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M/Pieces - Ligs Looking for mouthpiece advice

lydian

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My Berg, Link, Dukoff, Yani, Brillhart, SYOS, Morgan and Wanne all feel better too. What's it going to be?

Also, you're going to be in for a shock going from a 4 or 5, presumably, to a 9*. You won't be able to control it, maybe won't even be able to get a sound out of it at all.

In any case, buying a mouthpiece based on one guy liking it is probably not going to work out very well. Millions of players like millions of different mouthpieces. They just don't all post reviews. Work on your sound using what you've got. Then after a meaningful amount of experience under your belt, gradually go up in tip opening if that's what you want for volume or flexibility or whatever.

Back when I was a kid, I wanted to sound like Coltrane. So I found out what his setup was, and bought that. Needless to say, I didn't sound anything like Coltrane. But using an entirely different setup than his, after a few months of practice, I got pretty close, at least to his sound and style, not his ideas of course. The lesson was that mouthpieces are very personal. What works for one person may not work for another because your physiology, technique and experience level is different.
 

LostCircuits

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Black Forest
I'm looking at used. Here in Spain various Jumbos sell or between 50 and 70 euros.
Please be aware that no 2 mouthpieces will play the same. They may be similar but you can go to a music store and try 5 of the same mouthpieces and they will be all slightly different.
Unless you talk about a Rico Graftonite or Selmer Goldentone, they all suck. Still different, though.

Also, it may take you a week or more to even find the sweet spot for a new MPC, or else discover that you don't like if past the novelty factor.
 

greenstripe

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Some of the more modern mouthpieces are entirely CNC machined and not hand finished so in theory should be completely consistent from one to the next for example D'addario Select Jazz - but this mouthpiece hasn't been discussed on this thread ...yet
 

LostCircuits

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Some of the more modern mouthpieces are entirely CNC machined and not hand finished so in theory should be completely consistent from one to the next for example D'addario Select Jazz - but this mouthpiece hasn't been discussed on this thread ...yet
CNC or not, I can tell you that a single stroke with an 800 grit piece of sandpaper can change how a mouthpiece plays. And that's beyond the tolerance of any CNC machine for mass production. The tightest quality controls are probably with Theo Wanne who has one of the best machinists in the world (so I have been told) and machining equipment on par with the operator.
In other words, you can produce "consistent" blanks but they won't play consistent and definitely not "completely consistent"
 

Pete Thomas

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In other words, you can produce "consistent" blanks but they won't play consistent and definitely not "completely consistent"
I believe this, however it isn’t something that happens for everyone. I think there are people who play consistently and for them, if they are quite sensitive to such things, will notice very subtly differences such as you 800 grit sandpaper might bring about.

There are others (myself included) who seem to subconsciously adjust and very quickly just somehow get, or maybe just hear, the sound concept they after. Obviously this only happens on pieces that are similar.

I don’t think either one of the other type is better or worse - just different types of player.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
800 is a bit coarse imo.
I use 2000. Sometimes 3000.
The difference between an alto yam 4c and 7c is 0.012".
If 0.004" is a whole step it only takes a midges didge to make or break a piece.
The smaller the amount removed each pass the better for me.
Hats off to hand finishers. I'd not make a living doing it.
Machining ebonite must be a nightmare.
 

Jimmymack

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If all this hand finishing is so subtle and the subtle differences are so important that you have to try half a dozen before you find the perfect one then we might as well all give up.

There is one copy of a mouthpiece I'm interested in this country, where does that leave me? I'm lost, do I feel lucky or do I try it and if it seems to offer what I've been promised just buy it and make it do what I want or do I not touch it because it might be an inferior version? Years ago I bought my first, and last as it turned out, Link, it was hard to play and I assumed it was my fault when it was probably the Link, but I stuck with it and played it for many years and got a good sound out of it.

The marketing of fine finishers is out of hand, they're not magicians, some may be experts, some may pass themselves off as experts, some are probably hacks but if a mouthpiece is decent, within the parameters you are looking at then you can make it work, if you can't then you are just another sucker who keeps buying and selling mouthpieces and never finding the perfect one. A single stroke of 800 grit makes a difference? Do me a favour.
 

LostCircuits

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I believe this, however it isn’t something that happens for everyone. I think there are people who play consistently and for them, if they are quite sensitive to such things, will notice very subtly differences such as you 800 grit sandpaper might bring about.

