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M/Pieces - Ligs Conn 10m tenor mouthpiece

honkywonk

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3
Hi ... I'm a newb around here. I was recommended to join the forum and pose this question by Stephen (shwoodwind.co.uk)

I have a 1957 model Conn 10m ... without rolled tone holes. It's a great horn with a big sound ... it has a power and ease of blowing that my friends don't come anywhere near to matching on their various horns (such as Selmer Mk. VI, Selmer Mk. VII, SML w. rolled tone holes, and various Yamahas).

I play right now on a Vandoren "Java" (not Jumbo Java) hard rubber 'piece that matches the horn well in terms of having good pitch, blowing easily and freely through the entire range from low Bb to high F. I play it in an R&B band but this setup also has a clear, spit-free tone and super-flexible dynamics which would be perfect for playing "legit" music such as classical repertoire or concert band. I suppose it's like a Selmer C* but with more OOOMPH. I don't know much about acoustics but I attribute this to the mouthpiece's large bore (matching the horn) and round chamber. The tip opening is a "medium" T75 (0.104 inch) and I use Vandoren Java reeds around 2-1/2 strength. Not too open and not too hard.

The setup has two drawbacks however. The tone is rather "un-tenor-like" in that it's missing that slightly hissy warmth that people associate with, say, Pink Panther.

And its altissimo isn't completely "there". The altissimo pops out easily in the range "A" to "Eb" but is harder (like most tenors I suppose) for lower F#-G-G# (one octave above the staff). And it gets difficult above Eb. This is hardly a problem in the real world, except that I'm playing sax in a Foreigner tribute band and the famous Junior Walker solo requires a high "G" (taken down a half-step for the singer from Junior's Ab). And I have a closet ambition to master Lenny Pickett's screaming Saturday Night Live noodlings someday which seem to go up around "G". The lowest G# altissimo would also be nice to have for the King Curtis solo on Aretha's "Respect".

So ... what do other people put on their 10m and what/whom do they sound like? What sounds "juicy" and what makes the altissimo easier?

Thx so much!
 

Tomasz

Member
Messages
543
I have a "Transitional" Conn 10M dating from 1934. I use primarily Otto Link Super Tonemasters (metal), and sometimes a hard rubber Otto Link Tone-Edge mouthpiece on it. I really like the sound I get, though whether you'd feel the same is entirely a matter of personal preference.

The metal and hard rubber mouthpieces made by Otto Link are quite different designs, but you could go for something in the middle by using a metal Otto Link STM NY - which sounds a bit "darker" than a standard Otto Link STM.

Just bear in mind that regardless of vintage, the underlying design of your Conn 10M dates from the 1930s, so it doesn't like modern, high-baffle "screamer" mouthpieces e.g. the Dukoff etc. If you ignore that advice and put something like a Rico Metalite on your Conn 10M then chances are you'll have problems re. intonation and/or response.

A Conn 10M much prefers open-chambered mouthpieces e.g. an Otto Link STM or Tone Edge. Fortunately, there are plenty of similar mouthpieces out there made by other manufacturers to choose from. So, sticking to open-chambered mouthpieces is only a small restriction on your options. Here's a video of Dexter Gordon playing a Conn 10M with a vintage Otto Link (i.e. not modern Otto Link STM) fitted. Even so, it should give some idea of what this combination is capable of in the right hands:-

