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M/Pieces - Ligs Do I need a decent starter MPC

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
I have been learning sax for the past few months, I am learning on a Stagg 77 sa. I feel my progress has been good. My question really is, as the sax is a relatively budget outfit would upgrading the mouthpiece be worthwhile? Ive seen alot of discussion about mouthpieces for beginners etc on the forum and just wondered if anyone knew or would expect the stock stagg mpc to be adequate or if upgrading could help with sound and/or technique development.

Thanks for your time
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Hi, welcome. Please introduce yourself in the doorbell.

Usual advice is yes, get a decent starter mouthpiece as we work on the assumprion that the freebies included with many saxes are poor.

Only thing that's making me thin otherwise is that you're making good progress on the mouthpiece that came with the sax. So the question is, are you getting on despite the mouthpiece, or is it actually an OK piece.

Unless someone experienced plays your mouthpiece, or you try others and see if they're better, we won't really know.

But.... If the mouthpiece is easy and predictable to play, and you're not struggling to get notes out of the sax, it may be better to stick to that one for now. My son had a Stagg clarinet to start with, and played it on the standard mouthpiece without problems. And on the odd occasiaon he's played it since upgrading to a better clarinet, there've been no problems. Doesn't mean that this applies to their saxes and sax mouthpieces though.
 

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
Kev, thanks for the reply.

From what you are saying I guess a good student moutpiece provides consistancy? - is that right?
So if my current piece was poor would I expect to have articulation issues or would it extend to cause problems with intonation and maintaining a good sound?
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,025
Kev, thanks for the reply.

From what you are saying I guess a good student moutpiece provides consistancy? - is that right?
So if my current piece was poor would I expect to have articulation issues or would it extend to cause problems with intonation and maintaining a good sound?
More likely the latter as opposed to articulation problems.

I don't like to generalise about stock mouthpieces with cheap horns, there are probably some that are fine, but as there are many that aren't and a good mouthpiece (e.g. Yamaha 4C or Premier Hite) are very inexpensive, then it's worth getting one anyway for your own peace of mind. You know you are starting with a good solid mouthpiece that will last well into intermediate stage and maybe beyond.
 

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
Pete thanks for replying.

You are echoing what I thought it terms of a solid starting point and that was really where the question came from ie. I think my mouthpiece is ok but would I know if it wasnt. In terms of dimensions how likely is it that the piece I have is the same size as a 4C ? My real reservation is I dont want to slap on a 4c and find its a whole lot narrower or completely different
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,025
Pete thanks for replying.

You are echoing what I thought it terms of a solid starting point and that was really where the question came from ie. I think my mouthpiece is ok but would I know if it wasnt. In terms of dimensions how likely is it that the piece I have is the same size as a 4C ? My real reservation is I dont want to slap on a 4c and find its a whole lot narrower or completely different
That's hard to know. Tip width or narrowness is only (at most)m half the equation when it comes to comparing mouthpieces. The facing curve is also extremely important, e.g. a wide tip with a shorter curve can feel similar to a narrower tip with a longer curve.

You have only been playing a few months, I feel sure a 4C would be fine, but if you get the chance to try others to compare it would be worthwhile.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,273
Hi cjR

I also started on a stagg alto and the original mouthpiece that came with it, and the same as you was producing a good sound on the original mpc. I personally stuck with the original until a year into my playing then i bought a few mpcs to try and if i'm honest it messed up my sound (a bit) ???
I went back to the stagg original and only changed my mpc when i upgraded to a Hanson alto, so my advice would be to stick with what youv'e got until you upgrade your sax.

Kev
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Kev, thanks for the reply.

From what you are saying I guess a good student moutpiece provides consistancy? - is that right?
So if my current piece was poor would I expect to have articulation issues or would it extend to cause problems with intonation and maintaining a good sound?
My hesitation was basically what Pete and Trimmy/other Kev pointed out - there are some stock ones that are OK. It's your choice but changing mouthpieces can set you back a bit - progress wise as well as financially.
 

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
Bit of a dilema, I definitely dont want any set backs at this stage perhaps I'll continue and hope my teacher can spot any mouthpiece related issues.

Thanks for the replies
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,273
so my advice would be to stick with what youv'e got until you upgrade your sax. Kev
Just had a relaxing bath and it's amazing what goes through your mind !!! I was thinking about my reply and thought ' that's not right ' anyhows the part i think i got wrong is above......

You may not want to upgrade your sax ? so i would say stick with the stock until you feel ready enough to try other mpcs
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
Definitely the mouthpiece is the most important part of the set-up for someone starting out. A good player can take a mediocre instrument and make it sound very good with a good mouthpiece. On the other hand a poorly designed mouthpiece will not make a good sound on any make of instrument regardless of who is playing it.

