support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

How many mouthpeices should you have?

davhudson

Member
Messages
175
Location
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
I have been playing for about 14 months now. My first saxophone was a hire Trevor James Classic (alto) with its standard mouthpeice.
After about 4 months someone recommended a new mouthpiece to me so I went to Wood Wind & Reed in Cambridge and after trying a few came away with a Yamaha 4c – this was an instance and cheap upgrade that change the feel of playing.

A couple of months later I was offered a Selmer S80 alto from a friend for silly money so switch to that and stuck with the Yamaha 4C.

A few months later after consulting with a teacher I thought I would go for another mouthpiece upgrade so off I went back to WWR and came home with a Selmer Soloist c* - again this was a super upgrade that improved my tone.

Since then I have decided that I prefer playing Jazz to anything else so a couple of weeks ago I made the decision to buy a more open Jazz style mouthpiece. Coincidently there was a Otto Link 7 mouthpiece for sale on ebay for a payItNow price of £34. At that price I could try it and if I did not like it sell it for little or no loss. When it cam is was ok, but not that good.

I decided to visit a specialist Sax shop in Oxford and try some more mouthpieces. After trying lots I came home with a metal Lawton 7BB. Wow, this is a mouthpiece that does not want to fade into the background – it wants to scream it out. It's not mellow!

Initially I did struggle with this at the top end but was assured that if I stuck with it it would pay dividends in control.

Well I did and now I can play it throughout its range from low Bb to high F#.

So what is the point of this posting?
Last night I thought I would have a change and tried the Otto Link again. Wow! It felt so easy to play and felt really mellow. It is like chalk and cheese with the Lawton.

So here are the questions.
How may mouthpieces do people have?
It seems for different moods different mouthpieces may be more appropriate.
One small problem I have is that the Lawton is quite a tight fit, the Otto Link is not so tight – is there a problem using different mouthpieces on the cork – perhaps I need multiple crooks?

So let's here how many mouthpieces do you have and what character do they have?

I should have mentioned I use Vandoran 2 standards apart from with the Lawton – I use Vandoran Java 2s.
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
I agree, if you go back to an old mpc you can get a new lease of life. Maybe it just suits your mood that day, maybe you've developed since you last played it and can now control it better. Could be all sorts of things but it does happen. So don't sell them all (perhaps one or two if they're very similar).

I play JJ Classic 100% on one of my Alto's, alternate between a JJ HR and Van A75 on my other alto, and occassionally break out a Lomax or no-name metal one just to see how they feel (although they tend to be put away after a few mins asI don't really get on with either of them)

You can have problems getting them all to fit the crook as you say because they do vary. I would have the crook to suit your main one, and hope the others are slightly loose. You can always wrap paper around the cork to tighten up a loose fit.

Phil
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
I just have the one, and I only use the same reeds - a JJ DV NY 7* with Marca Jazz 3 reed.

Personally, with less than 6 months on tenor and less than 20 months saxophone experience I don't need anything else giving me any 'variables'. I would add though that I did spend several weeks trying different mps and even then after settling on the JJ I had a couple of concerns but those have passed.

I find the JJ increasingly controllable and my teacher says I'm starting to develop my 'own sound' which I had began to realise myself. Each time I pick up the sax, at some point in the session I am aware that my sound is 'consistent' and not at all bad.

Of course I have bad days and it frustrates me that I don't sound 'like me' all the time but I am sure that is just my embouchure developing and it will improve over time - as it has been doing. So I'll be sticking with this one for a while. I am sure that some more experienced players will want to swap mps for different gigs/performances/sounds but I'm nowhere near that level.

As an aside, at the Andy Sheppard masterclass, he talked about mouthpieces. Andy uses just the one, sometimes for years. When he decides on another one, he junks the old one. Interestingly, he stated that after a few weeks he often thinks "this mp sounds just like the old one".

