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M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpiece for Martin Handcraft

Ice Axe

New Member
Messages
4
A few months ago I bought a Martin Handcraft on the devil's junkyard. It polished up nicely but I found it a lot more difficult to play than my Hanson SA5. I thought perhaps it needed new pads. (I tried it with mouthpieces Selmer S80 C**, Claude Lakey 4*4, Otto Link 7, and the Dearman Super that came with the Martin.)

Then my Hanson was stolen so I spent a bit more time on the Martin. One day I tried it with a Selmer plastic beginner's mouthpiece I'd forgotten about. Revelation! Suddenly the Martin was really easy to play and I was thoroughly enjoying it, although the tone is a bit harsh.

Now the question is, why is the Martin so sensitive to different mouthpieces, and can anyone recommend a good mouthpiece that might play easily while giving a decent tone? (The Otto Link is the best of the other mouthpieces, but still much more difficult than the plastic Selmer thing.)
 

Tommy Ng

Member
Messages
580
A few months ago I bought a Martin Handcraft on the devil's junkyard. It polished up nicely but I found it a lot more difficult to play than my Hanson SA5. I thought perhaps it needed new pads. (I tried it with mouthpieces Selmer S80 C**, Claude Lakey 4*4, Otto Link 7, and the Dearman Super that came with the Martin.)

Then my Hanson was stolen so I spent a bit more time on the Martin. One day I tried it with a Selmer plastic beginner's mouthpiece I'd forgotten about. Revelation! Suddenly the Martin was really easy to play and I was thoroughly enjoying it, although the tone is a bit harsh.

Now the question is, why is the Martin so sensitive to different mouthpieces, and can anyone recommend a good mouthpiece that might play easily while giving a decent tone? (The Otto Link is the best of the other mouthpieces, but still much more difficult than the plastic Selmer thing.)
Hi Ice,
I am no expert. Based on what you said above, it seems like it is the tip opening that might have affected your playing. A selmer beginner's mouthpiece should have a comparatively close tip. I think most saxophones are sensitive to different mouthpieces.

tom :)
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,334
I play a Handcraft Committee Alto and have been through a few mouthpieces. Sound of course is a very personal thing, but for playability and the sound I like I've settled on a Jody Jazz HR (6M in my case), although it has been modified with a small baffle added.

http://www.jodyjazz.com/hr.alto.html

regards, Phil
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
A Martin Handcraft would probably benefit from a Meyer type ebonite mouthpiece, and probably a small tip opening at this stage of your playing - such as a "5" tip opening. Phil's suggestion is very good. You might also like to consider a Ponzol Vintage HR 70 ("5") or both have a C* size (smaller). I play a Selmer Ref54 and the Ponzol sounds better to my ears (subjective) than a Vandoren V16 and Selmer Super Session. But Meyer copies would probably be quite suitable for your sax - both Wood Wind and Reed, and Howarth can arrange trials of mouthpieces if you want to test one first, but a C* or 5 size is probably the type to try.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,798
A few months ago I bought a Martin Handcraft on the devil's junkyard. It polished up nicely but I found it a lot more difficult to play than my Hanson SA5. I thought perhaps it needed new pads. (I tried it with mouthpieces Selmer S80 C**, Claude Lakey 4*4, Otto Link 7, and the Dearman Super that came with the Martin.)

Then my Hanson was stolen so I spent a bit more time on the Martin. One day I tried it with a Selmer plastic beginner's mouthpiece I'd forgotten about. Revelation! Suddenly the Martin was really easy to play and I was thoroughly enjoying it, although the tone is a bit harsh.

Now the question is, why is the Martin so sensitive to different mouthpieces, and can anyone recommend a good mouthpiece that might play easily while giving a decent tone? (The Otto Link is the best of the other mouthpieces, but still much more difficult than the plastic Selmer thing.)
I think it’s easy to find mouthpieces to Martin saxes. I use Dukoff D chamber metal on altos and baritone. I used a D chamber on tenors before I bought a Rovner Deep –V.

Older mouthpieces that works on Martins:
Hollywood Gregory (HR) Art Pepper was on one of these.
Meyer NY(HR)
Meyer Brothers(HR)
Brilhart Tonalin(HR)
Berg Larsen(HR)
Otto Link Tone Edge (Metal)
Otto Link Tone Master (Metal)
Steve Broadus (HR). Broadus was one in the committe who designed/constructed the Martin Committee saxes.
Martin original (HR). Later models works as well.

New (modern) mouthpieces:
Berg Larsen (HR or metal)
Dukoff D chamber

The prices on older mouthpieces are high nowadays. I think a new Vandoren could work as well. I don’t have all the mouthpieces above. Bob Ackerman , NJ, did some comparing CDs for Saxophone Journal.”The Historical Development And Use Of 14 Jazz Alto Sax Mouthpieces” and ”The Great Horns Of America”. He knows a lot about Martin saxes and mouthpieces. I have bought some Martins and mouthpieces from him. Send me a PM if you want some info.

Thomas
 

Ice Axe

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks all for your useful suggestions. Definite food for thought there!

I must admit though that I'm not convinced by the narrow tip idea. Of the "good" mouthpieces I've tried the best results come from the Otto Link 7 which is the widest tip I've got! However, I'm expecting a Vandoren V16 A5 in the next couple of days so I'll give that a try and see how it goes.

As a general rule I suppose it's to be expected that a modern sax plays more easily than a vintage piece, everything else being equal?

Regards,
Ice
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Should be a good choice. My back-up pieces are a V16 A7M and V16 A9M - good stuff!

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
655
I don't think the Handcraft alto is very picky with mouthpieces.
I'm only guessing here, but I suspect the horn is in need of some repair and just speaks more readily with an easy beginners mouthpiece.

My Handcraft stencil responds well with an ebonite Meyer and a metal Link. They sound different, but the thing is that the instrument is sealing well and plays well from top to bottom.

I suggest you check that there are no leaks anywhere.
You could be very surprised.
 

Ice Axe

New Member
Messages
4
I think you've hit on it AlanU. Certainly a lot of the pads look stiff, old and dry so it's probably leaking like a sieve. I'll have to get it checked out and see if that makes a difference.
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
518
Yanigsawa 6

I have a 1928 (?) Martin Handcraft alto, Lewin stencil. I played it with an Otto Link ebonite for about a year which was fine, but then settled on a Yanigasawa ebonite 5, and moved to a 6 which I still using. It is brighter than the Otto Link and sounds great (I think / hope...!).

I think the Martin Handcraft is an exceptional horn - don't get discouraged - see Stephen Howards review of them on www.shwoodwind.co.uk .
 

Ice Axe

New Member
Messages
4
Following the kind advice from you guys I invested in a full repad. It was a total revelation. All my mouthpieces now play easily from top to bottom, limited only by my lack of technique! (Haven't yet decided which setup I prefer.)

Just one small problem. After the repad I couldn't get the upper octave from D to G, although A and above were OK. But then a bit of gentle probing in the octave tone hole on the barrel dislodged something and problem cured. Must have got blocked during the repad process.

Delighted with the results. Thanks for all the advice.

Regards, Ice
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
Glad that it worked out! For me, Martin altos (Indiana, The Martin) also work fine with a Meyer style HR piece. Gives a good blend of roundness and edge (when you need it).

Not that I am a fanatic alto player ... it hardly comes out of its case anymore since I really dedicated myself to bari playing.
 
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