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M/Pieces - Ligs Alto jazz mouthpiece - metal ?

teegee

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Hants, UK
I'm looking for a jazz mouthpiece for my 13-year old son, whose sax playing, 4 years on, is coming on in leaps and bounds (currently Trinity grade 8). He mainly plays alto sax (though also plays soprano), and does a lot of improvisation in his jazz band at school. It's becoming a really, really big thing for him. He's currently playing a Yamaha YAS275 (had less joy on a purple logo YAS62, particularly with the highest notes), with a Runyon 22 mouthpiece (and Rovner Light L6 ligature), after starting with a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece. He'd like to be able to make a brasher/brassier sound. He's keen to try a metal mouthpiece, to extend his range of options. Can anyone suggest some good options ?
 

Jamesmac

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Hi teegee
If I was in that situation, I wouldn't be able to make an appointment quick enough with Ed Pillinger in North London.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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It's amazing how this myth about metal mouthpieces persists. Metal or ebonite or plastic can all be classical, jazz, rock or whatever - as bright or as dull as you want.
Anyway, if you're in Hampshire, you're not a million miles from sax.co.uk in Crowborough or Dawkes in Maidenhead. Don't listen to anybody's recommendations, your son needs to try some to see what suits him not somebody else. He may well be better off sticking with plastic/ebonite because he's used to the feel of it but just getting a brighter one - there's plenty about.
 

aldevis

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I am quite opinionated on the subject.
There is a mouthpiece design that is a sort of industry standard for alto, and it is based on old Meyer mouthpieces (hard rubber).
Many producers make this sort of mouthpieces, since the original Meyers vary a lot in quality.
I personally prefer it, because it has a tonal flexibility that lacks in other mouthpieces, usually linked with a more "funky" sound (like Dukoff or many called "studio" model).
At 13, i would not take only one specific sound direction. A good mouthpiece would probably be an improvement over the Runyon.

My personal preference goes for Pillinger's NYA model. if you book an appointment with him, he can have few other models ready.
If you visit a shop, I would suggest trying Jody Jazz HR, Vandoren, Meyer (you could be lucky). Other members will have other recommendations in this direction.

Strictly metal? I agree with Nick. The only one I currently like is a made in Italy Absolute ST, but it is actually darker than some rubber pieces.
 

Jamesmac

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1,872
When I purchased my first Soprano MP from Ed, about 7 yrs ago. Ed knowing where I was coming from ( a Clarinetist of many decades ) made points about my selection, that all came true with the passing of time.
I'm sure a 13yr old can learn a lot about the choice of a mouthpiece from Ed, and purchase a hand made MP that costs about the same as an off the shelf Otto Link or Selmer, that might seem like the ticket in the shop, but further down the road may end up on eBay.
 

teegee

Member
Messages
35
Locality
Hants, UK
It's amazing how this myth about metal mouthpieces persists. Metal or ebonite or plastic can all be classical, jazz, rock or whatever - as bright or as dull as you want.
Anyway, if you're in Hampshire, you're not a million miles from sax.co.uk in Crowborough or Dawkes in Maidenhead. Don't listen to anybody's recommendations, your son needs to try some to see what suits him not somebody else. He may well be better off sticking with plastic/ebonite because he's used to the feel of it but just getting a brighter one - there's plenty about.
Thank you for those suggestions
 

teegee

Member
Messages
35
Locality
Hants, UK
I am quite opinionated on the subject.
There is a mouthpiece design that is a sort of industry standard for alto, and it is based on old Meyer mouthpieces (hard rubber).
Many producers make this sort of mouthpieces, since the original Meyers vary a lot in quality.
I personally prefer it, because it has a tonal flexibility that lacks in other mouthpieces, usually linked with a more "funky" sound (like Dukoff or many called "studio" model).
At 13, i would not take only one specific sound direction. A good mouthpiece would probably be an improvement over the Runyon.

My personal preference goes for Pillinger's NYA model. if you book an appointment with him, he can have few other models ready.
If you visit a shop, I would suggest trying Jody Jazz HR, Vandoren, Meyer (you could be lucky). Other members will have other recommendations in this direction.

Strictly metal? I agree with Nick. The only one I currently like is a made in Italy Absolute ST, but it is actually darker than some rubber pieces.
Thanks very much. Looks like a bit of a pattern emerging here.
 

teegee

Member
Messages
35
Locality
Hants, UK
When I purchased my first Soprano MP from Ed, about 7 yrs ago. Ed knowing where I was coming from ( a Clarinetist of many decades ) made points about my selection, that all came true with the passing of time.
I'm sure a 13yr old can learn a lot about the choice of a mouthpiece from Ed, and purchase a hand made MP that costs about the same as an off the shelf Otto Link or Selmer, that might seem like the ticket in the shop, but further down the road may end up on eBay.

