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Saxophones What is the best sax for big band

coffeejack

New Member
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near Melton Mowbray
Hi everyone. This is my first post and although I had a look at other threads, I can find quite what Im looking for. I have just joined a 25 piece big band with a 7 piece sax section. After the first rehearsal, I felt my sound was really out of place with the rest of the section. They were all playing Yamahas and Yanis and sounded sweet together. I play a Mauriat 66R ! Any of you that know this horn will probably have a knowing look on your face at this point. When I was in a 7 piece R&B pub band with guitars, this was a superb sax as (for me) it performs best when pushed hard, but now it seems 'rude' in that situation. Im wondering if I can tame the tone with a different mouthpiece/reed combo.( I curerently have a RPC and a Berg Grained Ebonite.) Has anyone had any joy in getting sweet stable tones out of a 66R or am I fighting a loosing battle?
I would really like to keep the Mauriat as its a great sax for amplified gigs so if I could find a sweet and subtle piece for big band I would be happy.
This then gets me wondering, if there is a sax most suited to the big band demands. I should confess at this point to a love of vintage. Ive had a Chu Berry, and a Super 20 in the past but got the 66R to enjoy improved keywork. I just cant get excited over a Yamaha or Yani. I know they are spot on and reliable but I just love the romance and feel of vintage. Does anyone have any guidance on this please. Kind regards. Jack
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,555
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Surrey, UK
It's probably more about the mouthpiece than the sax. I play bari in the local big band and it's all Selmers except for alto 1 which is a Keilwerth SX90. The mouthpieces are all ebonite of various makes, except for me on a metal Theo Wanne.

If you are playing tenor, then Otto Link (ebonite or metal) is a good starting point, but Pete's PPT would be great as well.

What mouthpieces are the others in your section playing and are you taking solos that will need some cutting edge to be heard ?

Rhys
 
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coffeejack

New Member
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4
Location
near Melton Mowbray
Hi Rhys
I was too busy hanging on with my fingernails trying to ressurect my sightreading skills to see what everyone was using, but i noticed tenor 1 on a Selmer with a Lawton. He had a very warm sweet tone. I wont be taking solos for a while - more than happy to belnd in.
Jack
 

Pete Thomas

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Rhys is right, absolutely no problem with you P.Mauriat blending, or almost any other horn for that matter. It's you and the mouthpiece that counts. (Unless they are getting all snobby , but that would be more likely to happen with an all Selmer MKVI section)

I've done plenty of big band playing, often sitting in an all Selmer section with my Conn 10M tenor. No problems (unless everyone was just being polite!)

Also, back in the heyday of the big band, ie 30s to 50s, there was lots of variety among the makes of horn.

Ideally get to talk to the other players at a section rehearsal, mention your concerns and se what people suggest. They'll most likely be happy that you are interested enough to discuss (if not then there's not much hope!)
 
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coffeejack

New Member
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4
Location
near Melton Mowbray
Thanks Pete,

This is all very encouraging as I dont really want to loose the Mauriat.

I had a blow of a Bauhaus M2 at Steve Howarths and could have been tempted to go that way but its a bit too flash for me.

Rhys made a couple of suggestions re mouthpieces. Do you have anything to add?
 

Pete Thomas

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Rhys made a couple of suggestions re mouthpieces. Do you have anything to add?
Yes, buy mine!!! buy mine!!!

No seriously I think that is a very personal choice, also down to getting to know the other people in the section and discuss with them (ideally only if they are more experienced than you)

The thing is there are many factors in this equation.

Joe Bloggs + a Link can sound the same as Alf Tupper on a Dukoff.

Different people with different mouths. The more experienced you get, the more versatile you are and the easier it is to coax different sounds form any mouthpiece to blend.

Sorry to sound so unhelpful.
 
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coffeejack

New Member
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4
Location
near Melton Mowbray
Funny you should mention that Pete. Im listening to your sound files of the mouthpiece as I type and liking it very much.
Ive possibly got the chance to borrow a Link ebonite so I will give that a go first - if not-its one of yours.

I take your point about everyone being different. My 14 year old daughter peeved me when she was able to get a much better tone out of my Crossbar than me after only a month of playing her cheap alto - which she also sounded great on!
 

jonno

New Member
Messages
8
Location
London
Joe Bloggs + a Link can sound the same as Alf Tupper on a Dukoff.

This is of course the Alf Tupper scruffbag athlete we all know and love!!
 
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