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Looking for mouthpiece advice.

Rock Lobster

Member
Messages
124
Hi everyone. With a birthday approaching and my 2 year blowin anniversary comming up i was wondering if getting a good mouthpiece was a good idea? I play a Yamaha 275 with the standard mouthpiece and would like a smokey blues tone with a bit of punch. I would also like to take the mouthpice with me when i upgrade my sax. I have played a metal mouthpiece which sounded great but i really dont know where to start. Also can you take your sax to a shop and try mouthpieces?

Help!
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
...........Also can you take your sax to a shop and try mouthpieces?

Help!
I'll leave the technical answers to the more complex 'which mouthpiece' questions to those in the know, but the answer to the above is YES - most reputable suppliers will let you try before you buy in store.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Good question!

Half the issue of producing a smoky bluesy sound will be due to your own ability as a sax player, but at the very least a mouthpiece should not impede this, so it sounds like something which is not too bright, and has some complexity/darkness to the sound (my own subjective assumption - may not be a universal view). Once we find the answer to Kev's question (alto or tenor - I imagine tenor as it is more commonly associated with Smoky/Bluesy sounds, but could be wrong) I am sure that you will be bombarded with suggestions.

For what it is worth - and as it is a birthday - I would suggest contacting Phil Engelman (of Phil-Tone Mouthpieces) and have a custom piece done, stating the sort of sound that you are looking for. He charges approx. $195 with $10 shipping to UK ( approx £120) and produces excellent stuff - see Sax on The Web for details, reviews etc. Alternatively there are a number of mouthpieces that should fit the bill.

My 2p worth: a Ponzol Vintage 85 on Alto is awesome; a Francois Louis ML 280 Spectruoso on Tenor very resonant and soulful.
Good luck
Tom
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I would suggest contacting Phil Engelman (of Phil-Tone Mouthpieces) and have a custom piece done, stating the sort of sound that you are looking for. He charges approx. $195 with $10 shipping to UK ( approx £120)

Tom
More like £160. To Phil's (very resonable) price you'll need to add on VAT at 20% and a 'release fee' from the shippers when they assess it for duty. Might also get clobbered for import duty as well.

Personally I'd go along with your original thoughts and try a load of mouthpieces in a decent shop.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,905
Tom recommends the Ponzol Vintage above.
I bought one for a tenor for £85 delivered from Saxcompany.
It has the sort of blues smokey sound you might like.
 

saxomophone

New Member
Messages
22
The material a mouthpiece is made of doesnt really affect the tone - thats to do with the shape of the chamber.
Material is more to do with preference and how hardwearing it is so I wouldnt rule out rubber as against metal.

The default piece on tenor has to be otto link. This will allow you to go in any direction you want. Some of them are better than others. To get the very best out of it you could consider getting a new one (or modern second hand one) refaced. I have had work done by Brian Powell in the states and was very pleased. Im sure there are guys here in England who are good too. Refacing can change an iffy mouthpiece into the best it can be. Cost about $90 + shipping if I remember.
 

saxomophone

New Member
Messages
22
And another thought - I have an RPC tenor piece Im not using that would fit the bill. Its a very big tip opening (125) but the medium baffle makes it easy to play. Good for smokey ...
Give me a shout if youre interested.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,905
The material a mouthpiece is made of doesnt really affect the tone - thats to do with the shape of the chamber.
Material is more to do with preference and how hardwearing it is so I wouldnt rule out rubber as against metal.

.
I'm sure I've read on here in previous threads that rubber sounds 'warmer' than metal.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Upgrading from the standard 4c Mouthpiece that comes with the 275 will have its benefits. I've owned both the Tenor and the Alto (still have the Alto).

Since you haven't said which instrument you have I'll, voice my opinion on both.

Alto

I wouldn't recommend a metal mouthpiece for an Alto. I have tried an Otto-Link STM #7 and 7* on my 275 and A901. It is edgy and has a buzz with it. Great with the Bell notes but as you go up you have to blow harder, a lot harder. This kills your pianissimo. If you don’t blow hard then the notes sound thin almost anorexic :))) The palm keys are the worst! and forget any altissimo!

So I really would recommend an ebonite piece! Currently I’m going through the Berg Larsen range!

Tenor

On the Tenor I am loving my Otto-Link STM 8*. It is highly flexible and one you should definitely try!