I did buy a sop a month ago but I have decided to put it aside for a while as the embouchure is quite different to the tenor and I don't yet have a suitable mp. It's a struggle as I am desperate to play it! Later this year I'll start using it.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,377
Location
Sweden
Since I listen to and play Rocksax I love the sound of a Lawton BB tenor! Great mpc. My friend got a whole bunch of them (the old models Sr, but they say that the new ones also are good) and he refuse to sell!! So I bought a Rovner instead.

How may mouthpieces do people have?
I'm just using one at the time. Sometimes I could played a Dukoff D7 or D8 depending on how much I played at the present time. I use same type of mouthpiece for all genres/styles. I have lots of mouthpieces and I never sell. You never know when you want go back to an old mouthpiece! Some players who gets paid for playing have two mpc (same facing, opening, chamber ...) and one is resting. If you lost or drop a mpc you have a backup mpc.

One small problem I have is that the Lawton is quite a tight fit, the Otto Link is not so tight – is there a problem using different mouthpieces on the cork – perhaps I need multiple crooks?
Use corkgrease and don't left the mouthpiece on the neck/cork. The cork use to go back to the old shape, not completly ... . You can sand down the cork a little.

Thomas
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,616
Location
Betelgeuse
Mouthpieces

I've been through absolutely loads of mouthpieces, particularly for tenor. At one time I owned over 20 for tenor alone. Now for each type of sax I have one main mouthpiece and maybe the odd spare.

What has helped me thin the collection for tenor is finding a mouthpiece which is very adaptable, on which even a moderate player like me can make a wide range of different sounds. In my case it's an RPC 115B, which can be breathy and soft or screaming, it can boom or whisper low notes and belt out altissimo. I now feel like I don't need a selection.

I know that this sense of adaptability was part of the design ethos of Pete's PPT muothpieces. To me it just seems like the best compromise possible.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,410
Location
Daventry
Is there a correct answer? I've got a bag of the things but many of them I have only played for an hour or so before realising that they ain't for me (the curse of eBay). Occassionally I dig one out and give it another go, think I've found a whole new dimension - but it always winds up back in the bag and the faithful Link STM is back on the sax........

Seriously though, you should take every opportunity that you get to try alternatives - it's all part of the learning process.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
I have to say that I'm a one mpc kinda guy! I play rock 'n' roll most of the time, but I also attend as many jam sessions as I can get to. The mpc I'm using for this varied approach is a Runyon Quantum. It's a 10 so that's an almighty facing, but the band I play with is mighty loud, so I need a little extra oomph to cut through the amp'd up guitars, admittedly, the lower registers are a little harder to produce and take a considerable amount of concentration and effort. Now the Quantum is a clever little chappie, it comes with a clever little spoiler that slips inside the chamber to increase the size of the baffle, meaning less air is needed to produce the same volume, making it a real noise maker. I also use an Eddie Daniels lig that has about eight variations. To be honest I cant tell the difference between some of them, but from one end of the spectrum to the other the difference is noticeable, soft and mellow to edgy and dirty;} The quantum allows me to play softly when required for those intimate little acoustic jam sessions, or rip roaring filth with the band. Reeds? I'm never playing anything other than Vandorans.
 

Josh Johnson

Member
Messages
125
Location
Rochester, Kent
I've been through absolutely loads of mouthpieces, particularly for tenor. At one time I owned over 20 for tenor alone. Now for each type of sax I have one main mouthpiece and maybe the odd spare.

What has helped me thin the collection for tenor is finding a mouthpiece which is very adaptable, on which even a moderate player like me can make a wide range of different sounds. In my case it's an RPC 115B, which can be breathy and soft or screaming, it can boom or whisper low notes and belt out altissimo. I now feel like I don't need a selection.

I know that this sense of adaptability was part of the design ethos of Pete's PPT muothpieces. To me it just seems like the best compromise possible.
I've recently stopped playing an RPC. A friend tried it out and it sounded a bit brash and unfocused (and he's a great player), although I agree with your point regarding its versatility. Like dolce, I'm back on a Link and loving the focus and refinement. But will it last?
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,832
Location
Breakfast room since '06 UK
How may mouthpieces do people have?
I've kicked the habit...
I'm down to about 9 now >:)
Just for info, I will be trying a PPT just as soon as I can.

