M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpiece recommendations:

Phil

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I really dont know that I would call a berg precision a high baffle piece...its certainly higher than the average start up piece but its not dukoff high.
 

Pete Thomas

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Sorry, Pete/Phil, but I disagree - hard rubber is not necessarily the same as plastic a
True, but then plastic is not the same as plastic.

I wander what we should call my PPT mouthpieces then. There are off course resin based, but contain a lot of hard rubber and bronze. I would say it is plastic, but then that doesn't sound so good for marketing so we call it HD resin. The word resin sounds so much more organic, like the stuff that oozes out of trees or the Greeks make wine from.
 

Hackenbush

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I'm no chemist but it's my understanding that rubber is a polymer that both occurs in nature and can be synthesised; plastic is synthesised from petroleum oil. The vulcanisation process hardens the rubber (so nothing to do with "polymerisation").

The distinction may be moot but the fact remains that, for many people, hard rubber clarinets have a more pleasing tone than plastic clarinets. Whether this is due to the materials or the way the clarinets are manufactured (a hard rubber instrument is machined, a plastic instrument is cast from a mold) is open to debate.
 

altissimo

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The word resin sounds so much more organic, like the stuff that oozes out of trees
except your mouthpieces appear to be made from a composite material using what I assume is a synthetic resin, so probably closer to epoxy than anything that oozes out of trees....

In chemistry the word organic refers to carbon based compounds, whether synthetic or naturally occurring, so plastic is just as organic as anything tree related, but somehow 'organic' seems to have become synonymous with 'natural'
some mouthpiece makers have started using stablilsed wood which has been treated with resin to prevent warping and splitting and there are eco friendly polymers being developed from bio resins like pine sap, but I can't find enough data to see if eco polymers would be suitable for making mouthpieces.
I think most materials come from something naturally occurring which is processed in some way to achieve the desired properties,.Maybe mouthpieces made of marble or granite would be as 'natural' as could be...
 

Pete Thomas

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except your mouthpieces appear to be made from a composite material using what I assume is a synthetic resin, so probably closer to epoxy
Yes, but I was speaking purely in regard to marketing, hence the preference for the word resin over plastic.
there are eco friendly polymers being developed from bio resins like pine sap, but I can't find enough data to see if eco polymers would be suitable for making mouthpieces.
Being an eco sort of person, I'd love to find eco friendly resins for mouthpiece making. Alternatively (marketing again) we might say it is moot as none of our mouthpieces will ever end up in landfill.
 

altissimo

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we might say it is moot as none of our mouthpieces will ever end up in landfill.
that's not the only issue, there's the sustainable nature of the raw materials and the impact on the environment in making them - most organic chemistry has derived from chemicals made from oil or coal tar, both of which are environmentally unfriendly. The hope is that bio plastics will come from sustainable sources that won't have so much environmental impact or carbon footprint.
 

jazzdoh

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I'm with Phil, high baffle mouthpieces can be difficult to control even for seasoned players, can be soul destroying for a beginner.
I remember a youtube video from Theo Wanne at NAMM a couple of years ago when a Link player was trying one of Theo's high baffle pieces, he was a established player, it was really embarrassing he had no control and he squeaked like mad, so for a beginner it could knock them back for months, however once they have their embouchure sorted then I don't see a problem.
 

thomsax

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It's not so much the design of the sax mouthpiece. But who/what says when you are a beginner or not? One of best players, Packy Axton, in R&B, soul had just been playing for 3 months when he joined (1959, 18 years old)"The Royal Spades". (forerunner to "Stax" studieband "The Mar-Keys). Packy Axton played lots of good solos on "The Mar-Keys" recordings. I don't know what kind of mouthpiece he played, but today he would probably been on a Yamaha 4C? I mean he was a beginner ;) Maybe Shtormy is also a talent young player? Steve Cropper about Packy Axton.
View: https://youtu.be/vWqXMcHEyDE
 

jazzdoh

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Sounds like he had a lot of natural ability but for most of us as you probably know it would take a lot more than 3 months to be a competent player.
 

