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M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpiece upgrade?

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Thanks all! I'm still trying to figure out what I want. I think I'm doing too much window shopping and just wanting to have something new. I'm very content to have what I have but photos like the ones saxyjt sent just make me drool!
I do enjoy listening to big bands quite a bit and would love to play that well. Then again, marches and classical also perk my interest. I should probably just concentrate on my skills and not worry about the gear.

My technique for dealing with GAS is to give in to it.
 

CliveMA

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662
I show restraint. I only give in if the mouthpiece is pretty.
DaddarioD6m.jpg
 

jbtsax

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For playing in a concert band I would recommend one of these "classical" mouthpieces. A mouthpiece that is too "bright" and has too much "edge" makes it difficult to blend in this type of ensemble. I played Selmers all through college, but switched to Rousseau a few years after graduating. Of course I have a different set-up for jazz.

Selmer Paris S-80 C* or D $171.00
Rousseau Classic NC4 or NC5 $130.00
Vandoren Optimum AL3 or AL4 $127.00

That said, I would not hesitate to play alto in a concert band or sax quartet using a Yamaha 4C, a Fobes Debut, or a Hite Premier.
 
Last edited:

bucksmusic

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Hi

I'm only 4 months into my playing (though I did play for a few years, about 15 years ago) and like you started on 4c. It's a great value mouthpiece. However just before lockdown in the UK started I had a couple of lessons with a local teacher and played an ebonite 7* mouthpiece of his. The sound it made was marvellous, but at this stage of my playing the tip opening is too large for me to control.

So after a couple of months of developing my embrouchure on the 4c, I bought a Yamaha 6c and then a Meyer 5, as a way of working towards that 7* mouthpiece.

As others have said the 4c is fine, but if you can afford it the best thing is to try some new mouthpieces to see what you like. I couldn't do that during lockdown sadly, but I'm very happy with the choices I made. In fairness both are pretty safe bets.

Cheers
 

Pete Effamy

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2,543
An “upgrade” is any mouthpiece/reed combo that makes it easier for you to blow/articulate/produce the sound in your head. Money and name/reputation are not necessarily much of a help though they could be a guide.

As @Colin the Bear says, try as many as possible and have an open mind.

.. and wallet.
 

just saxes

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283
An “upgrade” is any mouthpiece/reed combo that makes it easier for you to blow/articulate/produce the sound in your head. Money and name/reputation are not necessarily much of a help though they could be a guide.

As @Colin the Bear says, try as many as possible and have an open mind.

.. and wallet.

Agree with the spirit of this, but in the current marketplace you largely "get what you pay for." Example: I like both Mouthpiece Cafe pieces (at around US$300) and, oh, say Johannes Gerber pieces at closer to $500+, in particular because there are pieces in the "classic Meyer for alto," and "classic Link for tenor" molds. Those are what I generally gravitate toward for alto and tenor (with attempts to get into other pieces over the years), but to me there is no question that on parallel pieces, if you get a good Meyer-ish alto piece from both the former and latter, the latter will be better (in objective, yet still subjective ways), but the dollar for dollar value is sort of similar.

What do I mean by "objective, yet still subjective?" Good, skilled players with strong tone production (there are technically advanced players that have poor tone production) will pretty much universally find the good Gerber piece to have superior response in the lows and highs, superior voicing (purer color and more open, full-voiced tone), and slightly more consistent intonation and evenness of sale -- as well as more subtle/sensitive articulation -- than a parallel Mouthpiece Cafe piece.

So there are subjective factors both in the conditions for the measuring of what's better, and in terms of taste. But good players ability to play well isn't arbitrary. It comes from deep and devoted study and a pursuit of one's own voice that comes from...what...the desire to fully exist as a human on earth, and fully participate in a beloved activity with others -- there is a universality to the conditions of the seeking that leads to being a strong player. That's why they listen to each other, closely, and why they're sensitive about asking questions of heroes about equipment (can't wait to ask, embarrassed and insecure after they do).

