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Mouthpieces

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Morning All, just a little advice needed. I take delivery of my new Trevor James "Raw" alto any day now and I would like a guidance on a mouthpiece. At present I have a bog standard ebonite playing with a 3.5 Rico. As I have only been playing 4 months mouthpieces are a complete mystery. My tutor has suggested one but I would like to hear from others what they think and put into beginners learn terms about different bores of the mouthpiece. Best regds.Navarro
 

ManEast

Member
Messages
203
Morning All, just a little advice needed. I take delivery of my new Trevor James "Raw" alto any day now and I would like a guidance on a mouthpiece. At present I have a bog standard ebonite playing with a 3.5 Rico. As I have only been playing 4 months mouthpieces are a complete mystery. My tutor has suggested one but I would like to hear from others what they think and put into beginners learn terms about different bores of the mouthpiece. Best regds.Navarro
If you are 13 years old or above. I would have you on a Vandoren V16 A6S.
Having said that, if your tutor has made a strong suggestion about what to buy... you should go with.
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
3.5!!!? Most people start on 1.5 and stick with these for six months or so..? Usually easier to get a nice sound on a softer reed to begin with.
I think the mouthpiece has to suit the sax, especially with regards bore etc, so having not played a "Raw" sax I couldn't really advise online!

I would suggest stick to the mouthpiece/reed combo you know until you are used to the new sax, unless you have some problems.
Changing everything all at once usually makes for unpredictable playing! I suspect the TJ will come supplied with a stock hard plastic mouthpiece and that would be fine if your 'bog standard' doesn't belong to you... Otherwise +1 for following your tutor's advice.

Nick
 

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Hi Saxnik, The TJ Raw does not come with a mouthpiece but that is not a problem But I heed your advice and stick with what I know for the time being Regds N.
 

navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Thanks ManEast I left 13 and above over 60 years ago I'm making a note of V.16 A65. Thanks for quick response, Regds. N.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,282
Depending on where you live i.e. if you live near to a music shop that has a good stock of mouthpieces it would pay you to try as many as you can and pick the mpc that best suits you and your horn as there are so many on the market its hard to recommend but a Meyer or Meyer type mpc is often preferred on alto but again it depends on your preference to music.
I have the same horn as you and i use an RPC 80B but it has taken me many years and i have lost count how many mpc's i have bought and sold in that time to find what suited me.

Brian
 

ManEast

Member
Messages
203
Thanks ManEast I left 13 and above over 60 years ago I'm making a note of V.16 A65. Thanks for quick response, Regds. N.
That is A6S . There is an V16 A6M ...and I do say to students to try both and see what they Pref. 9 x out of ten its the A6S. After two weeks they love it.
Do not start out on a High baffle mouthpiece. If you start with one too soon it will end up being cruch forever. j.m.o

Kind Regards
 
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QWales

Senior Member
Messages
722
I have been playing with TJ Alto's since I started a couple of years back. I could never do anything with the stock mouthpiece, so I initialy upgraded to an ebonite Yamaha 4C then the Otto Link 6* and am now using a Jody Jazz metal mouthpiece. They all offered something new and improved from the previous. Your best bet is to take your Sax to a local music shop (or sax.co.uk) and try out a bunch of different ones, most shops I've come accross are happy for you to do this. I have always used a Vandoren 2 reed until recently when I found the 2.5 seemed to work better for me.
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
If your teacher recommends a Selmer then just ignore him! If you have a decent alto (as you have) then the commonest good size mouthpiece for most people will be around 0.070" - 0.078" and a 2 or 2.5 reed will usually fit the bill. Depending on what you want to play there are a lot of good ones. Do you want a brighter or mellower sound? A cheap goodie to get you started would be a Runyon 22 with a 5,6 or 7 tip opening (0.072', 0.074" & 0.078" respectively). Santy Runyon was Charlie Parkers first teacher and Charlie Parker mainly played one of these (in white). They are available here: http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/Runyon_Alto_ebonite.html and here:Deadimage removed . They cost about £30 and would be an excellent strater mouthpiece and beyond. It would give you time to choose a more expensive one later on. The V16 6S or M would be a good mouthpiece (I used to have a V16 7m and a V16 9m) but is more expensive. They are well made. Some mouthpieces are not as consistently well made - Meyer, Otto Link & Selmer being 3 that aren't.
 

ManEast

Member
Messages
203
If your teacher recommends a Selmer then just ignore him!
You had better find out who that teacher is before you cast that one. **** !

