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Mouthpieces Alto Mouthpiece Help (including Sharkbite ...)



I'm in the process of switching my main allegiance from tenor to alto (and sorta from clarinet to sax, but that's a whole other thread which I have no intention of starting). I'm having embouchure/mouthpiece/jaw issues though ...

I have a lovely new sax (a Conn Selmer PAS-380V) and a selection of mouthpieces, acquired over the years. Unfortunately, I don't like any of the mouthpieces. They are:

Brilhart Special Ebolin - I gather these are pretty basic student models with a 'medium' tip opening. No idea where this came from (I didn't buy it, it just appeared in my case. No, that's not code for 'I stole it'). This is pretty free-blowing, but has a characterless sound. No like.

Selmer S80 C* - the first 'proper' mouthpiece I bought, which served me well during my school years - functional, nice tone, but nowt special. I need more from my mouthpiece, and this is a bit too safe for me. 0.067" tip opening?

Selmer S80 C** - Much more oomph than the C* (mainly in volume), but still quite run-of-the-mill. Is this due to the wider tip? 0.071"?

Otto Link Tone Edge 7 - purchased at the same time as the sax, because I thought I liked it at the time. I don't. Well, I do a bit - it has a darkness that teases me into keeping on playing it, but this is a relationship doomed for failure I feel. It's hard work - not particularly responsive, the tone isn't as flexible as I'd like it to be (I'm not sure what I mean by that either), and it cost a fair bit, so I'm somewhat irked that the relationship hasn't blossomed. Tip opening 0.075" - wider than the C**, so what effect should this have?

Now, here's the shocker:

Sharkbite 6 - This is the best of the lot for me ... I've had to load it up with mouthpiece patches as the metal feels especially weird, but it's free-blowing, has a nicely dark and sassy tone, speaks clearly throughout the range (and with pretty good intonation). I can find no information on tip openings or any other measurements, but it appears to have a short facing and narrow opening. And it only cost me £20 from eBay.

I've recently become alerted to the existence of TMD (Temporomandibular disorder), which I appear to have. It's not been fully properly diagnosed, but it appears that I have a textbook case (I thought it was just lack of consistent practise! Or too much talking), so I'm wondering whether that's playing a part in mouthpiece preference too - I prefer the metal one as it's much narrower?

On the tenor, I have a Meyer 7M and an Otto Link Super Tone Master 7*, both of which I like just fine. Should I just get the same mouthpieces for alto? Or, do I need to start from scratch and start trying every mouthpiece in existence until I can find a mate for life? Or, shall I just get a Jody Jazz DV NY 6 and be done with it.

Help me. Please ...
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?? You say you're shifting from alto to tenor, then you mention a new sax which is an alto? Which is it about which you're asking for advice on mouthpieces?
Assuming alto, the new D'addario is a traditional Meyer alto on steroids. Really good. The PPT is excellent, very flexible. And the alto Absolutes in the pass-around ate really good as well. The Thomann alto is good, very fair price.

All depends what you want.

All depends what you want.

I think I want something that's not at all bright, nothing too penetrating. I'm no screaming jazz player (unfortunately), just need something pretty mellow for doing solo wedding gigs (which is usually mainstream poppy nonsense, but with as many smooth jazz classics as I can shoehorn in). Easy blowing is key. I like the sound of review of the Jody Jazz DVNY, but it's colossally expensive. That said, if it's as good as it sounds, I'll sell the others to help finance it.
If the Sharkbite's good why not stick with it? I've had several over the years, still got one, and they've been good players. There is one problem, though. On all mine, the 'gold' plating is wafer thin, and wears off.

Incidentally, I think you're mistaken about the tip openings. You're right about the two Selmer ones, which are both very narrow. The Link is a 0.085, quite a bit wider, but still in the middle/normal range. Being more diffilcult to blow may be down to this, more likely down to the design being different. You have tried a softer reed on the Link than the Selmers, haven't you?

I find Selmer S80 mouthpieces to be like blowing through a sock, but others have different experiences. I have had dozens of alto pieces over the years, but the one I always go back to for ease of blowing and absolute flexibility for all sorts of music is a metal Yanagisawa 7. Expensive new (but cheaper than Jody Jazz DVNY) but often available used for reasonable money.
I've just bought (yard sale) a ER JDX 6 it's a good mpc :thumb:

Found my Rousseau (it was in the box, so of course I looked everywhere else for it before trying there), and it's also a JDX6. It's a nice mouthpiece, but still not quite as 'right' for me as the Sharkbite. It seems the Rousseau is a medium tip opening, does anyone know what the Sharkbite is? I'm trying to work out if I can narrow down the choice of possible mouthpieces. I like my Link Tonemaster on tenor, so does that mean I'll like the equivalent on alto?

In that case you need to try some out! Get yourself into a shop and spend a couple of hours!

No time for that at all before Christmas as I'm out every weekend (and nowhere near London). I can however send for a batch to trial at home, but I can't ask for every mouthpiece in the shop (restocking fees...).

I'm curious to know why the Sharkbite is the one that fits me best at the moment, but can find naff all details on the measurements of it online anywhere to compare it with others. Also, I haven't brought reeds into the equation yet. I'm on Vandoren Java 2.5s at the moment (albeit butchered a bit with the Reedgeek); perhaps I need a change of reed too?

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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