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M/Pieces - Ligs Mouthpieces for a Martin Baritone

noelweston

Member
Messages
46
Following on from my doorbell posting, I've now had a good chance to play my "new" The Martin bari at a regular rehearsal.

The horn blows lovely, and I do like it. I've also been very content with my current mouthpiece - a metal Link Tonemaster 7* with rovner ligature. I've been playing baritone for about 25 years off and on :shocked: , and this is the only one I've had problems with.

Unfortunately, as I thought, the instrument as a whole plays very sharp - to the point that my metal Link won't stay on the crook. My plastic Link 6* works OK - it's about 1cm longer (at 13.5cm), which means there's just enough of it to tune and work. Unfortunately, compared to the metal one, it sounds as if I'm blowing through an old sock...

So starts the great mouthpiece hunt!

Firstly, has anyone here had any experience of these mouthpieces:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250784761775
They sound like they should be good, but it's a fair bit to spend with no chance of trying first.

Next, can anybody suggest a similar-playing mouthpiece to the metal link that is longer, and would suit this horn? (Someone has already suggested a Brilhart Level Air, which I'll have a look around for). Another possibility would be something suitable that could be altered to work with the instrument.

Lastly, even if you've no knowledge of these horns, would some of you be willing to measure your baritone mouthpieces and post the results?

I do have the option of going back to woodwind exchange and trying every mouthpiece in the place, or investigating getting the crook extended, but I'm just a bit short of time at the moment - so any/all suggestions gratefully received!

Thanks in advance

Noel
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,375
Hi Noel,

That ebay mouthpiece is by MartinMods who was a contributor to Sax On The Web (SOTW) but no longer, since some "difficulties". If you would like to hear more about what people think of his mouthpieces aimed at helping on The Martin baritones, then have a look at:

MartinMods bari mouthpiece versus Erik Greiffenhagen double chamber

MartinMods - The Martin Baritone Mouthpiece Matching

Post #4 on that thread is from a guy called Tim Nightingale in Northampton who had been using a metal Link and experiencing tuning issues like yours. Maybe you should contact him - he might even let you have a play on his MartinMods piece.

These threads mention that MartinMods has another mouthpiece with the same design ideas but made by modifying a Rico Garftonite piece. That was just $100, so considerably cheaper than the eBay "Link-style" piece that you found.

You could also look on his own website: MartinMods Homepage but there isn't much there about the mouthpiece.

The other mouthpiece you might want to try is the "double chamber" Vandoren, modified by Erik Greiffenhagen and available from JunkDude in the US: https://www.junkdude.com/ProductDetail.aspx?id_product=560

A cheaper route to go might be to try a Rico Metalite which was designed by Arnold Brilhart and is quite similar internally to his old Level Air piece.

I would advise against getting the crook extended for the moment. First thing is to get a mouthpiece that works (in tune and decent sound) and then you might find that the tuning problems are confined to E2 and F2 which can be cured (pretty much) with tonehole crescents. That's what I did and I wish I hadn't sold my Martin bari.

Another option if the Link metal piece sounds good but just falls off the crook, is to get a shank extension made up which will allow it to sit securely further back on the cork. Quite a few people have done that successfully - it just looks a bit funny.

Good luck

Rhys
 
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noelweston

Member
Messages
46
Thanks Rhys - I'll have a read through your links and see where I get to.

I've actually ordered a Rico Metalite today, as another one to try - I see a lot of people recommending them, and for £25 it's worth a pop.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,805
I play a 212 XXX c -62 "The Martin Baritone" with a modified Dukoff D9 metal mpc. The baffle is slightly taken down, more like an roll-over baffle, and it's open up to c 0.140" to get better low tones. The mouthpiece is less stuffy to play down low, but very hard to control in the higher register. I wanted my mouthpiece like that. Bob Ackerman, New Jersey did a very good job on my Dukoff. The Dukoff has a total length of 13,6 cm.

I also got a Brilhart Level Air when I bought my bari. As far as I can see it's a mouthpiece with medium chamber and baffle. It's in the same style as the original Martin mouthpiece.

