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Mouthpieces Just invested in a pro mouthpiece (Beechler)

jools28

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I took the plunge and got a Beechler bellite no 7 mouthpiece for my alto (many thanks to @eb424 for recommending a used one on ebay) and was surprised to actually be able to play it! Everything I was reading said the tip is VERY open, and since I've been used to a Yamaha 4C I was expecting a big difference. Honestly it wasn't that bad, I had no trouble playing it first time. I can see how my jaw was getting tired after a bit but tbh this happens on my old mpc (especially since I haven't been practicing that much lately) so not that big a deal. Is this any indication I've got some developed chops or do you think a beginner could play a Beechler 7? Should I take this as an indication that I have some decent skills at last? I don't really know what level I'm at since my playing has been so sporadic with lots of gaps in between but I was pleasantly surprised I could get a good sound out of such a wide tip that I'm not used to. So yeh I think this is a good sign?

I dropped to a rico 2.5 (usually use Vandoren 2.5 or 3) in anticipation of the open tip but next time I play I might try a higher reed again and see if it gives me any trouble. I really thought it'd take me absolutely weeks to get used to it! Maybe I just got lucky? Apparently they can vary quite a lot. Or maybe I'll take back my words when I've had a good old session on it since I just had a little go so far to test it but just wondering what are people's thought on this mpc? Did it give you any trouble at first?

Oh and I love the sound too!

 
What most of my students do when making a big jump in tip opening is bite to close the reed gap back to what it was on their old mouthpiece. A sore jaw indicates to me that you're probably doing this too. So just relax the embouchure and give it time. If your reed is bent (won't lay flat), that confirms biting. Your jaw should never get sore.

Also pay close attention to intonation on the new mouthpiece. My guess is you're probably going sharp on the high end. It's counterintuitive, but push in the mouthpiece and open your jaw.
 
@lydian Thank you for the advice-I'll really try and pay attention to biting too much-I wouldn't have thought I was, but I suppose it's done without even noticing. It must be the case if I have a sore jaw. I was prepared to have to put in a few weeks practice anyway, at least now I know what to focus on and look out for. I totally expected to not have mastered it for a while so I'm ok with that, it still went better than I expected which was for it to sound awful! Granted I haven't recorded myself with this mouthpiece yet...I've had tuning problems with my old mouthpiece so I'll definitely be taking this advice on board and trying to get more in tune. Thank you for the tips!
 
I truly wish you well, but so much of what you say worries me.
If you had tuning issues with a 4C, I don’t think that these will be fixed by simply changing to a Beechler.

Beechler on alto is quite a fierce combination, even for someone who is experienced. Do you really have control of the horn over the entire range?

You call yourself a beginner - no, you won’t have developed chops and I wouldn’t recommend this mouthpiece to any student that wasn’t pretty advanced.

I played on one in the ‘90’s - so many did - and also a Dukoff a bit later. If I left these mouthpieces alone for a period I’d have to play myself back in on them for a few days.
 
Is this any indication I've got some developed chops or do you think a beginner could play a Beechler 7?

Should I take this as an indication that I have some decent skills at last?
I would advise against that. Very soon after starting on alto I got an 8* but soon learned i didn’t have much control and it was damaging my ability to progress. I’ve been professional for 40 years and now play a 5.

I don’t think just being able to play a specific mouthpiece is the best indicator of skill. Skill is about playing with good intonation, dynamics, articulation, flexibility of expression etc.

Playing a pianissimo low Bb with a clean (almost imperceptible) articulation is an indicator of skill.

Be all that as it may, it could well be this is a good mouthpiece for you, I'm just saying not to necessarily assume that because you can actually play it then you have achieved a certain level of skill.

There's a bit of a misconception that as you improve you "process to" more open mouthpieces and harder reeds. It's not like weight training.
 
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What Pete said. And just to add to what Pete said, I'll reiterate what I'm sure has been said on many threads here before:

There is no "Pro" level mouthpiece, or reed/ligature/horn come to that. A small amount of mouthpieces are bad and don't work particularly well - but these have tended to be mouthpieces that came with a very inexpensive instrument, and these days, that is becoming less and less in my opinion (as opposed to maybe 20 years ago).

You'll notice that the very best players now play on a wide variety of setups - this is mainly due to there being a feel for far less conformity of sound, and Fashion these days is quite broad. This also shows that many setups work too, so don't think that you need to be playing X horn with Y mouthpiece etc just to sound any good. It won't particularly help you anyway.

Inexpensive horns now are WAY better than inexpensive horns from the '80's, for example. Essentially, you need a tube that is airtight for it to work well enough, then it comes down to the other stuff like intonation - though until you learn to play in tune, I think that this is of far lesser importance than having a horn that actually speaks properly.

Basically, it's about having a combination between the elements that suit you (at different stages of your development, as this will likely change). Don't forget that we're all made different, so that the "apparatus" is different for all, so therefore we will naturally require/prefer different setups from one another. Oral cavity, tongue size, facial muscle, lips, teeth and breath control are all significant before we even think about how to utilise them.

