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M/Pieces - Ligs Reed and mouthpiece questions

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
Hi all.

Having done plenty of reading here prior to getting my new sax, I decided I would go with two options: a Legere reed and a Bari Esprit mouthpiece.

My reasoning is that the Legere will allow me to concentrate on getting some sort of sax-like noise out of the beast (my wife's pet name for my new toy) without having to go through the (to me) rigmarole of prepping, moistening etc for a cane reed. This isn't to say I won't try cane reeds when I (hopefully) reach a more proficient level, but right now I want to concentrate on one thing at a time. I bought a reed yesterday from my local shop (WWR in Cambridge, seems like a cool place) and, having played last evening and this morning, I'm happy. My squeaks and honks sound just as squeaky and honky as before with the cane reed that came with my sax :D. Those happy moments when I get a sax-noise sound just as good too (although they are much more infrequent than the squeaks and honks...)

I decided to get a new mouthpiece because of comments suggesting that the ones that can come with saxes (particularly at my budget end of the range) don't do you any favours. The Bari seems a good buy, as it comes recommended, and it's cheap!

It arrived today, and I have to say that after a few hours having fun with it all I much prefer the original mouthpiece. I seem to need to blow harder to get anything out of the Bari, and when I do it is much louder. I am just beginning to (occasionally) some control over volume with the original (my wife throwing things at me whenever I'm too loud is a great incentive to developing volume control), but I can't do this at all with the Bari. I'm either huffing my heart out with no noise coming out, or I'm breaking windows 5 miles away. My wife is running out of things to throw.

Now, I realise that I am at a somewhat pre-noob stage, and I'm not for one second suggesting that the Bari isn't any good, or even any good for me (how could I be the judge of that at this stage?), but what I think I'll do is put it away for a while, develop further on my original, and then when I feel that I have some level of control over what I'm doing, bring it out and have another go.

Tim
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
What reed strength do you use?
And what kind of objects does Mrs Wife usually throw at you? May I suggest foam bricks?
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
The reed that came with the sax was marked 2 1/2, made by Fangjin? The legere reed is 1 3/4. The guy at the shop said this is roughly equivalent to a 2 strength rico royale, so I thought I'd try it. So far so good.

Mrs Timbo goes for anything at hand, and I'm afraid that her aim is getting better. I can see foam bricks just being stuffed down my spout, as it where, so I don't want to give her further ideas.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
The reed that came with the sax was marked 2 1/2, made by Fangjin? The legere reed is 1 3/4. The guy at the shop said this is roughly equivalent to a 2 strength rico royale, so I thought I'd try it. So far so good.

Mrs Timbo goes for anything at hand, and I'm afraid that her aim is getting better. I can see foam bricks just being stuffed down my spout, as it where, so I don't want to give her further ideas.
Better hide the kitchen knives and rolling pin then...

Sounds like you need to go on the offensive >:) - may I suggest a Runyon Smoothbore, with spoiler in a 9 or bigger tip. :thumb: Whatever you switch to after that will be a blessed relief for all - including your own ears;}
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
Better hide the kitchen knives and rolling pin then...

Sounds like you need to go on the offensive >:) - may I suggest a Runyon Smoothbore, with spoiler in a 9 or bigger tip. :thumb: Whatever you switch to after that will be a blessed relief for all - including your own ears;}
Now that's a plan :thumb:
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,557
You could consider trying a 1 1/2 strength reed, assuming the mouthpiece that came with your sax is a "middle of the road" sort of mouthipiece.

I'm pretty sure I started on a 1 1/2 rico royal andmoved up after a few months.

Also, are you having lessons?
My first teacher spent no time teaching me how to actually form an embouchure.....looking back, he was useless, and as a result, I couldn't guarantee that I'd get a pleasant sound out each time I tried.

My next teacher (who remains my teacher to this day) spent the first few lessons solely working on note production, and within a few lessons, we were really rolling.

You could just work with your mouthpiece & reed, or add the crook of the sax too, to work on forming that lovely buzzing sound that will support good sound production. That way, you won't drive the lovely (and patient) Mrs T to insanity!

Even if you can't afford many lessons, I'd definitely recommend a few to get you on the right path to start with.
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
That sounds like a good idea Mandy. I'm starting to get the hang of it now, and sound slightly more sax-ish now (with the original mouthpiece), but it may be that a softer reed would help?

I am seeing a tutor for the first time next week, initially looking for advice on good habits, embouchure, fingering etc., and then will probably go off on my own for a bit, returning every now and then to make sure I've not gone too far off the path. I've never had a music lesson for any instrument before, so I don't know what to expect, but I know what I want to learn initially and we can take it from there.

