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Beginner Beginner player on 7 tip opening

GRoss

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Victoria, Australia
Hi all,

I'm a beginner tenor player, playing for around 6 months. I started off with Yamaha 4C mouthpiece as many others, I would assume.

Few months in, I got the bug to try a different mouthpiece and bought a D'Addario Select Jazz D6M, which is comparable to 7 tip opening. (currently using 2.0 reeds)

Long story short, after around 3 months of practice it's getting a bit easier, however I still find that I run out of air pretty quickly and that especially the low notes are really quite hard to blow, especially at the start of each session. I find it does get a bit easier towards the middle, where I'm warmed up and my embouchure is finally starting to relax.

My question is about playing on quite an open mouthpiece as a beginner, do you think it's helping or hindering my progress? Are there any other players with similar experience out there and if so - what mouthpiece do you guys use?

P.S. It's so hard to figure out what's "too hard" to blow, but having recently tried my 4C once again, after not touching it for a few months, I was blown away on how much easier it was to blow and how I did not struggle with running out of air, nearly as much. I've heard some people saying that more open mouthpieces sound "fuller" and "richer", however I'm yet to actually hear a difference myself to be honest.

Thanks!
 

turf3

Member
Messages
339
Location
Earth
I will just point out that "comparable to a 7 tip opening" has no meaning as all manufacturers use different numbering schemes to indicate tip openings. A Brilhart 7 is different from a Meyer 7 is different from a Link 7. Not to mention that not all manufacturers are accurate in their markings.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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7,779
Location
Peeblesshire
Yes not all 7's are equal, but that is a red herring

The data you present are useful, @GRoss ... 6 months playing, 4C easy, 7 running out of puff and no rewarding improvement in tone, reeds soft

The info suggests your embouchure is in the early stages of development

Whether that means sticking to the 4C or perhaps trying an intermediate lay mouthpiece, or an even softer reed, I don't know, but the least good option is to keep flogging the 7
 
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nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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7,177
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Bristol, UK
My advice is that if your mouthpiece is uncomfortable after 3 months and doesn't sound better than your 4C, then use a different mouthpiece.

It sounds like the D'Addario mouthpiece is too wide, but maybe it just doesn't suit you and/or the saxophone.

Don't get suckered into a macho thing about playing on wide tip mouthpieces - many of the great jazz players played on what would nowadays be considered narrow tips, and many classical players use narrow tip openings. Find a mouthpiece that suits you and makes you happy.
 

Dr G

Member
Messages
298
Location
Northern California
P.S. It's so hard to figure out what's "too hard" to blow, but having recently tried my 4C once again, after not touching it for a few months, I was blown away on how much easier it was to blow and how I did not struggle with running out of air, nearly as much. I've heard some people saying that more open mouthpieces sound "fuller" and "richer", however I'm yet to actually hear a difference myself to be honest.

Thanks!
This sounds so familiar, and so are the solutions.

Get the leaks out of the horn, and ensure that you are developing proper embouchure and air support.

If you don't have good air support, there is little chance that a mouthpiece will magically make your sound either fuller or richer. Once you do develop your embouchure and air, your sound on any mouthpiece will be much improved.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,457
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Mouthpiece size is comparable to shoe size. A good fit is more important than a big number.
If big shoes were better there would be more clowns in the olympics.
What number is your embouchure? And now...and now?
There is so much to learn.
A mouthpiece that fights you, will slow development in other areas.
You can't concentrate and focus on the music while your focus is elsewhere.
The only reason to change mouthpiece is because the new one gives you more.
Mouthpiece is the interface between player and instrument and should be a good fit for both. It should allow you to be you.
That sound you're looking for is earned. It can't be bought. Practice and patience is the only way.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
3,311
Location
Hampshire
I agree with the consensus but would take sound/tone away - it’s no good having a sound you love on a setup that you can only produce that sound on a few notes and cannot control the whole range of the horn easily. Or be able to play quietly. Or a long phrase without running out of air.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
839
Location
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
I've now been playing Tenor for about 18 months. Like you, after about 6 months I moved from a Yamaha 4C to D'Addario 6M. I found the jump a bit too much so I got a Yamaha 7C as a transition. I found the 7C easier than the 4C. After about 2 months on the 7C I found the 6M much more comfortable.