You can't circumnavigate putting in the work. Lots and lots of work, depending upon how far you need to get in order to enjoy your music-making.

I'll say that again, as I think it's the crux for everyone:

how far you need to get in order to enjoy your music-making?

For some, this might not be particularly far, and that's fine - it really is. In fact, enjoying playing should be the premier reason we all play, though for some of us, it's easy for quite a few factors to come in and beat that up. :confused:

Try to develop a critical ear (but at this stage, not too critical!).

There is one short cut: practising the right things in the right way. That's it. That's the only shortcut.
 
There is one short cut: practising the right things in the right way. That's it. That's the only shortcut.
Yes. To do what it takes to be successful. I'm a happy man when I've been playing in the woodshed and pleased with myself. Or having a good time at a blues and rock jam. I'm not a good player. I just enjoy to honk R&B, R&R and blues songs. And my set-up is not mainstream. Out of tune, unstable and sharp. I make the music dirty! Less clever! I make other players to be more pleased with themselves! That is more than enough for me. I just love to make noise. When I hear other better players that don't touch me I ask myself: Where is the dedication and devotion? I mean it's all there. The right embouchure, the right set-up, the right education, the right songs, the right technique .... and still, I'm not touched?
 
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Yes. To do what it takes to be successful. I'm a happy man when I've been playing in the woodshed and pleased with myself. Or having a good time at a blues and rock jam. I'm not a good player. I just enjoy to honk R&B, R&R and blues songs. And my set-up is not mainstream. Out of tune, unstable and sharp. I make the music dirty! Less clever! I make other players to be more pleased with themselves! That is more than enough for me. I just love to make noise. When I hear other better players that don't touch me I ask myself: Where is the dedication and devotion? I mean it's all there. The right embouchure, the right set-up, the right education, the right songs, the right technique .... and still, I'm not touched?
Plas Johnson? Sam Butera?
 
Yes. To do what it takes to be successful. I'm a happy man when I've been playing in the woodshed and pleased with myself. Or having a good time at a blues and rock jam. I'm not a good player. I just enjoy to honk R&B, R&R and blues songs. And my set-up is not mainstream. Out of tune, unstable and sharp. I make the music dirty! Less clever! I make other players to be more pleased with themselves! That is more than enough for me. I just love to make noise. When I hear other better players that don't touch me I ask myself: Where is the dedication and devotion? I mean it's all there. The right embouchure, the right set-up, the right education, the right songs, the right technique .... and still, I'm not touched?
Surely you're just listening to music you don't particularly like then. You're not suggesting that "worse" is better??
 
I truly wish you well, but so much of what you say worries me.
If you had tuning issues with a 4C, I don’t think that these will be fixed by simply changing to a Beechler.

Beechler on alto is quite a fierce combination, even for someone who is experienced. Do you really have control of the horn over the entire range?

You call yourself a beginner - no, you won’t have developed chops and I wouldn’t recommend this mouthpiece to any student that wasn’t pretty advanced.

I played on one in the ‘90’s - so many did - and also a Dukoff a bit later. If I left these mouthpieces alone for a period I’d have to play myself back in on them for a few days.
I just wanted an upgrade. I'm not a beginner exactly I just haven't had any formal training on the sax (though I have on flute) I first got a saxophone in 2010. I'm only interested in playing pop and rock songs for myself and maybe putting the odd cover on youtube and I'm fine with that. I was just happy to share that I got a nice sound of a mouthpiece I didn't even expect to be able to play :confused2: but I can always count on you to rain on my parade Pete :rofl: I suppose I did ask...

I would advise against that. Very soon after starting on alto I got an 8* but soon learned i didn’t have much control and it was damaging my ability to progress. I’ve been professional for 40 years and now play a 5.

I don’t think just being able to play a specific mouthpiece is the best indicator of skill. Skill is about playing with good intonation, dynamics, articulation, flexibility of expression etc.

Playing a pianissimo low Bb with a clean (almost imperceptible) articulation is an indicator of skill.

Be all that as it may, it could well be this is a good mouthpiece for you, I'm just saying not to necessarily assume that because you can actually play it then you have achieved a certain level of skill.

There's a bit of a misconception that as you improve you "process to" more open mouthpieces and harder reeds. It's not like weight training.
Good points, will take on board. I actually was gonna get a Jody Jazz HR in case I couldn't get on with the Beechler, but I don't think I need to shell out for one of those now. I obviously don't think I'm anywhere near pro level or anything, I was just pleasantly surprised what I could get out of it. Not saying I have all the control over it that I want but I feel like the 4C was holding me back just because I knew it was a very closed tip. Maybe it's psychological, but I needed to know I had the best equipment (now I can afford it) to dedicate myself properly to it. It's probably my last go round before I jack it all in.
 
