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Mouthpieces Alto mouthpiece


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Café Supporter
Medway Kent
After playing my Tenor, when I go back to my Alto I find it hard to play and it makes my mouth ache. I use a Selmer C** with a No 2 reed. It does not seem as free blowing as my Tenor. Would it help to go down to a C* or another mouthpiece.?

I used to have an old TJ Alto with TJ mouth piece and I found that to be quite easy, mind you may not have had the same sound/tone.

Any advice please.
Hi there. I take it the Selmer C** is the S80? I've had a couple of them and found them like blowing into a sock. Rather than getting an even closer tip opening than the C** (which is already really narrow) you might want to try a more free blowing mouthpiece. Maybe a Yamaha. All the plastic Yamahas are also very closed tip openings, but a 6c might be OK. Otherwise, try an ebonite Yanagisawa 6. These are free blowing, very well made and have a good tone. You can often pick them up from eBay for a reasonable price as people buying new Yani saxes persuade themselves they need a mouthpiece other than the one supplied by Yanagisawa.

If they go into a shop and someone suggests an Otto Link, think carefully. Just my opinion, but I find the ebonite ones very, very stuffy.

Another option would be a Runyon Classic or Jody Jazz Classic - they're pretty much the same. Just watch out for the opening numbers - Runyons are quite different from others. A Runyon 7 sounds pretty wide opening for alto, but in fact it's a narrower opening than an Otto 5.


PS - Practising more also helps switching between alto and tenor!
The tenor is a lot more free blowing than the alto, and there is nothing wrong with your reed or mouthpiece. My clarinet is a very free blowing instrument, just like your alto, until, that is, I pick it up after playing the tenor sax. It then seems as if something has been stuffed up the bell, or it needs an overhaul. Give yourself a chance to get used to the difference between playing alto and tenor before changing anything.

I have the same 'problem'. I agree with what the others say, but tend towards a bigger alto opening. I find it easiest to play the alto until my lips/cheeks get tired, then switch to tenor. It's like moving from a wooden chair into a settee...
Thanks guys
I think you are right in that it is my technique that is at fault, I had a reversal the other day I was playing my Alto for a while and then went onto my Tenor and I had a job to get it right, particularly the low register, I was over blowing.
I will just have to practice more.
Saying that I think I will invest in another mouthpiece as JonF suggests, it's not mega money and wont break the bank.
Thanks guys

Saying that I think I will invest in another mouthpiece as JonF suggests, it's not mega money and wont break the bank.

Just don't do what I did and go mad - I've had dozens of mouthpieces over the years. I've slimmed down the collection a lot, but still have


Oleg Maestro
Runyon Jaguar
Ponzol M2
Lakey 4*4
Yanagisawa metal 7
Rico Metalite M7
Rico Graftonite C7
Rico Graftonite C5


RPC 115B
Lawton 7
Lawton 8B
Otto Link 10 with big added baffle
Brihart Level Air
Saxscape Naima
ROC Britone
Yanagisawa 7 Ebonite

Plus a variety of others for soprano, C Mel and baritone. It is an addiction. Oh, and then there's the small matter of ten saxes. Oh my, there's no hope once it gets hold.
I think, and certainly in my experience, there is a world of difference between the saxes when it comes to embouchure. For me, playing alto pretty well (from a sound/intonation perspective at least), it was a real shock moving to tenor. It seemed everything was harder; more resistance, more breath support needed, totally different embouchure - much more relaxed at the bottom end but less so in the upper register. It took me a fair few months to make the transition from one to the other.

Then I go buy a sop! Moving between tenor and sop was such a nightmare for me that I haven't used the sop in the last 8 or 9 months at all. My teacher advised I shelve it as it was destroying my nice laid back and relaxed tone on tenor. In fairness, I just have the original and another cheap plastic mouthpiece for the sop and I never did any trials whereas for tenor I spent weeks and tried out maybe a dozen.

I just have the one mouthpiece on tenor, a Jody Jazz DV NY. I've been playing sax just short of 3 years and tenor for about 21 months. Embouchure takes a good few years to develop and I still feel mine is still improving - less so in the 'best' quality of sound and more so in my ability to produce the same consistent sound every every time I pick up the horn.

What has also helped IMO is sticking with just one mouthpiece and in my choice of reed. After almost 2 years using Marca Jazz 3s I just a couple of months ago switched to a synthetic Légère Signature which is totally brilliant. Initially I thought the 3 was a little hard but having tried the 2.75 I am now convinced the 3 is the right one for me. It plays from cold exactly the same time after time.


John Talcott

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