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M/Pieces - Ligs First mouthpiece setup?

ChrisC

Member
Messages
44
Folks I am doing a lot of pre purchase reading before I buy my very first sax (a tenor). I seem to be reading that often the mouthpiece on 'beginner' sax's can be poor. and that a Yamaha 4c is a reasonable mouthpiece. So to have a level playing field when listening to the instrument, logically I need to use the same mouthpiece on all of them.

Ultimately I want to achieve a soft, breathy sound not a bright or harsh sound. If buying the yamaha is a good but not the best choice , Can anyone recommend a mouthpiece / ligature / reed that would start me off down the right road?

is my line of thinking flawed?

thanks all

ChrisC
 
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saxmaster

Member
Messages
41
So to have a level playing field logically I need to use the same mouthpiece on all the instruments.
What do you mean by this?
Anyway, I started out with the no name mouthpiece that came with my sax and did fine for a few months. Then I bought a Clark W Fobes Debut. This was a great mouthpiece and only $10 more than a Yamaha 4C.
If I had to recommend a beginner mpc for tenor, it would be that one.
Heck, I'm still playing on mine. :)
 

ChrisC

Member
Messages
44
What do I mean?
Reading forums, a number of posts suggest that the mouthpiece that comes with most lower price saxophones are not necessarily the best quality and you yourself say that you bought another one after a few months...

So basically I am asking what mouthpiece I should consider and use from day 1 if the ones that come with the instrument are not that good...

The Yamaha 4c seems to get reasonable press and Sax.xo.uk have a number of 'upgrade' packages at varying costs but the I dont know one from the other and would prefer that the equipment I buy gives me the best chance of 'learning' without having to fight poor equipment.

Simple as that really
 

Chris

Well Known
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3,821
Chris, it all depends on the sax you buy. Yanni's come with a good mouthpiece as do Yamaha's.. A 4c is a good starting point. The lig that comes with it will also be fine. As for reed, Rico/Vandoren in a strength 1.5 or 2. But find yourself a tutor, he or she will be able to see and hear what is going on with your playing. Which puts them in a better place then us..

Chris..
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,086
The Yamaha mouthpiece with a 4 lay and a C chamber used to be a safe bet in a maze of mouthpieces. It has become a standard for beginners and so the price has shot up.

The Bari esprit for tenor comes in only one lay and costs around £15. It out preforms the Yamaha in all areas in my opinion.

Easy to play, reasonable tone, good projection.

Another cheap mouthpiece is the Rico Metalite. This comes in a range of chambers and tip openings. So a little more difficult to pick which one will suit.

The reason I'm including only cheap mouthpieces is because you will inevitably move on, sooner or later when your embouchure musculature develops.

When you have developed your chops that will be the time to maybe experiment with more expensive pieces.

There are plenty of threads on here with the same question and the same advice.

Have a read through the back posts with relevant titles.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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8,010
Your thinking is right on. I would second the Yamaha 4C or the Fobes Debut. Both are an excellent choice.

Ultimately the sound you get will be determined almost entirely by your "concept" and playing ability, not by your set-up.

I would caution against starting on a reed softer than a 2 on either of these mouthpieces. In my experience, too soft a reed simply delays the development of muscle tone in the embouchure.

Contrary to others on this forum, I would also discourage "mouthpiece shopping" for at least the first two years of playing in order to develop your tone production, control, consistency and concept of what you eventually want to sound like.

A set-up should be thought of as a means to help "facilitate" the concept of sound you already have the ability to make, not as a short-cut or "magic bullet" to achieve a better sound. This video by Don Menza from 4:40 to the end shows a perfect example of how the player creates the sound---not the saxophone or mouthpiece.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
words of wisdom from jbtsax....

I'd qualify his advice slightly based on my own experience.