Santy Runyon was Charlie Parkers first teacher (wrong)

and Charlie Parker mainly played one of these (in white)... or was it the white Brilhart streamline that Aaron Drake has now made a copy of ??
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Here is an excerpt from "Saxophone Forum" discussion about "Brilhart mouthpieces".

"Contrary to popular misinformation, many of the photos of Charlie Parker actually show him playing a white Santy Runyon model 22 custom made for him by Santy (multiple times, he kept "losing" it), NOT a Brilhart.
JPSaxMan
May 24 2008, 05:44 AM
QUOTE(Saxismyaxe @ May 23 2008, 07:52 PM) *

Contrary to popular misinformation, many of the photos of Charlie Parker actually show him playing a white Santy Runyon model 22 custom made for him by Santy (multiple times, he kept "losing" it), NOT a Brilhart.


That's great info Mike. How did you get ahold of it? And I think many of us know why he 'lost' it...lol.
Saxismyaxe
May 24 2008, 03:53 PM
Hi Joel,

It has been mentioned many times in Bird bios, as well as straight from the late Mr. Runyon's mouth. Closer examination of many of the photos in question confirm the validity.

According to the story, more than once Santy received a desperate phone call in the middle of the night requesting another, identical MP be sent immediately and urgently to the empty handed Parker. "

Santy Runyon did teach Charlie Parker and had very regular contact with him, and advised him to keep his Runyon 22 mpc in his pocket, not his sax case, as he got tired of endlessly supplying him with a new one. If he was not Charlie Parkers FIRST teacher then I offer an unreserved apology. He did teach Charlie Parker, but may not have been his FIRST teacher!

It is an observation of mine that many teachers know little about sax equipment and can often recommend a Yamaha 4C for beginners, and a Selmer S80 C* or similar as a first upgrade.

Having played a Selmer Super Session (the most expensive ebonite Selmer) when I began playing Alto I prefer the sound of the Runyon 22.
Apart from the metal mouthpieces the three "Classical" Selmer mouthpieces ( 80, 90 & SD20) cost £115 or so, and the three "Jazz" Selmer mouthpieces (Soloist, Spirit ans Super Session) cost £145+ which is rather more than the £30+ for a Runyon 22 and a major outlay when you are just starting out, for many people IMO.

Here is also an interesting thread from SOTW about the Runyon 22: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?27263-Model-22?s=

Kind regards
Tom
 
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ManEast

Member
Messages
203
If your teacher recommends a Selmer then just ignore him!
You had better find out who that teacher is before you cast that one. **** !

Santy Runyon was Charlie Parkers first teacher (wrong)

and Charlie Parker mainly played one of these (in white)... or was it the white Brilhart streamline that Aaron Drake has now made a copy of ??
Hi Tom.

The fact is, Charlie used both. Some the he got from Santy (lots by the sound of it) for free. The other was quite inexpensive.

The times when it sounds like he had good money to spend ... found Charlie on a black Meyer Bros (on a Selmer Alto) and then later there came a Selmer/London fff (on a King Super 20).

I understand what you are saying about Teachers/Yamaha 4c's ext... but before you wade in with " Just ignore him ! Just remember that that guy has a job to do ...and he or she maybe, just maybe, very good at it.

My kind regards to you.

Ricky
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Ricky!

I am aware that Charlie Parker used a wide variety of mouthpieces over his short life and that Aaron Drake has done a faithful copy of the LAST mouthpiece that was found in Charlie Parker's Sax Case. The mouthpiece can be bought on Amazon.com for $499, or a Runyon 22 can be bought on Amazon.co.uk for £34.99. I imagine that basing a mouthpiece design on a long unavailable "Vintage" piece is surely likely to be profitable, just as the Stan Getz "Legend" piece produced by Mr. Drake has an exact copy of Stan Getz's teeth marks on it - I imagine it does not increase playability, but does increase profits!

Teachers do have jobs to do, agreed. I said in another thread that I have had a total of 13 private music teachers (on various instruments) and only twoof them seemed to have widespread knowledge of equipment. Several of them took my advice on equipment - reeds, mouthpieces, sax, trumpet and trombone. They were all very good teachers but most only ever recommended the "usual suspects", such a Selmer mouthpieces for Classical, Otto Link mouthpieces for Jazz, Vincent Bach and Yamaha equipment for Trumpets and Trombones etc. etc.

