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Mouthpiece conundrum

eb424

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I have a great Theo Wanne Gaia tip opening 8...I really like the piece tonally I am not in a place yet where I can get one piece to do everything. I recently bought a Vandoren metal V16 T7 med chamber and I like it as a generic piece. The TW gives a bit more oomph on the higher songs..I play with a 2.5 java green or Rigotti gold. The issue is that I seem to have more control on the 7 piece..The TW is slightly more resistant it plays OK with a 2.5 a tad virato, and seems to have more complexity with a Java 3 but is to resistant for me.. This is only for debate but I seem to have 3 options

1. Get the piece refaced to a 7 ( for some reason the piece doesnt pop and most of the TWs I've seen have had the table flattened)..
2. Continue as I am knowing the piece has more to offer.
3. Sell the 8 and look for a 7. This would be easier if I was buying new but I can't justify the cost...I always buy used.

The rational for getting it refaced is that if it was taken down to a 7 I can / should be able to play a stronger reed.... is it worth the gamble....am i right in thinking a lower tip opening needs a harder reed..
 
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nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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Option 4: Try a softer reed with the TW piece.

But personally I don't see the point in continuing with a mouthpiece that is not comfortable. Playing the saxophone is hard enough already without fighting the mouthpiece as well.

I would put the TW piece away for a while and concentrate on the Vandoren. I certainly wouldn't get it refaced.
I'm sure that the Vandoren can give a lot of oomph if you practice with it enough. Wider tip openings are not always the answer. The loudest I have ever heard anyone play a saxophone was a professional playing a Selmer Soloist C* mouthpiece.
 

jazzdoh

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I'm with Nigel, try lighter reeds, try various 2's until some time in the future you will be able to go up in size.
I play a TW Mindi Abair alto in an 8 and I use Legere AC 2 or 2.25 and have used this setup for a couple of years, gone are the days when you were expected to play hard reeds.
I personally wouldn't get the piece refaced for various reasons.
I have had about 3 TW's and they have all passed the pop test and I have used the TW ligs with all.
The pop test is not that important and I have had some mouthpieces that I couldn't seal that played great and that to me is more important.
You could also advertise the 8 for a trade for a 7, you might just be lucky.
 

eb424

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Option 4: Try a softer reed with the TW piece.

But personally I don't see the point in continuing with a mouthpiece that is not comfortable. Playing the saxophone is hard enough already without fighting the mouthpiece as well.

I would put the TW piece away for a while and concentrate on the Vandoren. I certainly wouldn't get it refaced.
I'm sure that the Vandoren can give a lot of oomph if you practice with it enough. Wider tip openings are not always the answer. The loudest I have ever heard anyone play a saxophone was a professional playing a Selmer Soloist C* mouthpiece.
Hi and thanks @nigeld. I've tried a java 2 it just seems to suit a 3 tonally...it's not impossible just a tad resistant..I probably described oomph wrongly..the v16 is plenty loud enough but the TW offers more in the higher register for songs like Bobby Mcgee ( sorry @Colin the Bear ;-) )..I would like to focus on the problem dor a while to see if it can be resolved. So 1 against a reface...guess it would de value it..so its wider pieces softer reeds...thanks again
 

eb424

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I'm with Nigel, try lighter reeds, try various 2's until some time in the future you will be able to go up in size.
I play a TW Mindi Abair alto in an 8 and I use Legere AC 2 or 2.25 and have used this setup for a couple of years, gone are the days when you were expected to play hard reeds.
I personally wouldn't get the piece refaced for various reasons.
I have had about 3 TW's and they have all passed the pop test and I have used the TW ligs with all.
The pop test is not that important and I have had some mouthpieces that I couldn't seal that played great and that to me is more important.
You could also advertise the 8 for a trade for a 7, you might just be lucky.
Its an ok blow on a 2.5 but seems reverby.. just seems to give more on a 3..right ill focus on the tw for a bit and fiddle with some reeds..thanks @jazzdoh
 

Trigger

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Jazzdoh
What does the mindi play like ? I was thinking about trying one as I can get one quite cheap for a TW piece , I usually play a ARB bellite , but also have a DV , and. MOAM a tw and west coast collaboration but I’m alway open to trying others out
 

jazzdoh

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Jazzdoh
What does the mindi play like ? I was thinking about trying one as I can get one quite cheap for a TW piece , I usually play a ARB bellite , but also have a DV , and. MOAM a tw and west coast collaboration but I’m alway open to trying others out
I love it but it took me quite a few months to get the best out of it, fortunately it was in lockdown so I had no gigs and had time to get used to it.
It can scream if you want that and can be played soft and mellow for ballads.
The 8 is quite cheap at Gear4music they must have a deal with TW, I think they have sold loads of this size because of the price, well worth a try if your into high baffle pieces, I mainly played low baffle pieces before this one.
 