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0vhqDCy9eQ


Realistically, all you can do is try a bunch of different mouthpieces on your horn and see which one(s) you like most.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
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3,355
Vandoren make pretty decent mouthpieces, but the altissimo isn't always the best. To me one of the crucial factors is the accuracy of the facing curve and most mass produced mouthpieces aren't completely perfect in that regard
The other factor is the tone you're looking for, a bit more baffle but with a large enough chamber to maintain the fat bluesy tone and keep the intonation in check. Some of the players you mention may have used Berg Larsen mouthpieces, but you'd need to try a few to get a good one since Berg's quality control isn't the best. There are companies like Retro Revival and Ted Klum who're making improved versions of Berg Larsens, but they're expensive and it'd be cheaper to get a Berg refaced than pay for such a thing. Arnold Montgomery's Aras mouthpiece is also worth considering and he'll make them to your specifications
In my experience with my late 30's 6M alto, vintage Conns can sometimes be a bit fussy about what mouthpieces they get on with. My alto loves a Lawton 8* BB more than any other..
There are plenty of others like the Ponzol M2, Westcoast Sax MOAM, Theo Wanne Durga, ...- personally I'd keep away from the small chamber mouthpieces like the Dukoff - they can sound too thin and I think Conns need a bigger chamber than that
have a look at these mouthpiece reviews for more possibilities - Tenor Mouthpiece Reviews

Always try a mouthpiece before you buy, or order it from a place that has a good returns policy
 

rhysonsax

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4,587
Here's a video of Dexter Gordon playing a Conn 10M with a vintage Otto Link (i.e. not modern Otto Link STM) fitted. Even so, it should give some idea of what this combination is capable of in the right hands:-

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0vhqDCy9eQ

That video shows Dexter's classic set up and it wasn't an Otto Link metal but a Dukoff BD Hollywood. It went missing at the same time his old Conn was stolen and later he played a modern Selmer tenor with a Link Super Tone Master.

More information here: Dexter Gordon & his Dukoff Hollywood - Page 4

Rhys
 

jbtsax

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8,103
Here are a couple of songs I recorded on my Conn 10M ser. #291027 with a Jody Jazz Jet 7. Georgia on my Mind demonstrates the sound when "pushed" with a slightly softer reed. Fly Me to the Moon is played with more of a "laid back" sound. These examples show how versatile the mouthpiece can be. I don't use altissimo so I can't comment on that. You can hear Ryan Lillywhite playing the same mouthpiece in some of the later videos at the Cannonball website. His altissimo playing seems effortless, but he is an amazing player. I bought my Jody Jazz at his suggestion and I couldn't be happier with how it works for me.

https://soundcloud.com/jbtsax%2Fgeorgia-on-my-mind-final-take View: https://soundcloud.com/jbtsax/georgia-on-my-mind-final-take


https://soundcloud.com/jbtsax%2Ffly-me-to-the-moon-final-mix View: https://soundcloud.com/jbtsax/fly-me-to-the-moon-final-mix
 

honkywonk

New Member
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3
That video shows Dexter's classic set up and it wasn't an Otto Link metal but a Dukoff BD Hollywood. It went missing at the same time his old Conn was stolen and later he played a modern Selmer tenor with a Link Super Tone Master.

More information here: Dexter Gordon & his Dukoff Hollywood - Page 4

Rhys

Awesome clip and an awesome sound. Are "modern" Dukoffs similar to vintage design? E.g. facing, chamber, baffle (or lack of) etc.

Or are there other modern makers who have tried to capture the essence of the old DG Dukoff Hollywood sound?

Such as JodyJazz ... in Jody's demo of the DV NY tenor he says "... the second window adds this Dexter Gordon huskiness ..."
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
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3,355
the modern Dukoffs are nothing like the old Hollywood ones - nowadays they're cast from 'silverite' a soft pewter alloy and have small chambers and high baffles and give you a sound like David Sanborn

Ackerman used to make a BD Hollywood copy, but they don't seem to be available anymore....
the only one I can find is Sakshama who does a copy of the Zimberoff vintage Dukoff
Sakshama Custom Z
 

rhysonsax

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4,587
the modern Dukoffs are nothing like the old Hollywood ones - nowadays they're cast from 'silverite' a soft pewter alloy and have small chambers and high baffles and give you a sound like David Sanborn

Ackerman used to make a BD Hollywood copy, but they don't seem to be available anymore....
the only one I can find is Sakshama who does a copy of the Zimberoff vintage Dukoff
Sakshama Custom Z

Sadly that is true about current Dukoff mouthpieces - very different beasts.

As well as Sakshama there have been a few other options for mouthpieces based on, or similar to, Dexter's Dukoff.

