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Beginner Two mouthpieces? Or stick to one?

dave 645

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Let me explain. I have been learning with a yamaha 4c, works fine, enjoying it, no concerns there.

Then I start reading about different mouthpieces, and metal mouthpieces, and there is a sale of mouthpieces in Howarths of London, and so I go to Howarths and buy a metal mouthpiece. At this point I apologise if you were in the shop at the same time as I made a truly awful racket trying several metal mouthpieces. Eventually I chose a Brancher J21, gold plated. My wife said it was the least painful to listen to.

I rushed home, set it up, and started squealing away, with the occassional tone that I wanted more of.

So my question. Should I concentrate solely on the new mouthpiece, and work on the tighter, narrower, embouchure, or is it okay to mix it up? Is it good to switch mid practice between mouthpieces, or even use alternate mouthpieces on alternate days?

Anybody that has been through the process of switching mouthpieces care to share their experiences?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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...Eventually I chose a Brancher J21, gold plated. My wife said it was the least painful to listen to. I rushed home, set it up, and started squealing away, with the occassional tone that I wanted more of.
:))) :))) :))) I think we've all been there.....

So my question. Should I concentrate solely on the new mouthpiece, and work on the tighter, narrower, embouchure, or is it okay to mix it up? Is it good to switch mid practice between mouthpieces, or even use alternate mouthpieces on alternate days?

Anybody that has been through the process of switching mouthpieces care to share their experiences?
It extends to playing the alto and the tenor one after the other....

If you're comfrotable with the yamaha, then doing this shouldn't cause any problems. BUt it may hold you back a touch. I went through a few pieces before settling on the PPT for tenor, but I still play the others every now and again. I'Ve found it good to play the alto, then when my mouth gets tired, switch to tenor which is easier to blow. Like driving a different car, you need to adjust, but it's OK for me.
 
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TomMapfumo

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5,219
Brancher mouthpieces are excellent - I play a J15 on my soprano sax. IMO It would be best to prioritise your Brancher as a larger tip mouthpiece, and a more expressive one. The differences in tip opening are quite significant (Brancher is 0.082", and Yamaha 0.066" - or 6* compared to 4). It should not be a problem which you play but the Brancher is more likely to facilitate your embouchure development and tone/sound. Sometimes mouthpiece choice is about choice of sound - I have 2 Ponzol HR mouthpieces (0.070", and 0.085"), which give a similar sound but the smaller is brighter, and the larger is darker - depends what sound you want for what piece of music.

You maybe find, as Kev says, that you may need to play a smaller tip opening when your endurance is under threat but you want to keep practising, in which case the Yamaha may be a useful substitute.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

dave 645

Member
Messages
124
Hi Tom,

So brancher until I am tired and then switch to Yamaha? That's what I did today. Yamaha feels easy after the brancher
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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You'll probably need a softer reed on the Brancher than you're using on the Yamaha..
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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If you find your embouchure's tighter then you might want to try a softer reed. Tight embouchures are not good. Wide tip openings are not necessarily harder to play on.
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
Well I would, personally.........! Also, it can be useful when practicing to take 10 minute breaks, to allow your embouchure to recover. But you generally find that you need to stop after a while when playing a larger tip opening, as if you are doing the lip equivalent of body building.

How would you describe the sound of the Brancher, and is it the sound that you want............?

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
Softer Reed!!!!!!!! As the boys above rightly suggest. I would use a 2/2.5 reed on that size mouthpiece, and probably try a 2 first.

Kr
T:cool:
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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But you generally find that you need to stop after a while when playing a larger tip opening, as if you are doing the lip equivalent of body building.
Interestingly I find the exact opposite.:)

Every so often I play tenor with an old Selmer soloist (E) and find it an awful lot harder than the Guardala MBII I usually play (or the Runyon Quantum 16 that's the backup).

Tis probably something to do with the style of music played on each. Playing loud with a tip opening you can drive a train through is a doddle - it's the quiet stuff that kills me.

<edit again> There are limits though. Gary Barnacle's got a Guardala (I think a Super King) that he's had opened up to about twice the original. It's totally outrageous and the only way you can play it is to be totally committed and give it loads of air. It's the loudest thing I've ever played by quite a long way but I couldn't imagine using it for a whole gig.
 
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dooce

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1,418
Tis probably something to do with the style of music played on each. Playing loud with a tip opening you can drive a train through is a doddle - it's the quiet stuff that kills me.
Same here. Played a 2+ hour gig last night and the loud growly rock and roll solos were a relief from the lightweight pussy-footing around in the background of the Bacharach songs we do. I have a Brancher also, but it is a metal B31. I think I might have bought it because the dark nickel finish matches my Cannonball tenor (yeh, sad I know). Very loud but it's certainly not an easy play and the HR Berg I have acquired since knocks spots off it for sound and playability.

However, I think in terms of your question Dave, go for it. It's all good experience and I reckon so long as you put the hours in, learning to deal with different mps certainly isn't going to do you any harm.
 

dave 645

Member
Messages
124
How would you describe the sound of the Brancher, and is it the sound that you want............?

Hi Tom, Thanks for the info. Let me just check,
1) The brancher has a wider tip opening than the yamaha, and this is the distance from the MP to the reed, as opposed to the width of the reed.
2) A wider tip opening makes for a "larger" sound, and thus playing quiter is harder to control.
3) Playing the brancher will advance my embouchure control sooner than the yamaha?

So to answer your question regarding the sound of the brancher, not sure of the words to use. Having played the brancher for a while, it feel as if the sound of the yamaha was a little deeper/duller; so the brancher was cleaner/crisper. At the same time I am also conscious of my teacher telling me to try and play quieter, which in itself changes the mood of my playing. Too many changes at once maybe.

