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What the Pros use

les3716

Member
Messages
181
What the Pro's use....


Have you ever found yourself listening to your music collection and wondering – ‘why is it that I don’t sound like this?’ – well the frustrating truth is that practise is probably the only real answer to this question. However the right mouthpiece set up can give you a head start and lead you in the right direction to imitate your saxophone hero’s sound

A common conundrum with mouthpiece set- ups can be the searching through reviews (often written by the manufacturers themselves) and trying to make relative sense of terms such as ‘rich’ or ‘full bodied tone’. (I can’t think of any professional player I’ve heard that doesn’t have both of these qualities…) - So in order to give you a helping hand here’s a concise list of some greats and their mouthpiece choices.



Gerald Albright- Beechler White Diamond and Bellite


Cannonball Adderley - New York Meyer 5, Rico 2 or La Voz Medium Reeds - King Super 20 alto


Bob Berg - Metal Selmer G, Metal Francios Louis, Rico Select or Medium La Voz Reeds - Selmer Mk VI


Michael Brecker - Guardala Brecker Model, La Voz Reeds - Selmer Mk VI Tenor


Sam Butera- Berg Larsen Stainless Steel 120/3, Rico Plasticover 5


James Carter- Lawton 7*BB


John Coltrane - Metal Otto Link 5 star - Rico # 4 reed


Clarence Clemons (Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band)- Dukoff D9


Paul Desmond Gregory 4A-18M - Rico 3 1/2 Reeds - Selmer Super Balanced Action


Candy Dulfer- LeBayle Jazz Metal 8


Lou Donaldson- Meyer 5, Rico 2 Reeds


Herschel Evans- Otto Link "Master Link"


Kenny Garrett- Selmer Soloist E


Stan Getz- Otto link 8*


Coleman Hawkins- Metal Otto Link


Joe Henderson Selmer Soloist D- La Voz Medium Soft Reeds


Bob Mintzer- Berg Larsen 95/0 Hard Rubber, Selmer Mk VI Tenor


Charlie Parker- Brilhart 3


Maceo Parker- Brilhart 5 (Ebolin)


Joshua Redman Metal Otto Link 9* - Selmer Super Balanced Action


Sonny Rollins- Berg Larsen 130/2


David Sanborn- Dukoff D7, D9


Lee Thompson- (Madness)- Selmer Jazz Metal F


Ben Webster- Metal Otto Link 9, Rico 3 1/2 Reeds


Phil Woods- Meyer 5, La Voz medium reeds


Lester Young- Otto Link "Master Link"

Les.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Additional Info ...

Stan Getz used a white Brilhart Streamline #7 mouthpiece during the period 1950-1954.

Link Here
 
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Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Impressive list! It is nice to know what some of the greats used to play!

As you can see from the list everyone was doing their own things - found what worked for them and stuck at it!

I think Coltranes is set-up is the most unusual on a Tenor! I have tried that combo but makes me trill!
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,377
A few points about the list.

Plenty of players changed their set-up over time. It would be useful to know what period this information relates to. For instance, Hawkins changed from Link to Berg Larsen later in his career, Parker played loads of different mouthpieces, Sanborn played Brilhart Level Air before the Dukoffs and has played Saxworks pieces also.

As with any well-researched data it would help others to provide the source for each bit of information. This will help others to find it again, to check it against other data sources etc. Without that, it is hearsay that may or may not be right and may get corrupted in the repeating.

One of the best sources I know of is player interviews, for instance in Saxophone Journal magazine, DownBeat etc.

Some of the information you have listed doesn't agree with other well-respected data sources. For example, I thought that Stan Getz played on relatively closed mouthpieces, and Theo Wanne's site seems to confirm that: http://www.theowanne.com/mouthpieces101/playerSetUps.php?pid=43#SetUp

Quite a few players modified their mouthpieces, so saying that Coltrane played a metal Link 5 * doesn't tell the whole story. Theo Wanne's site says "Otto Link Tone Master New York 6 with a custom wedge. During Ballads recordings he used a Brilhart Ebolin and/or a rubber Otto Link. In 1965 he used a Selmer Short Shank."

Rhys
 
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les3716

Member
Messages
181
A few points about the list.

Plenty of players changed their set-up over time. It would be useful to know what period this information relates to. For instance, Hawkins changed from Link to Berg Larsen later in his career, Parker played loads of different mouthpieces, Sanborn played Brilhart Level Air before the Dukoffs and has played Saxworks pieces also.

