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Beginner Sax set up

David1962

New Member
Messages
10
Hello - I have been playing for a year now, progress is slow but getting there (almost ready for grade 1 exam). I just upgraded from the YAS 280, to the YAS 62. I was wondering what your advice might be in regards to reed and mouthpiece - the sound I am getting is okay, but occasionally I think it is a bit 'tinny'. At the moment I have a Yam 4c and 6c mouthpiece and I use either Vandoren 1.5 traditional or a Legere 2.0 Synthetic reed.
Thanks David.
 

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
525
I think your reeds might be too soft, 1.5 traditionals may be fine at the very beginning, but as you progress, your muscles will strengthen. After an entire year, it is almost certainly time for an increase in strength.
I would also say it might not be time for another mouthpiece quite yet. But if you want to start considering your options, you should let us know what kind of music you are playing, it will greatly affect what mouthpieces you'll want to think about.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,260
It's possible to spend a lot of time and money experimenting with mouthpieces.
If you can afford it, and you will be having fun doing so, then that's fine.

Given where you are in your journey, a different mouthpiece may not make you sound a lot different, but it may feel more satisfying to play, and that's important.

As @NeoWolf7 says, the choice of mouthpiece depends on what sort of music you want to play.
And it's a personal choice, we all have our own favourite mouthpieces, but they are all different.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
Subscriber
Messages
3,542
I wouldn't start the mouthpiece chasing yet if I were in your shoes after what I've done myself. I'd wait another year or so. It can be fun, but also disappointing and disturbing your progress. Inna word, it's really a big distraction.

Do you find a difference between the 4c and the 6c?

You mention Légère and they are very good. It the 2.0 feels a bit weak you may try a 2.25. They are stronger in my experience than Vandoren traditional for the same number. I've experienced many reeds and now that I found the Légère, I'm very happy with them. I use the Signature variant.

I can only approve that you went for a 62, I have one too being from 62 myself and I love it. Now intend to use my 23 more. Perhaps to feel like I'm 23! :rolleyes:
 

georgesax

Member
Subscriber
Messages
50
I have been playing since last August and have recently upgraded to Yamaha YAS62 from YAS280. I can only say that at my level, I cannot notice any difference between the two horns. As to the mouthpieces, I have also experienced 4C, vintage Meyer 6M, joddy jazz hr 5M and Theo wanne Gaias 2 7. I found Meyer is the best. If you change the reed from ricco 2 to Vandoren blue 2.5. The. The sound is much warmer and darker
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,490
In my experience the Yamaha 4c mouthpiece works well with a Rico 2 1/2 reed or the equivalent strength in other brands. I personally play on either Rico Royal, or Rico Reserve reeds. The link below goes to a chart showing the equivalent strength comparisons for several different brands of reeds. Although I like the Legere synthetic for bari, and tenor I have found that I prefer a cane reed on alto specifically because like you said they sound "tinny" by comparison.

Reed strength comparison chart
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,210
I wouldn't start the mouthpiece chasing yet if I were in your shoes after what I've done myself. I'd wait another year or so. It can be fun, but also disappointing and disturbing your progress. Inna word, it's really a big distraction.
This is very true.
I have been playing since last August and have recently upgraded to Yamaha YAS62 from YAS280. I can only say that at my level, I cannot notice any difference between the two horns. I have also experienced 4C, vintage Meyer 6M, joddy jazz hr 5M and Theo wanne Gaias 2 7. I found Meyer is the best. If you change the reed from ricco 2 to Vandoren blue 2.5. The. The sound is much warmer and darker
This is also quite understandable.
Reading this, HERE is my take:
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,210
Oops...cont'd:
Hello - I have been playing for a year now, progress is slow but getting there (almost ready for grade 1 exam). I just upgraded from the YAS 280, to the YAS 62.
That's very nice that you have the budgetary means to step up to what is essentially a pro horn after only a year of playing. Most people would not do this, as the 280 (basically a 23) serves most folks well for several years and sometimes...forever.

So there are 2 things going on here:

1) you have been playing for 1 year. THIS is why you are getting some answers suggesting the Yama pieces are just fine for you at this stage. Those are valid replies, and true - based solely upon your playing experience.

BUT

2) you went out and treated yourself to a pro horn, one which (yes this is true) intrinsically possesses a better tone than a 280/23 and certainly has nimbler keywork (and many would argue better blowing response as well).


SO....

It is fair to say that given that horn, one can find a more suitable mouthpiece which takes advantage of your horn purchase and bestows upon it a better tone than a Yama mouthpiece does. NOW it just depends on how much you'd like to spend. If you wanna stay cheap:

Bari Esprit
Brilhart Ebolin #4
George Bundy Signature
Fobes Debut
Hite Premier

the Hite will have the most open tip (around a .080). The others are between .067-.075ish so you will wanna experiment with reed strengths on any new mouthpiece you buy.

