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M/Pieces - Ligs ROC Britone...a "baffling" mouthpiece

zannad

Member
Messages
410
I've just bought a ROC Britone for tenor (size 3*).
I thought there was a possibility of some superficial hype surrounding this weird mouthpiece...surely that overly complicated baffle was just a gimmick was it?
Well, it's early days, as I've only spent a few hours with it but I found it very entertaining and interesting...like solving a complicate puzzle!
In general this ROC is a very edgy venomous beast...yet, with careful control it can be tamed (a bit) - certain aspects of the Lakey and the Metalite are there, although the Metalite offers more deep and beefy subtones (the best so far IMHO), and the Lakey upper range is still more acute than the ROC's - still there is another kind of "tubular" sound which I've never come across before...there are in fact at least 3 different personalities within this mouthpiece: the edgy over the top one obtained by just honking and let the reed free to vibrate (if you dare), the creamier one with a bit of pepper (subtoning and other "restraining" techniques), and the "tubular" one (dunno how)....more intriguingly, right now, I can't exactly point out how to get these extra colors from this particular mouthpiece (give me more time).
I sense that with skilled control this can be a very useful and versatile mouthpiece...it shouldn't be played like others - one has to adapt to it...

Any feedback on your experiences with one of these schizoid mouthpieces?

btw: I might be interested in buying another more open ROC...(just let me know)
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,933
I have.

Not very favourable I'm afraid so you may want to stop reading now. However I'm glad you like it.
I bought one new in the late 80's/early 90's for tenor. A few friends and I went to London to try and squeeze in John Myatts, Don Makrills, Michael Whites, Howarths in a round trip. At Michael Whites he had a few of them. The last few that had been kicking around for a long time and he openly slated them as horrible. But being coloured white I thought I'd get one for Alto and play just like Charlie Parker:w00t:
I was looking at soprano stuff at the time and my friends had bought them before I got interested enough in the alto stuff. So I took the tenor one he had for £8.
That price was the reason we'd all bought them. It was OK but thats all for me except as you point out it was maybe a little quirky. I have never really missed it since I sold it on 'the bay' about 5 years ago. It just used to sit in its strikingly yellow and black box most of the time and occasionally come out for a 5 minute thrill and go back in the box for months.
It was in brand new condition and having seen a few on there, I started the bidding at £20 and got £85 for it :thumb:
I actually thought the alto piece was a bit better but that could be because I didn't manage to get my hands on one.
Just for nostalgia and collectable reasons I would own another but not at that price so I guess i'm out.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
I had a tenor one. I thought I still had it, but I can't find it, so I guess I've given it away.

I've still got an alto one (5*) that I used for a number of years on an old (1927) Conn. It worked very well. Doesn't sound so good on the Keilwerth that I use now.

Here's an old (>10 years) picture of the combination.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Stop reading? Why? Contrasting opinions are all the more interesting...and I was hoping you still had one on offer (never mind).
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
I've just read some more interesting comments about the history of these mouthpieces...apparently the baffle design was to cancel out the overtones which weren't "in line" (I would call them enharmonics?) - something must have gone wrong or not exactly according to plan because there are plenty of dissonant overtones being produced at random (my opinion) - as I've mentioned already, the fun with this mouthpiece is having to deal with all this mess somehow...
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
A 5* for alto can be interesting...send a message if you want to get rid of it.

I had a tenor one. I thought I still had it, but I can't find it, so I guess I've given it away.

I've still got an alto one (5*) that I used for a number of years on an old (1927) Conn. It worked very well. Doesn't sound so good on the Keilwerth that I use now.

Here's an old (>10 years) picture of the combination.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I've had a few of them, never paid more than £15 for them. I've tried them in alto and tenor, and also used one on my C mel. First one I got cost me 50p, then at some point an eBayer trader was selling on a load of 'new old stock' ones, complete with yellow and black box.