My comment about "Just ignore it!" was admittedly a little provocative, but was also tongue in cheek, and no offence was meant.
Kind regards
Tom
 
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navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Hi Everyone thanks to all for their invaluable advice its going to take me some time to sift through it all.
Interesting little dialogue about The Bird but it is all educational.
I will let you know what I eventually go for. Regds N.
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,932
It is an observation of mine that many teachers know little about sax equipment and can often recommend a Yamaha 4C for beginners, and a Selmer S80 C* or similar as a first upgrade.
For sure, it does seem to have become the standard answer for many who can't provide personal experience to the advice.
However as far as Alto goes, the standard yamaha mouthpieces do a sterling job for the money. Doesn't have to be a 4C you could go slightly wider to a 5C and prefer it without giving your self a problem.
Above all they remain relatively cheap so its not a huge gamble. I have heard people finding them shrill but thats usually proved to be more to do with the overall set up.
On the other hand, I'm loathed to recommend them for tenor and never found the custom range to be a decent piece for the money.
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
I confess I do recommend Yamaha mouthpieces for students new to Alto - albeit 5C rather than 4C... But hey, that's based on my personal experience of starting on one. It's not a pro piece but it sounds ok and is good to learn on.
I have also recommended Selmer (usually a D rather than C*, I think it's worth opening up the lay a bit) through personal experience. I moved onto a C* back in the day (though when I got a Link 6* my sound opened up a lot!) and I've found they sound good for most people with a bit of effort.

After that Intermediate stage I don't feel qualified to 'recommend', since what I'd need to do is 'advise' by going with the student to the shop and listening to them play test mouthpieces.

Up to that point if we're going generic I recommend the mouthpieces I've found work ok in the majority of cases and represent value for money.

There's no future in guessing what sounds good for an individual from my office, and I don't believe that mouthpiece choice really affects your sound as much as embouchure, so you should develop this till it settles and strengthens before experimenting with which mouthpiece is best. This thinking combined with the lack of ready funds is why I haven't personally played on lots of mouthpieces!

Nick
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Most beginners around here start off with a Yamaha on sax, clarinet etc. Why, because of the reasons Nick says. There are good alternatives, but how many music teachers have time to spend doing an exhaustive study of mouthpieces? And if it's kids with parents, there's a lot of objection from parents who've just coughed up for a nice new instrument, only to be told that the mouthpiece is rubbish....

Friends were recently told their son needed a new clarinet moutpiece. Wurlitzer was recommended by the teacher. They weren't impressed when they saw the cost - especially as an equivalent from another maker is half the price.

Get the student playing by eliminating a variable - means making sure it's easy to play and reliable. And minimise parental opposition by recommending a known, but reasonably priced brand. Makes a lot of sense. Especially if the teacher recommends something expensive/unheard of and it turns out to be unsuitable.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
..........Yamaha mouthpiece, Selmer mouthpiece, Otto Link mouthpiece, Teacher.......................:shocked::w00t:;}

They're out there.......................................be very afraid!

Here's a quote from Brian Powell who actually makes Morgan and Mouthpiece Cafe Mouthpieces (a Morgan Protone is almost identical to the Runyon 22):

" OK. Here's the deal... I think, more than seasoned players, a beginner HAS to have a good mouthpiece. I'm not talking some $200 custom thingy, I'm talking about a mouthpiece that has been designed with a proper facing curve, PROPERLY applied, with some other attention to detail. Why? Because: you want to give the beginner the fullest advantage, to not be discouraged by trying to overcome faulty equipment when they don't have the experience to do so! Dig- I make the Morgan Protone models. I can guarantee you that I'm making the ONLY student model mouthpiece that is completely handfaced and finished! I start with a ~decent~ blank, flatten the table, put a good curve on it, make sure those rails are fitting, tip rail is contoured, no sharp edges that cause air turbulence (harshness of sound). All this for a $35 piece. Great for students, equipment that will work from top to bottom, and awesome for seasoned players who like a smaller tip opening/ harder reed setup! So there it is, folks- start with a good mouthpiece, build embouchere strength through that by moving up a couple strengths in reeds, when you're ready (your private teacher will hear it, at least they should!) Keep swinging, Brian "

They cost just under £40, like the Runyon 22 -below £35.
 
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navarro

Senior Member
Messages
863
Hi Tom sounds interesting How do I get hold of one. I have only been playing 4 months but I am extremely comfortable with a 3 reed and my tutor is pleased with my sound. I get my TJ Raw on Wednesday. Regds N.
 
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