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M/Pieces - Ligs I cannot believe I'm doing this... "Which mouthpiece!"

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
I cannot believe I'm doing this, I thought about it last night and then decided to sleep on it, I even stayed in bed this morning contemplating what to do, and now I find myself posting this question... "Which mouthpiece!"... Please forgive me, I practically disappear for a year or more and then come back knocking on the cafe door again, and with that question!

So here we go, I have two lovely mouthpieces for my tenor... But, do either actually fulfill my current need? Well, last night I had had enough, both mouthpieces desire a lot of air to really sing, or a greater air support than I'm currently able to provide at lower volumes. While practising at more neighbour friendly volumes the tone is thin and uninspiring, so I did the only obvious thing, I dug around and found my only other tenor piece, a Yamaha 4c. Wow, isn't that a small tip opening! But for practicing at home it is actually better, the volume is lower, intonation is easier, and dare I say it, the tone while not exactly where I'd like it to be, it wasn't bad. I even found my two free trial Rico Reserve reeds sounded good!

At the moment I only play at home or during lessons, so I don't need the volume or power of my 7* mouthpieces, and now I’m in a conundrum, there is a small tip opening difference between a 4c and a 7*! and I really do think the 4c is too closed, but where is the middle ground? If Vandoren did a V16 T5 I might think that would be a good middle of the road piece, so what about their Java T45? Or a Yanagisawa HR 6 or 7, or something else. I’m loathed to spend more money on mouthpieces, but I honestly think for my current situation I need to consider other options.

Anyone got any suggestions? I play a Yamaha tenor sax.

Thanks,

Chris
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Hi Chris, why don't you buy a couple of those ultra-cheap metalite pieces that people like so much, i know AndyG uses one to gig with and he's got a great sound!
 
Messages
509
i agree,i recently bought a metalite 9m and it has become my weapon of choice,great for rock gigs when you need lots of sound and great for intimate jazz gig when you want to play more subtly.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
i agree,i recently bought a metalite 9m and it has become my weapon of choice,great for rock gigs when you need lots of sound and great for intimate jazz gig when you want to play more subtly.
Well, I can understand "rock & loud", but I never associated a metalite with intimate jazz gigs ;)

Must be my definition of a jazzy sound ...
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Well, I can understand "rock & loud", but I never associated a metalite with intimate jazz gigs ;)

Must be my definition of a jazzy sound ...
No but the point is with a price tag of only around £20 each he could get half a dozen different ones and if none fit the bill he could flog them on without really losing anything, just a thought...
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,281
Just out of interest what are your 2 mouthpieces and what is the tip opening on them?
Yamaha 4c is a very close mpc that is probably ok for home use, but the problem comes when you want more volume and projection more than likely the 4c will close on you,its tip opening is .067 you could do with maybe a mpc that is around .095
although you can compensate with different reed strengths.
If the 2 you have are not for you,then why not sell them on here or Ebay and then with the proceeds buy more pieces that will suit better,some music shops allow you to trial a number of pieces keeping what you want and sending the others back.

Brian
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Hi Fraser, zootsaxenberger & jthole,

I'll take a look at the metalite, but I was always under the impression it was intended to be a bit, in ya face and raw sounding, "rock & loud" - is not what I'm looking for.

Just out of interest what are your 2 mouthpieces and what is the tip opening on them?
Yamaha 4c is a very close mpc that is probably ok for home use, but the problem comes when you want more volume and projection more than likely the 4c will close on you,its tip opening is .067 you could do with maybe a mpc that is around .095
although you can compensate with different reed strengths.
If the 2 you have are not for you,then why not sell them on here or Ebay and then with the proceeds buy more pieces that will suit better,some music shops allow you to trial a number of pieces keeping what you want and sending the others back.

Brian
Hi Brian,

My two tenor pieces are a 7* PPT and a Lawton 7*B.

I think you could be right with a tip opening of about 0.95 which is sort of around the Vandoren T45 - T55 / T6 range or Yanagisawa #7, the Yamaha 4c is too closed for sure. The odd thing is that you don't often hear people commenting on these smaller tip openings, it's usually #7* and higher that gets the attention.

Thanks,

Chris
 
Messages
509
Well, I can understand "rock & loud", but I never associated a metalite with intimate jazz gigs ;)

Must be my definition of a jazzy sound ...
yes the metalites will give you a lot of volume, but because they are free blowing you can drop back and subtone with the best of them.
i do both rock and jazz, mainly 40s,50,s jazz, which often requires understated playing and i find that the metalite gives me enough
control to whisper if need be
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,281
Hi Brian,

My two tenor pieces are a 7* PPT and a Lawton 7*B.