I think they're great, really edgy but with some body as well. work particularly well in livening up duller sounding horns. My original tenor is a cheapo 1970s Buescher Aristocrat, which had plain, non-reflector pads at the time. It was a pretty dull sounding horn and the ROC livened it up a treat.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Interesting 'baffle' on these (not technically the baffle really, but a weird baffle-like insert maybe 1cm in the mouthpiece). Doesn't really work for me but if it does what you need it to, cool. I heard the guy who made these later made a bundle making those injection molded chairs we all had in school.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Interesting 'baffle' on these (not technically the baffle really, but a weird baffle-like insert maybe 1cm in the mouthpiece). Doesn't really work for me but if it does what you need it to, cool. I heard the guy who made these later made a bundle making those injection molded chairs we all had in school.
Just a point...the thing doesn't exactly do what I want right now - and that's part of the fun...it's quite interesting having the impression of dealing with a mouthpiece which answers back in unpredictable ways - I play something but the ROC plays its own stuff and it's up to me to try to make the most of this mess and find a kind of compromise on the run...one moment I think I got it under control and the next second something out the blue comes out and I hear some weird and fascinating sounds (e.g. the "tubular" one - sorry about repeating myself but I can't describe it in other ways). It's all very unstable and fascinatingly weird...lots of things going on inside that chamber.
Other mouthpieces are fairly predictable (I'm testing 40+ Alto and 25+ Tenor) - I've read for example that the Lakey is difficult to control but it can't be compared to this ROC. If the Lakey is a mustang then the ROC is another one but with chilly pepper up its axx. Then I don't remember having such a puzzling experience with my Lakey 7/3...
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Just a point...the thing doesn't exactly do what I want right now - and that's part of the fun...it's quite interesting having the impression of dealing with a mouthpiece which answers back in unpredictable ways - I play something but the ROC plays its own stuff and it's up to me to try to make the most of this mess and find a kind of compromise on the run...one moment I think I got it under control and the next second something out the blue comes out and I hear some weird and fascinating sounds (e.g. the "tubular" one - sorry about repeating myself but I can't describe it in other ways). It's all very unstable and fascinatingly weird...lots of things going on inside that chamber.
Other mouthpieces are fairly predictable (I'm testing 40+ Alto and 25+ Tenor) - I've read for example that the Lakey is difficult to control but it can't be compared to this ROC. If the Lakey is a mustang then the ROC is another one but with chilly pepper up its axx. Then I don't remember having such a puzzling experience with my Lakey 7/3...
My experience was... similar. It does unpredictable things to the airflow and the acoustics, affecting unpredictable places on the horn.

OTOH, introducing a bit of a random tone generator into your gear might work for your avant-garde sets...
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Just goes to show how different everyone is. I've found them easy to control yet flexible, capable of a range of tones (although all tending towards the bright). And I would never pretent to be a great player - I'm not. I think that, possibly because of my dentally challenged appearance, I really suit mouthpieces which lean towards the screamers. On middle of the road type pieces I just sound dull. There have been exceptions to that rule - a Dukoff M7 and an awful thing called a Barklay, both of which set my few remaining teeth on edge.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Just goes to show how different everyone is. I've found them easy to control yet flexible, capable of a range of tones (although all tending towards the bright). And I would never pretent to be a great player - I'm not. I think that, possibly because of my dentally challenged appearance, I really suit mouthpieces which lean towards the screamers. On middle of the road type pieces I just sound dull. There have been exceptions to that rule - a Dukoff M7 and an awful thing called a Barklay, both of which set my few remaining teeth on edge.
I see your point...but surely you have to admit that a middle of the road Meyer (just an example) is easier to control than this ROC.
I've spent only 1 session of about 2 hours with the newly bought beast - it was supposed to be a quick test (just to send a positive feedback to the Ebay seller), then I got hooked and kept playing. The mouthpiece I'm actually testing at the moment is a Tonalin tenor 4* which is a puppy dog compared to the ROC (the colour is the only common feature between these two).
Beside I can switch from any of the many mouthpieces I own (more than 65) with plain nonchalance...it doesn't matter if it's a stuffy vintage with a huge chamber and closed tip opening or a Metalite M11...tough, going from wider to narrow sometimes requires more adjustments than going the other way round.
The only time I can recall a similar baffling experience was when I was testing a vintage JDX7, which despite its number it has a very open tip opening and a scaling baffle (pretty unusual but nothing like the ROC's).
After I've finished testing the Tonalin I'll spend more time with the ROC - I hope I'm not going to "kill" the beast by imposing my sound with "brute force" - it might sounds a bit like mumbo jumbo, but maybe we have to learn to find the right balance between controlling our gear (and mouthpieces in particular) while still letting them a bit of free lead...a useful compromise; otherwise all mouthpieces will sound the same.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I see your point...but surely you have to admit that a middle of the road Meyer (just an example) is easier to control than this ROC.
.
Well, I never actually played a Meyer, but when I was playing the ROC a lot on tenor I also played a Lawton 7 plain. I certainly didn't find the ROC any more difficult to control than the Lawton. Neither of them got in the way of what I was playing (or trying to play).
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
I'm not sure about this notion of 'difficult to control'. I've never found one that I would regard as being difficult to control if the appropriate strength of reed is used.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Just an update:
The ROC I've tested so far (only 2 for tenor - 3 and 5 star) seem to be very unreliable in the subtones no matter what setup used (tried different reeds' strenght)...let's say that below low D and in fast passages is safer to honk (not at full blast - more a middle way).
As a test, any ROC owner interested please try this:
Try to play "In The Mood" by Glen Miller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJE-onnw2gM -
Starting from the bottom B - so the starting sequence (and the hardest) is going to be B-D-G (repeated 4 times)....you can find that going from G down to B is very awkward and most of the times the subtones at low B will break unless you go very slowly - at least that's my case but I haven't spent much time with this particular mouthpiece.....if you can do it, at the song's speed - please let know.
As I had a few doubts (never played that song before with other mouthpieces), I've picked up another mouthpiece at random (a Vandoren T35) from a box and I had no problems in getting that sequence going at the same speed of the original...then tried a Rico Metalite M9 and still no problems whatsoever (nice subtones too for a MP with similar characteristics to the Roc Britone).
Now...anyone can verify this or find no differences with other mouthpieces?
 
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