Generally

I will say that coming from a 4c you are going to find blowing a bigger mouthpiece hard to begin with but within a few days it will become much easier. So bear that in mind when you’re in the shop trying some pieces out. Bigger tip openings and Medium Soft Reeds has certainly helped my get the sound I was after.

Currently trying to sort out a Berg Larsen Bronze Duckbill 130/2 but I have a 4/5 weeks wait whilst they make it for me!

I’d certainly recommend taking your horn to a shop and trying out as many pieces as you can, but it usually takes me a week or so before I know whether I really like a piece or not! But at least you can narrow your choice down a bit!

Good luck!

Paul
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
The material a mouthpiece is made of has no bearing whatsoever on how it plays - it's all down to the design. Some ebonite mouthpieces are bright shrieking things, some metal are dull and soft. It all just depends on the design.

That said, a lot of metal mouthpieces happen to be manufactured to a brighter-sounding design, but I wouldn't ever make a recommendation based on the material of a mouthpiece.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
The material a mouthpiece is made of has no bearing whatsoever on how it plays ...
I've heard a lot of people say that but why is it that very few play a metal on an Alto yet love them on a Tenor? It can't simply be down to design surely? To some degree the material has to play apart?

Just curious,

Kermit :cool:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'm sure I've read on here in previous threads that rubber sounds 'warmer' than metal.
It's an ongoing debate. No straight answer, except that the differences, if any, are small. But rubber is warmer on the lips and generally large in the mouth..
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Do metal mouthpieces have a rubber insert to chew on? I really really get the shivers if I think of my top teeth on a metal mouthpiece.
Mike
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Some of them have a plastic-type insert. But the best solution to the shivers is to use a mouthpiece patch- a very thin layer of neoprene which sticks onto the tooth area of the piece. I use one on all mouthpieces (otherwise my teeth feel like they're going to fall out!). It saves any damage to the m/piece as well!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Do metal mouthpieces have a rubber insert to chew on? I really really get the shivers if I think of my top teeth on a metal mouthpiece.
Mike
Hi Mike!

Many metal mouthpieces have an insert, usually quite tough plastic/ebonite/similar material and it is always best to use
a mouthpiece cushion anyway to protect both your teeth and the mouthpiece.

My awareness regarding metal tenor mouthpieces is that they are more compact than ebonite equivalents, and maybe more comfortable to play, especially if you are producing a brighter sound. I often use metal on tenor or my Francois Louis which is about the same size as an alto ebonite mouthpiece - more comfortable when I am concentrating mainly on alto.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I like the BG Transparent 0.4mm Patches as they seem a little tougher and last longer than the Black Patches.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I've heard a lot of people say that but why is it that very few play a metal on an Alto yet love them on a Tenor? It can't simply be down to design surely? To some degree the material has to play apart?

Just curious,

Kermit :cool:
I think quite a lot of people play metal pieces on alto, and also a lot play ebonite on tenor.

I just can't find anything in either acoustics or experience (I've had well over 100 mouthpieces) to suggest the actual material makes a ha'porth of difference, though. Think about Selmer Classic. Metal, and smooth verging on the dull. Vandoren Jumbo Java, ebonite screamers. RPC B models. Ditto. Runyon Bionix and Rico Metalite. Plastic, screamers. To quote P Weller, I could go on, and I probably will.

I play a metal mouthpiece on alto, a Yanagisawa metal, and I find it very flexible, able to kick out a good range of tones.

Hey, what's with the Kermit reference?:w00t:
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I think quite a lot of people play metal pieces on alto, and also a lot play ebonite on tenor.

I just can't find anything in either acoustics or experience (I've had well over 100 mouthpieces) to suggest the actual material makes a ha'porth of difference, though. Think about Selmer Classic. Metal, and smooth verging on the dull. Vandoren Jumbo Java, ebonite screamers. RPC B models. Ditto. Runyon Bionix and Rico Metalite. Plastic, screamers. To quote P Weller, I could go on, and I probably will.

I play a metal mouthpiece on alto, a Yanagisawa metal, and I find it very flexible, able to kick out a good range of tones.
Thanks! Interesting to hear your thoughts on this as I've been reading so many conflicting opinions about it! My own experiences with the Metal Links on the Alto aren' that good. However in light of what you've saod Imight not dismiss metal mouthpieces on the Alto just yet.

Hey, what's with the Kermit reference?:w00t:
Oh, the other day someone could me a Muppet because of some things I come out with! So I just signed myself as Kermit as I guessed it was another muppet question! :))) No offence to anyone other than myself! ;}
 
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