These mouthpieces works for me on my bari. I have tried mouthpieces with no baffle and big chamber. For some reasons they are not working for me.

I know another Martin bari player who is playing Berg Larsen HR 1 or 2 chamber on his barisaxes. I don't know which facing.

Thomas
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Don't do anything to the horn, if you just need a longer piece get the shank extended on yours. OTOH, the piece you linked to seems like good value. I haven't played any of Lance's pieces, but I do know he's a hell of a player.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,375
I also got a Brilhart Level Air when I bought my bari. As far as I can see it's a mouthpiece with medium chamber and baffle. It's in the same style as the original Martin mouthpiece.
I wonder whether that is the original Level Air (by Brilhart) or the current LA which is a completely different design, actually a rebadged Runyon. If it has two plastic inserts that go inside, then it is the new one: if it has a high baffle and a step-like drop off into the chanber, with a severe duck-bill bite on the outside, then it is the original. That original was a great piece. Selmer bought the rights to the Brilhart name from Arnold Brilhart, but didn't keep the same model designs, which was a shame.

Rhys
 

noelweston

Member
Messages
46
Morgan -

Risking the obvious answer here, can you tell me what would be involved in extending the mouthpiece shank?

I love the sound of the metal Link, but currently it would need to be sat just off the crook of the horn to be in tune. I'm presuming it would need something like a similar-sized tube for the extension, then a tube over that to hold it all together? Or would the extension be soldered to the mouthpiece?

What I'm wondering is if this would be easily reversible if I either didn't like the outcome, or change horns again at some point?

Similarly, if I could find a plastic / rubber piece that works, how would that be done?

Thanks
Noel

Don't do anything to the horn, if you just need a longer piece get the shank extended on yours. OTOH, the piece you linked to seems like good value. I haven't played any of Lance's pieces, but I do know he's a hell of a player.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Morgan -

Risking the obvious answer here, can you tell me what would be involved in extending the mouthpiece shank?

I love the sound of the metal Link, but currently it would need to be sat just off the crook of the horn to be in tune. I'm presuming it would need something like a similar-sized tube for the extension, then a tube over that to hold it all together? Or would the extension be soldered to the mouthpiece?
What I would do is turn a sleeve, inner diameter the same size as the bore for most of it, but same as outer diameter of the shank for a cm or so so it can slide on. Probably wants soldering or araldite to keep it on. I doubt it would be secure enough if it was removable. For different horns, you can just push it on far enough.

OTOH, I thought we were talking about a hard rubber Link. The STMs are a pretty large chambered piece in the first place, and I wouldn't expect you would have as much trouble as this. How sure are you that you're not at fault? Might be worth making sure you don't have a similar problem on other horns as well. Might not be playing with a loose enough embouchure.

What I'm wondering is if this would be easily reversible if I either didn't like the outcome, or change horns again at some point?

Similarly, if I could find a plastic / rubber piece that works, how would that be done?
Finding a hard rubber piece that works properly will be mostly trial and error. You can probably eliminate most of that with that MartinMods ebay piece.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,805
I wonder whether that is the original Level Air (by Brilhart) or the current LA which is a completely different design, actually a rebadged Runyon. If it has two plastic inserts that go inside, then it is the new one: if it has a high baffle and a step-like drop off into the chanber, with a severe duck-bill bite on the outside, then it is the original. That original was a great piece. Selmer bought the rights to the Brilhart name from Arnold Brilhart, but didn't keep the same model designs, which was a shame.

Rhys
... high baffle and a step-like drop off into the chanber ... Yes, mine LA is like that. Good mouthpiece but I need wider tip and I also prefer metal. I have some Brilharts that were in the cases when I bouhgt my Martins. Brilhart and Martin seems to get along well!?!?! The Martin original mpc's are also good. I don't know who did them? Maybe Brilhart?

Thomas
 

noelweston

Member
Messages
46
Well, I took the Martin to a gig last night, and also borrowed a stand (because the horn doesn't fit my bari) and a couple more mouthpieces from a colleague to try.

