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Squeaky mouthpiece

Bernie

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Somebody (I do have some kind friends it seems) loaned me what I believe is referred to as a "Slant Link" mouthpiece for my alto. It sounds great, however it repeatedly squeaks on higher notes in a way that's quite unlike any other mouthpiece I've tried. I've tried several different reeds of varying strengths, they all do it. It happens most when I tongue a note.

Any suggestions about the cause and solution?
 

jazzdoh

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Somebody (I do have some kind friends it seems) loaned me what I believe is referred to as a "Slant Link" mouthpiece for my alto. It sounds great, however it repeatedly squeaks on higher notes in a way that's quite unlike any other mouthpiece I've tried. I've tried several different reeds of varying strengths, they all do it. It happens most when I tongue a note.

Any suggestions about the cause and solution?
There's a good chance the mouthpiece might need refacing,it might be the rails or the table,but if you have tried various reeds then its probably the mpc.
One other thing is,whats the tip opening?,if its close then this could have a factor in the squeaks due to you it closing off the piece on the high notes,but the mouthpiece will be old and my guess would be refacing.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

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The person who loaned it to me was saying how nice the facing is! It's a pretty wide tip opening.
 

Nick Wyver

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Inexperience on your part probably. Stick with it (if you really want to play a Link, that is).
 

jazzdoh

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I was under the impression that you were an experienced player,Bernie how long have you been playing?
BTW its not always the facing it could be the table thats not flat,but as Nick as said stick with it,it will improve in time.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

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I am in my second week of playing sax again, after a break of around 15 years Brian. I haven't had this problem before.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

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I had a Link mouthpiece before and liked the sound, which is why I wanted to try this one.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

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but the mouthpiece will be old and my guess would be refacing.
Is it possible to see something that tells you refacing is required? Why is it needed as a mouthpiece gets older?

It is certainly old.
 

Nick Wyver

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After a break of 15 years I might expect a fairly long time to get back into it again. When you say "pretty wide", how wide actually? Presumably its owner doesn't squeak with it. Do you know what reeds they use?

Usual scenario for squeaking students goes something like this:
Student buys "jazzy" mouthpiece to replace Yamaha 4C (against my recommendation).
Student squeaks.
I play it. No squeaks.
Student realises s/he's got some work to do.
 

jazzdoh

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Is it possible to see something that tells you refacing is required? Why is it needed as a mouthpiece gets older?

It is certainly old.
Its not always possible to see something wrong,but sometimes its is obvious i.e. rails look uneven
Hopefully someone with more experience of mouthpiece making/refacing will clarify.
But mouthpieces that are older have seen more life and have more wear.
I had a 40's Berg once that squeaked on high notes and took it to Lawrie Waldron and he perfected it and it played great after,but i couldn't see anything wrong visually.
But also it could be you if you have only got playing again for 2 weeks after a 15 year gap,why not ask the player that loaned you it to play it and see if he/she gets the squeaks.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

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I changed the ligature, the squeaking stopped and the sax plays easily. I changed back to the other lig and it squeaks! I'm quite surprised, but pleased!
 

jazzdoh

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I changed the ligature, the squeaking stopped and the sax plays easily. I changed back to the other lig and it squeaks! I'm quite surprised, but pleased!
Glad you sorted it out.
 

Colin the Bear

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I'm a firm believer that if changing the ligature makes a dramatic difference, as in this case, there is a problem with the table being uneven. Some old pieces have a concave table that suits certain ligs but with age a little unevenness or warping may develop. A lig that compensates and applies pressure in just the right way will overcome this anomaly. Put the mouthpiece on a very flat surface, I use a granite chopping board or a sheet of glass, and see if it rocks or has gaps.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

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I'll do that Colin, thanks. I suspect though that my friend just put any old lig on the mouthpiece, and it just doesn't fit right.
 

jbtsax

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If a squeak occurs only when tonguing notes it generally indicates the the player is moving the jaw when tonguing. A way to diagnose this is to finger a B and tongue repeated notes while feeling under the chin with the free hand. A second way is to stand sideways and look into a mirror. The solution is to practice moving just the end of the tongue the shortest possible distance when tonguing all styles.
 

altissimo

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if the lig's a bit bent out of shape, or wasn't made very well, then it may not clamp the reed properly. If it's an old Slant Link then it most likely does have a concave reed table which may require a more secure lig than a mouthpiece with a flat table.
 

richardr

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Inexperience on your part probably. Stick with it (if you really want to play a Link, that is).
My TJ tenor came with a Bari mouthpiece and I played it without any problem. Subsequently I went through a long period of infatuation with my alto. When I returned to tenor I squeaked dreadfully. It was at that point that my teacher drew my attention to the fact that the Bari has a very wide lay but advised me to persevere, which I did. After a while the squeaks subsided and went away. I don't know what I did to achieve that.
 

jbtsax

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A reed's own "resonant frequency" the sound it makes when it vibrates on its own is a high pitched squeal. One can hear this by putting the mothpiece into to mouth up to where the ligature starts and blowing. By "dampening" the reed by covering a portion of it with the lower lip, the reed then vibrates at the resonant frequency of the length of the saxophone that has the holes covered with pads. A way to "confuse" the reed is to bite down on it in such a way as to allow only one side of the reed to vibrate. The reed then vibrates at its own "resonant frequency" which we know as a "squeek" or a "squawk".

A mouthpiece with a wider tip opening or narrower side rails requires more embouchure control than a mouthpiece with a narrower tip opening and wider side rails. If one looks at a standard student mouthpiece it is designed for players with less embouchure control.
 
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Bernie

Bernie

Little chickety boom, one stick, you dig?
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A mouthpiece with a wider tip opening or narrower side rails requires more embouchure control than a mouthpiece with a narrower tip opening and wider side rails. If one looks at a standard student mouthpiece it is designed for players with less embouchure control.
I really enjoy this kind of stuff, thanks jbt. Can you say why the width of the side rails has that effect?
 
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