One more thing to consider that hasn't been mentioned in a while on this forum in general is ....PRICE.

The are great inexpensive pieces out there.


I've recently stopped playing an RPC.
What are you playing now?
 

Josh Johnson

Member
Messages
125
Location
Rochester, Kent
I'm back on an Otto Link (STM NY 8*). It was strange adjusting back to the resistance thing, but I've had it on for 3 weeks now and am starting to dig it again. I've got a few jazz festivals to play at with a big band - whether I'm brave enough to keep the Link on for those gigs, rather than reaching for the trusty loudness of the RPC is another matter!

ps: how you doing? Good to see you blogging again.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,352
I've recently stopped playing an RPC. A friend tried it out and it sounded a bit brash and unfocused (and he's a great player), although I agree with your point regarding its versatility. Like dolce, I'm back on a Link and loving the focus and refinement. But will it last?
I'm back on an Otto Link (STM NY 8*). It was strange adjusting back to the resistance thing, but I've had it on for 3 weeks now and am starting to dig it again. I've got a few jazz festivals to play at with a big band - whether I'm brave enough to keep the Link on for those gigs, rather than reaching for the trusty loudness of the RPC is another matter!

ps: how you doing? Good to see you blogging again.
You should try out the LAW LCD,Large chamber dark for that great link sound but freer blowing and much easier overall with load's of projection,it has it all,fat,warm,dark,cut
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,437
Location
brighton by the sea
I appear to be a paragon of self control here (get 'em off Ebay, gig them a few times, back on Ebay if they don't cut it)! One Alto (Jody Jazz HR- for some reason I can't play metals on alto), currently 2 tenor (Berg Ebonite & PPT) though this might go up to 3 imminently, as I've not currently got a rocking out metal 'piece for tenor....
 

Josh Johnson

Member
Messages
125
Location
Rochester, Kent
You should try out the LAW LCD,Large chamber dark for that great link sound but freer blowing and much easier overall with load's of projection,it has it all,fat,warm,dark,cut
Pete Scaddan kindly sent me 2 Laws to try and they arrived today. They are great mouthpieces, but make my sound a little too bright for me personally as I didn't find either of the Laws as warm or mellow as my Link.

Maybe I'll try and get hold of a Florida Link, maybe I'll just practise more instead......back to tone centres.
 

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
How many mouthpieces?

A minefield innit?
This discussion never seems to reach any conclusive end. It seems you can find the ideal piece for you, only to find it doesn't work for you after a few weeks/months, and then go back to it later, and find it's ok again.
Maybe we're spoilt for choice. Maybe if there were only, say, 3 mouthpieces available, with just 3 different variations, then we would be happy with what we have, and concentrate more on developing our embouchure/breathing etc, rather spending a fortune on the confusing number and variations of available choices. A bit like the supermarket compared to your local corner shop, with which, we were once, quite satisfied, with the available products.
Personally, being of limited resources, I advance one mouthpiece at a time.
When I first bought the tenor, less than a 2 years ago, secondhand Ebay, I started with the cheap, unbranded mpc that came with it. After a few months I decided it wouldn't do the biz so I bought a Yamaha 4C, only around £25 new, which was much better. Another few months after that I decided to make a big jump and bought, Ebay again, a Vandoren Java T75 with a .110" gap. Mistake. Sounded good for about 10 mins, then the lip gave way, too ambitious for my stage of the learning curve. So into the drawer, filed. Taking Tom Mapfuno's advice I bought a new Rico Royal Graftonite, only £17! This one with a tip opening of .095". Excellent! Only 15thou difference in the gap, but a big difference, much better!! I did try a gold plated metal mpc, about £45 2nd hand off Ebay again. A bit squeaky until I tried a 1 1/2 Rico soft reed, much better, but I didn't like the way it moved about in my mouth, couldn't get a grip on the thing!! So that's gone back in the draw, not too sure I like metal mpc's. I'll put that on hold for a while, and maybe try another one later. Anyway, about three weeks ago I lost my Rico mouthpiece, so had to retrieve the Java from the drawer, not expecting to be able to play it for very long, but BINGO! Had 1 1/2 hours blow on it, the lower notes came easier, and no tired lip. In combination with a soft reed, (2), I'm very satisfied with the performance. Is this my ultimate mpc? Have I found my ideal? Time will tell..........;}
So, maybe this will be of some help to someone in your search for Nirvana, I hope so, good luck:)
 

