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Desmond sound wannabee

altogether

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3
I played bass guitar for years. But I always loved the sax, ever since I first heard Paul Desmond on Take Five. So I bought myself an alto for Christmas and have been learning some tunes and going through some scales, long tones and exercises. I don't sound anything like Desmond but I'm hoping to at least emulate his sound. I've been working on vibrato and plan to buy a Phil-tone Solstice mpc (0.071) and either a François Louise Brass lig or a Theo Wanne Enlightened lig (XL). Any advice you might have for a beginner would be appreciated.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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7,999
Listen to recordings. When you are able, play along with Desmond. There is a lot more than just tone quality involved in emulating a player you like. Phrasing, articulation, vibrato, dynamics, style to name just a few. Once you have the concept, it is just a matter of finding the right equipment that facilitates the sound you want. The equipment doesn't make that sound for you. It simply helps you to make the sound you hear in your head with less effort.
 

altogether

New Member
Messages
3
Thanks jbt for the "sound" advice. :)
I like that term "concept". You conceive the sound in your head and the rest is all just mechanical.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
Lots of wisdom in Jbtsax's words. Just one thing - as you start getting control of your sound, don't just try to be a Desmond clone. As you experiment, you'll probably find things that please you more than Paul Desmond. Develop them and your individual sound.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,124
Thanks jbt for the "sound" advice. :)
I like that term "concept". You conceive the sound in your head and the rest is all just mechanical.
But in case of Desmond's sound, trying a harder reed could put you in the right direction. Keep in mind that low register will become more difficult and you will need more air. Learn how to play "with" the hard reed and not "against" it.

If that is YOUR direction of sound, it can be worth trying.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi there!

All the above is very true. At the same time a mouthpiece does influence the final product, as the following demonstrates. The Solstice is one of favourite mouthpieces and has that lovely dry quality even with softer reeds (I play 2.5 strength, and sometimes 2)

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2011/09/phil-tone-solstice-alto-saxophone-mouthpiece/

Good advice above, but some mouthpieces will help get that sound, and some will be very wide of the mark.
 

BeBopSop

Member
Messages
274
Hi there!

All the above is very true. At the same time a mouthpiece does influence the final product, as the following demonstrates. The Solstice is one of favourite mouthpieces and has that lovely dry quality even with softer reeds (I play 2.5 strength, and sometimes 2)

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2011/09/phil-tone-solstice-alto-saxophone-mouthpiece/

Good advice above, but some mouthpieces will help get that sound, and some will be very wide of the mark.
Hi Tom,bearing all that has been said above, and moving to 'Steve Lacy' on soprano,which off the shelf MP do you think would be closest to his sound/tone
thanks
John
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,124
Hi Tom,bearing all that has been said above, and moving to 'Steve Lacy' on soprano,which off the shelf MP do you think would be closest to his sound/tone
thanks
John
You do not want to know.
I vaguely remember a custom made Otto Link 12.

As a general feeling, a very open mouthpiece with a very soft reed. Really difficult to play in tune.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,281
If you are going to try to emulate a player then Desmond is a fine choice but I'm with Kev on this,try to find your own sound and remember the finished product is around 70% you and 30% the equipment.

Brian
 
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TomMapfumo

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Messages
5,219
Hi Tom,bearing all that has been said above, and moving to 'Steve Lacy' on soprano,which off the shelf MP do you think would be closest to his sound/tone
thanks
John
I'm no expert on Steve Lacy - mainly like Jan Garbarek on soprano. I would not, per se, get into recommending more than what I have usually said about Soprano Planet and Joe Giardullo, who would probably adapt one of his "Open Sky" mouthpieces to your requirements. The Otto Link #12 with 1.5 Marca Superiere reeds is spot on, as you will be aware from your SOTW enquiries. I agree about developing your own sound but do think that it is possible to resemble other players styles, in which I am sure that there is a subconscious leaning in that direction. I am certain that we are attracted to sounds which resonate deep within and which mirrors our own "tuning" as it were. Hence it is likely that Steve Lacy's sound is somewhere within you, as well as within Steve Lacy.

I am North European by birth and musical inclination. When I first heard Jan Garbarek I was deeply moved. When I first heard Sidney Bechet I was completely unmoved, as I am by Steve Lacy. Before getting Joe to make me a soprano mouthpiece I played a Berg Larsen ebonite 70/1 SMS. If you must get a brand name mouthpiece then probably a decent faced Link Tone Edge type piece - larger with soft reeds would be as far as I would go in terms of any recommendation. Reality is I have stopped buying soprano sax mouthpieces.

Kind regards
Tom

I have just received an email from Joe about this question. He would recommend either buying an early Babbitt Link (rare & expensive) or one of his "Missing Links" which is based on one of Steve Lacy's last original mouthpieces (which he sold in 2010 along with Steve's Selmer sax). He could do a 0.070" piece which would work with 2/2.5 reeds - so Marca Superiere 2 strength. Sounds tempting!
 