thomsax

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Sounds like he had a lot of natural ability but for most of us as you probably know it would take a lot more than 3 months to be a competent player.
Yes he was. And I think he was lycky to meet Steve Cropper that was not playing sax!! Guitar players are often great sax "teachers". The know often more about rock,blues, R&B, soul ... than most sax teachers.
 

altissimo

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I'm with Phil, high baffle mouthpieces can be difficult to control even for seasoned players, can be soul destroying for a beginner.
I remember a youtube video from Theo Wanne at NAMM a couple of years ago when a Link player was trying one of Theo's high baffle pieces, he was a established player, it was really embarrassing he had no control and he squeaked like mad, so for a beginner it could knock them back for months, however once they have their embouchure sorted then I don't see a problem.
...conversely, if you're used to a high baffle mouthpiece then suddenly going to an Otto Link can be hard work and feel dull and stuffy and unresponsive - it all depends on what you're used to.
Of course there's more than just the baffle., The facing curve on a Link is probably different to a Lawton or Theo Wanne and while I'm not an expert, I suspect that the nature of the facing curve can have quite an effect on the playability of a mouthpiece and how free blowing it is

There aren't that many high baffle mouthpieces in the student end of the market anyway, so it's not much of an issue - the Rico Metalite, Vandoren Jumbo Java and Rousseau Studio Jazz are the most likely ones that come to mind and I wouldn't describe any of those as soul destroying, assuming you like that kind of sound

I've heard people get good sounds out of just about every type of mouthpiece available, so I think the thing to do is get one that suits your tonal concept and really work on getting the best out of it, however you like to define 'best'
 
OP
Shtormy

Shtormy

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First off, thanks for the spattering of information, aside from the semantics of plastic/resin/HR discussion. I guess I should have maybe added the following to my OP:
1. Was never a big student of music theory, but I played a bass guitar for about twenty years through my navy career.
2. By the last comment you surmised that I’m no youngster. 45, to be exact.
3. I understand fully that spending money on gear does not replace learning.
4. I take weekly lessons and my teacher has already moved in to more music theory. I was able to play a clean, low Bb at my first lesson and he’s usually amazed at my progress.
5. Teacher called me a “big air guy” and suggested that I’d wind up playing a 3 reed.
6. Lastly, I know my bargain horn, which actually sounds pretty good, has a cheapo mouthpiece. I want to add a little tone quality if possible to make this horn viable for a number of years, because buying an expensive horn is not on my financial radar even five years from now. What I really needed were recommendations for a mpc in my price range that would get me towards playing stuff like Men at Work and Huey Lewis & the News. Thanks for lending your expertise in this matter.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
At a time, we used to say 'plastic fantastic' in my world:

KZ-7 Kiwi Magic

I'm sure my southern friends will appreciate.
Ah yes I know that well - that Dennis Connor insisting the hull of the boat is drilled to see if it was made out of carbon fibre and when found out the structure was legit decided to call NZ yacht designer Bruce Farr a piece of xxxx- ironically a few years later Bruce Farr designed a boat for Connor...a strange turn of events...:confused2:

Greg S.
 
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saxyjt

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Ah yes I know that well - that Dennis Connor insisting the hull of the boat is drilled to see if it was made out of carbon fibre and when found out the structure was legit decided to call NZ yacht designer Bruce Farr a piece of xxxx- ironically a few years later Bruce Farr designed a boat for Connor...a strange turn of events...:confused2:

Greg S.
I didn't know that he had a boat designed by Farr. Toshiba for the Whitbread 97-98, so right after the AC'95 debacle. David Pedrick was still his favorite designer then. I sailed with both but on separate occasions. These were great times...
 

