M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpiece recommendations:

Shtormy

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Hi folks,

I play a Kaizer tenor, which is a "beginner to intermediate" according to them. It was about $500 on Amazon and I'm pretty happy with it. However, it did come with a plastic mouthpiece. So, I understand that the hard rubber mouthpieces have a bit better sound. I don't really NEED to upgrade, but I've designated some tax return money (up to $150) on a possible mouthpiece purchase. As to a style of music, (and I've only been playing since January 2019), I'm more focused on rock and blues. I'm currently playing Rico 2.5 reeds, and will probably move up to a 3 in the near future. I would appreciate any recommendations for an adequate mouthpiece that could meet both my budget and style needs. Thanks!
 

saxyjt

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Always hard to tell without knowing the player and with only a few months playing under you belt, you shouldn't go wild. Yet!

Reed strength is tightly related to mouthpiece opening. Standard mouthpieces provided with new horns are usually fairly closed and 2.5-3 should work fine. If you want to upgrade, the safest bets would be Yamaha 5C or Selmers 80 C (or D If adventurous).

I'd wait a few more months before going into wider mouthpieces territory. It could be a distraction that cost you more than it rewards...Not in financial terms but in time to make progress.
 

nigeld

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The only way to find a mouthpiece that suits you is to try some. But it is a bit early to go on a mouthpiece hunt.

Hoever, there are a couple of good, cheap plastic mouthpieces that you should consider - they will probably be better than the mouthpiece that came with your sax.
- Yamaha 4C
- BARI Esprit
 

Phil

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Better mouthpieces sound better...not because they are hard rubber vs plastic.

This is not the time to spend real money on a mouthpiece. First off you dont know what size piece you have. Second, you are new so you need to focus on fundamentals not gear. Since you dont know what size piece you have...my guess is its some unmarked, unbranded piece of plastic, you dont know what size to buy.

Next...if you feel or your teacher feels your piece is poor then grab a 4c and stick with it a while. If you cant sound decent on a 4c you wont sound good on a 100 dollar mpc. (BTW: there are plenty of poorly made mouthpieces in the 80-150 price range). The 4c isnt the most exciting piece in the world but its made well and does a good job.

Also...why do you plan to go up in reed strength...it sounds like you have it in your head that bigger is better. You need to play what is comfortable. There are fools that will tell you heavy reeds sound better. There are teachers that will tell you the same. If you have a good sound you can sound just fine on a 2.5 reed. If you play reeds that are too heavy you will create bad habits like biting. That will haunt you forever.

I make pro mouthpieces for a living...If you want to give me a lot of money I will make you a great mouthpiece...but Im suggesting you stop believing everything you hear on the internet. Make sure your horn does not leak. Have a functional mouthpiece and spend the money on a good teacher or put it in the bank. There will be a time you might want a serious mouthpiece for serious and clear reasons. Save for that moment.. Dont go an blow your tax return on internet rumors and nonsense that is generally put out there by guys who like to sound like they know what they are talking about.

I dont mean to sound harsh but it would take a lot more time to sound sweet and therapeutic.
 

Phil

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Actually, phil is the answer to therapy. 27 years as a therapist...but sometimes the cold, hard truth is better than kid gloves.
 

nigeld

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Of course, if the GAS urge is irresistible, then it can be good fun to try out mouthpieces (I have lots of them), as long as you are clear that it is probably a distraction.

My method of trying out mouthpieces has been to buy second-hand and then sell them on.
You can get a good second-hand mouthpiece for £150, but really good new mouthpieces cost more than that.
And there is no point in buying a good expensive mouthpiece until you have more experience and know what mouthpiece style and tip opening you will be playing.

If you must have a new HR mouthpiece, then a some brands to consider would be Otto Link, Rousseau Jazz, and Jody Jazz. Aizen mouthpieces are excellent in my experience.

Supposedly identical mouthpieces from the same manufacturer will be different, so you need to try them to see if they suit and to find a tip opening that suits you.
 

saxyjt

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Actually, phil is the answer to therapy. 27 years as a therapist...but sometimes the cold, hard truth is better than kid gloves.
I bet making mouthpieces is you own therapy after treating others for 27 years!
 

jazzdoh

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I think there is great advice in the replies above, like what Phil says in the beginning the fundamentals are more important than spending on gear, that said it is fun and pleasurable to buy new gear, but I agree with Nigel that you get better value for your money buying secondhand and moving them on if they don't suit, I'm waiting for one of Phil's pieces to arrive and have saved probably near to half the price of a new piece, but as a beginner you probably won't know what will suit you so that's why the Yamaha 4 or 5c would be a good bet for the short term and they are cheap too.
 

thomsax

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I don't like Yamaha plastic mouthpieces. They are terrible!!!! But most sax players likes them, so I guess it's just me. If you want to try a mouthpiece with more edge you can try a Rico Metalite. These mouthpieces have a baffle. A used Berg Larsen "1" chamber is also a good mouthpiece if you want a more edge. I don't recomend a "0" chamber to start with. Or try a Dukoff "D, M or X" chamber. I've seen that used Dukoffs goes for lots of money these days. But you should keep in mind that it's you as the player that is "Rock or Blues", not the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece just helps up.
 

