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M/Pieces - Ligs Advice on metal mouthpieces, I have no idea!

Usernam3

New Member
Messages
8
I'm looking for a starter budget (I'm a student!) metal alto sax mouthpiece. I was looking around a little, but have no idea what to go for! I have no idea about sizes, what type of metal, etc... I just want something to start with, that sounds more jazzy and bright than the ebonite one I have now. I'm playing an alto, Yanagisawa A901B.

All help/advice greatly appreciated!
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Since no-one has replied yet, I'll just say that the brightness (in sound ;}) of a mouthpiece has more to do with it's shape than the material it's made from. Others here can give you better advice on specific models than I can, but don't restrict your search to metal. There are some surprisingly good cheap plastic mouthpieces out there (I use them on all my horns, though I'm not sure if that's much of a recommendation!). Rico Metallites come to mind but, like I say, others here know much more than me.
 

Usernam3

New Member
Messages
8
Thanks for the reply BigMartin. I'll have a look around for plastic ones then. I'm getting slightly bored of my current one, and fancy a change in sound!
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hey mate,

There´s scientific evidence pointing that the mouthpiece material doesn´t influence the sound, so it´s more about the size of the tip, size of the chamber, facing, the shape and size of the bore, etc...

If you want something cheap, you should check the metallite. I have one for alto and it´s pretty jazzy and bright. However, make sure you try one before you buy.

Cheers,

Raf.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
I find this subject objective! (sorry to throw a spanner in the works) however I have spent over 25 years as an engineer in both the electronic and mechanical spectrum including qualifications in radio technology!
I particularly enjoy old school methods of fabricating an item from metals using hand tools that modern techniques would produce in seconds that I would take hours over, however I garuntee my finish would be superior!

Anyway, I must point out that metals have very different sound obsorbing properties than rubber or plastic, hence the sound difference between the two.

Metals are densor dependant on type of metal opposed to plastics! (fact).
Therefore metal mouthpieces will always sound different to plastics.

Stainless steel is a far densor metal than say alloy or brass, I'm not sure exactly what effect this would have on the sound (as I'm not a sound engeer) but I feel S'S would be a brighter sound as it's less likely to resonate and cause added colours to the tone.

Although I'm a complete newbie to the wonderful world of horn blowing having only started 5 months ago, I've progressed from a Yamaha 4c upto my Yanagisawa N06 (that came with my T901) and now have started playing my Yanagisawa N05 (metal) m/p, and there is clearly a huge difference between those pieces.
Although the metal is a smaller opening, it is clearly capable of a far bigger sound than even the N06 ebonite piece.

This is simply down to the resonant frequencies of the material! Metal will always sound bigger and more colorful!

Rgds Lee.
 

Usernam3

New Member
Messages
8
Hey mate,

There´s scientific evidence pointing that the mouthpiece material doesn´t influence the sound, so it´s more about the size of the tip, size of the chamber, facing, the shape and size of the bore, etc...

If you want something cheap, you should check the metallite. I have one for alto and it´s pretty jazzy and bright. However, make sure you try one before you buy.

Cheers,

Raf.
Cheers for the advice. I'll check out my local music store, and maybe try out a few (if "health and safety" allow).

I had no idea you could get different sizes of some many things in the mouthpiece. I'm learning new things all the time on here!
 

ATG

Member
Messages
36
metal will tend to play a tad sharp on alto, and if you're playing in a school band depending on what you're playing your director may frown upon a metal piece depending on how much edge it has & how different it's going to sound than the other saxes. a good metal jazz piece can get expensive & a bad cheap one sort of defeats the purpose, and mouthpieces work differently for different people. if this is just for you to mess around with. Supertonemasters work pretty good on altos, made by Otto Link (Meyer?) or you could just try a HR Meyer, they're pretty much the jazz standard in mouthpieces. try a as many as you can though, no two are quite alike.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
metal will tend to play a tad sharp on alto. try a as many as you can though, no two are quite alike.
Now, how do you reconcile these two comments? Could it be that of threeof the same sort that are not alike one is a tad sharp, one just right and one a tad flat? One corollary of your advice would be to buy ebonite or perhaps crystal.
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,932
Avoiding all the debate about about metal V rubber and so on, I always have and always will recommend a Vandoren Java A45.
It is not out and out bright but I don't think that's what you are asking for.
This is based on personal experience, at a relatively cheap used price I find it extremely friendly to blow as well as allowing you to get across ballads to rock. It's inherent character is full of colour.