Subsequently I mainly play a Getasax GS Reso FG 7* which I find easier than any. I mainly use Green java 2.5 reeds but vary between 2.0 and 3.0.

The advantage of the Yamaha 6C or 7C is they are low cost but good.

The advantage of the Getasax mouthpieces is that they are hand-finished to give you a better table than you will get with D'Addario. The better table seems to mean the low notes respond easily, both full tone and subtone.

Try Dr Wally's Saxophone Academy free course which really emphasises low note proficiency and long tones as part of ballad melody practice.

A couple of tips: tense your abdomen to provide breath support for low notes and raise and drop left hand 1 finger in time with first low note desired response.
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
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4,673
Location
France
What puzzles me is that you said you can't hear a difference between the 4C and the D6M. Therefore, there is no valid reason to play the D6M yet.

I have tons of mouthpieces, so I know how easy it can be to be attracted to something else. But like you it took me a while to actually hear and feel the difference, apart from the discomfort you experience.

What reeds are you using on the 4C?
 

randulo

Living the dream
Café Supporter
Messages
6,441
Location
France
Those numbers are so confusing. It's bad enough that there are metric and the other to specify tip opening. That opening is the only accurate measurment of tip opening. Opening is what those vague numbers 4, 5 6, 7... are supposed to mean. For example, I know the Jody Jazz HR*6M alto mouthpiece opening is 1.98mm. As far as I know; all manufacturers show their tip oepning in one of the measurement systems and the internet is full of converters between metric and silly if need be.

This is from Yamaha's page for tenor. The columns are 3C, 4C, 5C, 6C.
Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 09.55.00.png

You can Google for other manufacturers or go to a store that has many brands and they'll have the figures in their catalog.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
3,311
Location
Hampshire
Those numbers are so confusing. It's bad enough that there are metric and the other to specify tip opening. That opening is the only accurate measurment of tip opening. Opening is what those vague numbers 4, 5 6, 7... are supposed to mean. For example, I know the Jody Jazz HR*6M alto mouthpiece opening is 1.98mm. As far as I know; all manufacturers show their tip oepning in one of the measurement systems and the internet is full of converters between metric and silly if need be.

This is from Yamaha's page for tenor. The columns are 3C, 4C, 5C, 6C.
View attachment 18667

You can Google for other manufacturers or go to a store that has many brands and they'll have the figures in their catalog.
Yes it is often confusing. Often, you have to hunt the internet for proper tip openings too. Sometimes, comparison charts are wrong too.
 

GRoss

New Member
Messages
8
Location
Victoria, Australia
Wow, SO MUCH super useful feedback and info! Thanks a lot everybody!

I saw all of your comments and got super inspired to try something else, ended up picking up a Jody Jazz HR* 5* after work and tried it tonight. Let's just say that 2 and a bit hours later, I was over the moon because I've had the most positive practice session in ages. 5* is fantastic for me at this stage it seems, being 85 mm tip opening, which is right in between Yamaha 4C (67 mm) and Select Jazz 6M (100 mm). It feels... just right. I was also able to play softer, which surprised me and over all felt... great! Sound is really great as well. I think I'm nowhere good enough yet to be able to produce or pick up the nuances of sound between the different mouthpieces

A bit more info about my gear, thinking:
1. I've got a Yamaha YTS-62, which I picked up after initially picked up a super cheap and super terrible sax of Amazon, which was... not great
2. I use Rico 2.0-2.5 (standard and filed) reeds. 2.0 on the Select Jazz 6M and 2.5 on Yamaha 4C. I've tried 2.0 on Jody Jazz HR* 5* and it felt great, but I might try the 2.5 at some point as well to see how it feels
3. I've also got 2 packs of 2.5 & 3.0 Select Jazz reeds, sitting there... waiting for once I'm ready
4. I initially had very little understanding of different mouthpieces and didn't really understand what openings effectively meant. Getting the Select Jazz 6M, I figured that since it's the smallest available and only 2 numbers away from Yamaha 4C, then it must be pretty beginner friendly... big mistake!
5. When I realized how much of a struggle it was, I figured that it should get easier and that it will help me get better faster, but I do see now that that was a mistake. I've spent so much time focusing on blowing enough air and not passing out, that other aspects of my playing suffered
6. I have come across a super useful tip opening chart, that I found recently: JodyJazz | Tenor Sax Facing Charts - Compare Tip Openings

So it looks like I'll be sticking with the new Jody Jazz HR* 5* for quite some time (I'm so excited to play with it tomorrow evening again and focusing on getting a good sound happening on that, before jumping into anything else.

