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Mouthpiece Mania - Who's worse?

Riversax

New Member
Messages
29
Hi All,
A bit of a lighthearted question;
Do you think Tenor players are more choosey/obsessive/fickle about their mouthpieces than Alto players, or indeed any other saxophone.
If so why?
Are there physical reasons why a slight difference of mouthpiece makes more difference on Tenor than on Alto, or do you think it's a cultural/learned thing (thinking mainly about jazz here - with stories of great players frequently or habitually changing pieces in search of the "one")

I spotted that on some mouthpiece test sites and fora where the mouthpieces are discussed it seems always to the be Tenor ones which either have the most tests or most people reading, which just made me wonder why?

What do you reckon?
:)

Regards
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Tenor players are more discerning >:) :thumb:

Seriously, I don't think there is a difference. I spent nearly as much time messing with alto mouthpieces as tenor, but had more idea what I wanted from them than I did on tenor, so this cut things a lot.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Well, I play sop, alto, C Mel, Tenor and bari, and these are how many pieces I've owned for each:

Sop 17
Alto 34
C mel 4
Tenor 45
Bari 8

Total 108!

So, I think this provides some indication at least that tenor players are worse!
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,365
Well, I play sop, alto, C Mel, Tenor and bari, and these are how many pieces I've owned for each:

Sop 17
Alto 34
C mel 4
Tenor 45
Bari 8

Total 108!

So, I think this provides some indication at least that tenor players are worse!
I daren't count mine, but I would have to add in mouthpieces for 'nino, C soprano and bass sax as well. Quite a few of mine are out on loan at the moment, if only I could remember where.

Guess my total would be around the same mark, as JonF.

Rhys
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
Tenor players are more discerning >:) :thumb:

Seriously, I don't think there is a difference. I spent nearly as much time messing with alto mouthpieces as tenor, but had more idea what I wanted from them than I did on tenor, so this cut things a lot.
had the same here...
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,124
I have lots of mouthpieces that I've owned and a few to still get rid of that I don't use any more. For me I'm looking at this as a question of how many do I currently use rather than how many have I owned. Finding the right sound on any instrument seems to be an ongoing quest. I only use one mouthpiece for sopranino (have three). The Alto was equally easy as I only use two mouthpieces. Tenor is cut down to four, but the winner for most is soprano with eight. I'm finding that tone colour and projection are extremely variable plus ease of playing and backpressure also require consideration, so have this arsenal to cope with the sound and conditions. Some mouthpieces are OK for indoor (low volume background) or outdoor (loud with need for projection). The Tenor and soprano need pieces that are specifically for those two different situations. If you have a big sound and projecting Tenor mouthpiece and try to play in a small venue cafe/winery (some of our regular gigs) you'll find that it's almost impossible. The Zagar "cool school" is the only tenor mouthpiece I've found that can play well over the whole horn at PPP without sacrificing breath support.
 

Jobylou

Member
Messages
322
Well, I play sop, alto, C Mel, Tenor and bari, and these are how many pieces I've owned for each:

Sop 17
Alto 34
C mel 4
Tenor 45
Bari 8

Total 108!

So, I think this provides some indication at least that tenor players are worse!
:w00t: Oh my word, only been playing for 8 months - better not let my husband read that post!!!

Lol
Jo :)
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I guess tenor is the worst offender.

In my opinion this might be because it is the most flexible of all saxophones, capable of wide tonal range. Probably more than alto and definitely more than bari and soprano.

So whenever you achieve that Getzy sound, you start looking for a more Ammonsy tone, then Breckery and so on.

About sop and bari, until recently there wasn't such a big choice of pieces, with big comfort for the wallet (bari players are said to be tight).
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
(bari players are said to be tight).
Oy! :mad:

Anyway, currently:

sop 6
alto 5
tenor 7
bari 6

So tenor has it by a short head.

No idea how many I've had in the past, but probably not that many tenor mpcs. I played on the same steel Berg for many years, eventually swapping it for a bronze one.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Between 2000 and 2008 I managed to use only one mouthpiece per instrument (berg on ten and sop, meyer on alto and lamberson on bari), but at the time I was gigging a lot so I had no money to spend on gear.
 

Riversax

New Member
Messages
29
I guess tenor is the worst offender.

In my opinion this might be because it is the most flexible of all saxophones, capable of wide tonal range. Probably more than alto and definitely more than bari and soprano.

So whenever you achieve that Getzy sound, you start looking for a more Ammonsy tone, then Breckery and so on.