I would recommend that if your teacher is a good player that you have that person try your mouthpiece. They will know instantly if it is a suitable mouthpiece for your level of playing.
 

llamedos

Senior Member
Messages
431
O.K. I've found your question; must be something to do with clocks changing over weekend - my brain is still working on old money. As a relative beginner myself (even though I got my first sax in about 1950) I would wholeheartedly agree with the rest of the advice - to refrain from throwing a lot of money at what might not prove, in the fulness of time, to be a problem after all. As one's embouchure develops everything seems to change for the better and all of a sudden what seemed impossible becomes relatively easy, and enjoyable. Enjoy your journey.

GAS is a terrible affliction to develop and should be avoided if possible. There is no known vaccination available!

Sorry about the mix-up (it's me not thee).

Dave
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Just to contradict the others :w00t: when starting out I found the typical 4C mouthpiece too small and quickly moved onto a bigger mouthpiece. I think younger players are definitely suited to the stock mouthpiece which is often a 4C but adult players would benefit from starting on something bigger such as a 6C.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I will restrain myself, but agree with Paul's point about too small tip openings. Unfortunately it is a little trial and error finding a solution to the problem you've outlined, especially when no-one is available to physically help unless you go to a very good mpc stockist and have the time to help. If you play alto then the size that a lot of folks play is 0.070" give or take 0.010". Exc cheap mpcs include Rico Royal B3 (£14+) LaVoz (£24+) Runyon 22 (£30+) and Yamaha (£34+) I like the Runyon 22 - as played by Charlie Parker.
Nuff said.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Just to contradict the others :w00t: when starting out I found the typical 4C mouthpiece too small and quickly moved onto a bigger mouthpiece. I think younger players are definitely suited to the stock mouthpiece which is often a 4C but adult players would benefit from starting on something bigger such as a 6C.
I found the same thing - small didn't work for me. A rico B5 did.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
I have been learning sax for the past few months, I am learning on a Stagg 77 sa. I feel my progress has been good. My question really is, as the sax is a relatively budget outfit would upgrading the mouthpiece be worthwhile? Ive seen alot of discussion about mouthpieces for beginners etc on the forum and just wondered if anyone knew or would expect the stock stagg mpc to be adequate or if upgrading could help with sound and/or technique development.

Thanks for your time
Cjr
I was in the same boat as you some time ago
So I went to my best sax shop in town with my horn and tried out a few others
...............best thing I ever did
I went from a yamaha 4c to a selmer 80e and havent looked back
I also identified a couple of mps that I would like to try again later on when my playing improves even more
every player is different so you have to experiment to find out whats good for you
Allansto
 

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
Thanks to everyone for responding, its fascinating to hear all the advice and different opinions.
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
when starting out I found the typical 4C mouthpiece too small and quickly moved onto a bigger mouthpiece.
I was in the same boat. After about two months (as an adult beginner) on a 4C I went to a Meyer 5MM which was a very good step-up piece which served me well for quite awhile and indeed I still go back to from time to time.
:)
 
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Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
CjR
I happen to play a stock mouthpiece that came with my Simba tenor. I've been playing sax on and off for 34 yrs.
Personally, I see no reason to change it because I happen to like it. I couldn't ask for more out of a mouthpiece.
The bottom line is comfort and sound.
I could care less if it was made out of paper mache, just as long as I was satisfied with it's response.

The chamber is fairly average and the tip opening is wide. I happen to let the tip of the reed
extend slightly past the tip opening. That's probably a personal thing. The facing is average. I don't have specifications on it because it's a stock piece.
I've tried metal mouthpiece's in the past and hated them. I used to own a brilhart white mouthpiece
like Bird and Getz used and I loved it but it cracked.

In my opinion, It doesn't make a difference what type of mouthpiece you use, just as long
as the one you choose allows for easier agility to the highs and lows of the horn.
It's such a personal choice because everyone's oral cavity is different. The way we play from our
diaphragm, the pressure we exude on the reed, the way we shape our mouth as we approach each and every note. I find it fruitless to ask opinions based on mouthpieces, reeds, even saxophones because ya have to go and 'personally' try them out yourself to actually get a definitive answer that only you can be truly satisfied with.

Advice is fine because it will give some understanding what others use. However, never buy a mouthpiece, ligature, reed, and especially a saxophone based on another musician's assumption on what they feel you need. Could be a huge waste of money!
Makes no difference if you're beginner or not.
 

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
So I picked up the Clark Fobes Debut piece, the first thing I noticed was it felt like it was giving me massive support down low between Db and Bb, those notes had never sounded so full and clean. My mid range sounded a lot more 'reedy' than I was used to (but after playing for a couple of hours this appears to be just one characteristic and I am still able to get the 'purer' sound I was used to).

I think the move away from the stock piece will be the right move now.
 
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