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M/Pieces - Ligs Bunny needs a Tenor mpc!!

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Thanks to all you lovely guys who have been so kind and helpful welcoming me back to sax playing. Some of you will have noticed on my old thread, that I got the wonderful surprise of a tenor on Saturday....lovely lovely birthday pressie and complete shock. It's a Stagg 77-st which I am proud to say Stephen Hpward says is fine, as he works on a couple with no known probes and oi got a nice comment from Pete Thomas himself too..so I am well pleased.

I'm not really a beginner perhaps novice is a better word but I am really serious now. Stephen Howard suggested I get rid of the mpc that came with the new sax and buy a yamaha 3c..I can't find one so asked if a 4c is okay and he said yes.

I have two other friends from this group who have made different suggestions...and one suggested posting here for comments
I can blow quite freely and easily and am proud to say have never mad a sax squeak even when I was a beginner. I don't understand about the width of mpc...freeness of blowing and what might suit me. I am a lady but I'm not a little weedy person..big tough girl LOL...

I've alreAdy ordered a 4c ...did I do wrong? Any ideas comments and opinions are welcomed!! I can exchange it after all...I can only afford the budget end though
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Width of mouthpiece - this refers to tip opening. when you fix a reed to the mouthpiece it is the gap between the end of the mouthpiece and the end of the reed, where you would blow - either the gap is narrower or wider. With a weak embouchure it is better to start with softer reeds and narrower tip so that you will be able to make a sound without "busting a gut". The technical issue is that you need to be able to manage the gap between the reed and mouthpiece with your lips etc. whilst being able to also blow enough air through the mouthpiece to cause the reed to vibrate. Bigger gaps/harder reeds require stronger embouchure and breath, and can be quite tiring for those new to saxophone (same issue with brass mouthpieces - the wider/deeper the cup of a mouthpiece the harder to make a sound and more air required. Hope this helps. Obviously Yamaha and Rico are recommendations at £25+ and £15 respectively - just get something small enough to blow comfortably. Beyond these the price seems to rise well above £50 (I have 3 tenor pieces which cost me about £500+ in total). Bari HR are pretty good at below £100, but perhaps a trip to try a few out may be more successful if you want to go beyond the two mentioned above.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Aha...that explains it simply. How about the width of the mpc ie the gap between the side " rails" aren't they called!?
I can see the STM I have a 6* looks narrower than my Rico B5.
I guess it's very difficult to say how much of a tip opening any player can cope with. Also my B5 seems to take MORE puff to blow than my STM...........duh is it just me or a very inaccurate science.?
Well I will try it when I get it and post what it's like. Trouble is my local music store has no mpcs worth trying so I guess getting a Graftonite B5 for my alto and aYam 4c for my tenor is at least economical for now
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Width is a misnomer. It's the distance between the tip of the reed and the tip rail, not side rails. Opening is a better name.

The distance between the side rails is standard across all (almost) mouthpieces - for that sax size, has to be, cos the reeds are all the same width. Some have thinner rails, which makes them wider inside.

Beware, all these codes - 3c, 4c 6*.... there are a few different standards/naming sequences. Best stick to the 4c for now. Then look around and look up the actual opening in on of the online charts. And of course just to make things easier, some are in thousandths of an inch, others in millimetres....
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
The Yamaha 4c is just about the smallest tip opening known to man .062" for Alto & .067" for Tenor. A Rico B3 Alto is .070" and B3 Tenor is .085" - the Jody Jazz website has the best comparison charts that I have seen for tip openings and explains that different mouthpiece manufacturers do have different systems of categorisation. Tip opening can give a guide to ease of playing, depending on what reed strength and type is used.

The STM and B5 Alto are actually given the same measurement of .080" tip opening, but HR mouthpieces are usually physically larger than metal mouthpieces, and can be different to play. My main tenor piece is a Francois Louis Spectruoso which is about the same actual size as an HR Alto piece, and I do find it more comfortable to play than a typical HR Tenor piece.

Hope this helps
Tom
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
That does hep...but remind me what does HR mean. It would seem to refer to the "plastic" or "Graftonite" tyye mpc?
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Examining the mpc that came with the tenor there is a clear ripple/ ridge in the plastic along the edge of the tip where there should be just a clean flat surface a couple of mls wide. Nothing like it I'm my Rico B5 or even my other cheeps mpc by Bill Levington and certainly not on the. STM...surely this will produce the harsher sounds from c# onwards?

