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Mann

New Member
Messages
19
I am 71 years and recently took up Alto sax(Buescher True Tone 1926 made--refurbished as new) again in Nov 2010 after a 30 year break--I have been using a Lucien Crystal Mpiece No 4 and feel like the time has come to move to a larger opening tip gap(lay).I have some difficulty in hitting higher and the very lower notes and the concensus seems to be that in order to move from "advanced beginner"to "intermediate" I need to get a Mpiece with a larger tip gap.But there is problem--I cannot find out anywhere( and I really have searched) the distance of the gap of the Lucien Mpiece in either mm or thousands of an inch--it is only indicated in number grade--I asked Prof Weinberg at Dawkes and he doesnt know--Is there anyone out there who could come up with the precise measurements of the tip gap for my Lucien Crystral No4 Mpiece please?
I do like the sound from the Crystal Mpiece but am considering getting a Sharkbite No 6--does this have a larger tip gap--does anyone know please?
Listening to serially--
Don Rendell--Roarin
John Coltrane--A Love Supreme
Charles Mingus--Oh Yeah
Chris McGregor--Brotherhood of Breath
Stan Getz--Focus *
Thelonius Monk--Solo(double Album)
Dropkick Murphys--the Warriors Code
Sonny Rollins--On the outside
Bells--Albert Ayler
Regards
Mann
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,666
Sorry Mann, I can't answer your questions, but a big welcome to the cafe. Actualy that was just average












WELCOME

That's better, and it looks kind of warm too! :)))
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Thanks anyway--I just heard from Saxofoonwinkel,Deventer--They say thay cany help either but that my present Mpiece tip is too small--as if I didnt know that already.
Listening to Capercaillie -An introduction--I do enjoy playing jigs and reels among many others--
Klezmer
Ballads
Mingus
Monk
Circus
Military
Show
but I make all of em swing.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
If you have a set of feeler guages (like the ones used for setting the points on a car), you can measure it yourself... Put the mouthpiece table on a flat surface and measure the gap between the tip and the flat surface.

I've messed around a little with mouthpieces on my alto. Current favourite is a Pillinger replica of a Selmer Soloist D (H190), very warm, round tone. However I also have a modern soloist E, that is almost the same sound, just a fraction louder. And what may be the best - an old Brillhart Tonalin Personaline S5, but I find that trickier to play than the Selmers. Super sound, though, and my teacher's King Zephyr sounds superb on one as well. For his Buescher True Tone Alto, he prefers an old Zinner, not sure what tip it is, probably a 4 or a 5. He reckons the Zinner works better on the Trutone than the Brilhart does. I haven't head him play the Brilhart on the Truetone, so no help there.

I also tried a Selmer S80 C* on the alto, but the sound wasn't there.

Have also tried the Brilhart and the Soloist E on a Buescher 20A that I'm starting to revamp. The Brilhart was excellent. If you can find one, they're excellent.

I also had range problems on the alto at first (a cheap chinese job). Getting the Brilhart with the Kohlert was a revelation. And it even worked well on the cheap chinese sax. The Selmer S80 C* also played effortlessly top to bottom on two cheapo chinese saxes that were very leaky.

You may want to do some research, some of the older saxes were built for large chamber mouthpieces.

But - as always, it's what suits you. And everyone has a different choice. Would be worth getting to one of the big sax shops with your sax and trying a lot.... Will take a while, but think of the fuin (and results).
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Well thank you muchly.
Im in that in between stage--Ive only been playing again for the last two months
after a 30 year layoff-been using the Lucien Crystal no 4--im looking at my
rehabilitation saxwise as a three parter--
1 beginner--im at the advanced beginner stage
2 intermediate
3 advanced
My self analysis (plus advice from others)tells me that I need a larger tipgap
to overcome the thin higher notes and not really hitting the very low ones.
Ill try a Sharkbite no 6 (if I can get one) for the intermediate phase(next 3 or 4 months)
Thanks for your advice and interest
Tell your teacher that the Buescher TrueTone is (for me)the sweetest sax Ive ever had--
I owned an ex Lester Young(Monogrammed) solid silver King CMelody once and that just breathed on its own
but this Buescher I just got is perfect--it was completely refurbished complete with Blue steel springs--
polished on the basic Brass then clear Acrilic Laquered--it looks absolutely brand new but is 1926 made
by hand-sounds so sweet and plays like a dream-finger taps only.
Playing "Focus" by Stan Getz and Eddie Sauter--YES YES YES!!!
Regards
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Hi there

I've got a Buescher True Tone of similar age to yours, and I agree about it being a very sweet sounding alto. OK, the ergonomics are not as good as a modern sax, but it's not bad in that respect, and you soon get used to it. A good set up (like yours sounds it has) makes it a very useable classic sax.