About sop and bari, until recently there wasn't such a big choice of pieces, with big comfort for the wallet (bari players are said to be tight).
I think you might be on to something here... and although you can get a wide range from alto (cf Johnny Hodges or Arthur Blythe vs Paul Desmond or Art Pepper, also Parker/Woods/Sonny Criss/bop vs Harle/more classical) I don't seem to get the feeling that alto players are quite as restless - certainly what "evidence" I can glean seems to point to tenor players changing pieces more.

I think I agree too that the tenor is more flexible in terms of tone and tonal range. I find it easier to play in some respects. (doesn't make me any better though! ;})

I confine my comments to those two as I've only ever played sop and bari once each for very short periods - so have no feeling for those instruments.

Interesting comment re bari players - maybe the horns cost so much in comparison... maybe it's a subconscious kick back against having to carry such a big thing around. I remember talking to a chap who worked in a sax shop - played Bari in a local band - he said he always got a good cheer for solos just because people felt sorry for the old boy puffing into, and having to carry such a big instrument!

On a tangent I was listening to Monk at the Town Hall - Pepper Adams - great sound!
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
To balance out what I said about owning 108 mouthpieces - these are the ones I have owned, not still do. I think I currently have

Sop 3
Alto 4
Tenor 8
C Mel 3
Bari 1

Total 19

So, not so bad. Most of the ones I have owned and have got rid of were bought used and sold on, generally for as much or more than I paid for them. So not quite as expensive as it seems.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Didn't they pay you?
I am a professional man!
The more money I get from gigs, the more skinned I am!

I still don't know how it exactly works, but I had some incredible fine wines and food at the time.
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Interesting comment re bari players - maybe the horns cost so much in comparison... maybe it's a subconscious kick back against having to carry such a big thing around. I remember talking to a chap who worked in a sax shop - played Bari in a local band - he said he always got a good cheer for solos just because people felt sorry for the old boy puffing into, and having to carry such a big instrument!

On a tangent I was listening to Monk at the Town Hall - Pepper Adams - great sound!
Try to find a decent piece for bari, then experiment with reeds: you need a loan!
But I met Pepper Adams when I was 15 and he had few months left. GREAT SOUND! No comparison! And he had only one lung. And he was so tiny... I am about to cry....
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
I have been blowing for just over 4 yrs now, I say blowing because to call what I do playing may be a little optimistic but hey I enjoy it so who cares.In that time I have purchased new 6 mpc's,5 for alto and one for soprano,the sop was a yam 4c to replace a rather cheap and plasticy rico that came with the second hand sop I bought,The alto's started with another 4c to replace the one that came with the sax a new elkhart,that was followed by an ottolink ebonite tonedge 5* (experimenting with tone) if that's what you can call trying to find something to change horibble noise your making,this was followed by a second hand ottolink metal tonemaster 8*which I just liked the look of but have never to this day mastered blowing,then unfortunately I washed the first otto in too hot hot water and that started to smell awful and was replaced by another ottolink tonedge 6 this time which shortly after buying I decided I wasn't really thrilled by their tone after all and went back to the 4c apart from this I had one little excursion into a sharkbite that everybody seemed to be raving about at the time but it did little for me also.

Now I also own quite a few tenors,none of a really high standard though, but although I love their sound when played by other people,the tenor thing as far as playing goes does nothing for me I have no idea why it just feels clumbersome and unweilding when I have a go with one,so maybe that has saved me from this tenor mpc thing who knows.

The best mpc I own is a selmer alto which came with a sax I bought second hand and has improved things no end,there may be light at the end of the tunnel yet......john
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I have been blowing for just over 4 yrs now, I say blowing because to call what I do playing may be a little optimistic but hey I enjoy it so who cares.
(This is off-topic but I think it needs to be said)

John: I wish you'd stop saying things like this. I've heard you play and you make a really nice sound. All you need is a bit of confidence. Just get out there and start playing with other people. It doesn't matter if you play the odd wrong note. If it's of any interest, the band you came to a few times is now under new and more learner-friendly management.

(I now return you all to your mouthpiece-counting exercise)
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
All you need is a bit of confidence.
(I now return you all to your mouthpiece-counting exercise)
... and nothing can give it to you like a 1957 Otto Link florida new york usa/no usa super tone master opened up a bit by a famous refacer.

A wrong way to return to the topic.
 

gypsy

Member
Messages
40
Off topic again.

I agree with Big Martin. You have a lovely tone, John, and you play quite well - far better than some people I have heard. Confidence is a great thing, and you should have it in abundance. Get out with some other players - you will do well.

Best wishes,

Albert
 
Saxholder Pro

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