I think you could be right with a tip opening of about 0.95 which is sort of around the Vandoren T45 - T55 / T6 range or Yanagisawa #7, the Yamaha 4c is too closed for sure. The odd thing is that you don't often hear people commenting on these smaller tip openings, it's usually #7* and higher that gets the attention.

Thanks,

Chris
Chris they are 2 fine mouthpieces,i know i said early perhaps sell them to get something more suitable,but really if you can afford to i would keep them and put them away for a while and maybe get something with a .090 to .095 tip range for now.
I have known some great tenor players that use this tip opening range,one more thing what reeds are you using on your PPT and Lawton? maybe you can come down a size to help with the bigger tip opening.

Brian
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
On bigger tip opening mouthpieces I have tended to use Alexander Superial 2's which are excellent and make it easier. I have a Java T55 you can try if you'd like (for free, no obligation). For an easier blow I think a 5*, 6 or 6* should be good. Do you prefer darker or brighter sounds, mellower or with edge?

Mouthpieces that might be possible include a Lomax NY or LA HR Tenor 6m - on sale at Howarth's http://www.howarth.uk.com/saxsale.html or a Runyon 22 6 or 7 (0.085 - 0.090") @ £38 from sax.co.uk http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/RunyonTenorebonite.html . Didn't Stan Getz play a 5* tip opening?
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Hi Tom,

I'm playing Rico Jazz Selects 3S on the Lawton, I could never get on with the Alexander Superial's on the alto and so have never tired them on the tenor.

I was wondering about a Java T55 but thought the V16 T6 would be more suitable for a slightly darker and richer tone, I believe they are the same tip opening. You've mentioned Lomax, which is new to me, have you tried any of their pieces? I've just been looking at their website, but it's not very informative, I think they are more clarinet biased.

All the best,

Chris
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,954
I would try a yamaha 5 or 6C.

You are in a good position because the middle ground mouthpieces are usually in stock in most shops that sell saxophones. Alternatively a link HR 5* may be just the ticket.

having said all that, I would only go that route in the knowledge that when/if you go back to wanting to play at non-neignbour friendly volumes there will be a lot of adjustment required.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Hi Chris

My suggestion? Don't change your mouthpiece. You've got two great pieces there, both of which I've tried. I find the Lawton *B pieces to have a great deal of flexibility in terms of sound, nice and rich without the brash brightness which comes with the *BB ones (my second favourite piece is a Lawton 8*B). I don't think going down a tip size will make much difference to the tone (only the design of the mouthpiece will do that) and a 7*B is not exactly wide open, at 0.105". When I first started playing sax thirty odd years ago it was on a Lawton 7 and I found it fine, even as a teenage beginner. What I would suggest is maybe dropping down a reed strength the a RJS 2H, or even 2M might give a bit more control. I never found the need to blast out the sound on a Lawton, or found it hard to control at modest volumes. I think you'll find you have actually got all the air support and control you need, but you might want to take a softer reed to loosen up the control a bit.

Mind you, if you read some of the other posts, you'll see I have confessed to having had over 100 mouthpieces, so you might take anything I say on the subject with a pinch of salt. One thing, though. I've still got and play my very first mouthpiece, the Lawton 7, even after all these years.

Jon
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,120
Hi Chris, The best low volume mouthpiece that I use is a Zagar "cool school" This is the only mouthpiece that I've ever come across that can play PPP with support. I use it for playing in small cafes where it would otherwise be impossible to play. They come up occasionally on E-bay and sell for less than $100. You can also contact Zagar in Australia as he takes them back in trade for his newer models and sells them rather cheaply. Most of his other models are much louder, so I would not recommend them.

Hope this helps.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I have tried both the Lomax's (6m) and they are really good. I preferred them to the V16's that I have tried, when looking for a more rounded, complex & rich sound. I think that the V16 T6 might better fit the bill than the Java. Have you tried softer RJS reeds - 2M, for example? So, richer and darker is the sound that you are after.

Kind regards
Tom
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,281
Hi Chris

My suggestion? Don't change your mouthpiece. You've got two great pieces there, both of which I've tried. I find the Lawton *B pieces to have a great deal of flexibility in terms of sound, nice and rich without the brash brightness which comes with the *BB ones (my second favourite piece is a Lawton 8*B). I don't think going down a tip size will make much difference to the tone (only the design of the mouthpiece will do that) and a 7*B is not exactly wide open, at 0.105". When I first started playing sax thirty odd years ago it was on a Lawton 7 and I found it fine, even as a teenage beginner. What I would suggest is maybe dropping down a reed strength the a RJS 2H, or even 2M might give a bit more control. I never found the need to blast out the sound on a Lawton, or found it hard to control at modest volumes. I think you'll find you have actually got all the air support and control you need, but you might want to take a softer reed to loosen up the control a bit.

