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M/Pieces - Ligs Types of mouthpiece: volume

Robin

New Member
Messages
9
Hi,

I'm new to the sax. I've played for maybe two hours, so early days you could say!

The first thing I noticed was how LOUD the sax is. I already play the flute, so I have a head start on the fingering, but am actually rather worried that I won't be able to keep this up given housemates and neighbours.

The DVD the shopkeeper gave me with my instrument mentioned that you can choose combinations of mouthpiece, ligature and reed to suit your style. 'Projection' (which I interpret to mean 'volume' - correct if wrong please) was one of the qualities that can be tweaked apparently.

I've searched briefly but can't find information on the quietest mouthpieces available.

Does someone out there have any tips for quiet playing?

I discovered the 'stuff something soft down the bell' trick on my own but its only a 20% reduction maybe. I also read about quiet boxes, but I'm particularly interested to know if there's a head joint related solution.

Many thanks,

Robin
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
Anything that's marketed as a classical mouthpiece or reed will be the quietest you can get. Then, of course, you have to learn how to play quietly. Apart from stuffing it in a big bag there is no other solution. Beware of always practising quietly, though - you'll never get the hang of playing loud.
 

saxplorer

Senior Member
Messages
879
Agree with Nick. At family's request I played as quietly as possible when I first learned. Then when it came time to play with a band, I tried to belt it out, and everything just went quiet, the reed just choked at the big moment. Some things you can play soft, some pieces need raucous, and its not just a volume knob.
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
It's has nothing to do with the mouthpiece, only with practice. With experience, you will be able to play quietly on a 'loud' mouthpiece and loud on a 'quiet' mouthpiece. When I started I was very loud, oh so very loud and I started on tenor which can be pretty loud. I had managed to tone it down after about a week of daily practice. It doesn't take long, I promise you: Everything else does though!! >:):)))

Good luck,

Martin
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Been worrying about just this. I live in among sixty orange trees and the nearest inhabited house is about a hundred yards away and anyway the Spanish dont mind a bit of noise. But I am going to downsize and that probably means a semi. When I have lived in semis before I do not remember having to creep about for fear of annoying the neighbours but I get a bit panicky when I think of playing the sax. I can play quietly, but I dont really want to. Does the sound of a normal practice sax go through a party wall? I am not bothered about other people in the house, if they dont like it she can go live in a sax free zone:))), but I dare say I should be so lucky.
Mike
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
It has nothing to do with the mouthpiece,
Um...

Excuse me while I disagree with this.

If that were true then you'd never need more than one mouthpiece. Trying to play loud, raucous rock and roll on a Selmer C* is just as daft as trying to play Bozza's Aria on a Dukoff D9.
 

Alley Cat

Member
Messages
64
Hi,
I've searched briefly but can't find information on the quietest mouthpieces available.
Generally speaking, a mouthpiece with high baffle, (like a little step just inside, behind the tip) and a small chamber, will be capable of producing a more penetrating tone than a mouthpiece with no baffle
and a large chamber. The material the mouthpiece is made from can have some influence over whether the tone is dark, warm, bright or penetrating. Some players will say hard rubber mouthpieces are "warmer" than metal ones but the chamber, and baffle, will usually have more effect than the material a
mouthpiece is made from. Cheap plastic mouthpieces always sound a bit bright to me. A Jody Jazz hard rubber m/p is one example of a mouthpiece that has a "warm/dark" tone but there are plenty of others. What mouthpiece are you playing a the moment ?

I believe, like some of the other people who have replied to this thread, that trying to play only quietly is a big mistake. It will limit your development as a player. I bet your housemates and neighbours do things that irritate you. Get your own back. Don't worry about it. One day you could be a great player. Better to find a time of day when your playing will cause the least annoyance and, until you're threatened by someone holding a knife, just press on. Good luck.
 
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ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
Um...

Excuse me while I disagree with this.

If that were true then you'd never need more than one mouthpiece. Trying to play loud, raucous rock and roll on a Selmer C* is just as daft as trying to play Bozza's Aria on a Dukoff D9.
I agree....I had to move on from a yamaha 4c when I joined a band as I couldn't get the volume I need, plus I was struggling with higher notes - they were pretty strangled. :)
 

BUMNOTE

Senior Member
Messages
573
I agree with Nick and AlleyCat,PLAY LOUD AND PROUD....I live in a flat have neighbours above me and next door too me,this may sound selfish but how i see it is...i work 12hour shifts doing a job i dont like and may lose in 6months time,i look forward to getting home and playing my sax,it maybe 7pm sometimes but i dont think that is too late,also i dont live in a monastery.Anyway i get annoyed at there cats doing there buisnness on my lawn but i cant stop them,unless i can catch them and find a new home for my pad saver!!!Keep on blowing.Dave
 

Alley Cat

Member
Messages
64
Anyway i get annoyed at there cats doing there buisnness on my lawn but i cant stop them,unless i can catch them and find a new home for my pad saver!!! Dave
Bloody right you won't catch me ! Not when you're out at work all day. You won't be making my eyes water with your frigging pad saver. Frankly, all lawns, flower beds and kids sandpits are an open invitation to us cats.
 