However if you do want out and out bright go for something with a high baffle like the Jumbo Java, dukoff D chamber or an older brilhart level air are thin and screamy (early Sanborn).

Back to the debate, you do not need metal for a bright sound. I have no idea whether there are tonal differences between the materials but I don't need to care. You can get extreme opposites of sound on a mouthpiece made of either material by its internal design and the way you blow.

Good Luck
 
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Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,660
Morgan Frye made mpces from both metal and rubber with virtually identical inside dimensions. Pete played on these mpces and did recordings of them. Blind testing....... some with really good ears seemed to identifiy both pieces pretty well. The avearage was such that no conclusion could be drawn.

Whatever differences there are are very subtle. You can probably still check the sound files out on Morgans site.

Figure out a sound you want to have and then begin the search for what helps you. The mostinfluential part of creating a sound on the sax is the shape of the players embouchure and the sonic idea he or she has in their head.

I have no idea what is meant by the comment a metal mouthpiece will play sharp on alto. It makes no sense to me at ll
 
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Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
Back to the debate, you do not need metal for a bright sound. I have no idea whether there are tonal differences between the materials but I don't need to care. You can get extreme opposites of sound on a mouthpiece made of either material by its internal design and the way you blow.

Good Luck
Wot 'e sed.

There seem to be a number of misconceptions out there.
 

ATG

Member
Messages
36
Now, how do you reconcile these two comments? Could it be that of threeof the same sort that are not alike one is a tad sharp, one just right and one a tad flat? One corollary of your advice would be to buy ebonite or perhaps crystal.
I was referring to the metal piece playing a bit sharp & the hard rubbers Meyers being different not the metal one. I never said anything about hard rubber Meyers playing sharp, just differently somewhat soundwise, but a good one can be a great jazz piece. you can adjust for the inherent sharpness in the metal piece once it warms up so it's not that big a deal. some metal pieces are sharper than others, some may not be at all depending on what you get.

you can't always depend on the hype. some pieces that work trememdously well for others may not for him or me either. over the past 40 yrs I have been thru a lot of pieces, alot of money too
& had a lot of disappointments before I found several that really did the trick......worked well & better & better as you played them a lot. those I kept and sold the rest. he will have to try several pieces or more before he really finds "the one" for him......and then stay with it
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi there!

Given that the issue you raise is having a change from your current mouthpiece I would recommend the 2011 produced Bari Esprit II Alto mouthpiece - which only costs £14 or so (best price I see is from Ackerman music - includes free shipping - http://www.ackermanmusic.co.uk/bari-esprit-alto-saxophone-mouthpiece.html). It is seriously good and seriously cheap. I have tried it out, and have one, and certainly think it is the best under £60 by some way - for all types of music.

If you buy one and don't like it I'll happily buy it off you. I rate it above the Rico Metalite on alto, the Yamaha 4C, and several more expensive pieces.

Nuff said.
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I guess vintage 2012 is not as good.

(I am joking)
No they used a different compound from 2012 on, which cured slightly softer and took the edge off the sound. It was easier to mould and chosen for that purpose as it kept the QC guys happier. The softer compound doesn't wear as well as the original hard compound. Tip and rails will need to be reworked after a couple of months hard use (especially if the player's too lazy to polish the back of his reeds), and it's mildly soluble in alcohol, meaning that the typical dypsomaniac sax player can expect internal degradation to be noticable after 13-14 months, just after the statutory warranty expires. Vodka or whisky soaked reeds are out of the question, as are certain types of mouthwash, which also contain a high proportion of alcohol as a disinfectant (I always used to wonder why my grandmother carried a bottle of mouthwash in her handbag...). For this reason the pieces aren't available in Germany, where a 2 yr warranty is mandatory.

The initial 2011s were a special run, sold below cost and made with high quality materials to try and establish their name in the market. There's a significant proportion (20%) of lead in the compound, which enhances the sound due to it's heavy inertia preventing the body of the mouthpiece from vibrating at a fixed, usually out of tune frequency. The lead lowers the resonant frequency of the mouthpiece to subsonic levels, which are inaudible to humans, but may cause distress to hibernating polar bears, hardly a problem in most venues. Pity they didn't keep up the initial high quality construction, but if they had done, the retail price would be in the region of $500, not $20.









(I am also joking)
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Your humour has begun to take on epic proportion, KevvyG! You'll soon be so Money Supermarket, you won't even know it..........;}
 
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