M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpiece Trial and Returns

Pete Effamy

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I would never buy a horn (ok, I did - a SBA alto from the States. At the time there were none that I could find for sale in the UK) or a mouthpiece without trying it. This is becoming increasingly more difficult, as the amount of new horns, 'pieces, reeds etc on the market has grown incredibly recently and you have to find a stockist.
The whole 'on approval' (try a 'piece or horn for 10 days before deciding whether to buy or not) is a fantastic way of going about things and I'd never go about it any other way. It has always disappointed me that Sax.co.uk has never offered this. It amazes me and I find it a little amateurish, though I still love the shop. Playing the mouthpiece in a gig, a rehearsal room or just an acoustic you know well, like at home, is also a valuable experience before buying.
There are fewer shops that give this special service now - John Myatt was a good competitor to Howarth in the '80's/90's but are now sadly gone along with a few others.
Now, we see many top names playing on and endorsing horns and 'pieces, but there is a quite general practice (in the US) of players having their 'piece 'worked on'. Perhaps it's more widespread here now, I know some Cafe members will be knowledgeable and handy. But my point is that their mouthpiece might not be 'stock'. Or, it might be the 35th one they tried and it was head and shoulders above the rest. Not always a question of better, but perhaps more to their liking.
I have always wanted to try more than one mouthpiece of the same model. I would have 3 of the same 'pieces on 'appro' if they had them in stock. Often I did the same from another shop and had six to choose from. I'm talking clarinet mouthpieces now, and going back to the '90's. They were always different. Portnoy, Hite, Lomax were the 'pieces I played on back then. Clearer throat notes, bit more power etc. These were either hand made, or hand finished though, so possibly more margin of error that laser cutting etc.
Some of you, with knowledge of modern manufacturing might say that this is not the case any more as tolerances are as near nil as can be (?). But, in what I have tried over the years, I stand by what I have said - and the stories of some of the SYOS 'pieces turning up with "rough edges" back this up. They certainly would have checked the one they gave to Chad LB.
 
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Pete Thomas

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I guess there is a section of the market who would only ever buy a traditionally produced mouthpiece like a PPT.
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Except that Mr Pedantic just tapped me on the shoulder and mentioned that PPTs are not traditional in that they are moulded from modern composite material. However I suppose once the "blank" is created from the mould it is then hand finished in then traditional way (files, sandpaper and play testing)
It's my belief that there are many players, especially experienced ones, who would never consider a printed plastic mouthpiece.
I think it is probably only the more closed minded ones. maybe there is some prejudice against newer technology. I would consider anything that works, ie the end justifies the means. I must admit I have not tried a SYOS, but I wouldn't be averse to trying it just because it's 3D printed.
The whole 'on approval' (try a 'piece or horn for 10 days before deciding whether to buy or not) is a fantastic way of going about things and I'd never go about it any other way.
This is why PPTs have such a policy. Perhaps when mouthpieces are readily available in retail shops it is less necessary, but then the days of the well stocked High Street music shop who'd let you try suff out and sell you single reeds are rapidly dwindling.
 

randulo

Playing saxophone 20 months - 2.3% of my life
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The problem with trying them in the store is that I tried one, the V16 in the store and it played great. When I got home and tried it the next day, it was unplayable after a minute or two. Probably my fault for several reasons, one being I didn't test it for say, 30 minutes. Also I didn't understand the parameters in a mouthpiece, only when we had long, detailed discussions here on the café did I figure things out, thanks to a number of people here.

Also, if you're a professional and have the sound you want, many probably won't switch at all, unless they have a complaint with the current favorite.
 
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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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]
Except that Mr Pedantic just tapped me on the shoulder and mentioned that PPTs are not traditional in that they are moulded from modern composite material. However I suppose once the "blank" is created from the mould it is then hand finished in then traditional way (files, sandpaper and play testing)

I think it is probably only the more closed minded ones. maybe there is some prejudice against newer technology. I would consider anything that works, ie the end justifies the means. I must admit I have not tried a SYOS, but I wouldn't be averse to trying it just because it's 3D printed.


This is why PPTs have such a policy. Perhaps when mouthpieces are readily available in retail shops it is less necessary, but then the days of the well stocked High Street music shop who'd let you try suff out and sell you single reeds are rapidly dwindling.
It is. I must confess to not knowing a thing about your mouthpieces, though I do find them interesting. I have no doubt about their quality, knowing what little I know about you from what Steve H has said of the years. The try before you buy thing is admirable Pete, especially as so few of the ‘big boys’ do it. Like I said of Sax.co.uk - It’s very disappointing.
 