As with any well-researched data it would help others to provide the source for each bit of information. This will help others to find it again, to check it against other data sources etc. Without that, it is hearsay that may or may not be right and may get corrupted in the repeating.

One of the best sources I know of is player interviews, for instance in Saxophone Journal magazine, DownBeat etc.

Some of the information you have listed doesn't agree with other well-respected data sources. For example, I thought that Stan Getz played on relatively closed mouthpieces, and Theo Wanne's site seems to confirm that: http://www.theowanne.com/mouthpieces101/playerSetUps.php?pid=43#SetUp

Quite a few players modified their mouthpieces, so saying that Coltrane played a metal Link 5 * doesn't tell the whole story. Theo Wanne's site says "Otto Link Tone Master New York 6 with a custom wedge. During Ballads recordings he used a Brilhart Ebolin and/or a rubber Otto Link. In 1965 he used a Selmer Short Shank."

Rhys
Fair point Rhys,

I was hopeing to get a few more reply's before I gave away the answer!

Classic Mouthpiece Set - ups @ Sax.co.uk

Les.
 
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Alc.

Senior Member
Messages
737
It's interesting to see what the pros used in their day, but what would they be playing today, given the broader choices? I suppose it's still what works for the individual.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
When I listen to a lot of my music collection, the reason I don't sound like them is because they were recorded in the 1920' 30's and 40's and have been transmogrified from 78 rpm discs through various formats to be finaly downloadable through the ethernet. I don't want to sound like that. The pleasure for me is in what they play not what they play it with. A players set up is relevant live but listening to recordings, the sound engineer or the venue will have a notable input. We are all built differently. For me, trying to sound like your hero seems pointless. Playing like them, now there's the challenge. The set up that gives you effortless flexibility will give you the best sound and picking good company to create it. Nobody sounds good next to a flat trumpet one side and a boisterous drummer the other. A list of professional set ups is a little too close to train spotting for me.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,088
Yes. I saw him last year with Steve Harley at Birmingham Symphony Hall. He was very good and also very theatrical. I met him many years ago in the Ship in Soho. Very down to earth guy at the height of his fame. Will be seeing him again at the Royal Albert Hall in June.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,805
A list of professional set ups is a little too close to train spotting for me.
I've been doing a lot of " train spotting " on my sax hero Clarence "Big Man" Clemons (RIP)! He played differnt types of mouthpieces over the years. Dukoff (D chamber), Berg Larsen (130/0), Rovner Deep-V(D40,#10) mpc's and he also played King Super 20, Slemer Mk VI and Keilwerth saxes. But even other setups and saxes on smaller gigs. The setup and saxes just helps up to play in the same style as the Big Man. The energy and volume is other things to "copy". But there is still one Clarence Clemons. And it's fun trying to sound and play like him!! I don't think I would play the saxophone today if it was not for CC and his music. He saved me from sinking into the "marshy ground of jazz" ;)
 

Merryfisher

Member
Messages
265
Lee Thompson????

It'll be the sax "player" from Spandau Ballet next!:shocked:

Cheers
thats a bit harsh. Back in the early 80's as i discovered the joy of horn blowing, the likes of Lee Thompson & Steve Norman made it cool, and got me going. They might not be 'jazzers' or the purist's choice but i doubt that they are having to worry about paying the bills either.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,088
I went to school with Lee when they formed North London Invaders (pre Madness). He is doing very nicely! Got a lot of people into the sax.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,624
The list was nicked (by me) from an older verison of Theo Wanne's site. I'd added a couple of personal favourites- Lee Thompson's in there because he was a player who's set up we were asked about on a regular basis... actually when I met him on a gig he was using a metal Yanagisawa piece, but apparently all the old classic Madness recordings were done on a metal Selmer
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,009
I would like to emphasize that the set-up does not create a particular sound. What creates the sound is the "concept" inside the player's mind. All the equipment does is to help facilitate producing that particular sound with the least amount of effort.

If a player wants to sound more like "so and so", the player first has to lock into that concept of sound and then produce that sound on his/her existing setup. Then is the time to look for the equipment that makes it easier to produce that concept of sound.

It is also important to remember that what gives any great player their unique sound is not so much tone quality as it is articulation, phrasing, stylistic inflections, and choice of note and rhythm patterns.
 
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