All part of the learning process, and the input of people with more experience than me is always well received. Thanks to all for taking the time
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
Hi Guys!

My comment only applies to beginning sax players who start at small tip level and move up to a larger tip opening, or play a harder reed - no intention of commenting on more experienced players like yourselves, who may very well play wide tip openings as a norm, and have a variety of experiences to draw on.

Lots of Love
Tom:cool:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
How would you describe the sound of the Brancher, and is it the sound that you want............?

Hi Tom, Thanks for the info. Let me just check................3) Playing the brancher will advance my embouchure control sooner than the yamaha?
Hi There!

I think that the Brancher would maybe strengthen your embouchure a little quicker but would be more difficult to control than the Yamaha 4C if your teacher wants you to play in a quieter, more controlled fashion. With a soft enough reed it s likely that the Brancher will have a more vibrant sound, and a broader palette of tone and colour. Given what you say it may be an idea to play both as necessary so as to develop your sound on several fronts.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:

Your other observations are spot on about tip opening - the bigger the gap between the reed and mouthpiece the stronger your embouchure/breath control needs to be to produce a good sound, and also the more likely you are to produce a louder sound if that is what you want. Playing quiet is perfectly possible but needs good control.
 
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ManEast

Member
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203
Just One

Hi
With all due respect. I would not put you in the direction of the J21. This M.P. would be fine for an intermediate player that had already learnt how to project on a standard low baffle M.P....Like your Yamaha. All you should of done was get a Yamaha ebonite 6.
Have you had a chat with your teacher about this stuff ??

A M.P' Like the J21 is a sound style choice and even then I am confused as to why they would ref to it as a Jazz model. R&B yes, jazz no. They are not alone in doing this.??

Now there are those peep's that will want to jump all over my bones about this. I am not out to hack anyone off... So just to let you guys Know, I spent second half of the 80s blowing on a metal Dukoff Alto 6M...
That was a sound concept choice, that I considered hip at that time."Foolish Boy that I was!":))) Na...It was quite cool then... Until Kenny Garrett came along and did it bigger,better,darker,fatter,higher,louder,and all on a H.R. Selmer Soloist
"now that is cool!"

Way before then My teacher had me on a H.R. Selmer M.P's for years.

I now Play a Brilhart 6* That is not unlike your Yamaha M.P's

Rix
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
Hi Rix!

Fair points.

The usual delineation of a mouthpiece as a "Jazz" one is for me usually to distinguish it from "Classical". Commonly also "Jazz" mouthpieces are also distinguished from "Studio" (LeBayle) & "Bright" (Brancher) as being a more rounded/centred/calmer tone rather than lively (a la Lawton, Dukoff etc.).

I play a Brancher J15 on soprano, and tried a J29 on Tenor and it produces a more rounded tone than my V16 S6 HR/V16 T8 HR, and a less dull sound than my old Yani HR6's. I have also played the "Bright" model on soprano - much livelier than the more sober "Jazz" IMO, and more suitable for anything raucous...!

The issue of when to play a larger tip is a subjective one, and it may be best to follow what the teacher says. I started on an Alto 6 mouthpiece as an absolute beginner, never played a Yamaha or Selmer C*, and primarily play 6 - 7* sized pieces now.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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ManEast

Member
Messages
203
Hi Ya Tom.

If you started as an adult,then I think the person that put you onto a 6 was bang-on. Nr all of my Alto students play A Vandoren V16 A6M OR A6S...or like!
I have always considered the 4c a Child's M.P. Unless of course you later by choice go for that Very hard reed small tip thing, that is still used by a good handful pro players.
I have never had a problem getting person over the age of 13 to produce a reasonable sound out of a 2 reed on a Standard Six. " with lots of room to step-up on reeds"

I have not seen the Vandoren Sop M.P. Sop M.P's tend to be a law unto themselves. Just take a look at the Otto Link STM sop M.P....nothing like the Alto and Tenor STM.

Cheers

Rix
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Cheers Rix!

I'm not sure how old Dave is but he does refer to his wife in his first post on this thread...........I assume he is an adult of some description!

Kind regards
Tom:cool:

Back to trumpet practice............;}
 

dave 645

Member
Messages
124
Rix and Tom,

Allow me to clarify, I am an adult, those others would argue, aged 39. I started playing sax 5 months ago, can't drive so a sports car was out of the question. I taught myself from play along a books, and last week had my first ever lesson. The teacher asked me to play a "b", I looked blankly and explained if he could describe where it came on the lines I could play it. He heard me play and then said I was loud and I should work on long notes, gradually decreasing the volume as I extended the note.

Rix, he had nothing to do with my decision to buy a brancher.

Having read a couple of topics here, regarding metal mouthpieces, I went to the shop and tried a few. The brancher was the one I liked the most. It was entirely my choice, based on 3 minutes playing experience. Today played better than yesterday. For me just the difference in embouchure required is helping me to learn, and at this stage learning is fun, so it can't be bad, right?
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
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3,661
Dave , the term ENJOYMENT and FUN are a must in the art of learning/playing tha sax. As long as YOUR doing that, and improving a bit at the same time, then it matters not what others think.

This post is not a dig at anyone who has given advice, it is simply to clarify that some people think that you must follow a certain path to reach your goal. But if the path you choose gets you there and you enjoy it then keep walking my friend!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
Taz, its great that your earlier success has not gone to your head! Good advice about "...keep walking..." especially as Dave doesn't drive!;}

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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