Sounds like it's off to Pillinger's then.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
I think that's a wise choice. It's a no brainier for me, for a young player to get a mouthpiece that works, and allow him to work on all the technical aspects of playing without hindrance, which is what you get from a hand made mouthpiece. Along with the expertise Ed Pillinger will add in helping a young player in his selection. ( which you don't get in a shop) In fact you should pay double. LOL. ( just joking) I noticed that you put a question mark in your post re. Metal. So I gathered you were aware of the material being a non factor in the end result. The thought crossed my mind that it may have been for the benefit of the young guy who may be influenced and attracted to a metal piece, and would need some convincing that it's not a factor. Ed works with non metal pieces. My alto and Clarinet mouthpiece is a compound called Bronzite. Which is a Pillinger special order. But the Sop is HR.
Good Luck
 

teegee

Member
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Locality
Hants, UK
An interesting take on the psychology of a metal mouthpiece; thanks very much. Another issue is that I am not sure whether 13 is too young to be investing in a serious mouthpiece - I presume an adolescent can outgrow a mouthpiece like anything else?
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
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1,872
Mouthpieces. The never ending quest for the perfect mouthpiece. Is a never ending topic on the forum. Ideally we should be able to forget the mouthpiece and concentrate on the job in hand, which is to play music. I played 30 yrs on the same Clarinet mouthpiece in Military bands, orchestras etc. I think for a young player it's good to get used to a mouthpiece that works, then after a few years experiment. But by then he will know which mouthpiece will work for him. He will have the grounding. I'm starting to sound a bit precious , but it's a fact.
How many promising player were put off or developed bad playing habits because of leaky instruments, and warped mouthpieces.
 

aldevis

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An interesting take on the psychology of a metal mouthpiece; thanks very much. Another issue is that I am not sure whether 13 is too young to be investing in a serious mouthpiece - I presume an adolescent can outgrow a mouthpiece like anything else?

Not really. I bought an Otto Link when I was 12, I played it until 19. Now it is back after a reface and it is a wonderful piece.

My recommendation of that particular design is due to its flexibility. On the alto it can happen that someone plays a Meyer 5 for his/her whole life (Phil Woods?). The need for a change is usually due to an evolution in taste.

In the £100-£200 there are few mouhpieces worth trying. Above them I think they are overpriced (unless there is a specific wanted sound/fell), below that there could be something that fits the bill.

I also have some mouthpieces in the yardsale, but I recommend Pillinger directly because:
1- He is an excellent craftsman
2- He is a musician and a great ear to spot the right piece for you.
3- He has a great variety of models and facings available
4- He is fairly local

Some shops have very helpful and knowledgeable staff, but I still recommend doing the purchase with a teacher, if possible.
I sometimes take few mouthpieces on approval at Howarth's for my students to try, but usually basic Yamaha/Esprit.

For a very talented student of mine I also had two (guess the maker) professional pieces to try, but in his case I was happy to take the responsibility (and I know his parents well enough).
 

aldevis

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One more advice: if in doubt, do NOT buy two mouthpieces.
 

ProfJames

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Professor Anton Weinberg works at Dawkes in Maidenhead. Large woodwind shop. He has also written books on mouthpieces, gave me great advice and also makes, mods mouthpieces. Could also be worth a visit.
 

aldevis

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Professor Anton Weinberg works at Dawkes in Maidenhead. Large woodwind shop. He has also written books on mouthpieces, gave me great advice and also makes, mods mouthpieces. Could also be worth a visit.

Sounds interesting. Did anyone here read his book?
 

aldevis

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I think our Tom recommends this, but i've never tried it
http://www.dawkes.co.uk/accessories/windcraft+ebonite+alto+sax+mouthpiece+-amw402.html
 
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ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
Yes he does. I also have one and it is very good for the price. Here is his book on sale........................

http://www.dawkes.co.uk/accessories/clarinet+and+saxophone+mouthpieces+by+anton+weinberg-abk01.html
 
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DHM

Wrinkled retainer
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Locality
West Midlands, UK
Not really. I bought an Otto Link when I was 12, I played it until 19. Now it is back after a reface and it is a wonderful piece.

Would it be too cruel to observe that it's now a wonderful vintage piece?
 

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