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M/Pieces - Ligs Testing JodyJazz HR* - Alto sax

StebaSax

New Member
Messages
23
So, after years of loyalty to my Meyer 5M on Alto (which sounds beautifully to me using a Hemke or Java Green box with a Rovner dark ligature), I suffered from a severe episode of GAS and cheated on a new mouthpiece.
The excuse was to find something not too different from my Meyer, but could allow me to be a bit louder and cut through ensembles with drums, electric guitars and bass as in the jazz workshops I attend. Therefore, I was fatally attracted to the Jody Jazz HR* 6.

Matching this mouthpiece to the proper ligature and reeds was an interesting experience. It comes with a Rico H metal ligature: an elegant looking piece of metal, but I'm not sure it's the best ligature for this mouthpiece. To start with, it doesn't feel grippy enough on the Jody Jazz and comes off easily when adjusting the mouthpiece position on the neck if you touch it unintentionally (hoping I am fitting it correctly). Interestingly, this ligature goes along quite well with my Meyer. The Rovner that I have on my Meyer, on the other hand, makes the reeds squeak (probably because it's an old one and stretched to fit the Meyer).

Matching the reeds was not quite simple either: the Hemke and Java that I love on the Meyer are almost unplayable on the Jody Jazz. I then recollected I had a Rico Select Jazz 2H in some drawer, discarded because I was not impressed of how it played on the Meyer. The result was: wow! The new mouthpiece was now making my saxophone singing out loud, with precise and confident intonation even at fortissimo. That was what I was looking for.

Matching the mouthpiece with the best ligature is another story, I leave it for the next chapter (and next GAS episode...). I also wish to use a Legere as an alternative reed, but the ligature provided is simply not grippy enough for that.

I am writing this just to share my experience. Has any of you any suggestion on what works best on this mouthpiece?

That's what I've learned from this experience:

Lesson #1:
There's no mouthpiece like your old, faithful mouthpiece. You know what it takes to make it happy and get along with it.
A change, even for better, requires new testing and retraining your embouchure a bit. All time that can be devoted to practice or playing good music.

Lesson #2:
Mouthpieces, reeds and ligatures tend to form strictly closed cliques: what goes along with my Meyer (Hemke, Java) sounds disappointing on the JJ, and the other way round. Does anyone have the same impression?
 

Mostlytenor

Member
Messages
66
I haven't had the ligature issues you have had. I find that Rovners adapt to the mouthpieces I have but I'm talking about going from one type of Selmer mouthpiece to another.
I found that the reed I was using for my Selmer S80 D, a Leger Signature 2.75 was much harder work on a Selmer Soloist mpc with the same tip opening. It's a mystery to me.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,395
Lesson #2:
Mouthpieces, reeds and ligatures tend to form strictly closed cliques: what goes along with my Meyer (Hemke, Java) sounds disappointing on the JJ, and the other way round. Does anyone have the same impression?
That’s my experience too. A different mouthpiece means finding different reeds and possibly a different ligature.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,417
I have been a very infrequent alto player but suddenly find I am getting more into it. (I think one reason is that our band rehearses in studio accessed by a very narrow and windy staircase and getting an alto up there is a lot easier than a tenor.... :) )
This may or may not be reassuring to you but I have arrived at almost exactly the same set up; mine is a JJ HR7*, 2H Jazz Selects, ligature is the old 2-screw device that came with the sax - which is the very basic John Packer student model, but sounds and plays pretty good to me.
 

TootSweet

Member
Messages
34
I don‘t know if it‘s because of the mouthpiece(s) and their facing curve or because of myself as a player, but for some reason I never got along with some types of reeds like Vandoren V16, Java Red or Rico Reserve even once I found the right strength for me.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,426
In terms of ligatures, I play on a Jody Jazz Jet 7. It too came with the D'Addario H ligature. I had the same problem. It would shift if I adjusted the mouthpiece on the neck and it was very fussy and hard to position. I got a Vandoren Optimum that I love. It's easy to use, holds the reed stable and I've had no problems of any kind playing it.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,356
I've had a JJ HR alto mpc since they first became available in this country and it's one of the few mouthpieces I'd not want to part with, although my Lawton had superseded it

I used it with a normal 2 screw lig with no problem until I dropped the lig on the kitchen floor and one of the screws broke. I went out and bought another cheap 2 screw lig and it wouldn't grip the smooth surface of the mouthpiece properly, so I stuck a bit of masking tape on the upper side of the mouthpiece and that solved the problem. Since I didn't like the look of the masking tape, I cut some small pieces of tape and lined the inside of the lig with it and used that for a while until the mouthpiece roughened up a bit and the lig corroded slightly enough to grip properly. I could've just roughened up the inside of the lig and the outer surface of the mouth piece a bit with some fine emery cloth, but didn't want to do that with a new mpc.
I just tried a Rico H lig on my JJHR with the screws at the top and the H shaped bit gripping the reed and it's fine and plays as well as ever.