The issue with the STM metal is that it's too short to get me in tune with the real world, so I've no idea on intonation issues. The mouthpiece is literally off the end of the crook. The plastic/HR link I have fits on the crook reasonably OK at 1/2" or so on, which could obviously be improved with a sleeve. With this, the middle register is sharp but the bottom end is pretty good - just not as good a sound as with the STM.

Last night I also tried a Runyon metal piece (horrid, makes me sound like a duck) and an ebonite Lawton - which was better, but had much worse intonation than the HR Link.

I've not had any of these problems with other horns - as I said originally, I've been playing bari in various bands for over 20 years, through a Selmer cigar cutter to a Mk VI, and more recently a Mauriat horn - no major intonation or tuning problems with any of them, with the pair of Link mouthpieces discussed above.

I've had a good email conversation with Lance at Martinmods, and am tempted to go that way if anything, unless I can find a day to spend in Bradford testing many mouthpieces. However, for tonight it's back to the Mk VI, as I haven't got the energy to fight the horn all evening as I had to last night.

Thanks for the info - it's all food for thought.

Noel

What I would do is turn a sleeve, inner diameter the same size as the bore for most of it, but same as outer diameter of the shank for a cm or so so it can slide on. Probably wants soldering or araldite to keep it on. I doubt it would be secure enough if it was removable. For different horns, you can just push it on far enough.

OTOH, I thought we were talking about a hard rubber Link. The STMs are a pretty large chambered piece in the first place, and I wouldn't expect you would have as much trouble as this. How sure are you that you're not at fault? Might be worth making sure you don't have a similar problem on other horns as well. Might not be playing with a loose enough embouchure.



Finding a hard rubber piece that works properly will be mostly trial and error. You can probably eliminate most of that with that MartinMods ebay piece.
 

townleyz

New Member
Messages
1
I play a 1955 Martin Committee III with an E2-F2 martinmods upper loop insert to correct the well known sharpness in these notes. For the past three years I've been using a VanDoren B75 modified by Eric Greiffenhagen with great success in a community band setting, for jazz and in a rock setting. The B75 has a great dark sound but doesn't project especially well in the lower register with electric guitar, keyboard and miked vocals. I was able to buy a new PPT7 bari piece from a nice guy on ebay. Wow, as Pete says it purrs and when asked will peel paint, in a beautiful way of course. Intonation with both mpc's is great. I doubt that the PPT will work in most music we cover in the more classical setting. I would strongly consider this as an option for a vintage bari which most likely will do best with a large chamber piece.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
I had "my" sax tech put an upper bow insert in my sax, and I am using an Erik Greiffenhagen modified Yanagisawa HR mouthpiece. Erik's work is, simply put, brilliant. Intonation is very good (not 100% but good enough for all practical purposes), it is a very free blowing piece, and I just love the mellow sound.

I also tried a MartinMods modified Graftonite (Berg Larsen style, with a medium high baffle). It is a good mouthpiece, but way too bright for me, so I am thinking of putting that one for sale again. I have to push the EG piece almost all the way on the cork, and the MartinMods only 1/4th. Apart from that, both work well intonation-wise. However, the round and mellow sound of the EG piece is very much my thing.

Before the EG piece, I have used Meyer and OL ToneEdge pieces, that were reasonable but not great. More stuffy, and worse intonation.

Edit: FYI, I mainly play bari in a basie style big band, and small jazz combos/quartets. So no need for a modern bright sound for me.
 
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noelweston

Member
Messages
46
Well, time for an update:

I did go with the Martinmods Link-type matched mouthpiece, which arrived a week or so ago. Unfortunately, all the gigs and rehearsals since then have been baritone-less, so I've not had a chance to play the piece "in anger" as it were, but all seems good at first blow. The horn is in tune with other players, and the intonation across the range is as good as I can expect from just an hour or so with the mouthpiece & instrument.

Lance was helpful and good to deal with, and thus far I am impressed with the mouthpiece. I missed out on the Greiffenhagen piece that came and went on ebay last week, but for the moment I'll stick with this combo and see how I get on. I might still get the crook extended by 1/2" or so locally, just to give a more secure mounting for the mouthpiece and a bit more adjustability, but it can wait for now until I've had some proper gigs with the band.

Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions; anyone want a MkVI baritone?

Noel
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,375
Well, time for an update:

I did go with the Martinmods Link-type matched mouthpiece, which arrived a week or so ago. Unfortunately, all the gigs and rehearsals since then have been baritone-less, so I've not had a chance to play the piece "in anger" as it were, but all seems good at first blow. The horn is in tune with other players, and the intonation across the range is as good as I can expect from just an hour or so with the mouthpiece & instrument.

Lance was helpful and good to deal with, and thus far I am impressed with the mouthpiece. I missed out on the Greiffenhagen piece that came and went on ebay last week, but for the moment I'll stick with this combo and see how I get on. I might still get the crook extended by 1/2" or so locally, just to give a more secure mounting for the mouthpiece and a bit more adjustability, but it can wait for now until I've had some proper gigs with the band.

Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions; anyone want a MkVI baritone?

Noel
Sounds good. I would be wary of extending the crook unless you really, really have to. Better to alter the cork for a snug fit if the mouthpiece tunes OK on the horn but is just a bit wobbly. How far on the cork/crook is it now ?

I regret selling my 'The Martin' bari a few years ago when I bought my Selmer SA80II as the Martin had so much character to its sound.

I've always hankered after a MkVI bari, but only the low Bb version which seems to be the horn favoured by quite a few jazz soloists.

Rhys
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
There is an alternative to using crescents in the tone holes for improving the E2/F2 tuning. First of all, the mouthpiece must have a sufficiently large chamber. Martinmods sells mouthpieces designed like this, and there are others too (like my lovely EG enlarged Yanagisawa HR mouthpiece).

Second, I had a Dutch sax tech model and install a wax insert in the crook. The upper bow is too wide on most vintage bari saxes, making the E2/F2 go sharp. His insert completely fixed the E2 sharpness and made the F2 very much manageable. And it's not a Martin-specific problem; I recently played a Selmer Mk VI low Bb bari that suffered from the same problem. And I know at least one vintage Conn suffering from the same sharp right hand syndrom.

Crescents might work well too, but they have the disadvantage that they influence the E1/F1 as well. The insert only seems to have an influence on the second register.

Btw, playing that Mk VI did me realize (once more) that not all Mk VI baris are created equal (I would rate this one lower than some other Mk VI baris that I tried in the past), and that the Martin actually is a really decent bari sax. It's extremely "not-French" :p but it has a lot of character of its own.
 
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noelweston

Member
Messages
46
The new mouthpiece still only fits onto the cork / crook about a 1/2" - it's OK most of the time, but just wobbly enough that if I have to reach to turn over a piece of music or knock the mouthpiece, it will compress the cork front and back under the pressure. The extra of a crook extension *should* be just enough to prevent this and give a really secure seating.

I've blown hot and cold (sorry... ) with the Martin since I got the new mouthpiece. When I first played it, it just seemed odd. Then I switched back to the VI and missed the clarity of the Martin (Which was what initially put me on to them on alto & tenor). I wasn't sure until the first proper gig, where suddenly it made sense and felt right. I haven't had enough time with the horn yet to find specific intonation problems - I'll worry about those later.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
I've blown hot and cold (sorry... ) with the Martin since I got the new mouthpiece. When I first played it, it just seemed odd. Then I switched back to the VI and missed the clarity of the Martin (Which was what initially put me on to them on alto & tenor). I wasn't sure until the first proper gig, where suddenly it made sense and felt right. I haven't had enough time with the horn yet to find specific intonation problems - I'll worry about those later.
Intonation with the MartinMods mouthpiece should be better than with a STM, I think.

I had to push the MartinMods piece around 1/3rd on the cork, for proper intonation. The EG piece that I also use, is different; I have to push that on almost all the way.

All in all, intonation with the MM piece was probably slightly more even, but I like the tone of the EG piece much better.

Good luck with your combo!
 
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