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M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpiece and reed selection

rabidric

New Member
Messages
15
Morning all

I'm a new starter on the forum and on the sax too come to that and will bombard with questions silly and sometimes some that might seem strange. Here's the first one for starters and hopefully it doesn't fall into either category mentioned above. How does a novice, which is an exaggeration of my current skill levels by the way, know where to start with mouthpiece selection? I realise that some of the decision is down to personal preference, puffing style - is there a style called wheezing? if not I've just invented it, cost, music preferences, sax and so on but is there a guide that could give us newbies a starting point? I'm sat here on the edge of the seat waiting for delivery (come on where is it - I mean I ordered it last night?!) of my new BW AI tenor and don't really have a clue as to which mouthpiece is going to suit us - that's me and the sax. Moving on does the mouthpiece affect the reed selection and vice versa?
I appreciate that it's not an easy question to answer but as I don't have many good stores near me, well not that I know of anyway, it would be good to have a clue in the beginning. Or am I jumping the gun a bit and should I start out with a Yamaha and see how I get on for a bit?

Thanks
 

MartinL

Member
Messages
366
Morning all

I'm a new starter on the forum and on the sax too come to that and will bombard with questions silly and sometimes some that might seem strange. Here's the first one for starters and hopefully it doesn't fall into either category mentioned above. How does a novice, which is an exaggeration of my current skill levels by the way, know where to start with mouthpiece selection? I realise that some of the decision is down to personal preference, puffing style - is there a style called wheezing? if not I've just invented it, cost, music preferences, sax and so on but is there a guide that could give us newbies a starting point? I'm sat here on the edge of the seat waiting for delivery (come on where is it - I mean I ordered it last night?!) of my new BW AI tenor and don't really have a clue as to which mouthpiece is going to suit us - that's me and the sax. Moving on does the mouthpiece affect the reed selection and vice versa?
I appreciate that it's not an easy question to answer but as I don't have many good stores near me, well not that I know of anyway, it would be good to have a clue in the beginning. Or am I jumping the gun a bit and should I start out with a Yamaha and see how I get on for a bit?

Thanks
Go for a Yamaha 4C or 5C initially, until you are playing a little and then you will be in a better position to judge it yourself. The Yam is probably the best "beginner" mouthpiece. As for reeds, start with a 1.5, basic but decent reed, possibly a "Vandoren Blue".

Good luck and "enjoy"
 

rabidric

New Member
Messages
15
Numpty time again - what is the difference between a 4C and a 5C, or 6C come to that? What is the lay? Not something to do with the bedroom department is it - not sure Erindaws would appreciate anything like that?
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,802
Numpty time again - what is the difference between a 4C and a 5C, or 6C come to that? What is the lay? Not something to do with the bedroom department is it - not sure Erindaws would appreciate anything like that?
I would go for a mpc like Rico Royal (Graftonnite or Metalite), Yamaha 4C ...... . A medium chamber and tip opening.

Maybe this helps?

View attachment 1178

Thomas
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi there!

Basic info you may need: Mouthpieces have an opening at the front which the reed covers, held by a ligature. Mouthpiece have a very gentle, curving slope such that there is a small gap at the end between the mouthpiece and the reed - that is the tip opening. Most folks start off playing a mouthpiece where the slope is really gentle so that the gap at the end is quite small - often about 0.070" or so for tenor mouthpieces. Using a soft (very flexible) reed it should be possible to get a reasonable sound out. The more experienced players become - developing their "embouchure" - i.e facial and lip muscles, then tit is possible to play mouthpieces with a bigger opening and/or harder reeds. Generally larger tip openings produce more sound, and harder reeds can produce a more powerful sound, all things being equal. For further info - KNOWLEDGE - Mouthpiece Features - Theo Wanne

The following is a chart of mouthpieces and their respective tip openings: Tenor Saxophone . You will see that the Yamaha 4C is 0.067" - about the smallest, and the 5C, which is not on the chart, is slightly bigger (about 0.075".
The top recommendations for cheaper beginner mouthpieces are the Yamaha 4C, 5C & 6C (just over £30), The Rico Royal (Graftonite)B3 (about £15), and the Runyon 22 #5 (about £30), all of which are good. I'd also add the Rico LaVoz mouthpiece, which I reviewed recently on the Forum. You can easily pay £75+ for a mouthpiece but starting cheap will give you a good idea of what size to start with. When I started playing Tenor, after playing Alto for a couple of years my size mouthpiece was around 0.090" with 2 hardness reeds. The Yamaha 4C can be a little too small for adult beginners, but no one knows these things in advance. These mouthpieces are all available online. The Yamaha mouthpiece is most widely available but google any of them and you will find them. http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/saxophones_co_uk_Ebonite__Wood___Plastic_Mouthpieces_for_Tenor_106.html
and http://www.rapidreeds.com/categories/tenor will have all the above and are very good firms, regularly used by forum members.

A 1.5 or 2 strength reed will be best to start. My recommendation would be a Rico Royal, as the Vandorens can be a little too firm in my experience. For reeds here is a comprehensive chart of nearly all that is available Saxophon-Service / Saxophon- & Klarinetten -Gurte . Reed preparation can also be helpful - look here: Alexander Reeds-Breakin In

Hope this helps! Keep the questions coming.
Tom

Just to add - if you are making a "wheezing" sound on the sax it is commonly the result of too large a tip opening or too hard a reed - so you may need to take that as guidance. If I wheeze I do usually have to choose a softer reed.
 
