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Mouthpieces Tip Opening and Tone

Ivan

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I have long held in my mind @Pete Thomas's comments about the tonal qualities of the PPT tenor according to choice of tip opening

Is it usual for different tip openings on the same mouthpiece to affect tone and are there some general rules (or concepts) about what happens as the opening increases/decreases?

Do dynamics change appreciably and are there any other qualities that one might have thought of?
 

Pete Thomas

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I have long held in my mind @Pete Thomas's comments about the tonal qualities of the PPT tenor according to choice of tip opening

Is it usual for different tip openings on the same mouthpiece to affect tone and are there some general rules (or concepts) about what happens as the opening increases/decreases?

Do dynamics change appreciably and are there any other qualities that one might have thought of?
My opinion on that is in regard to mouthpiece with a high(ish) baffle. If the baffle remains the same and tip opening changes, then the tonal effect of the baffle will change. However, I imagine that if the ratio of baffle height to tip opening was related, then there would be less change.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
I've always thought that the wider the tip opening, the more room the reed has to vibrate giving the player a greater range for the embouchure to pick from. Limited by what the embouchure can handle. Some players seem to have very powerful chops. We can improve what we have but are limited by what we are given.
 

Pete Thomas

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the more room the reed has to vibrate giving

I think this may not be so much related to tip opening per se, but also related to facing curve. Due to the reed as it hits the tip rails causing a bit more "buzz." And this is also related to how hard you are blowing.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
Yes. Shape and length of curve make a big difference. I like the Selmer S80. The bigger tip openings have a longer curve. The bigger ones are a different animal completely.
 

Hamfist

Member
Messages
69
Locality
Southampton, UK
I have long held in my mind @Pete Thomas's comments about the tonal qualities of the PPT tenor according to choice of tip opening

Is it usual for different tip openings on the same mouthpiece to affect tone and are there some general rules (or concepts) about what happens as the opening increases/decreases?

Do dynamics change appreciably and are there any other qualities that one might have thought of?

Such a great question Ivan. I can add no wisdom to the conversation but it is something I am very interested in right now. I am an alto player of many years and have played a 0.075" tip for the last 25 years (at least - I forget before that). However, I am currently investigating mouthpieces as I feel my embouchure is fairly mature and am interested about the effects of different MPs. I am nervous to spend money on any hugely wider openings, so am being conservative in my choices of tip openings in the MPs I am trying. I seem to be fine with a 0.080 but should I try significantly larger openings ? I'm just not sure, also not sure of what I might expect from them. I will be watching this thread with interest.
 

motteatoj

New Member
Messages
10
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Yonkers, NY
I am having this same experience now with bari, and a bit on tenor too.
I went to try out two bari mpcs in NYC, one smaller than i was used to, one significantly larger.
I play a Durga 3 8* (.115) but wanted to try a Ted Klum, however, was only in a 9 (.125).

I found the Klum to be amazing and a lot easier to play than I had thought, but did not want to sink the $500 to find I bought the wrong mpc in the long run (playtesting for a few minutes is not the best way to decide on a $500 mpc that is not 'perfect for me'. Sadly, Ted does not have the ones in stock I was looking for to test, so I wait.

Similarly, I also tried a Morgan Jazz GM that was only a 7 (.095). Played it fine, did not like tone.

All that said, it had me start to question what size is really right for me, and trickled over to tenor.
I picked up the GS Reso 7* (normally play a 6* Gaia 3 and a Brillhart HR refaced by Brian Powell to the same .095) yet with a bit of work, the GS Reso really sings! And now I am thinking i want the Brillhart opened up just a tad to .100, yet the Gaia still feels perfect. I've measured them all so I know they are sized right.

Net/net - this is why we end up with drawers full of mpcs and keep bouncing around. Between mpc availability to test, reed strength and the never ending quest for 'that sound' or 'sounds', it is part of the equation of playing sax.
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
589
Locality
Belgium
I am an alto player of many years and have played a 0.075" tip for the last 25 years (at least - I forget before that). However, I am currently investigating mouthpieces as I feel my embouchure is fairly mature and am interested about the effects of different MPs. I am nervous to spend money on any hugely wider openings, so am being conservative in my choices of tip openings in the MPs I am trying. I seem to be fine with a 0.080 but should I try significantly larger openings ? I'm just not sure, also not sure of what I might expect from them. I will be watching this thread with interest.
I have no experience on alto, I play tenor mainly (got a bari in February). About 2 years ago I wanted to get a more open mouthpiece. So I made the step from my Soloist D (opening 80) to a Otto link 7 (opening 100). When I tested in the shop, I had no problems playing it. But when I played it at home, my embouchure got tired rather quickly. so I started using lighter reeds and building up my strength. I was very pleased with the new mouthpiece because I had more flexibility on it than before on my Soloist.
About a month ago my teacher suggested that I would use a stronger reed. I got my old reeds back out, and indeed, got a better sound out of it (certainly for the higher notes).
Bottom line, don't be afraid of getting a significantly larger mouthpiece if your chops are mature.
IMHO of course .....
 

Ivan

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I hope to lure @Phil for his experience on different tip openings on the same mouthpiece and whether they affect tone
 

Hamfist

Member
Messages
69
Locality
Southampton, UK
I have no experience on alto, I play tenor mainly (got a bari in February). About 2 years ago I wanted to get a more open mouthpiece. So I made the step from my Soloist D (opening 80) to a Otto link 7 (opening 100). When I tested in the shop, I had no problems playing it. But when I played it at home, my embouchure got tired rather quickly. so I started using lighter reeds and building up my strength. I was very pleased with the new mouthpiece because I had more flexibility on it than before on my Soloist.
About a month ago my teacher suggested that I would use a stronger reed. I got my old reeds back out, and indeed, got a better sound out of it (certainly for the higher notes).
Bottom line, don't be afraid of getting a significantly larger mouthpiece if your chops are mature.
IMHO of course .....
THanks Wonko, your experience is all useful. I suspect I will be taking the plunge at some point.
 

