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Reeds Intonation: Reeds and Mouthpieces

greenstripe

Member
Messages
68
Location
Lincoln, UK
Can anyone explain exactly what is happening here:

I started with a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece (1.60mm tip opening) and got frustrated using cane reeds and really wasn't getting on with anything -probably me, so I decided to Change to Composite reeds to rule out any variation and tried Legere American Cut - bought a 1.5 as seemed about the right one to go for - seemed too easy to play and so bought a 2.0 - Perfect!
Felt that the Yamaha mouthpiece was just a bit lifeless and like I couldn't put as much expression in to my playing so upgraded to a D'addario Select Jazz D5M (1.8mm opening) -Great Sound!
Started to notice and confirmed using a tuner - everything in the second octave (using the octave key) is quite sharp, figuring that it'll sort and it's just me learning - trying long notes etc. cannot seem to get second octave down to pitch.

Tried experimenting today: back to Yamaha 4C - bang on in tune. Tried it with a Vandoren Traditional 2.5 (too hard for me really but just as a test) still in tune, so tried the Vandoren on the D'addario Select Jazz - sharp again, decided as a test to try a softer reed on the D'addario and tried the Legere 1.5 -Success - but the reed just feels kind of soft and flimsy and really easy for me to stop the reed vibrating completely with my embouchure by accident so need to learn to be really gentle.

So obviously my embouchure is all wrong and I have developed bad technique, so back to basics required, but I'd like to understand it a bit better.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,457
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Some mouthpieces aren't compatible with some saxophones. The chamber size can affect tuning. Something to do with the volume of the missing cone
You've moved from a 1.49 to a 1.86 tip opening with a different shaped facing curve. Not sure about the internals like baffle and chamber size.
This may take some time to adjust to.

I recently switched mpieces and it took me about a month to adjust and settle on reeds.
Stop going back to your old piece and put the tuner away.
The only way to get used to this new set up is to put the time in with this new set up. ;)
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,437
Location
New Zealand and Australia
Colin is spot on in his assessment. The only other thing to consider is that you may not want to have to spnd a lot of time adjusting your embouchure to the new mouthpiece and instead get another mouthpiece that plays in tune for you. I've got a very picky/quirky alto that I love the tone of, but very few mouthpieces work with it. It's no fun to fight with your equipment, unless you've got a good reason to (can't afford the right horn or right mouthpiece, or love the tone of one or the other so will sacrifice the time to make it work).
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,495
Location
West Midlands
Colin is spot on with this, give yourself time to adjust to your new mpc, its the the same for all players when we have a new setup, It has taken me several months to get used to my TW Mindi Abair to get to where I'm happy with it mainly because I was not used to a high baffle, also check the new mouthpiece is positioned at the sweet spot on the cork, not all mpc's are going to tune to the same spot, you might be able to pull back on the mpc and still be ok for the lower register.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,290
Location
Sweden
I was told that when I play/blow a mouthpiece and reed I should hit/pitch .....

...... the tone C on soprano mpc
...... A on alto mpc
...... G on tenor mpc
...... D on bari mpc

When I swithed mouthpieces/reeds I had to learn to play the right tones. You can adjust the pitch by working on the reeds. The placement of the ligature on the mouthpice also affect the intonation/pitch. This is maybe more the about the timbre. A thick reed gives you diffent pitch/timbre than a thinner reed. When most player tries new reeds they just blow as they did when they played the old reeds. And it the reeds plays bad or not at all they give up. The right combo of mpc and reed is important for you.

Most players says this is rubbish. Maybe it is. But I think it's helping me. And a chromatic pitch pipe is also helping to get the right pitch.

stämprylar.JPG
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,323
Location
New Mexico, US
We gotta get @Pete Thomas to declare July "Intonation Month".

I agree with all that has been posted. Although personally, I think as you had success with your Yama setup, you don't really need to go to playing the mouthpiece alone and all that.

You tried the new mouthpiece with a 2.5 and it still played sharp. You tried it with a 1.5 and it was intonationally good. But the reed felt too soft.

Did you try D'Addario with a 2.0 ?

Also, what is your (OP) definition of "quite sharp" ? How many cents ? Are we talking 10-15 cents ? Or 25-30 cents ?????
 

Neffmusic

Member
Messages
86
Location
Vermont
It could be that the differences between the two mouthpiece's facing curve is just enough that using the same embouchure pressure that you use on the 4C on that D'Addario bends the reed in the top register for that mouthpiece. Some efficient facing curves will allow the reed to bend much easier than others.........
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,613
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Playing too high on the mouthpiece "input pitch" can cause the tone to sound "pinched" and go sharp in the upper register. A standard test on the alto is to check the pitch of the mouthpiece alone---it should be no higher than A=880. The pitch on the mouthpiece + neck (crook) should be Ab concert. Since it is common to play with a tighter embouchure when playing on a stiffer reed with more resistance, it helps to play long tones focusing on opening the teeth, and pushing in more at the corners to control the tone. Each player must decide how much "resistance" they are comfortable pushing against when they play.
 

greenstripe

Member
Messages
68
Location
Lincoln, UK
Thanks for the replies folks - lots of interesting things to explore, read and think about.

Had a lesson with my teacher this evening and he seems to think It's embouchure and that the tone is good on the 1.5 Legere. I'm going to persevere with it for a while until I feel that I can control the reed without mashing it.
 

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