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M/Pieces - Ligs Tenor Mouthpiece- 3 questions

kaleher

New Member
Messages
6
Ive just started playing Tenor for about 2 months or so. My sax is a yts23 with a yamaha 4c mouthpiece. I practice 4 times a day, every day for about 20 to 30 mins. at a time.( 10 mins each on long notes). Ive gone from a 1.5 to a 3 reed. I still have some problems with the low register notes i.e. the F and below. No problem with the G and higher notes.
1.Is it time to change the mouthpiece and would I benefit with easier low notes ?
2.Is it possible to jump to a better tone mouthpiece at this stage without the need to keep upgrading ?
3.Is it too optimistic to go for say a meyer or otto link 95 to 108 opening at this stage (I believe the yamaha 4c is 67)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks-Brian
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
As a relative beginner myself I won't comment on your mouthpiece (there will be advice from people which much wider experience than mine!), but would suggest that you continue playing with softer reeds.........no need to rush for the harder ones. Many of the experienced players use softer reeds.
Cheers,
Amanda
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
You have there a nice sax, a good general purpose mouthpiece, and a nice practice routine. I think you should have continued with the softer reeds, as the strength you are using probably explains your difficulty with the lower register. For the time being I think you should go back to a softer reed and let that baby purr.

Jim.
 

kaleher

New Member
Messages
6
Thanks A & J much appreciated. I did actually go back to a 2.5 reed. Sometimes I practice only on those low notes. I can get them 'on a run down' but playing them straight off is difficult. I just wondered if a bigger tip opening would be easier on the low notes. I'll continue to be practicing with the yam 4c + 2 or 2.5 reed but its still nice to have a place here where you can get advice and comments from more experienced players. I'll probably end up in the shop when the time comes and try different mouthpieces. I didnt want to be delaying any upgrade if its going to 1)be easier to blow and 2) have a better tone (now & for the future). I suppose Im equating it (maybe wrongly) to the guitar which I have played for many years. Ive found that the 'basic' instrument is not always the easiest for the beginner. Maybe the wrong analogy but Ive got to seek out the advice from the more experienced here. Many thanks.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
It seems to me that you are doing everything right. It is generally much easier to experiment with reeds than with mouthpieces. In time you will want to move a to a bigger mouthpiece, but the numbers you have quoted seem to be a bit of a stretch.
 

BrassSpittoon

New Member
Messages
12
The low end is easier with softer reeds. You can try a more open tip inexpensively by going to a Yamaha 6C, with a #2 or #2.5 reed. That will give good response for most folks through the range. If you have problems then, it would be your embouchure/air support.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Lower notes always take longer to master than the higher notes. Softer reeds help. If you're hitting the low notes on a run, then not a lot wrong, just need more practice. A wider tip doesn't equate to easier low notes, but it does mean less resistance/an easier blow and more volume. At the bottom this translates into sounding like a foghorn at first....

I couldn't get on with the narrow mouthpiece that came with my tenor, and bought a Rico Graftonite B5. Never regretted it, nice tone, not difficult to blow. Quite a lot wider than the 4C you're using.

But don't think you'll avoid future upgrades by getting an expensive mouthpiece now, GAS is real, even when you have a good mouthpiece. And don't keep chopping and changing for now. If the 4C is working, learn to blow the low notes on it. If it's not, keeps closing up on you, then consider something bigger. Tom M likes the Runyon 22, haven't tried one myself. 6C is another option.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,789
First I would check that the sax is tight, no leaks. Check the G#, D# and C# keycups so they are closing proberly. If you don't have a leaklight you can ask someone to (sligty) press the keycups while you are playing.

If you close all keycups on the sax and press the G# key, the G# keycup shouldn't move at all. If it moves then you should adjust the sax. an easy operation for a tech.

Thomas
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
Can't help with the questions, plus I'm on alto. My experience with harder reeds is that they allow the higher register to play easier and in tune, but makes the low notes really tough to play with. I read about using softer reeds (here or sotw, can't remember - in fact may have been mentioned by Pete), and working on the higher notes. I've done that and it seems to work. Higher notes I defo can play with better intonation, just need to focus alot more and the low notes play much easier.

HTHs!

Alvin
 

BrassSpittoon

New Member
Messages
12
As to how to work on the low notes, this is my experience. I had the same problem on my alto and tenor-I could run down into the low end fine, but when I started on a low note, it would sound squeeky or like I had the octave key pushed. This occurred on my alto, and was much more pronounced on the tenor. The tighter I squeezed on the reed and the more focused (narrow and faster) my airstream in my throat and mouth, the more difficult the low end was. I would concentrate on slightly relaxing on the reed and "opening" my throat to get a more massive, slower volume of air into the low end, and it worked well. I pictured a bullfrog puffing out his throat. So, on a high D with the octave key pressed, I tighten my embouchure and focus my air, like blowing COLD air on my hand. On the low D without the octave key, I relax my embouchure and open up my air, like blowing WARM air onto a mirror.
Hope that helps. Keep working on it-it'll come.
 