jazzdoh

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...conversely, if you're used to a high baffle mouthpiece then suddenly going to an Otto Link can be hard work and feel dull and stuffy and unresponsive - it all depends on what you're used to.
Of course there's more than just the baffle., The facing curve on a Link is probably different to a Lawton or Theo Wanne and while I'm not an expert, I suspect that the nature of the facing curve can have quite an effect on the playability of a mouthpiece and how free blowing it is

There aren't that many high baffle mouthpieces in the student end of the market anyway, so it's not much of an issue - the Rico Metalite, Vandoren Jumbo Java and Rousseau Studio Jazz are the most likely ones that come to mind and I wouldn't describe any of those as soul destroying, assuming you like that kind of sound

I've heard people get good sounds out of just about every type of mouthpiece available, so I think the thing to do is get one that suits your tonal concept and really work on getting the best out of it, however you like to define 'best'
I kind of agree with going back to a lower baffle piece from can be hard work but I think its worse the other way round,Links don't have to be stuffy and dull, I've played some fairly bright ones in the past.
There is a reason there aren't many high baffle mouthpieces in the student range, most students will stick with what works for them and that usually is a lower or rollover baffle.
I'm not against high baffle pieces I use them myself but I think they are more suited for players of intermediate and professional level.
Perhaps "soul destroying" was a bit harsh but for a beginner getting a good tone can be hard at first then throw in a high baffle piece and it can be a recipe for squeaks and chirps but hey if that is where a player wants to go then that's fine.
 

thomsax

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There is a reason there aren't many high baffle mouthpieces in the student range, most students will stick with what works for them and that usually is a lower or rollover baffle.
Or the "teachers" decide what is best for the students? I went to a sax teacher in the late 70's and he didn't like Rock & Roll Saxophone. He wanted me to sound and play in the same way as he was doing. Otherwise the teacher had to learn something new. But there are great teachers who can teach and demonstrate in all styles. My friend in Boston is teaching a 12 year old student that is playing on a Martin Typewriter. "Cool sax and it sounds great as well" said my friend. I know teachers who refuse to teach if the student are not on Yamaha saxes and Yamaha mouthpices. Maybe that's the reason why the Yamaha mpc's are so popular?
 

jazzdoh

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Or the "teachers" decide what is best for the students? I went to a sax teacher in the late 70's and he didn't like Rock & Roll Saxophone. He wanted me to sound and play in the same way as he was doing. Otherwise the teacher had to learn something new. But there are great teachers who can teach and demonstrate in all styles. My friend in Boston is teaching a 12 year old student that is playing on a Martin Typewriter. "Cool sax and it sounds great as well" said my friend. I know teachers who refuse to teach if the student are not on Yamaha saxes and Yamaha mouthpices. Maybe that's the reason why the Yamaha mpc's are so popular?
There will always be teachers that will push a student in a direction a they don't want to go, but maybe some teachers would argue that the direction is in the best interests of the student at that time in their journey.
As example you wouldn't want to a learner driver taking lessons in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, although that could happen it wouldn't be sensible.
Advising a student on a sensible mouthpiece is what most teachers would do but also advising them that its not going to be a permanent fixture for their journey.
 

Phil

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I think a big part of the confusion with players (and teachers) with mouthpieces is that a mouthpiece is often listed in shops as an. "Accessory".
A mouthpiece is as much a musical instrument as a saxophone. Just because you can change it doesnt make it just an "Accessory". I realize the arguments for calling it such but I think it leads young players to assume they are all just simply interchangeable. Ive tried to stress this with some of my vendors.

Id suggest we play the mouthpiece as much or more as we play the saxophone.
 

thomsax

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As example you wouldn't want to a learner driver taking lessons in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, although that could happen it wouldn't be sensible.
I took my driving license privately and my practice car was a Plymouth Barracuda 340 c.i. with a "4" on a floor, Easy to handle the driving school's Opel Ascona when I was used to a Barracuda.. Not a Ferrari but ....
 
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