If you wanna spend a bit more:

Meyer Rubber is a good choice (it need not be a vintage one, their contemporary ones are pretty good). Otto Link Tone Edge is also another good choice. These two put you in the $120 zone, and really I would say do NOT spend more than that at your stage.

Any of the above will impart a nicer, lusher tone to your 62.

As intimated by others here, be careful of this slippery slope....gear acquisition can become a big digression and switching setup gear really can actually impair your progress. Just find what is comfy and easy to blow, and stick with that for a couple of years...

Don't get into the "that's not the SOUND I am after, maaaan !"...you can mess yourself up with THAT can of worms a few years down the road, if you wanna . On the list of priorities for a 1, 2, 3-year player....such a notion resides at the very bottom.
For now, play and enjoy and experience and improve ;)
 
Last edited:
OP
D

David1962

New Member
Messages
10
I think your reeds might be too soft, 1.5 traditionals may be fine at the very beginning, but as you progress, your muscles will strengthen. After an entire year, it is almost certainly time for an increase in strength.
I would also say it might not be time for another mouthpiece quite yet. But if you want to start considering your options, you should let us know what kind of music you are playing, it will greatly affect what mouthpieces you'll want to think about.
Good points - I might keep with the same mouthpiece and experiment with reeds a bit more, David.
 
OP
D

David1962

New Member
Messages
10
Oops...cont'd:
That's very nice that you have the budgetary means to step up to what is essentially a pro horn after only a year of playing. Most people would not do this, as the 280 (basically a 23) serves most folks well for several years and sometimes...forever.

So there are 2 things going on here:

1) you have been playing for 1 year. THIS is why you are getting some answers suggesting the Yama pieces are just fine for you at this stage. Those are valid replies, and true - based solely upon your playing experience.

BUT

2) you went out and treated yourself to a pro horn, one which (yes this is true) intrinsically possesses a better tone than a 280/23 and certainly has nimbler keywork (and many would argue better blowing response as well).


SO....

It is fair to say that given that horn, one can find a more suitable mouthpiece which takes advantage of your horn purchase and bestows upon it a better tone than a Yama mouthpiece does. NOW it just depends on how much you'd like to spend. If you wanna stay cheap:

Bari Esprit
Brilhart Ebolin #4
George Bundy Signature
Fobes Debut
Hite Premier

the Hite will have the most open tip (around a .080). The others are between .067-.075ish so you will wanna experiment with reed strengths on any new mouthpiece you buy.

If you wanna spend a bit more:

Meyer Rubber is a good choice (it need not be a vintage one, their contemporary ones are pretty good). Otto Link Tone Edge is also another good choice. These two put you in the $120 zone, and really I would say do NOT spend more than that at your stage.

Any of the above will impart a nicer, lusher tone to your 62.

As intimated by others here, be careful of this slippery slope....gear acquisition can become a big digression and switching setup gear really can actually impair your progress. Just find what is comfy and easy to blow, and stick with that for a couple of years...

Don't get into the "that's not the SOUND I am after, maaaan !"...you can mess yourself up with THAT can of worms a few years down the road, if you wanna . On the list of priorities for a 1, 2, 3-year player....such a notion resides at the very bottom.
For now, play and enjoy and experience and improve ;)
Hiya and very helpful - thank-you. Apologies if my post seemed a bit financially self-indulgent - that was unintentional Actually as I cannot afford a Sax at the moment I hire, and the hire costs between a 280 and a 62 are not that great, so I upgraded after the first year contract was up. I can buy after a year so I thought I would plan ahead. Part of my post was really to get a handle on how much progress to expect in a year - and it seems I am doing okay, having no previous musical skill and learning to read music at the same time. I might look at a new mouthpiece, but a lot of the advice seems to suggest experiment more with reeds.

Enjoy your music and greetings
regards, David.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,210
Hiya and very helpful - thank-you. Apologies if my post seemed a bit financially self-indulgent - that was unintentional Actually as I cannot afford a Sax at the moment I hire, and the hire costs between a 280 and a 62 are not that great, so I upgraded after the first year contract was up. I can buy after a year so I thought I would plan ahead. Part of my post was really to get a handle on how much progress to expect in a year - and it seems I am doing okay, having no previous musical skill and learning to read music at the same time. I might look at a new mouthpiece, but a lot of the advice seems to suggest experiment more with reeds.
Actually I wasn't intending to be 'judge-y', nothing wrong with getting best horn one can afford even if they are a beginner.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,260
@David1962 - you have an excellent saxophone with a less good mouthpiece (I'm not a fan of Yamaha mouthpieces), so it is natural to wonder about getting a better mouthpiece.
What several of us are saying is that it probably won't make as much difference as you might think, but this doesn't mean that it won't make any difference at all.

And it's easy to get distracted by kit - I have far too many mouthpieces myself.