Surely you're just listening to music you don't particularly like then. You're not suggesting that "worse" is better??
Well .... I don't know how to express my self about this ..... . I often listen to music that is considered to be less mainstream. I stay out of write good and bad or worse. Musicians that not followed the "right path". Just playing and having fun. I like pubrock as well. The energy and uncompromisingness .... don't talk so much ... just play!

Chuck Higgins was a refreshing saxman. Here is "Do It". I can hear some "reed squeal" as well! Perfect pubrock song.
View: https://youtu.be/4P7Ab3naLt0?si=7UJKTFELgkhz0kbz
phd.JPG
 
There is no "Pro" level mouthpiece, or reed/ligature/horn come to that. A small amount of mouthpieces are bad and don't work particularly well - but these have tended to be mouthpieces that came with a very inexpensive instrument, and these days, that is becoming less and less in my opinion (as opposed to maybe 20 years ago).
You call yourself a beginner - no, you won’t have developed chops and I wouldn’t recommend this mouthpiece to any student that wasn’t pretty advanced.
Seems contradictory :confused2:
 
Well .... I don't know how to express my self about this ..... . I often listen to music that is considered to be less mainstream. I stay out of write good and bad or worse. Musicians that not followed the "right path". Just playing and having fun. I like pubrock as well. The energy and uncompromisingness .... don't talk so much ... just play!

Chuck Higgins was a refreshing saxman. Here is "Do It". I can hear some "reed squeal" as well! Perfect pubrock song.
View: https://youtu.be/4P7Ab3naLt0?si=7UJKTFELgkhz0kbz
View attachment 23922
There's a big difference between squeaking on purpose and accidentally. The former is altissimo, the latter a squeak. Once you learn to control them, all your squeaks become altissimo.

The OP's squeaks are clearly unintentional and do not add to the music he's trying to play. So in this case, embracing the squeak is not the best solution.
 
The 4C is a good mouthpiece, far beyond what the price suggests. It works, and it works pretty easily.
You say that you had intonation issues - there is a chance that the mouthpiece is just not positioned correctly on the crook, but I presume that it isn’t that, so it is most likely what has been said about biting.
The Beechler, and other mouthpieces like it are not generally considered to be easier in this respect. Everyone is different so who knows, but a lot of combined experience here suspects not.
Going from a 4C to a Bellite Metal Beechler 7 is a little like going from a moped to a race tuned 500CC bike. That’s why some of us are sucking our teeth.
 
I dropped to a rico 2.5 (usually use Vandoren 2.5 or 3) in anticipation of the open tip but next time I play I might try a higher reed again and see if it gives me any trouble.

I suggest the contrary approach - only change reed strength if you find that your current setup fails to deliver.

A Beechler Bellite 7 tip opening is 0.085"; a Meyer 7 is 0.081". A Vandoren 2 is similar in strength to a Rico 2.5.

You might actually go down to a Rico 2 and learn to play that with control.
 
@Pete Effamy and everything in between. Obviously you have the knowledge to say what level is best suited to a Beechler. It's a harder to play mouthpiece in the advanced range. It's what Dave Koz plays that's why I said pro I guess? Not many are playing the 4C at advanced level, if they were I'd have stuck with it as well! I get it, you hate "beginners" getting the same set-up as advanced players when they don't have the chops or expertise to play them well, fair enough. I've had the 4C and my Yas-62 for a year now, and I'm not getting any younger so I just went for it...I might still get a Jody Jazz or something a bit more inbetween the two yet but I'll see how I go.

The 4C is a good mouthpiece, far beyond what the price suggests. It works, and it works pretty easily.
You say that you had intonation issues - there is a chance that the mouthpiece is just not positioned correctly on the crook, but I presume that it isn’t that, so it is most likely what has been said about biting.
The Beechler, and other mouthpieces like it are not generally considered to be easier in this respect. Everyone is different so who knows, but a lot of combined experience here suspects not.
Going from a 4C to a Bellite Metal Beechler 7 is a little like going from a moped to a race tuned 500CC bike. That’s why some of us are sucking our teeth.
I know, that's why it's surprised me- like I said I was expecting to put weeks of work into it anyway and I'm happy to do that to get it right. Alls I'm saying is it's a good thing I can get a sound out of it-can we at least agree on that? That's a positive to me, it's more than I expected! I didn't always have the sax in tune with the last mouthpiece, but it's a saxophone-other players don't always sound 100% in tune to me either when I watch them on youtube. Maybe this new mouthpiece will help with that, maybe not. It was also only slight since I noticed when I recorded and not during playing. I don't have a problem with squeaking.
 
In your early posts in this thread you said several things that made experienced players on here worried about your choice to dive in to a relatively open, metal, high baffle mouthpiece.
Problems that you talked about are usually indicators that this wouldn’t be a good step for your future progression. All answers have voiced concern.
To use my earlier analogy of bikes, would it not go something like this:
I’ve been riding a moped for about a year, and sometimes I wobble a bit. But Valentino Rossi rides a Yamaha R1 so I thought I’d just jump in.
I managed to ride around a bit and haven’t yet crashed; does this mean that I’m finally getting some real riding skills?
 

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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