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rabidric

New Member
Messages
15
Fantastic answers and I will work my way through all the information, it's good not to hear "get a Yamaha" as I really like to keep the options open - Many many thanks.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Here's a comment regarding the Rico LaVoz mouthpiece Cf Yamaha 4C http://www.rapidreeds.com/ligatures...alto-rico-la-voz-saxophone-mouthpiece#reviews

I am one that is wary of the regular Yamaha recommendations as I think that it is rather outdated in my experience, and many products have been developed since Yamaha & Selmer were dominant forces. Its not to say that Yamaha don't produce good stuff but there is excellent competition at more competitive prices in my humble opinion - like BW, Buffet Crampon, System 54 and many others.
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,932
I am one that is wary of the regular Yamaha recommendations as I think that it is rather outdated in my experience, and many products have been developed since Yamaha & Selmer were dominant forces.
Just to add to that, I don't think it necessarily follows that a make of mouthpiece that is good on a tenor will be good on alto and vice versa.
Personally I think a yamaha piece on alto still represents great value but I have never got on with them on tenor.

Rick,
You have already understood it will be personal journey but it would help to know your influences. Thats not to say that you'll sound like someone else because you are using an identical piece but it gives some direction and a starting point.
When I started, lots of people locally were playing big tip openings and sounding fine so in I went with both feet and made things hard work for myself.
I say start with medium everything and work up or down from there because I'm sure you will change or add to your collection sooner rather than later.
Whats medium to me?
6* to 7* or say 0.095" - 0.105"
Most importantly, try before you buy if you can but on your horn. The nearest shop to you with a semi decent stock is Hayse music in Totton. But don't go with out your sax and if you would like some support I could see you there, time permitting.
Good Luck and be patient.
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Gear Acquisition Syndrome!

Hey, Saxlicker, one of the comments on the LaVoz mouthpiece reviews above says a similar thing - prefers his Yamaha Alto mpc, but not his Yamaha Tenor mpc. I've played the Yamaha Alto mpc as well as the Runyon and Rico mentioned above and they are all very playable. Personally I preferred the Runyon 22 as I mostly play Jazz.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
Here's a comment regarding the Rico LaVoz mouthpiece Cf Yamaha 4C http://www.rapidreeds.com/ligatures...alto-rico-la-voz-saxophone-mouthpiece#reviews

I am one that is wary of the regular Yamaha recommendations as I think that it is rather outdated in my experience, and many products have been developed since Yamaha & Selmer were dominant forces. Its not to say that Yamaha don't produce good stuff but there is excellent competition at more competitive prices in my humble opinion - like BW, Buffet Crampon, System 54 and many others.
Im with Tom on this
Im a relative Begginer (6 months) and I tried blowin the rico metalite recently and I definately wouldnt recomend this for a novice begginer.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'd add the Rico Graftonite B5 to the list. I found the typical closed mouthpieces too closed when I started(sax came with a no-name ebonite that's about 4C/5C size). The B5 worked well for me. There've been a few other posts from guys who tried starting on the closed tips and switched because the closed ones didn't work for them.

I first tried a metallite after about 9 months, when I was getting bored with the graftonite and looking for something else. It was an M7, and not at all nice at that stage as I hadn't learnt enough to be able to get smoother nicer sounds out of it. I don't use it now, cos the PPT works so well for me.

The graftonites are so cheap, that if you can't test play, getting a B3 (say) and trying that, with a view to moving to a B5 if the B3 keeps closing up on you, is going to cost about the same as a single Yamaha. Budget to experiment with reeds as well. You'll probably find the 1.5s/2s too soft after a couple of months and will need to move up a little. Go half a strength at a time.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,005
Just to add my 2 cents . . . Having taught hundreds of beginning saxophone students I agree with the suggestion of the Yamaha 4C to start on. It is a good middle of the road plastic mouthpiece that is very consistent and inexpensive. I would hesitate to recommend a 1 1/2 strength reed. Starting on a reed that is too soft inhibits the development of the embouchure muscles and the concept of "breath support". A good rule of thumb is to play on #2 strength reeds for a week practicing long tones, and then move up to #2 1/2. There are, of course other opinions, but this has been what has produced the best results for me over the years.
 

rabidric

New Member
Messages
15
Now that's interesting. Almost everything I've read says to start with a 1 1/2 so I did with my alto. I like the cut of your jib young fella so I reckon I'll get a selection up to the 2 1/2 you suggest and see how it goes. Thanks for the guide.
 

CaillouSax

Member
Messages
62
I began the alto with a Yamaha 4C and a Rico 2 reed as suggested by my 50-years-of-professional-playing-and-more teacher. I was satisfied with that stuff for two years until I bought his Mark VI... two years ago. :thumb:
 

Scruffysteve

New Member
Messages
9
I just received my Yamaha 4C in the post yesterday. What a staggering difference - much, MUCH easier to play in the mid-range. More difficult at the top and just a little more challenging at the bottom. I was previously playing on a Rico Royal (B5 I think) that came with the instrument. I use a Rico Royal 3 reed, as I couldn't get on with anything much softer on the old mouthpiece.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Of course the Yamaha 4C is only 0.063" tip opening, whereas the Rico Royal B5 is a much bigger 0.080" . If anything it is better to start on a Rico Royal B3 at 0.070". Glad that you are a happy bunny!
 
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