Jimmymack

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I played a V16 for quite a long time and loved it, good tone, easy to play but I couldn't make it cut through in a live situation. This was probably my fault as I once had a lesson with Jean Toussaint who was playing the exact same mouthpiece and he certainly had no trouble with it, he'd been given it, liked it and played it although I new someone else who had the same experience as me.A harder reed might have helped me but this was before people talked about such things so I didn't think to try it although I was playing a much harder reed then than I do now.

The V16s are easy to blow, I got a T95 and it felt just like the T75, it was just a tad darker, the 95 has a long curve and I think that's what makes it such an easy blow. I wouldn't reface it, you can probably get away with a (quite a bit) harder reed and see if that works for you. Although I loved to play it it didn't work for me and I switched to Lawtons then moved to HR pieces which I now prefer, so it, and its brother, sit in the drawer, but I can't throw away the 75 (it’s in poor shape so I couldn’t sell it and it has sentimental value) and 95 is it’s companion although I might sell that. I sometimes wonder about the larger chamber ones but that way madness lies.
 
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Colin the Bear

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Get a yam 5c and put the hours in.
Learn to adjust reeds and to regulate your horn.
The rest is semantics. It's what you play not what you play it on.
Spending money to get the best sound playing solo in a caravan is pointless.
Every venue makes you sound different and every ensemble too.
You need to be flexible to get the best from your gear wherever you are and whoever you're with.
It can't be bought.
However, if you just want something new and shiney...it's your money.
 

turf3

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Get a yam 5c and put the hours in.
Learn to adjust reeds and to regulate your horn.
The rest is semantics. It's what you play not what you play it on.
Spending money to get the best sound playing solo in a caravan is pointless.
Every venue makes you sound different and every ensemble too.
You need to be flexible to get the best from your gear wherever you are and whoever you're with.
It can't be bought.
However, if you just want something new and shiney...it's your money.
Be careful giving advice like that, I got excoriated for suggesting something similar. Was told that I didn't know what I was talking about, that my 40 years of saxophone experience was irrelevant.

Personally I find all the reeds play about the same, once I get them where I want them. So I just buy a medium strength of a reliable brand, so I can rely on them to be cut evenly and have reasonable cane quality. But I'm too old to fall for chops in a box any more. My chops, my sound, well, they're what they're going to be, for better or for worse.
 

Jimmymack

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You both speak the truth here but not all mouthpieces sound the same and some will never get what you want. I don’t doubt that somebody can take a 5C and play like David Sanborn but that may just be wasted effort when you can start with something that’s closer to your goal and spend your time more profitably.

Chops in a box is a well worn cliche these days, and its true and buying and tweaking endless new mouthpieces certainly isn’t the answer, but you can start with something that’s in the ball park and then it’s up to you to work with it spending time rather than money but don’t try to fry eggs in a steamer.
 

turf3

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You both speak the truth here but not all mouthpieces sound the same and some will never get what you want. I don’t doubt that somebody can take a 5C and play like David Sanborn but that may just be wasted effort when you can start with something that’s closer to your goal and spend your time more profitably.

Chops in a box is a well worn cliche these days, and its true and buying and tweaking endless new mouthpieces certainly isn’t the answer, but you can start with something that’s in the ball park and then it’s up to you to work with it spending time rather than money but don’t try to fry eggs in a steamer.
Sure, if you want to get a bright screaming rock and roll sound you don't get a Rascher mouthpiece; if you want to play in a classical quartet you don't bring a Berg 0 chamber. But what I'm seeing is a lot of dithering about a 7 vs 7* vs 8 facing on mouthpieces of essentially identical design concepts, then a constant parade of reed changes, all for perceived differences that are probably less than whether you got 11 hours or 4 hours of sleep last night. What I'm not hearing is a bunch of discussion about tone and endurance building exercises, or hours in the shed.

All I know is that over the decades I've been playing, when I'm in practice I don't have reed or mouthpiece problems and when I'm out of practice I start hunting round for whether a different mouthpiece or reed might fix the problem. Then I realize "I haven't been practicing!", I spend some serious time on fundamentals of sound production, and suddenly I don't need anything refaced, the same ol' box of reeds suddenly all play better, and I don't need a new horn.

Wonder why that is?

Do you think Tiger Woods with a $100 set of golf clubs from the local pawnshop, or me with a $3000 set of clubs, will score lower?
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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It’s not just about sound. It’s also about enjoyment and satisfaction.