I've found it to be a very unfussy sax when it comes to mouthpieces. A lot of (particulalry US based) 'experts' say that a vintage sax simply must have a vintage, large bore mouthpiece, but I haven't found that with the true Tone. I've used, among many others, the following on my Buescher:

Sharkbite 7 - pretty good, a bit thin toned. VERY thin plating, wears off in no time.
Rico Graftonite C5 - good for the money, a bit resistant to blow
Runyon Smoothbore 9 - powerful and rich, really roars. Not exactly subtle.
Yanagisawa 7 Ebonite - really nice, smooth and well controlled
Yanagisawa 7 Metal - the best of the lot, by a mile. Good tuning, smooth, loud and bright when needed. A great pairing.

Yanagisawa mouthpieces are still half price at sax.co.uk, until Saturday. Although the Sharkbite isn't bad, and can be had for £30-£40 delivered, I'd recommend the Yanagisawa. At the sale prices you can get them for, either the ebonite or metal one would be better long term value than the Sharkbite.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Just remembered, I've also used a Graftonite B7 on the altos. As Jon says, good for the money, but I'd guess that the 7 tip would be a touch wide for you at the moment. Good as a starter/stepping stone, anyway.
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Hi Kev
I will go to Halfords tomorrow a get a set of feeler gauges to try as you suggest.
Thank you for your advice
Regards
Mann
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Hi Jonf
Thanks for your reply and I will take your advice on board.
I would prefer to get some sort of Crystal Mpiece as I really love the sound from them.
Going to try as Kev suggests and try to read my own gap with feeler gauges
regards
Mann

When seeking a lost drawing pin it is best to walk barefoot in the dark
 

picconose

Member
Messages
75
Measure the length of the lay, as well as the tip opening. Place the mpce on a known flat surface, and slide a piece of paper in, until it gets stuck. Mark the end of the mpce on the paper with a sharp pencil. Measure the distance in from the edge, and subtract 0,01mm for the thickness of the paper. A longer lay is easier to control for any given tip opening.

On my 1920 Martin stencil (American Professional) alto, I got good results playing on a Claude Lakey 4*3 Jazz mouthpiece and a #2 Rico Royal reed. I still use that combination on my Selmer "Cigar Cutter" alto for big band and jazz work. For concert band and theater work, I play my cigar cutter on a mid-1960's Brilhart Tonalin 3* with a Rico Royal 2 1/2 reed. For a long time, I played on A Rico Royal Metalite mouthpiece with an M4 designation. I also tried and used for a while, a Phil Rovener metal alto mouthopiece in a Medium opening with a long lay. I still like it on the Martin, but it is too edgy on the larger bore Selmer.
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Hi Picconose
Thanks for your advice and insights.
I shall refer to your posting when I get to the stage of transferring from "intermediate" to "advanced"
which I hope is in about 3 to 5 months time--meanwhile I got to get through the intermediate stage
and this is just starting for me.Ive been using this Beautiful Lucien Crystal Mpiece no 4--I love the sound
but as it would be said its only a transitional sound--as truthfully the sound I get through
the "intermediate stage will be--its that final sound when I have my "chops" and playing
and (most important) content together--thats when Ill reread your comments about the various
mouthpieces you have and still do use.
To get through this "intermediate "stage I need to increase the tipgap(to deal with the problems
that a small(beginners) gap raises for me) but Lucien in their questionable wisdom do NOT tell
the actual measurements of their products.
One eternal question that all sax/clarinet players must raise is--Why dont mouthpiece manufacturers
cooperate in standardising the system of numbering/measuring mouthpiece tipgaps?
Some of them make brilliant mouthpieces but terrible classifying systems.
Ill try the way of measuring that you advocate.
Once again a big thank you
Regards