There are others (myself included) who seem to subconsciously adjust and very quickly just somehow get, or maybe just hear, the sound concept they after. Obviously this only happens on pieces that are similar.

I don’t think either one of the other type is better or worse - just different types of player.
Pete, I was only balking about the "completely consistent" claim. There is no question that many of the machined pieces are good, maybe even great but consistent they are not.

And the smaller they are, the worse it gets, baris, they are like work trucks, a little dent doesn't make much of a difference. Tenors, that's where the fun starts. Altos, you have to be very careful. Sopranos, like they say in Brooklyn: Fogettaboudid
 

Colin the Bear

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If all this hand finishing is so subtle and the subtle differences are so important that you have to try half a dozen before you find the perfect one then we might as well all give up.

There is one copy of a mouthpiece I'm interested in this country, where does that leave me? I'm lost, do I feel lucky or do I try it and if it seems to offer what I've been promised just buy it and make it do what I want or do I not touch it because it might be an inferior version? Years ago I bought my first, and last as it turned out, Link, it was hard to play and I assumed it was my fault when it was probably the Link, but I stuck with it and played it for many years and got a good sound out of it.

The marketing of fine finishers is out of hand, they're not magicians, some may be experts, some may pass themselves off as experts, some are probably hacks but if a mouthpiece is decent, within the parameters you are looking at then you can make it work, if you can't then you are just another sucker who keeps buying and selling mouthpieces and never finding the perfect one. A single stroke of 800 grit makes a difference? Do me a favour.
My favourite alto piece split in half. I rebuilt it with waterweld and refaced it. It played great for years but I had to retire it when cracks appeared.
I dropped my bari piece and deformed the tip rail. It took several passes of 2000 to dress it playable. I think I opened it up a little because I had to come down a half strength. Sweet spot found though.
A single pass with 800 grit may, depending on pressure applied, remove 0.0005" from side and tip rails and make a massive difference.
The new Link I tried on alto was unplayable due to faults. Burrs and uneveness on side rails needed dressing. It played much better after a little attention. About three light passes.
Like blueprinting an engine I suppose.
A table that's a thou out of flat and a side rail that curves a couple of thou one side before the other may play with a strong embouchure but is never going to sing. One pass, with skilled hands and it may come alive.
 

LostCircuits

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My favourite alto piece split in half. I rebuilt it with waterweld and refaced it. It played great for years but I had to retire it when cracks appeared.
I dropped my bari piece and deformed the tip rail. It took several passes of 2000 to dress it playable. I think I opened it up a little because I had to come down a half strength. Sweet spot found though.
A single pass with 800 grit may, depending on pressure applied, remove 0.0005" from side and tip rails and make a massive difference.
The new Link I tried on alto was unplayable due to faults. Burrs and uneveness on side rails needed dressing. It played much better after a little attention. About three light passes.
Like blueprinting an engine I suppose.
A table that's a thou out of flat and a side rail that curves a couple of thou one side before the other may play with a strong embouchure but is never going to sing. One pass, with skilled hands and it may come alive.
Excellent description. All it takes is uneven pressure on one side to get asymmetric rails. Or a jerk when you try to shape the facing curve and you get a small angle instead of a curve. I am usually "almost" finishing my pieces before I buff them (trying to stay away from the rails as much as possible) and then do the final finish with a 1200 grit.

And the worst is if you end up with an asymmetric tip (egg-shaped to one side). If you can even see it using a reed as reference, that's all it takes to make the piece suck.
 

Pete Thomas

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Pete, I was only balking about the "completely consistent" claim.
And I think you have a good point, what I was saying is that there are probably mouthpieces (either 100% machined or hand finished) that I might think are consistent that you don't. Purely because I may be less sensitive to small differences. Or else I hear differently, or (as mentioned I adapt without realising it (ie subconsciously).

The latter may be because I am so used to changing my embouchure and getting different tones and sounds all the time*. Other people like to have one sound and embouchure and stick with it. Those people will notice inconsistency more than others.

* The opposite can sometimes be true. I have sometimes compared two different reeds or mouthpieces and found a huge difference. But then, try again the next day and they both sound the same to me. It's a bit of a mystery.
 

