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A little experiment, 3 horns 2 mouthpieces.

How do they differ?

  • I hear a fair bit of difference on each take

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • I hear a subtle difference on each take

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Some are different but some takes sound the same

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • I can only hear the difference in mouthpieces (ABC vs 123)

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • I hear no difference at all

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • I have posted below which takes I think are the same horn (i.e. A & 1)

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • I generally prefered ABC

    Votes: 2 22.2%
  • I generally prefered 123

    Votes: 1 11.1%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Breakfast room since '06 UK
This afternoon I found a spare hour away from the 3 year old dictator that is my Daughter. Normally I would be doing something like complimenting the build effort of the 2 plastic bricks pieced together as she proudly says 'look daddy a flag'
I digress...
I played the same tune, once on each horn with one mouthpiece. Then I swapped mouthpiece and did the same again.
In my software I tried to equalise the volume but other than that each take has exactly the same reverb and nothing else added or taken away.

I have uploaded the the same snippet of results (including mistakes) for each horn here:-

AB&C one one mouthpiece, 12&3 on the other.

So can you really detect a difference in the horns?
They have basically merged into one sound for me... I can hear a difference between the mouthpieces but that is quite subtle. Almost to pointless to post but I've come this far!

What do you think? I will post the horns and mouthpieces later incase you want to guess (they are all very similar).
Forgot to mention the poll is multi choice, more than one answer is available for the benefit of adding the last 2 questions.
Using A as reference I found...
B. brighter or more 'edge' – not as smooth.
C. brighter and more edge again – much more of a 'core' sound. Focussed not spread.

1. Smoother and more spread out warm sound.
2. very bright and focussed like C.
3. not as bright as 2 but more edge.

My ears would lead me to believe that the following are the same.

A and 1
B and 3
C and 2

to my ears pairing 1 was my favourite whatever horn/mouthpiece combo that was.
I think I can hear subtle differences between all the takes, but I doubt I would have done if I hadn't been listening for them! Number 2 stands out more than any other as being slightly brighter. C maybe has less clear articulation.
tricky, fo me the differences are subtle, but the piano is a bit loud, so it's harder to pick the sax changes out.
Anyone else want a go on the poll before I tell?
No more takers for the poll on these vastly different and intriguing sounds :D

As I mentioned in the first post, the sounds came out so very similar, I only carried on because having put x amount of effort in up to that point.

Here is what they were:-
Clip A B & C
With an unmodified 7* Otto Link Hard Rubber Tone Edge. It's not a current production model but neither does it appear to be Early Babbit and it's definately not ealier than that. My best information says it's an 80's incarnation.
Horn A = 1974 Mark VII
Horn B =1973 Mark VI
Horn C =1965 Mark VI

Clip 1 2 & 3
With an unmodified 8 'New Vintage' Hard rubber Otto Link Slant Signature Tone Edge.
Horn 1 =1965 Mark VI
Horn 2 = 1974 Mark VII
Horn 3 =1973 Mark VI

So Linky, you got clip B & 3 bang on.
Whats would be interesting now you know is, whether anyone finds the Mark VII inferior?

Thanks for the interest
I could only hear difference between mouthpieces, well not quite true as there were of course slight differences in phrasing and articulation which made it difficult to tell the differences in tone.

I think I preferred ABC, but not necessarily.
I don't find any of them inferior at all. As you say they're all fairly similar and those subtle differences can't really ruin the tone. Maybe some set-ups would be slightly better for different styles but taking into account the small amount of difference between them it's not worth considering changing for different gigs really.

I'd go with whatever set-up feels and sounds best to you. Whatever inspires you the most.
there were of course slight differences in phrasing and articulation which made it difficult to tell the differences in tone.
Yes unfortunately that didn't help.

I have a very make shift recording set up, consequently from the time of leaning over the desk, clicking record with the mouse button to having the first note pop out wasn't really long enough to resume comfort and anticipate the start.
Hence I kicked it off a little different right from the word go each take and it kind of stays with it through out after that!
Plus I don't really have the discipline to be spot on consistant anyway.

I have to be honest, I couldn't tell the difference, but I could listen to you play for a long time before getting bored.

Your comments are very much appreciated. Thank you!

I'd just probably have guessed it was the same player each time :) ......otherwise, there weren't any I thought 'better' .....all quite easy on the ear, as Taz said.
Thanks for your input Roger,

Admittedly these mouthpieces and sax's were of similar ilk but none the less I believe more and more these days that only in the early years of playing does the mouthpiece make the voice from the 'chops'.

As the years go by your voice comes through and you are the 'chops' ...... the mouthpiece is now your slave.
I played 115 openings with high baffles for years but now I don't get out much :( I went for something quiter and still I hear the same voice.


John Talcott

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