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M/Pieces - Ligs Simon Spillett's next mouthpiece

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89
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Tubbsville
Hello! It's been an age since I posted on here - I'm pleased to say I've been busy playing! Just quick heads-up or any forum members in the Kent area: I'm playing The Eagle Tavern in Rochester on Sunday lunchtime (February 2nd) with my quartet with John Critchinson, Paul Morgan and Clark Tracey - if you can make it come and say hello.

On the technical side, I've been suffering a few mouthpiece/chops problems and am currently looking a different set-ups. I can no longer practise where I am :-( meaning that I'm experimenting/looking at other set-ups that are easier to maintain! Wish me luck!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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London
Welcome back Simon. I know what you mean with an "easier to maintain" set up.

Good luck and keep us updated.
 
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89
Locality
Tubbsville
I'm dead against the chopping and changing approach but reed issues etc have made playing a metal Link 9* a pain in the whatsit! At the moment I'm experimenting with a Berg Larsen made of ebonite and another Link with a smaller tip. I'm hoping my sound will reappear!!
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
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483
Locality
Glasgow
ah, hiya, Simon, I thought you were using a HR Berg.
I love my old metal link 8 , but sheesh is it FUSSY about reeds ( or is it fussy about ligatures ??)
So if & when I'm gigging on tenor, its with my old HR berg 100 / 2
 
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89
Locality
Tubbsville
No, I only used the Berg a few times.

My mouthpiece chronology is:

1990: Brillhart Tonalin and Yamaha 4C
1991 - 1998: Metal short bill Berg Larsen (can't remember the facing)
1998 - 2002: Otto Link Super Tone Master 8 (modern, straight off the shelf)
2002 - 2009: Otto Link Super Tone Master 9 (modern, straight off the shelf and used on "Introducing" and "Sienna Red")
2009 - 2010: Another Otto Link Super Tone Master 9 (modern, mega-thick rails, bloomin' awful!)
2011: my original Link plus the HR Berg as and when
2012 - 2013: That awful Link again.....I never learn!.....used on "Square One"
Spring 2013 - 2014: Otto Link Super Tone Master 9* (modern, good but with its own drawbacks...)
2014: HR Berg 130/3......now looking at Link 8 with harder reeds....the set-up I used from 1998 to 2002!

Links eat reeds and are VERY fussy - impossibly so! But when they work, they're the best there is.

Looking back over those mouthpieces, I'd forgotten that up to 1993 I was using Rico 4's! Then went down in strengths eventually reaching Rico Jazz Select 2 Soft Filed on the 9 and 9*.

The best reeds I ever played were the original Rico Jazz (before the Select bit)......so warm and with a great "purr" to them.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
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21,912
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Just north of Munich
Get one of Morgan's Floridated Links. All the sound, none of the hassles.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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London
1991 - 1998: Metal short bill Berg Larsen (can't remember the facing)
1998 - 2002: Otto Link Super Tone Master 8 (modern, straight off the shelf)
2002 - 2009: Otto Link Super Tone Master 9 (modern, straight off the shelf and used on "Introducing" and "Sienna Red")
2009 - 2010: Another Otto Link Super Tone Master 9 (modern, mega-thick rails, bloomin' awful!)
2011: my original Link plus the HR Berg as and when
2012 - 2013: That awful Link again.....I never learn!.....used on "Square One"
Spring 2013 - 2014: Otto Link Super Tone Master 9* (modern, good but with its own drawbacks...)
2014: HR Berg 130/3......now looking at Link 8 with harder reeds....the set-up I used from 1998 to 2002!

It seems you are quite lucky with new Links.
What about having a new one checked and corrected to make it more reed friendly?

An early Florida refaced by Pillinger (9) has been my main piece for a while, and I just managed to have a modern stuffy STM NY (8) corrected by the great Bill Wrathall. It sounds great now (I do not know the current facing), but Mr. Wrathall does not seem too happy to put a 9 facing on a tenor piece.
 
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Messages
89
Locality
Tubbsville
Good point.

Even after playing for over twenty years I remain convinced the real issue is with reeds. Get a good one and off you go...with a good reed I never had any trouble with those new Links (the old Rico Jazz suited my original 9 so well). The HR Berg is far more reed friendly but I love the power of a Link when it's really working.