LostCircuits

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And I think you have a good point, what I was saying is that there are probably mouthpieces (either 100% machined or hand finished) that I might think are consistent that you don't. Purely because I may be less sensitive to small differences. Or else I hear differently, or (as mentioned I adapt without realising it (ie subconsciously).

The latter may be because I am so used to changing my embouchure and getting different tones and sounds all the time*. Other people like to have one sound and embouchure and stick with it. Those people will notice inconsistency more than others.

* The opposite can sometimes be true. I have sometimes compared two different reeds or mouthpieces and found a huge difference. But then, try again the next day and they both sound the same to me. It's a bit of a mystery.
Pete, here is my question, have you gone to a music store and tried 5 of the same MPCs? I have had (very good) players come by and try "(I don't want to say identical)" mouthpieces and rate them and I could not tell them apart visually or by measuring them but everybody's play rating was almost 100% consistent. Like in #1 has a lot of power, #2 has a richer tone etc. And they played on their own instruments or else on a horn of their choice from my collection.

And yes, compared to e,g, a Yamaha 4C, they were all in the same "class" of bright, powerful mouthpieces but when you play them against each other, there are definite differences.
 

Pete Thomas

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Pete, here is my question, have you gone to a music store and tried 5 of the same MPCs? I
No not that I recall.

But when play testing PPTs I will often play several of the same and I sound the same. I even do with different models, e.g. when I was seeing if there was difference between resin and metal, sounded the same to me.

However (and this is my point) I wouldn’t be surprised if you of others found a small differerence.
 
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turf3

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Earth
I'd point out that one poster talks about changes of .0005", whereas I have personally seen many times the back of a reed out of flat by .020". Which is more likely to be significant?

I tend to the opinion of getting something pretty good and then playing that. With reeds, I don't keep special ones back or anything. I read somewhere "practice on all of them, the better ones, the worse ones, because you never know what you're going to get on the gig" and this makes sense to me. Many times I have tested out some reeds before the gig, put a check mark on the one I thought was best, so I'd use it tomorrow, then when tomorrow comes that one isn't really doing that well and the one next to it plays better. What changed? Was it the reed, humidity, temperature, or was it me?
 

turf3

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Here's an analogy that might be of use:

Go run up a hill. Do the same hill every day. Some days it's going to be easier than others. Some days it's going to be easier for you than your buddy, other days, he'll cruise right on up and you'll be scuffling. And yet, if you go run up 5 hills, and he does, the two of you will probably agree on which ones are tougher.

Do you change something every time you have a day when it's harder to get up the hill? Different shoes? New socks? Nah, you just accept that your own state varies from day to day.
 

Pete Thomas

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Here's an analogy that might be of use:

Go run up a hill. Do the same hill every day. Some days it's going to be easier than others. Some days it's going to be easier for you than your buddy, other days, he'll cruise right on up and you'll be scuffling. And yet, if you go run up 5 hills, and he does, the two of you will probably agree on which ones are tougher.
It's a good analogy.

And of course if you go to a shop and try 5 supposedly identical mouthpieces then there may be differences based on reed position or maybe even ligature position (if the table is not flat)

The only way to know if the perceived inconsistency is die to a tiny different reed placement or, as you say, an inconsistent mouthpiece would need a lot of back and forth checking to make sure any difference is ascribed to a specific mouthpiece. But by the time you do that your mood may have changed etc.

But I'm not popooing the idea that identical mouthpieces will never play identically.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
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Talking about going up hills, I wonder if Sisyphus tried different rocks.
 
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It's this what op is looking for?

ESM® Schreiber Mouthpiece - Tip opening: 7* - with metal ring for tenor saxophones (Jazz) ESM® Schreiber Mouthpiece - Tip opening: 7* - with metal ring for tenor saxophones (Jazz) : Amazon.co.uk: Musical Instruments & DJ
The older model (without metal ring, but yes.

Actually, I took a punt on the one I saw on the bay (50€ landed in Spain) and have been playing it for 3 days now. It's very ice, better subtone in lower register and very easy blowing - like the 6. Haven't had to flattern the table or do any adjustments.
 

Phil

Senior Member
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1,186
Locality
France
David, I hope you are talking about working on reeds. Dont work on your mouthipiece if you dont know what you are doing. You will end up with a door stop. If you have some doorstops and the right tools you can practice messing with thiem.
 

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