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
854
Locality
Black Forest
Watch out for diminishing returns. Most folks tap out at about a 6-7 tip opening but it also depends on where you live. Lower elevation - larger opening and stiffer reed. Try playing a #4 reed with a 7 tip at 9000 ft elevation and you'll be lucky to get a meh out of your horn unless you want to end up with lock jaw.
I am having this same experience now with bari, and a bit on tenor too.
I went to try out two bari mpcs in NYC, one smaller than i was used to, one significantly larger.
I play a Durga 3 8* (.115) but wanted to try a Ted Klum, however, was only in a 9 (.125).

I found the Klum to be amazing and a lot easier to play than I had thought, but did not want to sink the $500 to find I bought the wrong mpc in the long run (playtesting for a few minutes is not the best way to decide on a $500 mpc that is not 'perfect for me'. Sadly, Ted does not have the ones in stock I was looking for to test, so I wait.

Similarly, I also tried a Morgan Jazz GM that was only a 7 (.095). Played it fine, did not like tone.

All that said, it had me start to question what size is really right for me, and trickled over to tenor.
I picked up the GS Reso 7* (normally play a 6* Gaia 3 and a Brillhart HR refaced by Brian Powell to the same .095) yet with a bit of work, the GS Reso really sings! And now I am thinking i want the Brillhart opened up just a tad to .100, yet the Gaia still feels perfect. I've measured them all so I know they are sized right.

Net/net - this is why we end up with drawers full of mpcs and keep bouncing around. Between mpc availability to test, reed strength and the never ending quest for 'that sound' or 'sounds', it is part of the equation of playing sax.
Are you back to playing? I got a little busier than I hoped but I still want to send you some stuff next week
 

Colin the Bear

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16,306
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Burnley bb9 9dn
Well...if altitude affects playabilty perhaps we should all have a fair and foul weather pieces. Thinking about it I do find it easier to find my sound on an overcast day.
 

LostCircuits

Member
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854
Locality
Black Forest
Well...if altitude affects playabilty perhaps we should all have a fair and foul weather pieces. Thinking about it I do find it easier to find my sound on an overcast day.
Come to Colorado and try playing in the summer at 90 degrees and 3% humidity. It's pretty much a losing battle unless you have a plasticover or synthetic reed but that wasn't the point. I live at 7500 ft and my cabin is at 9300 ft and if I go and play "downtown" in the true sense of the word, it is at 6000 ft. And the differences are very noticeable and reproducible. We often have guest musicians at the symphony, including vocalists who can't seem to find their voice for a few days and similar goes for horn players.
 

Phil

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1,230
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France
There are general rules about tip openings and tone but keep in mind all genera rules are there to be broken. Its pretty common to assume bigger tip openings are darker...especially if they are not offset by additional baffle. High baffle pieces can become shrill at small tips (like they arent already shrill).

Aside from brightness and darkness pieces with a rollover...say a link...they have a different color and quality in smaller tips than larger ones. Some players really love links with small tips. They have a different buzz than big tips. When you think about it, it make sense. The reed on a small tip opening hits the tip rail more times per second than on a big opening. This creates a different quality of sound.

Also, big tips tend to be a little more spread than small tips.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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8,160
Locality
Peeblesshire
There are general rules about tip openings and tone but keep in mind all genera rules are there to be broken. Its pretty common to assume bigger tip openings are darker...especially if they are not offset by additional baffle. High baffle pieces can become shrill at small tips (like they arent already shrill).

Aside from brightness and darkness pieces with a rollover...say a link...they have a different color and quality in smaller tips than larger ones. Some players really love links with small tips. They have a different buzz than big tips. When you think about it, it make sense. The reed on a small tip opening hits the tip rail more times per second than on a big opening. This creates a different quality of sound.

Also, big tips tend to be a little more spread than small tips.
Thanks for that @Phil
 

motteatoj

New Member
Messages
10
Locality
Yonkers, NY
Watch out for diminishing returns. Most folks tap out at about a 6-7 tip opening but it also depends on where you live. Lower elevation - larger opening and stiffer reed. Try playing a #4 reed with a 7 tip at 9000 ft elevation and you'll be lucky to get a meh out of your horn unless you want to end up with lock jaw.

Are you back to playing? I got a little busier than I hoped but I still want to send you some stuff next week
Yes finally! No surgery after all and PT has done wonders. Was thinking I needed to message you
 

johnw

Member
Messages
79
Locality
Lichfield
At a concert i heard Jim Tomlinson ( with Stacy Kent ) -incredible tone/phrasing etc -at the interval i asked about his mouthpiece and amazed he told me it was a Drake with a very small tip around 90--
 

Ivan

Undecided
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Messages
8,160
Locality
Peeblesshire
Aside from brightness and darkness pieces with a rollover...say a link...they have a different color and quality in smaller tips than larger ones. Some players really love links with small tips. They have a different buzz than big tips.
Does the mouthpiece maker keep the facing length the same across the range of tip openings?
 

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
563
Locality
Long Island
...The reed on a small tip opening hits the tip rail more times per second than on a big opening. This creates a different quality of sound....
Since the reed vibrating is what creates sound, must it oscillate at the same frequency to produce any given pitch? The speed the reed would change though, to be able to cover more distance in the same amount of time.
 
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