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Saxophones Bari esprit tenor

Jay

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The Bari esprit tenor mouthpiece arrived and I'm loving the sound of it. Previously I was using a Rico Graftonite B5.

I'm trying to learn all I can about saxophones when my newbie chops, and my thumbs, ache too much to keep playing.

Now I can hear the difference between these only two mouthpieces I've tried, but since I can't find out what tip opening etc. the Bari mouthpiece is, I'm not able to say 'so that's the difference in sound x makes'. I'm sure it's not that simple anyway, but at least if I knew something about the Bari, I'd have a start when reading about different mouthpieces and sounds.

Does anyone know, or could one of you experienced folk say what it compares most closely to, in your opinion.
 

Colin the Bear

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I seem to remember it being around the the same tip as a selmer C* or yamaha 5. 0.071" 1.8mm. It's a fair piece to start with. About the same as a Graftonite in my opinion. I'd stick with one student mouthpiece untill you get some chops and then look for something that suits you when you know who you are and who you want to be. Remember that it's you that makes the sound. Your set up just lets you.

Student mouthpieces are much of a muchness, some being a little better than others.

The tip opening and length of the lay won't affect sound so much as ease of play. As a rule of thumb, small tip needs a harder reed and wide tip needs a softer.

Everybody's chops are different. Unique. The quest for the right set up may be a never ending journey limited only by funds or a lucky find leaving you feeling blessed.
 

Jay

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Thank you :)

Yes, it's just what comes with the Hanson but a delay means I played the Hanson with the Rico for a few days, so I could hear the difference when the Esprit did arrive.

I'm so enjoying learning - head of Blue Bossa today. Will be a long time til I can do a solo I expect. Cats not running out any more but whether I sound less scary or whether it's just resignation on their part, I can't tell ;)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Agree with Colin. One part of your daily routine should be long tones, playing notes and holding them, but changing embouchure to change the sound. You'll be amazed at how much you can change the sound.
 

Colin the Bear

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Little and often when starting out. Three fifteen minute sessions in an hour, twice a day, will be more productive than one forty minute blast and face ache for the week.

If your thumbs are aching you may be gripping too tightly or holding your instrument in an un natural position. Adjust your sling so that you can blow a note no hands, with the instrument resting across your body. Put your hands on and play it there or as near as possible. No weight on the hands, keep your fingers on the buttons and twiddle your fingers.
 

Jay

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Do you play with the bottom end of the saxophone resting on you, or do you push it away from you (not like my avatar, but even just a little bit?)
 

Colin the Bear

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Let it rest against you for the most part. You can do a bit of stage posing later in your career. If you continue to take weight on your hands you can end up with a kind of repetitive strain injury or arthritis, which may stop you playing at all.

I have worn the lacquer off my Baritone where it rubs against my clothes but it gets a regular polish and is the shiniest part of the instrument. There's a strip of metal down the side. A clothes guard so the you don't become entangled in the mechanism.
 

Jay

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Ah, that's good to know, thank you. That's what I've been doing wrong with my right hand, pushing the sax away from me and so taking the weight on my thumb.

And then the left one is, I think, that I need the octave key a bit higher. I'm going to see Alastair Hanson tomorrow, so will ask about that.
 

MontyMac

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Houston, Texas
Here's a mouthpiece chart I found online. It has most of the major players listed.

Chart.gif
Previously I was using a Rico Graftonite B5.
and my thumbs, ache too much to keep playing.

Does anyone know, or could one of you experienced folk say what it compares most closely to, in your opinion.
I had gotten a Graftonite for my Baritone and haven't been impressed with it. I'd play around with different reeds and it would improve a little but not enough to write home about.

The thumbs? I agree with the others, your neck strap is for supporting the horn, NOT your thumbs. They should only have enough pressure to keep the mouthpiece from falling out of your mouth. And with your left thumb hurting you may also be exerting a lot of pressure on the pads. That will shorten their life.
 