People do not give strong players the faith and trust they deserve on the web, generally. I think that's what's motivating me to make this weird post in the way I am.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
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2,543
I'm afraid I don't agree. I haven't played a PPT or a Gerber mouthpiece but I have played on many others. Recently my alto mouthpieces have been a Jody Jazz DV and a Claude Lakey Rubber. The Lakey is a much more comfortable 'piece for me to play on and I have had it for 30-odd years. It's a fantastic lead alto mouthpiece in a big band and can be a terrific pop mouthpiece but can also be dialled back a long way. The Jody is not so much of a Chameleon but it has stuff about it that I like. The price differential is enormous. I also have a Vandoren V16 which is great for straight ahead jazz.
I also play a Selmer S80 D on soprano - a classic mouthpiece for all styles. Price in todays market is very low. I've also played on Beechler and Dukoff at times in my career. Depending upon what I was playing at the time they were great.

Selmer S80: £138
Jody Jazz DV: £429
Claude Lakey Diamond Inlay: £
Drake Pete Christlieb: £350
Vandoren V16: £126
Beechler Bellite: £365
Dukoff: Now only available as ARB Beechler copy £383 but until relatively recently were very cheap.

Not that it matters, but for reference, among others:
Selmer S80 - Branford Marsalis
Vandoren V16 - Danny Janklow
Jody Jazz DV - Andy Snitzer
Beechler - Marienthal, Koz, Paulo, Rangell
Dukoff - Sanborn, Wilton Felder

I'm not sure if Gerber are even available in the UK. It lists on its website Tucker Antell and David O'Higgins as players of Gerber - both great players but that's it. Same with Wanne - Gerald Albright and Jan Garbarek. Even Brecker didn't convince many of his contemporaries to play Guadala, who we have to thank originally for escalating mouthpiece prices considerably.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
I'm afraid I don't agree. I haven't played a PPT or a Gerber mouthpiece but I have played on many others. Recently my alto mouthpieces have been a Jody Jazz DV and a Claude Lakey Rubber. The Lakey is a much more comfortable 'piece for me to play on and I have had it for 30-odd years. It's a fantastic lead alto mouthpiece in a big band and can be a terrific pop mouthpiece but can also be dialled back a long way. The Jody is not so much of a Chameleon but it has stuff about it that I like. The price differential is enormous. I also have a Vandoren V16 which is great for straight ahead jazz.
I also play a Selmer S80 D on soprano - a classic mouthpiece for all styles. Price in todays market is very low. I've also played on Beechler and Dukoff at times in my career. Depending upon what I was playing at the time they were great.

Selmer S80: £138
Jody Jazz DV: £429
Claude Lakey Diamond Inlay: £
Drake Pete Christlieb: £350
Vandoren V16: £126
Beechler Bellite: £365
Dukoff: Now only available as ARB Beechler copy £383 but until relatively recently were very cheap.

Not that it matters, but for reference, among others:
Selmer S80 - Branford Marsalis
Vandoren V16 - Danny Janklow
Jody Jazz DV - Andy Snitzer
Beechler - Marienthal, Koz, Paulo, Rangell
Dukoff - Sanborn, Wilton Felder

I'm not sure if Gerber are even available in the UK. It lists on its website Tucker Antell and David O'Higgins as players of Gerber - both great players but that's it. Same with Wanne - Gerald Albright and Jan Garbarek. Even Brecker didn't convince many of his contemporaries to play Guadala, who we have to thank originally for escalating mouthpiece prices considerably.
The Lakey that I forgot to mention about price is £99!
 

just saxes

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283
I'm afraid I don't agree. I haven't played a PPT or a Gerber mouthpiece but I have played on many others. Recently my alto mouthpieces have been a Jody Jazz DV and a Claude Lakey Rubber. The Lakey is a much more comfortable 'piece for me to play on and I have had it for 30-odd years. It's a fantastic lead alto mouthpiece in a big band and can be a terrific pop mouthpiece but can also be dialled back a long way. The Jody is not so much of a Chameleon but it has stuff about it that I like. The price differential is enormous. I also have a Vandoren V16 which is great for straight ahead jazz.
I also play a Selmer S80 D on soprano - a classic mouthpiece for all styles. Price in todays market is very low. I've also played on Beechler and Dukoff at times in my career. Depending upon what I was playing at the time they were great.

Selmer S80: £138
Jody Jazz DV: £429
Claude Lakey Diamond Inlay: £
Drake Pete Christlieb: £350
Vandoren V16: £126
Beechler Bellite: £365
Dukoff: Now only available as ARB Beechler copy £383 but until relatively recently were very cheap.