AlanB

Member
Messages
170
Location
Vientiane, Laos
One small problem I have is that the Lawton is quite a tight fit, the Otto Link is not so tight – is there a problem using different mouthpieces on the cork – perhaps I need multiple crooks?
The Otto Link does seem to be loose fitting, at least my Metal OL STM does. I find it very handy to have a roll or two of that white tape that plumbers use (someone told me it is made of Teflon). Wrapped around the cork a few times, the material is extremely flexible and moulds to the shape and makes a very nice snug seal. The material is also very soft and removable, and so does not cause any damage to either the piece or the cork. A great solution for those looser fitting pieces and 'cheap as chips'.
Al
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,832
Location
Breakfast room since '06 UK
I'm back on an Otto Link (STM NY 8*). It was strange adjusting back to the resistance thing, but I've had it on for 3 weeks now and am starting to dig it again. I've got a few jazz festivals to play at with a big band - whether I'm brave enough to keep the Link on for those gigs, rather than reaching for the trusty loudness of the RPC is another matter!

ps: how you doing? Good to see you blogging again.
I'm doing fine thanks...
Sometimes I lurk without much to add :D
but I'll always be found somewhere in the coffee beanz...
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
Just a quick tip for those with loose fitting mpc's, hold the cork of the crook over the steam from your kettle for a couple of minutes. dry it, apply some cork grease and stand back in amazement as your once loose fitting piece now grips the cork like an obese ferret up a drain pipe! :mrcool :welldone
 

AlanB

Member
Messages
170
Location
Vientiane, Laos
Just a quick tip for those with loose fitting mpc's, hold the cork of the crook over the steam from your kettle for a couple of minutes. dry it, apply some cork grease and stand back in amazement as your once loose fitting piece now grips the cork like an obese ferret up a drain pipe! :mrcool :welldone
I've just done this and it works an absolute treat. Thanks alot for the tip, Taz. No need for my teflon tape any more.
Cheers,
Al
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
625
Location
Enfield, North London
Taz: If no kettle is available, getting the cork to expand can also be done by carefully applying heat from a lighter.

Pee Dee: I think a 15 thou difference is huge. Try it on your spark plugs.
Surely the other big consideration is the facing length.


Back on topic, (alto) I mainly use an ebonite Meyer, 5 tip opening, large chamber, long facing.
And occasionally a metal Otto Link 5*. Both with Rico Royal 2.5 reeds.

Then there is the ligature question, not to mention the compromises between larger opening and softer reed or vice versa. Or the option of getting mouthpieces modified. High or low baffle?
A minefield indeed, the permutations being almost infinite.

After lots of indecision over the years I've tried to get those two mouthpieces to sound the way I like them. The Link responds well to a tighter embouchure and more attack than the Meyer, for example.

Another thing has just occurred to me. We generally only hear our sound from behind the horn, blowing up a wall or into a corner helps but distorts the sound anyway.

The never will be a conclusion to this discussion, it too being almost infinite.
 

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
Pee Dee: I think a 15 thou difference is huge. Try it on your spark plugs.
Surely the other big consideration is the facing length.



Another thing has just occurred to me. We generally only hear our sound from behind the horn, blowing up a wall or into a corner helps but distorts the sound anyway.
Spark plugs? Diesel man meself:)
Tried playing in the bathroom, WOW! Sounded great, boosted my ego no end!:welldone
 
Top Bottom