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M/Pieces - Ligs mouthpiece recommendation - current 4c doesn't play well

raybeck

New Member
Messages
3
Hello,

I play the tenor sax and the bari sax, with a Yamaha 4C on the tenor and a 5C on the bari... I haven't been having a great time playing my tenor, and I think it's probably the mouthpiece at fault, since the 4C is a student model. The 5C I have on the Bari is great, is has a good, dark tone, easy vibrato, easy to play pianissimo or fortissimo, and it always plays in tune easily. My tenor makes lots of very reedy, high pitched sounds, and it's much harder to keep in tune and sometimes to even get the notes to come out when playing at extreme dynamics... So, does anyone have a recommendation of a mouthpiece to get? I would say I'm an intermediate level player. I was considering getting another 5C (or maybe even a 6C) for the tenor since it works so well on the bari, but if there's anything better for about ~$60 or less, I'd love to know about it. The other thing is that my bari has a nice rubber-like ligature with one screw on the back, while my tenor ligature is a cheap metal one with two screws below the reed.

The other thing I was wondering is about my tenor itself - it's a selmer TS500 which I got new about 2.5 years ago and it was at least $2000... I was told it was an intermediate-level sax and not a student model, but it doesn't feel particularly well built - is it really a step up or is it just a student model? This could be part of the problem too - the bari I play, while at least 30 years old, is a higher level model.

Also note that I'm mostly an exclusively classical player, and I generally use Rico Royal #3 reeds, or bass clarinet reeds when I run out :D

Thanks!
 
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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,057
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Sounds to me like your tenor needs regulating. Surprising how a little tweaking can make all the difference. If you can't do ityourself pop it in the shop for a service.
 

raybeck

New Member
Messages
3
The 4C I have came with the saxophone, and honestly it's been about the same since the day I got it. Is it possible it came from the factory unadjusted? Seems unlikely but I don't know... are you saying the difference between a 4C and a 5C is not enough to cause what I'm describing?
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Location
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
The 4c is one of the easiest mouthpieces to play, hence it is usually recommended for students. Anyone more experienced should have no problem with it - although they may have a preference for something more open. Given you play something very similar on your Bari, it shouldn't be a problem.

I agree with Colin, get the sax checked. New saxes may not play well straight out of the box and need checking and setting up, whether they're a student or pro model.

Hope that fixes the problem for you.
 

raybeck

New Member
Messages
3
Alright, I guess I'll take it in soon. But I have one more question: most of the problem is poor tone or a lot of crackling when playing quietly, which the bari doesn't do at all. Is that still definitely the sax or could it be a combination of that and the mouthpiece? I have an alto with a 4C that I haven't played in a while but I got it out just now and played a bit and it seems to have the same problem. But that's also been sitting in its case for at least 5 years so that could be out of whack too I guess...

I guess it's probably the sax beacuse you're right, the difference is really dramatic, on the bari I can play softly the point it's barely audible and it sounds and intonates great, and on the tenor I sound like a 5th grader unless I'm playing fortissimo... well not that bad but it's not great. :)
 
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Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Location
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
You could have the mouthpiece checked. Does the reed seal on it when you test it? The test is really for the reed but it can show up a problem in the mouthpiece. Perhaps you could try another one in the shop. It could be an embouchure issue if you play Bari a lot more than the others, but as you have experience that is more unlikely.
 

chadders

Senior Member
Messages
314
Location
Wrexham.
I would think the least likely source of the problem is the mouthpiece! I would be more tempted to experiment with different makes & strengths of reeds before anything else. If that doesn't help then take the sax to a tech for a once over (I get mine serviced every year and am always amazed at the improvement in playablility afterwards)

I also class myself as an intermediate player and I have had in the recent past a number of 'sound issues' for which I blamed my sax, my mouthpiece and all the reeds I have. Its only when I changed to a new tutor that I realised the source of my problem was me! I consistently was not taking enough mouthpiece in, and was underblowing - after a good few months work on tone and sound production I am now well and truly fixed !!! :0)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,912
Location
Just north of Munich
I've read all the posts and replies.

To answr the unanswered... Yamaha 4C and 5C are very similar, the 5 is slightly more open. You'll find that bari mouthpieces are slightly wider tipped than tenor for the same nominal size.

It's sounding more like the sax - a minor leak or two can easily cause this - especially the inability to play quietly. Has it always been like this? Even new saxes get delivered with leaks. Shouldn't happen, especially on an expensive Selmer, but it does. And things go out of adjustment.... And get knocked/bent.

One easy check you can do yourself is to see if there's any play between the neck octave key and the pin that drives it. Should be about a millimeter or so. This often gets bent and leads to the neck octave pip being slightly open.

I wouldn't rule out the mouthpiece just yet, but I'd get the sax checked first. Shouldn't cost a fortune, but obviously depends on what needs doing.
 

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