Hubbie nbeing a mechanic by trade says , just sand paper it off with finest glass paper. I say leave well alone as an example of a poor mpc and wait for the Yamaha 4c to get here. What domyou think?
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
You're up early!! But wait you're on European time....... I'm on my iPad and just saw your message arrive!,

You're right...I will leave it and use it till the 4c arrives. I was reading my Haynes manual where Stephen Howard says always buy a reasonable mpc for a new sax at the lower end of price range cos they are often badly made. So I took it off to have a good look and really see if there was anything on it as to tip opening...no such luck!!!!
But I had noticed that tone sounds fine for the first octave then is nowhere near as nice. I actually checked with SH before I noticed the flaw, and he replied that's what he'd expect.

So this misshapen to the tip has got to make a difference to the sound? Surely the basis if the sound is a smooth stream of air going between the reed and the pristine tip of the mpc.

I passed on my hubbies suggestion cos he often tells me this or that will be ok for the sax but he is NOT a sax player and it winds me up something rotten!!!,
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I get up at 6 local time, 5 UK time, to get teh kids to school/and into work by 8. I get a quick break waiting for the kids to suface...

Hopefully Morgan (who makes mouthpieces) will pick up on this.

The mouthpiece makes the sound... More than any othe part of the sax. The reed tip and side rails work as a valve, constantly opening and closing. The reed has to seal instantly, and open instantly. If the tip rail's it's not shaped correctly, the reed often doesn't seal completely. Plus the shape of the tip rail affects the flow of air into the sax, which also affects things.... Lots of thigns going on, and anything could happen...

One thing that can improve the higher notes is the reed strength. Going up even half a strength can make a big difference to the higher notes. You're on a trade off between being able to get the lower notes - and clean high notes. But I wouldn't start experimenting until the new mpc arrives.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Morning Bunny,
If you decide to remove the ripple, a sharp chisel would be the best tool to use. Failing that a small file used in a side to side direction, rather than forewards & backwards (you will cause fewer scratches this way).

I have just had a thought!!
Take it to one of those places that cut keys & repair shoes. They might be willing to help a "Damsel in distress".
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
There's a lot of good stuff on mouthpieces on the web
 
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Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Thannk you Genntlemen for coming to the aid of this maiden (ermmmmm?) having problems!
My darling Tel went to the music store and bought me some Rico Royal 2 reeds, and that did improve the second octave somewhat.

I think I will leave well alone till my new mpc arrives, cos it is playable just not as consistent as it should be. I know I'm a novice but vie been told by the one teacher I did have a couple of lessons with that I hsve an exceptionally good ear...so I assume that makes me picky as a beginner.!! Seriously it drives me to always check what I learned right back atvthe be inning, that you proper players take for granted, is the reed absolutely in the right place 2mm either way can really affect the sound...or exactly how much of the mpc is in my mouth...the ways I am standing or sitting...always looking for the sweetest sound at all times!!!


Only a few mins and I'm allowed to start playing!!! We've agreed 10- 6 for his sanity!! I don't mean all of that just between those times!!!
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Well the Yamaha 4c has arrived and from the first note it was much better. On closer inspection the cheap mpc has a couple of small nicks or gouges out of the left rail. When compared with the Yamaha the quality of the Yamaha is really, really obvious, every edge on the Yam us precisely machined, sadly not so on the cheap one.

So now with 2/ 2.5 reeds I have never enjoyed playing so much or felt I was progressing so much. Of course it's easy to blow, but I want to build up my skill and embouchure before changing up again!,

I never knew, as they say, I could have this much joy and satisfaction with my clothes on! Or standing up!!!!!!!

A would be tenor player is born....
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
I never knew, as they say, I could have this much joy and satisfaction with my clothes on! Or standing up!!!!!!!

A would be tenor player is born....
:))) You've obviously not played at some of the places I've played at then, satisfied standing and fully clothed...well most of the time anyway! :)))

It's all plain sailing from now on Bunny, you've got a good platform on which to build your skills. I hope you enjoy it.
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
It's making me sooooo happy. I'm 55 and was brought up going to Methodist Chapel so o have good memory for tunes and can just sit and play from memory...hymn tunes, hits from the past..if it's got a god tune I can play it by ear. Got a bit confused in some Lennon and McCartney, playing in the right key with all the odd tunings ie Something or Eleanor Rigby........probably myxalodian diminished lol!!! I woked out the fingerings/ notes just tok a couple of mins.

Onward and upwards, thankfully my neighbour likes sax music, even mine!,
 
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