One final batch of questions:
1. For those of you that started on more closed mouthpieces like 5 and have gradually moved up to something like 7 or higher or for those that stayed with 5. Why have you moved up or why not? Have you noticed tangible differences in your tone? Did you move up for the extra volume? Are there any other reasons?
2. For people that ended up moving up to more open mouthpieces - did they get easier to play with time or did you just get used to how hard they are? After trying the 5* I am just... so very pleased with how it feels. It's.. just right.

I've taken a few recordings a few days back and then again today, and here's a comparable track on both mouthpieces. I'm still learning it, so it's definitely a work in progress and I really struggle with those high notes as you can tell, but I feel like less so on the Jody Jazz for some reason...

D'Addario Select Jazz 6M
https://soundcloud.com/human-854626617%2Frecording-20210716-175419 View: https://soundcloud.com/human-854626617/recording-20210716-175419?in=human-854626617/sets/16-july-recordings


Jody Jazz HR* 5*
https://soundcloud.com/human-854626617%2Frecording-20210722-174727 View: https://soundcloud.com/human-854626617/recording-20210722-174727?in=human-854626617/sets/22-july-recordings


Thanks once again! This community is a gold mine of information/invaluable experience! :D
 

turf3

Member
Messages
339
Location
Earth
With all due respect, those recordings sound alike to me and they sound like you need to spend more time building chops. I hear an embouchure that hasn't reached strength yet, and an airstream that needs development.

That's OK, you're a beginner; but from listening I would say you're months away from needing to try different mouthpieces. If I were your teacher I'd have you building chops and airstream on something like a Yamaha 5C or Selmer D and when you start overpowering those, you can consider going up in facing size, or in reed strength.

My suggestion for building chops and tone fast is always the same: Long tones, from pppp to ffff to pppp., over the full range of the horn, done outdoors in an open space away from walls or reflective surfaces whenever possible. You'll develop a lot faster that way than playing at a mezzo-mezzo dynamic level indoors.
 
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Phil

Senior Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
1,044
Location
France
I make and sell mouthpieces but Id suggest the above advice is excellent. At six months buying mouthpieces is little more than a distraction. Forget about them for a year and just play.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,457
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
What use is good tone if intonation and articulation are suffering?
Lots of great players have a core tone I don't like. This pales into insignificance when they play.
Musicality is what matters.
The ability to express a note or phrase as soon as it occurs, without thought or pause or effort is essential to making music.
It's very easy to get side tracked when starting out with this idea of tone. You're usually playing alone in a small room.
The great tone you thought you had may disappear in a band situation, in a big room, through a PA.
My advice would be to use the piece that plays the easiest untill you feel it's holding you back and remember it's about the music not the gear.
 

eb424

Senior Member
Messages
1,276
Location
london
finally agree with @Colin the Bear great advice..pmsl... I got sucked into the tone thing and 4 years down the line finally realise that the most important thing is wanting to pick the sax up and when you do its easy to play... I honestly feel its taken 4 years to be able to go to my mouthpiece reed sax and play any cock ups are mine... I genuinely feel that this is the start of my learning journey i'm sure it will be the same for you... frustrating times lay ahead; i've cursed peoples advice on here but it all makes sense eventually amongst the frustration its the playing and dedication and love of playing the sax that makes a difference..... Hopefully you have found a mouthpiece and reed combo that's easy to blow I couldn't get on with JJ they were a little to resistantfor me or maybe the combo with the reed wasn't right.....time and practice will lead you to your set up but enjoy the journey..its worth it...
 

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