VI tenons had to be measured for his necks to fit because they were hand-made and all different. MK VI's made the same day may have slightly different tenon/tenon receiver dimensions; I think this holds true for the BA's and SBA's as well. However, adjusting the tenon is really not a big deal if you have a good tech that you know.....

  16. #16
    Distinguished SOTW Member Kini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Gary, was this the "new and improved" S series neck that Peter has listed on his website?
    Intellect over emotion. Veritas Vincit. Recommended Reading: How the Irish Saved Civilization. Erin Go Bragh!

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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by rdf2 View Post
    Gary, was this the "new and improved" S series neck that Peter has listed on his website?
    I wonder how you would tell an "S" series neck from the previous model, not the Gary wouldn't know what he's got, just wondering.......

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by wersax View Post
    However, adjusting the tenon is really not a big deal if you have a good tech that you know.....
    That's right. But then i looked at the ponzol website and it seemed like he was making a big thing about sending in the horn to get the neck exactly right and that he personally would do it. I didn't really get that. (??) I mean, he'd sell more necks if he said "your tech can stretch it easily if necessary".
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    I had a similar experience some years ago when I used to have and play alto (I play tenor now with very occasional soprano). I had a Yamaha YAS-62 and a Ponzol M2 90 mpc.

    I noticed the Ponzol neck gave a more solid core to the sound with just a tad less brightness. The difference was subtle but noticeable. I happily used this setup for a few years. I had no intonation problems.

  20. #20
    Forum Contributor 2008 mhoyoux's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: Ponzol alto neck review

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    That's right. But then i looked at the ponzol website and it seemed like he was making a big thing about sending in the horn to get the neck exactly right and that he personally would do it. I didn't really get that. (??) I mean, he'd sell more necks if he said "your tech can stretch it easily if necessary".
    If you read carefully to Mr PONZOL website :

    "Ponzol necks are available for all French Selmer and Yamaha alto and tenor saxophones. I do not make soprano or baritone necks.

    If you are interested in a neck for a Selmer Mark VI, Yanagisawa or Keilwerth, you would have to send me the neck to measure. There is no other way, so please don't give me the serial number, it doesn't help. Mark VI's vary very much in their tenon sizes, and this has nothing to do with the age or serial number. I need your neck to measure. Necks that are custom fitted for the above saxophones are not returnable. Newer Selmers and Yamahas are no problem as their tenon sizes are quite consistent
    ."

    So, for new SELMER : no problem !!
    It don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing)..." Duke ELLINGTON

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