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Cumbria, UK
I don't like Rico mouthpieces. The shape is odd with that step to the reed table. I find them difficult to blow.
I have an Esprit for baritone and one for alto. They seem similar to the S80 Selmer pieces having that square chamber. A lot of cheap Chinese pieces copy this form but the Esprit seems to be better made and is nice to blow. Not my favourite piece but for the price a good starter of backup.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
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It seems to be true that what suits one player does not suit another. Also some mouthpieces go better with some saxes than others.

On top of that, the amount you play makes a difference - a beginner will develop embouchure so will eventually want to try other mouthpieces. But even an experienced player can find that problems arise if the amount of playing time decreases... and the problems go away if playing time increases. Even a couple of days can make a difference.

Student mps are an inexpensive way to experiment - great if you are a skinflint like me - and they can always be sold on.

After a twenty or so year layoff I tried a Yamaha 4c on my tenor, thinking that as it is often recommended for beginners it would be good to rebuild my chops. After a month or so I had, but then found it too restrictive - like blowing down a narrow pipe - and tried a Bari Esprit. A bit better, but still restrictive and narrow feeling, so another month or so and I tried a Graftonite A5 - much better, but I wanted more volume and a harder sound with more edge, so another couple of months I moved on to a Metalite M5. I am still playing it and it's by far the best so far, plenty of volume but subtone, too, and very flexible for tone.

But that is just me, on my tenor. Different ship, different long-splice...
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
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As a footnote to my previous posting, a lot of the incentive to try different mouthpieces was that my practice room is my caravan, where the acoustics are not merely dead but have been mummified and buried. Until I got to the Rico mps my tone sounded to me like a bee in a bottle. The bright tone of the Metalite finally enabled me to overcome this and produce a sound which reminded me of a saxophone.

The net result of this is that when I play anywhere with average acoustics and start straight off emoting through my sax and giving it welly I sound like a tenor-playing poor man's version of Ornette Coleman having a nervous breakdown.... which is fine, because what I tend to do is start with something cool and restrained and get the feel of the acoustics before letting rip and risking triggering audience anxiety attacks, collective outpourings of grief and mass suicides. After a week getting used to it I found could peel paint or play lullabies with the Metalite at whim, so it is not a problem.

There a number of thoughts here.

How you sound to yourself is not how others hear you - this pops up every now and again on this forum.

If you can, try your sound in different rooms if only to assure yourself that you can actually make something like the sort of sounds you are aiming for. It also alerts you to the tremendous variation you will find in venues if you get to play in public.

Provided that it doesn't depress you too much and make you want to give up, very dead acoustics will make you work like mad on producing an expressive sound. It also encourages you to practice playing loudly - but which doesn't prevent you from playing at low volume when required...

Outdoor acoustics can be very 'empty' (e.g. in a field) and very off putting if you are not used to it, too.

Contrariwise, if you regularly practice somewhere with a nice bit of natural reverb then if you have to play somewhere with dead acoustics you will lack confidence and really struggle. You will also probably lack practice at playing loudly with a good tone and for long periods, which isn't at all good if you really need to and can't...

None of this is a recommendation for buying mp after mp in the hope of getting a better sound... whichever of my mps I play on, I sound like me - but a quieter and more subdued me on the first couple .... and I can do much more, and do it better, with my current favourite.

But until your embouchure is well developed, a conservative, middle of the road student mouthpiece is worth sticking with. I moved from one to the next quite quickly because I had played years before, and just needed to get my chops back in shape and knew more or less what I was looking for.

Chopping and changing frequently is not a good idea for a beginner, and a mp which suits a more experienced player may be hard to play well if your embouchure and experience is not ready for it.
 
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Jay

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Northumberland
I'm going to stick with the Bari Esprit for now. It sounds ok for what I can do at the moment. I want to be able to play reasonably and then I will go down to the Bradford Woodwind Exchange and play a few, and see what I like.

My practice room is a middle-sized room with bare stone walls and a solid wood floor. I suppose it has better reverbs than a room full of carpets and curtains, but the sax doesn't sound as good as it does in the tiled bathroom (mirror, to check out mouthpiece/mouth position ;))

I haven't dared play outside yet!
 

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