If you can't get going with a 4C (and I found the narrow tipped starter mouthpieces unplayable) do go a little bigger. And move up when you're really ready to look for what you need. 2 years may be a little rigid, but 3-6 months is probably too early, unless you can't play what you've got.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Another cheap mouthpiece is the Rico Metalite. This comes in a range of chambers and tip openings. So a little more difficult to pick which one will suit.

(Pardon moi' - Rico Metalite comes in a range of chambers? Not in my book...)
The Rico Graftonites (the black ones as opposed to the grey Metalites) do come with a range of both tip opening and chambers and are better than the Yamaha 4C...and a bit cheaper too. This variety of chambers and tip openings offered by the Graftonites can give any newcomer a better idea of how to different mouthpieces works (and maybe finding the one which suit best)...but as someone has already suggested, it's best to stick to a single mouthpiece in the first year...
Vandorens are also a very good choice - a bit pricier than the Ricos and Yamaha 4C but there is plenty of good bargains to be found in the secondhand market.
 

gregerhillman

Member
Messages
52
I'm with jbtsax on this one.

One common way of thinking is that you will get the same sound as your favorite sax player if you have the same setup as that person. Well, it may be some truth to that once you've been playing for several years, yet not 100% true.
however, when you are starting out you need to put all your focus on learning the trade of playing sax and you can easily get off track if you get caught up in finding a "better" mouthpiece. Go with the 4c for now!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Better bets than the Yamaha 4C are the Runyon 22, Bari Esprit, Fobes Debut. and especially the Windcraft Etude. The first has a choice of tip openings, all the others are about 0.090" which is fine to start with.

Kind regards
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Chris, welcome to the wonderful world of conflicting advice.

One man's meat....

If you can, try a few out, get one you're happy with and learn to play it. Good suggestions above for a range to try.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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8,010
Better bets than the Yamaha 4C are the Runyon 22, Bari Esprit, Fobes Debut. and especially the Windcraft Etude. The first has a choice of tip openings, all the others are about 0.090" which is fine to start with.
I am curious as to your reasons for advising a beginning tenor player to start on a mouthpiece other than a Yamaha 4C. Is it because of the smaller tip opening?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I am curious as to your reasons for advising a beginning tenor player to start on a mouthpiece other than a Yamaha 4C. Is it because of the smaller tip opening?
Because they sound better - no other reason. The Yamaha 4C is 0.067". The Windcraft Etude is 0.090" for example. I just think that beginner mouthpieces have moved on and the Yamaha 4C faces very strong competition. I often find that some Yamaha products tend to the bright and the OP seemed to be after something different!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Chris, it all depends on the sax you buy. Yanni's come with a good mouthpiece as do Yamaha's.. A 4c is a good starting point. The lig that comes with it will also be fine. As for reed, Rico/Vandoren in a strength 1.5 or 2. But find yourself a tutor, he or she will be able to see and hear what is going on with your playing. Which puts them in a better place then us..

Chris..

And Trevor James' come with a Bari Esprit, for what its worth.
 

MLoosemore

Deluded Senior Member...
Messages
759
... I often find that some Yamaha products tend to the bright...
Interestingly my BW Bronze came with a Yamaha 4c. MellowD very kindly sent me an early Christmas present of Vandoren 2 reeds to try out and I now incline more toward 'blaming' the reed for the tone.

Until now I had been using Rico Royal 2's on the Yam and was fairly happy with them but I now see how bright they are. The vandorens are a slightly harder blow but much much more mellow.

I guess if Tom is right about the Windcrafts then mixing that mpc with the Vandoren reeds would be like listening to smooth FM
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
The Rico Royal and Vandoren Traditional reeds are both French Cut reeds (classical) and I would recommend a Jazz Cut reed - like a Rico Jazz Select, Marca Jazz or Rigotti Gold reed. The combination is what works well and the Windcraft are some of the best mouthpieces under £100 available. It is not an exact science but it is good to try a variety of reeds, and to try others than Rico and Vandoren, neither of whom I have used for some years.
 
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