But if you want to try out some mouthpieces, your best bet is probably to go to London to Howarth or Sax.co.uk. Maybe one will take your fancy. However there's no hurry.
 
OP
D

David1962

New Member
Messages
10
@David1962 - you have an excellent saxophone with a less good mouthpiece (I'm not a fan of Yamaha mouthpieces), so it is natural to wonder about getting a better mouthpiece.
What several of us are saying is that it probably won't make as much difference as you might think, but this doesn't mean that it won't make any difference at all.

And it's easy to get distracted by kit - I have far too many mouthpieces myself.

But if you want to try out some mouthpieces, your best bet is probably to go to London to Howarth or Sax.co.uk. Maybe one will take your fancy. However there's no hurry.
Thanks Nigeld - Jayenm gave some options for alternative mouthpieces which I might tray one or two later on - for now I think I might experiment more with reeds.

After the year I understand that much of my frustrations are to be remedied by practice, not shiny new 'things'. But as the sax is a good one, I was just checking out with the members here - such as yourself - whether I should consider a mouthpiece change and the advice I have got from everyone is full and helpful.

I will persuade the wife for a day trip to a shop too!!

See you David.
 

Admitone

Member
Messages
114
- for now I think I might experiment more with reeds.
I have found it helpful to experiment with just one thing at a time. Reeds are the least expensive so a good place to start. I tried Rico's in all strengths (three packs) and was amazed at where I ended up.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,604
A great player with decades of experience can make yam4c laugh, cry or sing.

You cannot buy your sound. You have to earn it. 4 hours a day for a decade and it will begin to come.

The set up does not give you your sound. It is merely an interface to allow you to be you. Your physiognomy dominates your sound and your musical ability will influence your sound.

If you must change then find something that is easy to control while you educate your ear and chops. There's enough to learn without fighting with a "great" set up with impressive numbers.

It's all about the music, not the gear. ;)
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,210
A great player with decades of experience can make yam4c laugh, cry or sing.

You cannot buy your sound.
All true except let's face it, very few great (or even proficient) players stay with a Yama 4C, and there's a reason for this.
I am also not a cheerleader of gear acquisition, but there's nothing wrong with finding a mouthpiece which provides a sonic flavor which is more pleasing to you. It can actually be a bit of an inspiration.....
 

apinter

Member
Messages
80
My experience is this.
I begun to play with mouthpiece attached to my Grassi saxophone, 30 years ago.
It was probably much worst than a Yamaha 4C. As soon first things were sorted out my teacher advised me to buy new mouthpiece, a good one which I could grow with.

He suggested me a Berg Larsen, and together (without testing) he choose for me a 105/2/SMS. hard rubber. Like a 7 star in Otto Link grading. A bit open for me at that time, but a mouthpiece in his view I could play forever.

My tone was instantly better, the only good thing I had as a player, probably. I played it for years without ever feel the need to buy another piece.

20 years of layoff after I came back to sax and discovered I was really struggling with my mouthpiece. Repair man suggested me a Yamaha 4C to restart, which I got and hate immediately.

Coming back to my Berg I kept struggling, but at least to get a decent tone, and I also discovered it in reality is .120 not .105. So I began to look for another mouthpiece, to stay with me but less impossible to play.

With Otto Links I had no luck. I got an 8* and it was not airtight. I tried to adjust it myself and destroyed it. The other 8* I got is both too open and needing adjustment. It is not airtight too. So my suggestion would be to avoid Otto Link, for how nice they can play, if you are not experienced enough to buy one in real place and understand if it is one that works out of the box.

Also do not make the mistake to buy one that is too open. There is no reason to do that other then “I want it big” syndrome, at this stage.

A 90-95-100 is a bit open now but not too much and can go forever. You need a good one now, just one, and play it to death. It is what I am looking for too.
Save money buying a good one you can rely on, knowing the faults are yours, not of the mouthpiece. A used otto link refaced by reputable person can be wonderful. It is in the 170 euro area (one was offered me here).

If you want to spend way less for an intermediate mouthpiece you can think to change in some years the Hite Premiere I got too now on forum suggestion is great. Best engineered mouthpiece I have now. Flat, airtight and it plays much better than me. I bought it used at 17 usd. New is around 40.

As I preach one thing and do the opposite, I am also buying more mouthpieces, yet my intention is to stick with one finally.

In arrival I have

D’Addario Jazz Select 6M (95 or 100). It sounds great played by others and it says to be precisely engineerd. I really count it does not need adjustments.

As I liked my Berg so much I also bought a Berg in hard rubber in 95/3, that I found used. Hopefully it will be playable. It is in the mail too.

I’ll see which one suits me best and I’ll play that only after a short period of tests.

If you can afford to spend 200 euro, my suggestion is to go straight to your final mouthpiece for many years, and learn to play it.

If not, the Hite can be great now. And maybe later too.
 
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