SaxyMalcolm

Member
Messages
77
Firstly I would make sure you don't have a leak as your sax and mouthpiece are very good for a student level player. IMO I think you should be concentrating on your throat/embouchure position and shape for your low register, not GAS. A good way to start to do this is by playing F2-F1, E2-E1, Eb2-Eb1, D2-D1, Db2-Db1, C2-C1, B2-B1, Bb2-Bb1 without using the octave key (using F1-Bb1 fingering) and use your throat/relaxation of your chops to allow the note to drop the octave with no tension at any time. Think about the following:

1. Make as big a sound as you can on the lower notes
2. Try and make the horn vibrate as much as you can on the lower notes,
3. Play as smoothly as possible throughout the exercise
4. Don't tongue to start the notes, only use your diaghram.
5. Cover the reed with your bottom lip more as you go from 2-1
6. Try and remember the position of your throat throughout
7. Think about the Hoo (who)-Haw syllables on 2-1
8. The exercise should be played at a comfortable mf
9. Use a soft(ish) reed until you get used to the exercise

Here is the exercise for you to print, plus more advanced exercises when you have mastered the first ones.

Let me know how you get on
 

Attachments

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kaleher

New Member
Messages
6
Many thanks for the advice kev. I'll check out those mouthpieces you quoted (while still practicing with the 4c).
 

kaleher

New Member
Messages
6
Many thanks Thomas, I am fortunate to have a woodwind repair guy not far from me who could check it out. No leaks so far but I will bear in mind your advice here.
 

kaleher

New Member
Messages
6
I didnt realise how much help I would receive on just joining this site and I am so gratefull to you, and all, who have given good and valuable advice here. Ive taken on board all comments here and will try to work thro'. them. I do realise its hard work at the begining and Im trying to do things the right way (dont want to try to jump too far unnecessarily) and everything said here makes sense. I may just see if the wider mouthpiece benefits and it wont be 'breaking the bank' too much for say a yam 6c or rico 5. If they are not an improvement then I'll stick with the 4c for now. I will be trying all the other advice tho'. and once again thank you so much for it (thanks for the attachment Malcom). Now back to practice. (oh, just one question, several have mentioned 'GAS', I'm not very good when it comes to abreviations-just trying to get used to the sax ones. Could anyone please enlighten me.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

Afflication causing sax players to want/covet/buy gear they don't need, can't afford and must have.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I'd also add the Runyon 22 mouthpiece to your list of possible mouthpieces - probably at #7 facing (0.090" ) They are just over £30 and pro standard - Charlie Parker played the Alto equivalent most of the time. Welcome to the forum by the way!

Kind regards
Tom
 

Rikki

Member
Messages
205
Hi,

I dont think the mouthpiece is your problem, but as already pointed out playing too hard a reed too early does not help (we've all done it!). A couple things I will mention, if not already, is stance and ligature position. Try altering the height of the sax on yer strap, for me I have it set so stood pefectly upright the mouthpiece goes in comfortably without me tipping my head back. just try it and see if it make s a difference. Another thing that affectr low notes particularly is any restriction on the reed vibrating. This can often be down to 2 things:Having the ligature too tight and also if it is in the wrong position for the reed you are using.

In my limited experience the ligature should be just tight enough to stop the reed moving about on the MP. In my case I found the ligature needs to be well down on the legere reed I am using or the low notes are restricted (also makes the high notes brighter and easier btw). In any case experiment a bit with these issues above and might find things a bit easier, and maybe more impact than spending a fortune on a more expensive mouthpiece (save the money for when you can do it all on the Yamaha MP but want to add a bit of personallity to your tone!).

Best regards Rikki
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Rikki!

The only reservation I have about what you say about mouthpieces - all the rest is excellent advice - is that it assumes that the Yamaha 4C mouthpiece is "right" to start on. I would recommend that you will only know what is "right" by having at least one alternative. Several people have said that a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece may be pretty good for a teenager starting out but may be too small for an adult (just as in trumpet playing the Bach 7C is the recommended starter - but is often way too small for adult learners, as I found to my own cost when I started - much more difficulty with range, which was vastly improved by a much bigger mouthpiece!).

Having a mouthpiece of 0.080 - 0.095" would help clarify the situation and give a choice with the various strength reeds that the OP has available. A Rico B3 (0.085") or Runyon 22 (#5 @ 0.080" or #6 @ 0.085") may well be worth getting as an inexpensive choice. Lots of folks recommend trying out a few saxes to see what works best, and having an alternative mouthpiece can really help at the start. Interestingly when I bought my Yanagisawa T901 it came with a Yani HR 6 @ 0.085". I bought a Vandoren Java T55 @ 0.098" and found the larger tip opening more to my liking (I now play 0.112" openings).

Other than this I thought that what you said about ligatures was spot on!
Kind regards

Tom
 
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Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I am inclined to agree with Tom on this one. I worked out with a great deal of effort that the Yamaha 4C and other mouthpieces with similar tip openings really are meant for young learners. Adult learners seem to be able to benefit from openings at least the equivalent of a Yamaha 6C or 7C if the appropriate reed is chosen. But I imagine that it is easy to go too far.
 
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