I’m a mouthpiece junkie. I know that as far as the listener is concerned I will sound pretty much the same on all of them, but that doesn’t mean that they all feel the same to me - some are easier to play than others and some are more satisfying than others. And trying out mouthpieces is fun.

Of course if I spent more time practicing and less time changing gear I would sound better, but as an amateur my main goal is enjoyment for me rather than for the listener.

So I do not subscribe to the hair shirt school of saxophone playing where beginners should practice for hundreds of hours with a student saxophone and a simple mouthpiece. That’s fine if someone wants to become a pro, but I don’t.
 

Trigger

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England
End of the day it’s what works for you and your happy with the sound and it plays , there isn’t any enjoyment if you feel like you are fighting with your mpc all the time you play it , if your happy with it you will play it more
 

Colin the Bear

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Can be a pro with a student saxophone, whatever that is, and a simple mouthpiece. I have no idea what a complicated mouthpiece is.
The object, for me, is to play in tune in a sympathetic style to the ensemble I'm with and the venue we're in.
Several outside band gigs this weekend and several indoor. One indoor, solo with backing tracks.
One vintage design mouthpiece. One Chinese saxophone. Different approach resulting in different sound. From my end anyhow.
I think playing SATB and clarinet produces a flexibility in your chops that can be applied from one to another. Everyone should try it.
Four hours a day for a decade and the kit begins to do what you make it do. What's it called? Oh yes. Taming the saxophone. ;)
 

greenstripe

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@eb424 -you might be in for a wait but maybe you could find someone wanting to trade the other way and do a swap/part exchange. I've no experience in the area, and I maybe wrong, but surely refacing down a size is going to involve removing a lot more material than going the other way to maintain facing curve etc.

I just play for me - no intentions of performing etc. I do have lessons and I practice for an hour a day most days, but have to be careful not to make it in to a chore.

Personally, on alto I really struggled for a year - tried the usual Yamaha 4C then a D'addario Select Jazz as I found the Yamaha soulless and to be honest I was putting so much effort in concentrating to play decently on either of the two pieces it was distracting me from other areas of my playing and holding me back quite severely, I bought a Theo Wanne Water and it was a light bulb moment for me and my playing has much improved and surprisingly, after six months going back to the other pieces I can play them much better.

Now I've started on tenor I feel like I'm re-learning my embouchure all over again and trying to stick with a Yamaha 4C, I think I get a decent sound out of it (for me), but feel I need a bit more of an open tip - trying a harder reed strength doesn't make that much difference for me. Would love to have a try on the Theo Wanne Ambika 3 just to satisfy my curiosity as it seems like the closest equivalent to the Water for Tenor but is roughly 10 X the price due to materials and production methods. Thing is though if I had the same experience, I'd dip in to my savings in a heart beat. A Yamaha 5C or 6C is cheap enough I suppose.
 

Jeanette

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All I know is that over the decades I've been playing, when I'm in practice I don't have reed or mouthpiece problems and when I'm out of practice I start hunting round for whether a different mouthpiece or reed might fix the problem. Then I realize "I haven't been practicing!", I spend some serious time on fundamentals of sound production, and suddenly I don't need anything refaced, the same ol' box of reeds suddenly all play better, and I don't need a new horn.
A new thread about the fundamentals you use would be great :)

Jx
 

GCinCT

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Do you think Tiger Woods with a $100 set of golf clubs from the local pawnshop, or me with a $3000 set of clubs, will score lower?
That depends. What material are your clubs made from? ;)
 

eb424

Senior Member
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2,452
Locality
london
Get a yam 5c and put the hours in.
Learn to adjust reeds and to regulate your horn.
The rest is semantics. It's what you play not what you play it on.
Spending money to get the best sound playing solo in a caravan is pointless.
Every venue makes you sound different and every ensemble too.
You need to be flexible to get the best from your gear wherever you are and whoever you're with.
It can't be bought.
However, if you just want something new and shiney...it's your money.
Hi @Colin the Bear ..wouldn't ant to go back to a hr piece i like the size of metal and the phil tone impulse fits the bill. I bought the tws durga in a 7* gaia in an 8 when i had the raw durga played well but not on the z, play in the van at least 3 hours most days...love the sax...neighbours not so much... bought the gaia and durga both cheapish and used for half the price wouldn't buy tw new..i do adjust my reeds but take my horn to Dawkes re regulating enough to worry about playing it..the tw plays ok the t7 and impulse too i just don't want to keep buying so thought a reface may make the piece a bit more flexible with regards to reeds and control ..
 

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