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BeBopSop

Member
Messages
274
I'm no expert on Steve Lacy - mainly like Jan Garbarek on soprano. I would not, per se, get into recommending more than what I have usually said about Soprano Planet and Joe Giardullo, who would probably adapt one of his "Open Sky" mouthpieces to your requirements. The Otto Link #12 with 1.5 Marca Superiere reeds is spot on, as you will be aware from your SOTW enquiries. I agree about developing your own sound but do think that it is possible to resemble other players styles, in which I am sure that there is a subconscious leaning in that direction. I am certain that we are attracted to sounds which resonate deep within and which mirrors our own "tuning" as it were. Hence it is likely that Steve Lacy's sound is somewhere within you, as well as within Steve Lacy.

I am North European by birth and musical inclination. When I first heard Jan Garbarek I was deeply moved. When I first heard Sidney Bechet I was completely unmoved, as I am by Steve Lacy. Before getting Joe to make me a soprano mouthpiece I played a Berg Larsen ebonite 70/1 SMS. If you must get a brand name mouthpiece then probably a decent faced Link Tone Edge type piece - larger with soft reeds would be as far as I would go in terms of any recommendation. Reality is I have stopped buying soprano sax mouthpieces.

Kind regards
Tom

I have just received an email from Joe about this question. He would recommend either buying an early Babbitt Link (rare & expensive) or one of his "Missing Links" which is based on one of Steve Lacy's last original mouthpieces (which he sold in 2010 along with Steve's Selmer sax). He could do a 0.070" piece which would work with 2/2.5 reeds - so Marca Superiere 2 strength. Sounds tempting!
Thanks Tom for all your research (I have printed it out) yes a sound deep within us that is itching to come out I agree. I didnt want to go down the sopranoplanet MP rout,although he is the best person to replicate that sound I am chasing,I dont want to spend over £200.00 if I can help it, I do have one of Joes MPs he made for me when I couldnt get the low notes on my first sop smooth and mellow , they sounded loud and brash, but his MP did the job, trouble is I have got a different sax now,and my present sax dosn't have that problem,I wondered if I could get near the sound by buying an 'off the shelf piece'? It seems from what I have read so far it must be very wide tip opening and soft reed.I would like to try before buy though, as I might strugle with it.
Just had a listen to Jan Garbarek, and although I respect his talent, the type of music is not for me,It sounds a very modern sound. I am not struck on Sid Bech's sound either,sounds like he plays the sop clarinet style (with a touch of vibrato)
I respect all players and dont like to critisise, as I dont think it is my place to do so, if musician plays a certain way that is how he wants to sound, the best we can do as listeners is to say 'its not for me'
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
One thought!

A Vandoren V16 soprano mouthpiece might be in the right ball park as the old Otto Link mouthpieces. I have a 6 opening if you want to give it a try. PM me if you are interested (no obligation etc.).

Kind regards
Tom
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,658
I have a Solstice on order should be done in a week or so. I will let you know my impressions.

Steve Lacy's huge modified Link mpce is viewable on SopranoPlanet site. I have 4 of Joe's mpces and indeed he designed the Open Sky with Lacy's mpce in mind.

At some point you can bid on Lacy's horn and mpce as it will be going up for auction.
 

BeBopSop

Member
Messages
274
I have a Solstice on order should be done in a week or so. I will let you know my impressions.

Steve Lacy's huge modified Link mpce is viewable on SopranoPlanet site. I have 4 of Joe's mpces and indeed he designed the Open Sky with Lacy's mpce in mind.

At some point you can bid on Lacy's horn and mpce as it will be going up for auction.
And then I have no excuse NOT to sound like him! LOL
Please let us know what you think about the Solstice....
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,658
I hope that this is ok here. I have had my Solstice for about 2 weeks. First impression good response good balance Nice blowing mpce with a Meyerish sort of sound but richer more depth.

I don't sound like Paul Desmond on it but then I'm me and never will. I like my sound on it better than my Meyer 7 refaced by and it blows more freely and evenly. It has more edge than my Selmer Elkhart refaced by Brian Powell which has to get more work done on it as it has too much resistance for me.

I won't know for sure if the Solstice is my final mpce until I pick up the JK Shadow alto I am in the process of acquiring (ergos are way better than my SML ) but I think it's probably it.

For the technically minded the window is virtually identical in measurements to my 20 odd year old Meyer but the chamber is truly a medium chamber. As I play with a very loose embouchure the Meyer is way up the cork and the Solstice is out about a cm further, almost looks normal.

As to my sound on it well think Desond and Adderly put in a blender and puréed. I will try and get time to post some tunes on it once This semester is over. Jury tomorrow so back to the practice room now.

Mod please move this if I have goofed.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hopefully you will get a Marc Jean ligature too - really brings out the sound of the Solstice.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,658
I have a BG that works well on it. Two rails for reed and single screw. I use a wanne enlightened on sop.
 

SallySax

Member
Messages
75
Welcome to you, and good luck on your journey to find YOUR sound :)

I'm reasonably happy with a sound that:
a) doesn't make my ears bleed (or those of anyone else!)
b) doesn't make the local dogs howl
c) doesn't make my husband want to melt down my sax!

I love practising, experimenting and listening to a wide range of musicians, professional and amateur, some of whom inspire me, and others who absolutely don't. What I have learned so far is that the choice of reed, mouthpiece and ligature is subjective; what works for and makes someone else rave may well make you run for the hills, so have fun experimenting, but don't get hung up on makes, models and names. If it sounds good, then there is a very good chance that it is good!

Enjoy :)
 
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