Mind you, if you read some of the other posts, you'll see I have confessed to having had over 100 mouthpieces, so you might take anything I say on the subject with a pinch of salt. One thing, though. I've still got and play my very first mouthpiece, the Lawton 7, even after all these years.

Jon
My thoughts as well,try softer reeds much more cheaper than a new mpc,if it doesn't work you can look at going down the new mpc route.
i myself use 2 -21/2 on alto on open pieces works fine.

Brian
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Thank you to everyone who's posted and tried to help me out. Hopefully the following will be of help to stop others falling into a similar trap.

I was experiencing an underwhelmingly thin tone, my sax felt like hard work and I wasn't getting much joy out of playing it. Frustrated I pulled off my mouthpiece and stuck on my other nice mouthpiece, but within a few notes I went in hunt for the Yamaha mouthpiece. Once in place I played a few notes and was relived by the ease of being able to play.

Rational deduction - I was playing a mouthpiece that wasn't suited for what I was needing it to do. Hence this thread. The responses I got were sound and helpful, and I'm very grateful to all who posted.

I don't know if any of you are the same as me, but I usually take a fancy to something and then work backwards to justify why I need to buy it. This was different, I seem to have identified the problem and a solution but had no desire to buy anything! And then I got this response:
I would try a yamaha 5 or 6C.

You are in a good position because the middle ground mouthpieces are usually in stock in most shops that sell saxophones. Alternatively a link HR 5* may be just the ticket.

having said all that, I would only go that route in the knowledge that when/if you go back to wanting to play at non-neignbour friendly volumes there will be a lot of adjustment required.
And while I still don't have a need to play at non-neighbour friendly volumes, I still dream that one day I might:D

So it got me thinking, what's changed? and what can I do?

1. I ditched my current reeds and prepped new ones - same make, same strength - and my tone became fuller.
2. I oiled my mechanism, it had been, um... well... I cannot actually remember the last time I oiled it, but boy did it make a difference, so much smoother under my fingers and quieter.
3. Concentrated on doing some long tones
4. Move onto a new, more challenging and infinitely more engaging book with my teacher!

I know my sax is long over due its inspection and prodding by a trained professional, which I think will make a difference also, so all in all, my knee jerk reaction to go seeking solace in a new mouthpiece was, perhaps a little... um... foolish.

(Picture a small kid looking down, awkwardly shuffling his feet)

Best wishes,

Chris
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Thank you to everyone who's posted and tried to help me out. Hopefully the following will be of help to stop others falling into a similar trap.

I was experiencing an underwhelmingly thin tone, my sax felt like hard work and I wasn't getting much joy out of playing it. Frustrated I pulled off my mouthpiece and stuck on my other nice mouthpiece, but within a few notes I went in hunt for the Yamaha mouthpiece. Once in place I played a few notes and was relived by the ease of being able to play.

Rational deduction - I was playing a mouthpiece that wasn't suited for what I was needing it to do. Hence this thread. The responses I got were sound and helpful, and I'm very grateful to all who posted.

I don't know if any of you are the same as me, but I usually take a fancy to something and then work backwards to justify why I need to buy it. This was different, I seem to have identified the problem and a solution but had no desire to buy anything! And then I got this response:


And while I still don't have a need to play at non-neighbour friendly volumes, I still dream that one day I might:D

So it got me thinking, what's changed? and what can I do?

1. I ditched my current reeds and prepped new ones - same make, same strength - and my tone became fuller.
2. I oiled my mechanism, it had been, um... well... I cannot actually remember the last time I oiled it, but boy did it make a difference, so much smoother under my fingers and quieter.
3. Concentrated on doing some long tones
4. Move onto a new, more challenging and infinitely more engaging book with my teacher!

I know my sax is long over due its inspection and prodding by a trained professional, which I think will make a difference also, so all in all, my knee jerk reaction to go seeking solace in a new mouthpiece was, perhaps a little... um... foolish.

(Picture a small kid looking down, awkwardly shuffling his feet)

Best wishes,

Chris
One of the things I've really appreciated about your posts is the openness. Add the insight shown here.....:thumb:
 
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