Mouthpieces From Vandoren T45 to Otto Link Tone Edge Tenor 8?


Hello everybody...

So... I'm gonna try to avoid newbie questions but I'll probably fail at some point, so, please don't shoot! :)

I've been playing guitar for 20 years and decided to take on learning the tenor saxophone at the glorious age of 37... with no correlation to the music I'm playing on guitar (I wanted to learn the sax solely to learn jazz, which never caught much with me on guitar)

I've been playing for barely 2 months and I'm loving it.

I learning my chops on a second/third hand Jupiter tenor JTS-789-787 ; a Vandoren T45 Jumbo mouthpiece came with it. I started with Java 2.5 reeds but liking more and more the Rico 3 ; I'm considering La Voz Mediums.

Now, even though I'm still learning how to properly blow, like most guitar players, I got a sweet tooth for gear, and I know it's easy to get lost in the vortex instead of learning how to play - especially when you're barely starting on an instrument! And I know for a fact that buying your idol's gear won't make you play half as good. Still, like I read on another topic, everybody loves to try stuff once in a while and see what is out there.

My main interest is jazz from the 50's/early 60's - Coltrane and Wayne Shorter are my favorite. Right now, I'm more after playing than tone because I still don't have an ear trained enough to analyze players's tones.

That of course didn't prevent me from checking out what my main interests were playing - Shorter in particular - and which tool is getting close and affordable - because when you got 2 months of playing and an entry level instrument, you don't blow 300 bucks on a gold-plated Link Florida mouthpiece!

I'm considering an hard rubber Otto Link Tone Edge Tenor 8, see how it affects how I play and sound.

But I don't know how it compares to my current mouthpiece (Ebonite Vandoren T45 Jumbo) ; night and day? Roughly the same? Won't bring anything to the table?

I know this is not something that I NEED, but I'm curious about opinions, if people here happened to try both...

Thanks for reading!
Good luck with your gear journey. It's clearly struck you early!

As long as you recognise that your desire to jump so quickly into gear acquisition is a gear fetish, then no one can stop you experimenting. It's probably not the wisest of things to do so early into your playing, but you probably already know that.

I can't give any specific advice on those two mouthpieces. I have no idea if the one you're playing is particularly suited to a beginner, or if the Otto Link will further help or hinder you (8 sounds quite a wide opening to me, but there you go). If I or others do have experience on the two pieces you mention, that experience will no doubt be different to yours anyway as everyone is different, has different abilities, experience of playing etc.

As I said, good luck. Enjoy it. Maybe get some advice from a Teacher or someone you know who plays and can hear you play etc. I'm nearly 3 Years down the line and only just starting to get an idea about my concept of tone, so plenty of time. It's the music that counts. ;)
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I hear you! My guitar playing experience taught me that it took years to know exactly what you want to achieve and what suits your playing, instead of emulating your idols... but G.A.S. is hell of a thing, there is always something out there you want to try out hahaha!
GAS is GAS. If you really want to try something different, then your best bet is to find a shop with a decent selection of mouthpieces to try. I doubt whether a new mouthpiece will make much difference to your sound right now, but it might feel nicer to play.

I'm not an expert, but I have 2 comments about moving to an Otto Link 8.

Firstly, 8 is a very wide tip opening for a beginner. You might end up struggling with the mouthpiece. And there are enough problems with learning the saxophone without adding self-inflicted ones. You would probably need to go down quite a bit in reed strength. Your current T45 mouthpiece is equivalent to an Otto Link 6, which is already fairly wide for a beginner.
My advice would be to choose something not so wide right now.

Secondly, people say that modern Otto Link mouthpieces vary a lot. So if possible it is worth trying out more than one. And if you find one that you like, then make sure that you get that one, not another one that is supposedly the same.
Sensible advice, thanks! I don't see yet how the width affects the playing because I've never had the opportunity to try different mouthpieces or sizes : thanks a lot for clarifying that!
Vandoren Jumbo Java is a high baffle, small chamber mouthpiece, and the T45 opening is narrower than a link jumping to a wide opening, low baffle larger chamber piece like a link 8 will be a big change, it will feel like you need a lot more air. As Nigel has suggested, I'd start on a smaller link (or similar style) like a 5 or 6 . If you have a decent local music shop that stocks a range of mouthpieces, try to pay them a visit and try out a few.
So, the tip opening affects the way you play/blow, not directly the way you sound?
So, the tip opening affects the way you play/blow, not directly the way you sound?

Have a read of this, put together by the Forum Grand Poobah

So, the tip opening affects the way you play/blow, not directly the way you sound?

The tip opening affects everything: tone, volume, control of intonation and ease of playing.

Generally speaking, the wider the tip opening, the softer the reed you will need to use.

It's very much a matter of personal preference, but also of fashion.
In the old days, players mostly used narrower tip openings than today, with hard reeds.
Also, classical players tend to use narrower tip openings than jazz players.
You are very early in the process of building up your embouchure. As your embouchure develops your appreciation of the qualities of a mouthpiece will improve

So at this early stage I would argue there's little or no point in changing mouthpiece

Patience Grasshopper
I would be ill advised to criticize your attraction for a different mouthpiece, even if it took me a little longer to get into that mode... I now own nearly 100 mouthpieces, between soprano, alto, tenor and baritone... 10 years down the line!

I started on alto, with a classical teacher at my local Conservatoire de musique. But like you, I'm into jazz and wanted to experiment, so I did. But it took me a while before I could really play a wide open mouthpiece. I can now more or less manage an 8 tip opening, but it would have been just no way in the first year.

Also, to be honest, it's not how wide the tip opening or how strong the reed. It's more how well you play what you have. And right now, I would concentrate on playing that T45 well. I started on Tenor with a T20.

Take it easy! No need to rush yet. Or ever...
Hi Hobbie. Buy a plastic Yamaha 4c and a Vandoren traditional 2 reed. It’s a neutral combination for a beginner, cheap, and will allow you to develop subtone. Yamahas don’t have a baffle which makes it easy to make different baffle shapes with blutack to play with the sound.
google “pop test on a mouthpiece”. And check out for hours of fun with 100s of mouthpiece reviews sprinkled with suggestions for developing players mouthpiece choices.
Lots of good advice so far, do remember that different mouthpieces re-act in different ways to the player, Yamaha and Link Tone Edge are two I personally have never got on with but a Link STM is one of my favourite alto pieces.

I was very lucky, I lived not 10 minutes from one of the largest mouthpiece stockists in the North of England and having so many to try educated me very quickly as to what fits and what doesn't.

Besides that it's a lot of fun discovering what certain pieces do to the sound you produce, good luck with the search.
Thanks a lot everybody! You're right, the GAS calling may be strong, but I have so much left to learn that it should better take a back seat ^^' You already cleared some things for me ; thanks!
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