Aaron Drake used to make a "Dexter Gordon" model in their Legend series and RS Berkeley then did, as reviewed by Steve Neff. RS Berkeley Legends Dexter Gordon Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

I think the RS Berkeley Dexter model is still available: LDG Dexter Gordon Legends Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

For a while Ted Klum also made a replica called the "LTD" or "Long Tall Dexter" - it was supposed to be really good, but I don't know why it was stopped.

I think that some of Morgan Fry's metal tenor pieces may have been influenced by the old Dukoff Hollywoods, both externally and internally. I really like the way his mouthpieces play - it might be worth contacting him.

Phil-Tone mouthpieces Mosaic mouthpiece is described on his website as "not a copy of any piece but could best be described as a cross between a Dukoff Hollywood and a Stubby". The Mosaic You could ask @Phil here.

Rhys
 

Tomasz

Member
Messages
543
That video shows Dexter's classic set up and it wasn't an Otto Link metal but a Dukoff BD Hollywood. It went missing at the same time his old Conn was stolen and later he played a modern Selmer tenor with a Link Super Tone Master.

More information here: Dexter Gordon & his Dukoff Hollywood - Page 4

Rhys

I thought it was a vintage Otto Link. Clearly not...

Even so, my previous comments re. using open-chambered mouthpieces (e.g. Otto Link STM) on Conn 10Ms still holds true.
 

thomsax

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Messages
3,916
A Dukoff LD chamber (silverite) is complete different compared to the D chamber. My LD 10 is more like a trad/mainstream jazz mpc. Big chamber, no baffle. Very good in the low register but the high tones don't come out so well. Still a powerfull mouthpiece.
 

honkywonk

New Member
Messages
3
Aaron Drake used to make a "Dexter Gordon" model in their Legend series and RS Berkeley then did, as reviewed by Steve Neff. RS Berkeley Legends Dexter Gordon Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

Interesting that Steve Neff liked the narrow tip opening model of this mouthpiece with a hard reed.

When I bought my 10m many years ago, it came with a vintage Otto Link metal mouthpiece with a narrow tip opening, The seller told me, "I had a hard time finding a mouthpiece but this one works well with a #4 reed."

Those were the days ,,, there was practically no such thing as "classic" "vintage" horns and mouthpieces. Before eBay they were just "used". The 10m cost me a couple of hundred $$ and the mouthpiece was thrown in.

It did blow really well, but I stupidly gave away the mouthpiece to someone a few years ago and I've been kicking myself ever since.
 

rhysonsax

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Subscriber
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4,587
Interesting that Steve Neff liked the narrow tip opening model of this mouthpiece with a hard reed.

When I bought my 10m many years ago, it came with a vintage Otto Link metal mouthpiece with a narrow tip opening, The seller told me, "I had a hard time finding a mouthpiece but this one works well with a #4 reed."

Those were the days ,,, there was practically no such thing as "classic" "vintage" horns and mouthpieces. Before eBay they were just "used". The 10m cost me a couple of hundred $$ and the mouthpiece was thrown in.

It did blow really well, but I stupidly gave away the mouthpiece to someone a few years ago and I've been kicking myself ever since.

I think the medium to small tip opening with a hard reed used to be the way major jazz soloists on tenor sax would choose to go in the 30s to 50s. But not necessarily section players who would need to blend. I'm not sure if the same would have been true for alto and bari players.

Then with the advent of loud electric bands from the 60s onwards there was move towards either high baffle pieces, which seem to work better in bigger tip openings, or big tip openings and hard reeds.

It's important to think about what type or types of setting you will be playing in. Some mouthpiece and reed combinations might not be flexible enough to cover rock, acoustic jazz and big band.

The sound that Dexter Gordon had is a superb model that lots of people aspire to copy, but he was unique and his whole style was inimitable - the confidence in his playing, his time feel, his note choice etc.

Big chamber and medium or medium small tip with a hard reed could be a good solution for your 10M.

Rhys
 
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