A little while ago I was working with a great tenor player, Trevor Whiting (he's operates more on the traditional circuit but we're both Gonsalves nuts) and he came up with a telling observation: metal Links need to "warm up". I'd never given it much thought before but he's right - play a cold saxophone and it's murder! Likewise a cold metal mouthpiece.
Along the same line, I'm sure it's not me, but I am certain that I get a better reed use per box in the warmer summer months...

I'm in no way a mouthpiece freak and reeds are simply a necessary evil (I think you can get far too hung up on what your set-up is) but I appreciate the ideas shared here.

The biggest difference between players now and players back in the "golden age" (1940's-70's) is that nobody plays as much. The giants - Hawk throught to Trane et al - were playing heavily all the time, every day, gigging, recording etc. As everyone knows, a few days playing gigs can be transformational. Imagine doing that every day, for years on end. Your chops would be like iron. Bobby Wellins once told me that back in the 1960's when he as working every night, he never bothered sorting his reeds - he was playing so much even a bad one would blow in after a couple of days. That's why even the players who worked in local palais bands seven nights a week had great chops. There's simply no substitute for consistent playing - and I'm talking performing here not just practising.

Anyone got a time machine?
 

davidk

Paints With Notes
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343
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Earth

jonf

Well-Known Member
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3,743
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Betelgeuse
I use a Link 10, and it's very easy on reeds, a RJS 2m suits it just fine. I find I get a good four players out of a box of five. My Link has been extensively worked on by an unknown craftsman (or charmed, lucky bodger, I'll never know) and it is the most reed tolerant of any mouthpiece I've had, and I've had a lot. I've completely given up trying new tenor pieces now. It has had the chamber scooped out a bit, a baffle added, table flattened and a high spot on both rails taken out. Rails are nice and thin. Plays fine pretty much as soon as I slap a reed on it, a minute of scales and it's good to go. It looks awful, plays great.

But then again, it suits me, and maybe it's just me, with my embouchure, and my dodgy half-replaced teeth. Another player might hate it.
 
Messages
89
Locality
Tubbsville
It's all horses for course, which is why we're all neurotic......the test for me is subtone bell notes without any air noise.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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London
There is another Gonsalves nutter roaring near me every Tuesday. He plays an old 120 Berg with a rico 4 reed.
My other Gonsalves nutter friend (THE official Gonsalves nutter in the UK) used a Link 9 for ages. Now he moved down in facing a bit, but it seems he still has somewhere the original Gonsalves facing data.

If you are in these necks of the woods, I have several pieces in a 9 facing: Link, Slant replicas (Pillinger), Absolute, even a (9) Pillinger replica of a fff 4040, that I seem to remember is what Wellins plays.
It might give you an I idea of a possible direction.

Anyone got a time machine?

If I had one, I would be selling Florida Links on the american Market (1965 doctors? No thanks).
I recommend this movie:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605783/
 
Messages
89
Locality
Tubbsville
A few months ago I met up with Bobby Wellins and we ended up trying mouthpieces. Now everyone knows that Bobby has one of the most distinctive sounds of any tenor player. For years he played a Selmer metal m'piece and then after chops trouble switched to a Link 7*. He was experiencing trouble with that too so I gave him a 9* to try and he's used it ever since - with Rico 1 1/2 reeds! A few years ago he was using Rico 5's!

It was amazing hearing him try my mouthpiece (and several others including the old white Brillhart) and sounding identical on all of them!
 
Messages
89
Locality
Tubbsville
Just to avoid the avalanche of advice which you good folk will doubtless offer - I was just saying that without being able to practise where I live I am considering using an easier set-up!

As far as mouthpieces go, I once had a pupil who brought loads - all kinds, vintage, custom-built, rubber, metal, you name it - he sounded the same on all of them. I think that's because he didn't stick to one thing in order to build consistency, which it what I think all sax players would like. I'll probably wind up back on my 9*. After all......with a good reed........
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
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Locality
London
Just to avoid the avalanche of advice which you good folk will doubtless offer - I was just saying that without being able to practise where I live I am considering using an easier set-up!

Won't you find then a big difference when you go live?
 

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