Not that it matters, but for reference, among others:
Selmer S80 - Branford Marsalis
Vandoren V16 - Danny Janklow
Jody Jazz DV - Andy Snitzer
Beechler - Marienthal, Koz, Paulo, Rangell
Dukoff - Sanborn, Wilton Felder

I'm not sure if Gerber are even available in the UK. It lists on its website Tucker Antell and David O'Higgins as players of Gerber - both great players but that's it. Same with Wanne - Gerald Albright and Jan Garbarek. Even Brecker didn't convince many of his contemporaries to play Guadala, who we have to thank originally for escalating mouthpiece prices considerably.

I do understand your point, and what I'm saying doesn't really contradict it.

I'm not that familiar with the Lakey alto pieces -- I've had them, of course, but just don't remember them as well as tenor because I played on one tenor for a short period (15 years ago or so) and of course have had clients that did. Objective/subjective observations of the tenor pieces: very powerful, full tone, sort of a different version of a Berg in being sort of a "1-trick pony" (sort of wants to do one thing, and one thing only, less adaptable than subtler and more dynamic pieces), but also very difficult to control (uneven scale, inherently, relatively squirrely/indefinite pitch center, not terribly dynamic inherently, very muscular and not very fine). For the right player, the plusses and minuses will line up, and for that player the minuses won't really even be minuses, but as a general rule for other players than that person the objective/subjective qualities will be consistent across skilled players. If you have a hard time getting the full, powerful sound you're after on other pieces, a Lakey or a Berg may get you there, but there will be performance downsides (on a Berg for tenor, poor subtone is a parallel to poor control on a Lakey tenor piece).

Consistency is also a factor. Contemporary mouthpiece makers in the US$250+ range are (in practice, I don't know about in theory) able to make more consistent pieces than in the past, or than mass production brands (like Babbitt). That figures into my statements above when discussing dollar-for-dollar value. I have to recommend things people can get by mail, often, so that figures into general statements about quality and cost.

Critical remarks are also generalized to general commonalities in what people are pursuing in mouthpieces for alto (most often something in the Cannonball/vintage-Meyer vein, but this is shifting) or tenor (vintage Link). Prices for those pieces (actual vintage pieces) reflect that.

But, sure, people coming from other desires and expectations will want and be satisfied with other things, some of which may be very inexpensive. Rico Metallites are of course the quintessential "cheapo pieces that consistently play pretty well for how cheap they are," but the tone bears discussion whenever you recommend one, because most people will eventually abandon them because the tone's not too awesome.
 

just saxes

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he keeps excellent records to f all the facings he does or has done so very likely

It was neat to remember that line that he made for me (around 2002 or 2003 -- it was very good for Conns with difficult intonation, had a HUGE, open chamber). I forgot until thinking about that that some really great players and memorable people had those pieces, and they were anchored to a funny, transitional period in mouthpiece making. If you remember (you probably do), that was when Richard Booth (aka "Bootman") was doing his own facings and making epoxy baffles to "soup up" Links. A lot of mouthpiece guys (I think Ron Coelho had at least one model on which they were standard) were making baffles from marine epoxy, for their pieces). Ed was then making his own molds and polymers for both "ebonite" and "bronzite." I probably still have a bronzite piece or two floating around in boxes I haven't seen in years....

I discovered a year or two ago that a monster player who was then a youngster studying at SUNO with Alvin Batiste (at least this is what I remember) is making great, great instructionals for advanced players on Youtube. At the time Ed was making those pieces, he had one of Ed's "ebonite" editions of that Link-based piece. I forgot, until Ed's name came up again, here, that that was the case. Ah, memories. Where does the time go....
 

Juju

Senior Member
Messages
282
@Juju may be able to confirm where Dave got his

Jx
So sorry about the late reply, I‘ve only just seen this.
Dave has got his mouthpiece directly from Johannes Gerber when he was at the Grahamstown Jazz Festival, it was made pretty much to Dave’s specifications, Dave says it’s his favourite hard rubber mouthpiece in his collection. But for him the classic (metal) Links and classic Dukoffs give him the sound he is looking for.
 
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