As that blind MASTER of Sax/Flute said to me in Ronnie Scotts in his dressing room(1960s) when I told him that I didnt read music--
It dont matter at all!the only thing that matters is that you can play the bloody thing!
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Tuesday afternoon at 3pm
Kev--I have tried the method you suggested--
I went to my local Hardware shop this morning and bought
a set of feeler gauges in both Metric and Imperial.
Using the hardened glass top of my cooker I measured the gap in Metric and got a reading of 1.40mm
In your opinion would it be too much to move up to a gap of 1.75mm or would a gap of 1.65mm be better?--Im aiming at
getting through the "intermediate" stage in 3 to 4 months-playing one hour a day last couple of weeks(my lip was flabby after a 30 yr layoff)--tiredness made me stop after 20 to 30 minutes for the first 6 weeks back at it but now Im slowly extending the period--Im running through 20 or so melodies at the rate of 2 to 3 a day-Amazing how much one "forgets" when not playing(I was of the "free jazz school)--the amount of vibrato to apply--the way to "shape" the note--how to "blow"--bending up and down--all done at amazing speed even on the very slow numbers-but every day things come back and lessons are learned.
Your help has been very valuable and i would appreciate your advice about how much gap to increase(if you have the time available that is)
Thank you very very much
Mann
Regards.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'm no expert.... But working in thou's your current mouthpiece is around 55 thou. Normal beginners mouthpieces would be around 60-70 thou and you're poposing to step up to a possibly 69thou (1.75mm). I wouldn't have thought this would be a problem at all. You'll probably need to use a slightly softer reed at first. The modern tendency is to use wider tips and softer reeds than was traditional. But remember the facing length also has an effect on playability.

Useful chart here (in thou's...): http://www.jodyjazz.com/facings.altosax.html
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Kev--THis is where the mystery deepens--
I told you how I used the method you described and came up with a reading of 1.41mm tipgap yesterday afternoon
I did the reading again yesterday evening and got exactly the same result--1.41mm
Then I did the reading with a reed clamped in place-a bit more difficult in view of the reed bending but using a powerful magnifying glass i got the exact same result--1.41mm
I had written to Maison Tasset in Liege Belgium about my quest for a larger tipgap of Crystal Mpiece(indeed by now a mpiece of ANY material would need a correct reading on my present tipgap.
Maison Tasset wrote to Pomarico(makers of Lucien Crystal Mpieces)--I also wrote to Pomarico asking for their measurements for their Lucien Number 4 Mpiece
Maison Tasset wrote back yesterday telling me that Pomarico had replied to them sayoing that "according to their historical records" the Lucien Number 4 Mpiece was exactly the same measure ments as their own label Pomarico number 4 mpiece!!!It was 1.90mm!!
Pomarico also replied to me stating the same thing--that the Lucien number 4 mpiece was(according to their historical records)having the exact tipgap of their own brand Pomarico Crystal Mpiece--that of 1.90mm
The world shook!!
If I am to move up I need an accurate reading of the tipgap in order to choose the next size obviously but with results like this I just dont know.
I am going to send my Mpiece to Prof Weinburg at Dawkes Music for measurement now
I accept the possibility that somehow I could have measured it incorrectly (but I dont see how)
Ill let you know what happens as it happens
I thank you for your needed advice and interest
Reagards
Mann

When seeking a lost drawing pin it is best to walk barefoot in the dark
How can this be?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It's not unusual for older mouthpieces to have an opening that's not according to specification. Brilhart, for example, were famous for it. If you had another mouthpiece with a known size, you could compare them by eye, you should be able to see a half millimetre difference easily. But it may be tricky, but probably the best thing to do is get down to Dawkes or another dealer and ty a few mouthpieces. Some of us use a different method - buy something we're interested in trying second hand, and if it doesn't work, sell it on, hopefully for the same price.
 

Mann

New Member
Messages
19
Kev
Hold everything!
I may(most likely) have made a mistake--I tried measuring the gap again just now and noticed that the underneath of the tip is slightly curved upwards--looks like about 35 to 40% of 1 mm--so I hang my head in shame and embarassment and do humbly apologise for wasting your time.
My only excuse is that I took delivery of a new pair of spectacles 3 days ago--they are bifocals and I probably was looking through the upper part.
SHAME-IGNOMONY--
Heaped ashes on my head
A nice line in tailored sackcloth
AAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!
Thanks all the same
Mann
I will probably go for a 2.20mm mpiece now
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,435
I'm no expert.... But working in thou's your current mouthpiece is around 55 thou. Normal beginners mouthpieces would be around 60-70 thou and you're poposing to step up to a possibly 69thou (1.75mm). I wouldn't have thought this would be a problem at all. You'll probably need to use a slightly softer reed at first. The modern tendency is to use wider tips and softer reeds than was traditional. But remember the facing length also has an effect on playability.

Useful chart here (in thou's...): http://www.jodyjazz.com/facings.altosax.html

Hi Kev

Thanks for the link very handy info,just printed it off for future reference, I think it might have emptied my black cartridge though:shocked:..john
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,435
Hi Mann

Welcome to the cafe,nice to see another man of more senior years returning to the fold I hope you enjoy being with us.As far as advice goes I wouldn't dare to give any opinion as I consider myself too much of a novice at this stage.the only thing I have noticed is I don't believe you mentioned the reed strength you are using, but I may have missed it,and I was just thinking that an increase in the reed strength may alter your use of the mpc you seem to like so much,good luck with your search...john
 
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