High quality CdSe nanocrystals have been prepared using elemental selenium as the chalcogenide precursor dispersed in 1-octadecene (ODE). The conditions used to prepare the Se precursor were found to be critical for successful nanocrystal synthesis. Systematic titration of the Se precursor solution with tri-n-octylphosphine (TOP) allowed the Se reactivity to be tuned and the final particle size to be controlled. Band-edge and surface related emission were observed for samples prepared in the presence and absence of added TOP. In the absence of a selenium passivant, the crystal structure of CdSe nanocrystals could be altered from zinc blende to wurtzite by the addition of bis(2,2,4-trimethylpentyl)phosphinic acid (TMPPA).