I never had any problems with reeds on mine, but I always tended to use ordinary, cheapest in the shop Ricos and then moved on to Fibracells
 

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
529
I have a recent experience that reflects lesson two.
I am almost exclusively a classical player, but I still do jazz band because I like jazz. None of us, regardless of instrument, actually use equipment intended for jazz playing, but I still want to experiment with different stuff.
I usually use a Vandoren OPtimum TL3 with Traditional 3.5 or 4 strength reeds (or my Legere reed which I only use in the event that all my reeds grow mold (true story) or I run out of Traditionals). Before I got my Optimum, I used a vintage Selmer Soloist C* from the school, which is considered a jazz mouthpiece. TL3 and C* are close enough tip openings, so I figured I could use the same reeds, but what I discovered was that the Traditional reeds were very difficult to use with the Soloist and the Legere incredibly easy, whereas with the Optimum (although the differences are less severe) the Traditionals are easier and the Legere harder.
 

Terrytoolpath

Member
Messages
128
Very interesting, I have a JJ HR7 which I partner with a Vandoren leather lig and usually 2.5 Vandoren Java reds ,that is until the weekend when I tried a Legere Signature 2.5 and had problems with the reed sliding around underneath the leather lig. Now with the saying “ don’t fix what ain’t broken” ringing in my ears I think I’m gonna stick with my original set up
 

Dave E

Member
Messages
135
As with some of the others above I've moved to a JJ HR (6 in my case) for my alto sax about a year ago. I also shifted to Fibracell about 8 months ago and continue to use these mostly; usually a 3.5 but I am about to try out a 3. I'm happy with the set-up for all types of music. I have tried a Legere reed but only on my tenor (JJ Jet 8) and found that it wasn't clamping properly with the Rico H ligature so used 2 x mouthpiece saver pads to build up the thickness of the reed stock. Now it clamps OK with the Rico lig although I don't know how long the pads will last before they crush and split although so far so good.
 

David Dorning

Senior Member
Subscriber
Messages
670
I have JJ HR mps for sop and alto. I also abandoned the Rico ligs. They work fine if you have time to ensure precise alignment but that can be difficult because they easily slip. I now use Rovners. For me Marca American Vintage reeds work well with the alto piece.
 
OP
S

StebaSax

New Member
Messages
23
Thanks everyone for the replies.

In the end, the JJ HR 6 and the Select Jazz 2H make a wonderful setup for me. I have the same experience as @David Dorning, it takes too much patience (and time) for my own taste to obtain a proper alignment with the provided ligature.

I now got an additional ligature that works well with the Legere as well, as a back up setup. It's a BG Duo: I know, it's pricey and it basically ends my GAS budget for the next months. But it's a well engineered piece of hardware, fits well and firmly around the mouthpiece and doesn't apply too much pressure on any reed.
 

Alexandra

Member
Subscriber
Messages
83
Hi all

I'm reigniting this thread! I'm using my Jody Jazz HR 6 and am having real ligature issues! The Vandoren Optimum that's served me well on Selmer, Theo Wanne, Vandoren MP's etc, is a very tight fit on my JJ. It goes down as far as the stock starting point and stops there. The top practically touches the bare reed (shoulder)!! I like a bit more breathing space for my reeds. I'm using ZZ 2.5s and Rigotti Gold Jazz 2.5 strong.

Any suggestions? Has anyone else had this issue? I don't like the Rico H lig; I agree with the above comments about problems with this setup. I have a BG standard but want metal ideally. I've tried the BG Duo and that lig doesn't seem to fit a single alto MP in my experience! Thanks,

Alex
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

Well-Known Member
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1,040
I had similar issues with a D’Addario Select MP using Rigotti reeds even with the Rico H ligature. In the end I got This. Took 3 weeks to arrive but does the job perfectly, looks pretty natty too! I know its not the same MP but for less than a fiver?
 

Alexandra

Member
Subscriber
Messages
83
Thanks for the recommendation. For that amount of money it's definitely worth giving it a go. If only all ligatures were all so reasonably priced!
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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1,040
Since I bought mine I note there are several similar ones for sale copper silver plate etc. Here is a picture of mine with a 2.5 Rigotti reed in place. looks a pretty snug fit!

ligature.jpg
 
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Alexandra

Member
Subscriber
Messages
83
Is the MO a larger lig than the Optimum do you know? The Optimum is just too tight for my JJ HR.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

Well-Known Member
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Messages
1,040
I’m firmly in the “ligatures matter” camp. The Vandoren MO sings true for me. The rest are gathering dust.
I am now in the ligatures don"t matter (much) camp! After too many years of GAS currently languishing in a draw 2X FL ligs + plates @ £71 = each, Vandoren Optimun @ £81, BG Duo @ £95. BG Traditional (gold plate) @ £132 plus numerous assorted Rovners.. Currently happily using provided Otto links originals, Single screw Selmers and the odd Cheapy Chinese brass.

I note that the Vandoren M|O is available in both gold and aged gold so you can pretend you've had it forever, snake oil or what? Still if you can afford it and it makes you feel good and happy go for it.
 
Saxholder Pro

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