I'm afraid it's probably too late to save Mrs T from the men in white coats. I agree about the lovely part: it was she who suggested I finally get round to buying a sax, just as she has supported several of my music purchases over the many years we've been together. I have placated her by tooting out the intros to "somewhere over the rainbow" (badly), "god rest you merry gentlemen" (that was interesting), and a full on Les Dawson version of "Baker Street". I'm playing the comedy card strongly here, if that doesn't help then I'm in trouble...
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Don't change anything until the lesson and you get an expert opinion based on a face to face assessment.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
For those who need to develop quietly the jazzlab mouthpiece mute works ok. A little more reistant than the sax but allows to o mpce exercises to develop control without attracting high velocity hard edged objects
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Hello. For comfort I will tell you that I have been at the sax now for just over three years, alto and tenor. I have accumulated seven mpcs for tenor ranging from a three tip ebonite to a 8 tip Runyon apocolypse siren and I use reeds 2, 2.5 and 3 from any of about five different manufacturers. Some days one set up works well, others another. I can use any of the combos, but the best sound seems to come and go on a daily basis. So dont fret, and I am sure it will help to sit Mrs. T down gently and explain that a frying pan is not a pacifier and only the patient will be welcome in heaven.
Cheers
Mike
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
Kev, agreed. I am getting such a wide variety of sounds, some good, some not, that I need someone who knows their stuff to look, listen and try and help me work out what I should be doing (preferably with a straight face).

Jazzaferri, that looks interesting, presumably for developing mouth muscles, breathing etc?

Mike, if I bought that many mouthpieces, I think Mrs T would move up from a frying pan to a deep fat fryer.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,091
Chopping and changing with mouthpieces on your maiden voyages on saxophone will only serve to confuse you. I'd use the Bari mouthpiece and stick with it for at least six months to a year depending on how much you practice and how quickly you develop. Experiment with different strengths and makes of reed to find one that suits. Practice every day. Progress will come in fits and starts.
 

sushidushi

Mine's an espresso
Messages
651
My wife is running out of things to throw.
As saxophones are mobile, I suggest that once all projectiles are at your side of the room, you swap places with Mrs TimboSax, so she can throw them again. This might provide a useful incentive to improve your playing, whichever mouthpiece and reed you use.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
Yes, the goal is to be able to play an octave of notes on pitch and play tunes interval exercises etc. comes with a book....BUT....does take a it of getting used to...at first they can be a bit difficult o play, once you get the hang ...take it with you everywhere and spend 5 min here 5 min thre tec tec
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
Chopping and changing with mouthpieces on your maiden voyages on saxophone will only serve to confuse you. I'd use the Bari mouthpiece and stick with it for at least six months to a year depending on how much you practice and how quickly you develop. Experiment with different strengths and makes of reed to find one that suits. Practice every day. Progress will come in fits and starts.
Thanks Colin. I'm back to the original mouthpiece (can't get a sound out of the Bari), but I'm taking both mouthpieces to my tutor and will settle on whichever she suggests. Practicing every day isn't a problem, I can't stay away from it!
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
As saxophones are mobile, I suggest that once all projectiles are at your side of the room, you swap places with Mrs TimboSax, so she can throw them again. This might provide a useful incentive to improve your playing, whichever mouthpiece and reed you use.
I like this, involves a cardio workout as well,so I can quit the gym and spend more time playing sax :D
 

TimboSax

Deputy junior apprentice 2nd class
Subscriber
Messages
815
Yes, the goal is to be able to play an octave of notes on pitch and play tunes interval exercises etc. comes with a book....BUT....does take a it of getting used to...at first they can be a bit difficult o play, once you get the hang ...take it with you everywhere and spend 5 min here 5 min thre tec tec
Thanks Jazzaferri, this could be useful.
 

sushidushi

Mine's an espresso
Messages
651
I like this, involves a cardio workout as well,so I can quit the gym and spend more time playing sax :D
I like to think of sax playing as being good for the lungs anyway, and the addition of dodging at the same time must bring cardiovascular benefits. It also trains the brain to 'multitask', thus bringing increased mental agility as well. You will surely soon wonder how you managed to get by without it :)
 

Kath

Member
Messages
119
Can I add to this thread? I have a yamaha 4c mouthpiece and am using Rico 2.0 strength reeds - any thoughts or suggestions??? I'm very much a beginner
 
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