Phil

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Yes, making pieces is therapeutic...except when I get slammed with 5 shop orders for a dozen pieces each all at once.

Aizen does not make hard rubber pieces. They are plastic. If you want to be fancy you can call it resin...but its plastic.

The last thing a new player needs is a rock and roll mouthpiece..ie high baffle.

Sax forums are great for makers of gear but not especially good for beginners.

If you just gotta spend that money I have a hand made alto piece here for 150 plus a few bucks shipping. But I think your money is spent best elsewhere.
 

saxyjt

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Start safe. High baffled mouthpieces aren't exactly for beginners... Same for wide opening.

My surfer's days are way back, but would you recommend starting on a short board?

A teenager perhaps, but a 'mature' beginner... Not so sure! Same sorta thing.
 

thomsax

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So when should a "beginner" try a mpc with a baffle? In 1972 I bought my first tenor and I also bought a used Berg Larsen ss bullet mouthpice. A 95/2 SMS. Not a high baffle mouthpiece. Later on I bought a "1" and "0" chamber. I can't see any problems if a young/beginner wants to try a mouthpiece that is less mainstream.

I still have my first Berg Larsen mpc
blett.JPG
An old CZ tenor mouthpiece (not sure about the name, Grölsch something?) with low roof. A good rock mouthpiece, made many years before Rock was "invented"! Best mouthpiece for my Martin HC sax from 1938
grölschcz.jpg
 

Pete Thomas

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it. However, it did come with a plastic mouthpiece. So, I understand that the hard rubber mouthpieces have a bit better sound.
This is incorrect information, there are good and bad HR, good and "plastic"

Hard rubber (or ebonite) is actually a type of plastic, but I think people presume it is "better" than more modern types of plastic because it was has been around a long time and there is a tendency to think old things are better "they don't make them like they used to..."

There is a stigma to the word "plastic" as it can conjure up images of cheap and nasty plastic toys etc. probably for this reason manufacturers using some high quality plastic would prefer to use the term "resin."
and will probably move up to a 3 in the near future.
Is there a specific reason to use a harder reed?
Of course, if the GAS urge is irresistible, then it can be good fun to try out mouthpieces (I have lots of them), as long as you are clear that it is probably a distraction.
All very true.
 

Phil

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Yes absolutely...Hard rubber is an early form of plastic...and like its been said. There are junk and good pieces made from all these materials as well as metal.

One goood reason tomafoind high baffles when new is that everyone will hate hearing you because beginners sound like crap on high baffles for a long time!

More importantly it tends to not help learn proper air support since the baffle is doing the players job.
 
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Hackenbush

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Sorry, Pete/Phil, but I disagree - hard rubber is not necessarily the same as plastic as in its purest form it is a natural material, not a synthetic.

This article by clarinet maker/designer Tom Ridenour makes the distinction (although it's chiefly about wood v. hard rubber):


I certainly prefer the sound of ebonite clarinets to plastic clarinets.
 

Nick Wyver

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hard rubber is not necessarily the same as plastic as in its purest form it is a natural material, not a synthetic.
Take a natural material then subject it to some chemical/heat process so you get something different. It's the same whether you start with rubber or oil. Both involve polymerisation.
 

altissimo

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everyone will hate hearing you because beginners sound like crap on high baffles for a long time!
there's nothing like encouragement to motivate a beginner....

the first alto mouthpiece I bought was a Berg Larsen Precision 90 that I got cheap in a junk shop. There wasn't an internet back then to tell me that I shouldn't play a large tip opening or a nouthpiece with a high baffle, so in my ignorance I played the thing and didn't find it too difficult. I actually bought it before I got an alto because I figured I'd need a decent mouthpiece to test out secondhand altos with and it worked/works well on my Martin Medalist - people complimented me on my tone and I certainly found it more inspiring than any of the student mouthpieces I tried.
Having a sound that I liked and inspired me was more important to me than following conventional wisdom, most of which seems to come from the world of classical saxophone playing which isn't a genre I've ever aspired to..
I certainly wouldn't recommend a Berg Larsen to a beginner, but I wouldn't recommend any mouthpiece without knowing more about what they're trying to achieve on the instrument. Someone who's a fan of Johnny Hodges of Paul Desmond will have different needs than a fan of David Sanborn or Gerald Albright.
Of course some general principals are common to both ends of the spectrum, but many student mouthpieces would tonally satisfy neither.


I think hard rubber would be classified as a polymer since it consists of long chain molecules cross linked by sulphur atoms, but I studied engineering so what would I know?
 
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