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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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The problem with trying them in the store is that I tried one, the V16 in the store and it played great. When I got home and tried it the next day, it was unplayable after a minute or two. Probably my fault for several reasons, one being I didn't test it for say, 30 minutes. Also I didn't understand the parameters in a mouthpiece, only when we had long, detailed discussions here on the café did I figure things out, thanks to a number of people here.
Yes. A mouthpiece expedition to a music shop is usually undertaken with lots of previous research, and then several hours in the shop, often stopping for lunch and going back again for another slog. Even then, the safety net of a try before you buy is great, as it’s often more likely that you’d want to believe that they’ve just brought out the greatest mouthpiece ever, and the few days living with it might show you a 5% gain (which can feel huge) in certain areas that are most beneficial to you. That’s assuming that you weren’t originally playing on a duff or totally unsuitable mouthpiece for you.
 

Pete Thomas

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The problem with trying them in the store is that I tried one, the V16 in the store and it played great
I agree totally that it's ideal to have more than half an hour to truly test a mouthpiece. You need to try different reeds for a start, as whatever reeds your used to on one mouthpiece may not be suitable on another.
 

Mark Hancock

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then the days of the well stocked High Street music shop who'd let you try suff out and sell you single reeds are rapidly dwindling.
I suspect you're right about that, but last year I went on a mouthpiece hunt and my local woodwind store let me try out a load of pieces. I spent about 3 hours in their testing room. Then they allowed me to take 5 of them away for a few days to carry on testing in the comfort of my own home. I guess this is the exception rather than the rule!

I came out of that process with a much better idea about the difference a mouthpiece makes*, and a beautiful hand finished Aaron Drake mouthpiece.

*for me - very little difference to the basic tone, but a huge difference to the "play-ability".
 
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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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I suspect you're right about that, but last year I went on a mouthpiece hunt and my local woodwind store let me try out a load of pieces. I spent about 3 hours in their testing room. Then they allowed me to take 5 of them away for a few days to carry on testing in the comfort of my own home. I guess this is the exception rather than the rule!

I came out of that process with a much better idea about the difference a mouthpiece makes*, and a beautiful hand finished Aaron Drake mouthpiece.

*for me - very little difference to the basic tone, but a huge difference to the "play-ability".
The worst example I’ve had is a shop in Southampton that expected me to buy the mouthpiece if I blew it in the shop. o_O
 

Keep Blowing

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It is. I must confess to not knowing a thing about your mouthpieces, though I do find them interesting. I have no doubt about their quality, knowing what little I know about you from what Steve H has said of the years. The try before you buy thing is admirable Pete, especially as so few of the ‘big boys’ do it. Like I said of Sax.co.uk - It’s very disappointing.
I understand why sax.co.uk don't do it, there are a lot of window shoppers out there, they want to try Mouthpieces but have no intention of buying,. It's already cost you the postage and can they still sell it as a new product,
 
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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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I understand why sax.co.uk don't do it, there are a lot of window shoppers out there, they want to try Mouthpieces but have no intention of buying,. It's already cost you the postage and can they still sell it as a new product,
I suspected as much, but even so - especially when you already have a relationship with them.
 

sax panther

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Dawkes still let you take mouthpieces on trial for 2 weeks, they just charge a £3 restocking fee when/if you decide not to buy. I did it recently - tried something out for 3 or 4 days at home, decided it wasn't for me, and posted it back to them, they refunded the money to my account very quickly. They don't have as wide a selection as sax.co.uk, but still a pretty decent range.
 

Pete Thomas

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Dawkes still let you take mouthpieces on trial for 2 weeks, they just charge a £3 restocking fee when/if you decide not to buy.
To be honest that is very fair - even if a mouthpiece is returned in like new condition, it will need a thorough cleaning and sterilisation if it is to be sold. I would hope that happens when trying out in a shop, but I think sax.co.uk have sepcific demo mouthpieces so not so crucial they keep as new, but I would have thought they sterilise them.
 

Targa

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Buying mail order there is a 14 day 'right to return' for full refund including postage, not return, so there should be no 'restocking fee' or similar charge.
If the retailer claims that it means the mp is 'used' then that is what they should sell it as to the next customer.
 
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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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Dawkes still let you take mouthpieces on trial for 2 weeks, they just charge a £3 restocking fee when/if you decide not to buy. I did it recently - tried something out for 3 or 4 days at home, decided it wasn't for me, and posted it back to them, they refunded the money to my account very quickly. They don't have as wide a selection as sax.co.uk, but still a pretty decent range.
Same as Howarth. Good to know I can add Dawkes to that list too.
 
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Pete Effamy

Pete Effamy

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414
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Dawkes still let you take mouthpieces on trial for 2 weeks, they just charge a £3 restocking fee when/if you decide not to buy. I did it recently - tried something out for 3 or 4 days at home, decided it wasn't for me, and posted it back to them, they refunded the money to my account very quickly. They don't have as wide a selection as sax.co.uk, but still a pretty decent range.
Tbh, I wouldn't go near Dawkes as a few years ago an adult student of mine turned up to a lesson with a Backun "student" clarinet on approval. The setup either hadn't been checked at all (rubbish) or it had been checked by someone without an ounce of knowledge (even more rubbish) as it didn't play. I can't remember what it was now, but something that could be easily regulated like the A key screw (keeping the G# from closing). Impressed, I was not...
 
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