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allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
gee robin
lots of replies
not sure any of them helpful
they sure are funny though!!!!!!!!
heres another one ..... give your neighbours some earplugs.ha ha ha ha
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It takes a while to master volume. The sax is loud and was designed to be loud, in the days before amplification. Most beginners can only get a sound out of the sax at full volume. (Which is probably why we started in the first place).

Loudness comes from the distance the reed moves as it vibrates. If you progressively close the reed with your lower lip, while blowing less air, but at the same pressure/speed, the sax gets a lot quieter. Trick is to keep the reed vibrating, and the pitch the same by fine ari control and not too excessive reed closure at first. As a flute player you should have the breathing under control, so it should be relatively easy for you, but your lip muscles won't really have the strength yet, I'd guess.
 

Jack

Member
Messages
123
when first learning the Sax, you must take care for friends, relatives and small animals!
 

Robin

New Member
Messages
9
Thanks for all the replies - I'll see if the sax shop has any special mouthpieces, but in the mean time, I'm just going to try not to care (and practice during socialble hours).

p.s. Sax teacher in Cambridge needed :)
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
Same as you I was shocked at how loud the sax is! I expect this to improve, luckily the house is detached, so I can more-or-less avoid upsetting the neighbours, provided I keep the windows closed. With our recent weather, that is not a challenge at 13C outside yesterday afternoon!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Thanks for all the replies - I'll see if the sax shop has any special mouthpieces, but in the mean time, I'm just going to try not to care (and practice during socialble hours).

p.s. Sax teacher in Cambridge needed :)
Hi Robin!

Do look up www.musicteachers.co.uk and search for saxophone teachers in Cambridgeshire. Ring one or two and see how they relate and whether they play/teach the sort of music that you want to play. If they sound just right then arrange an introductory lesson and think about whether it is the right teacher for you.

Good luck
Tom

There are 24 listed in the county!
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
Um...

Excuse me while I disagree with this.

If that were true then you'd never need more than one mouthpiece. Trying to play loud, raucous rock and roll on a Selmer C* is just as daft as trying to play Bozza's Aria on a Dukoff D9.
Yes I realise that one mouthpiece does not do the whole job but we are talking here about someone new to the game, my point is that with any mouthpiece one can play quiet and loud. I am aware that other mouthpieces will allow one to play very loud but I am just talking about the differential on a single mouthpiece here. I use two mouthpieces, one for classical music and one for everything else so one doesn't need a whole raft of mp's.

Martin
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
A thinner reed makes it easier to play quieter and harder to play louder. It should be no bigger deal than that in the beginning. Please don't mess with different mouthpieces until you feel you are getting the hang of it. A reed is a couple of pounds. A mouthpiece might set you back a couple of hundred.
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
764
Good luck JJW: I live in what could be described as a 'mid-terrace', a short distance South of you, and have found that the insulation (sound AND heat!) in most modern Spanish houses is virtually non-existent. The 'party wall' is just one thickenss of 'air-brick' with plaster on each side .... I think one could nearly hear if the neighbours broke wind :)))
And my further-away neighbours say they canhear my practising....fortunately that is not in the form of a complaint; in fact they say they can hear a definite improvement :)
Fortunately, for much of the year, the houses on either side of me are unoccupied!
Otherwise I just try to practise at 'reasonable times' .... and ask them occasionally if I am disturbing them.

I used ....when I was a 'real beginner'..... to go out into the campo (the 'countryside') and practise in my car :)
Now my honking is, I hope, a bit less offensive...
Been worrying about just this. I live in among sixty orange trees and the nearest inhabited house is about a hundred yards away and anyway the Spanish dont mind a bit of noise. But I am going to downsize and that probably means a semi. When I have lived in semis before I do not remember having to creep about for fear of annoying the neighbours but I get a bit panicky when I think of playing the sax. I can play quietly, but I dont really want to. Does the sound of a normal practice sax go through a party wall? I am not bothered about other people in the house, if they dont like it she can go live in a sax free zone:))), but I dare say I should be so lucky.
Mike
 
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Robin

New Member
Messages
9
Follow up for any other beginners reading this: Practice did help, but pro sources I spoke to in person did not think much the possibility of switching mouthpieces to lower volume. I did buy 'Sax Mute' which is a set of three orange foam inserts that go in various parts of the sax. This gave maybe a perceived 40% reduction in volume, mainly attenuating the higher frequency components (making the overal timbre very 'dead' sounding). It also makes the instrument a bit harder to play. A bit of a rip-off at £36 but not completely useless.

Not caring is the best answer, as with most things in life.
 
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