Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Cannonball played on a 5?!??!

Jeremy Barzizza
User ID: 1139804
Feb 6th 12:47 PM
Now this is something I don't buy. From listening to his recordings, I would say that he played on something A LOT more open than a Meyer 5. Does anyone know if he had a five and had it opened up or something?
Brice B.
User ID: 2205324
Feb 6th 1:34 PM
The real trick is that he played on #2 rico reeds.
Jeremy Barzizza
User ID: 1139804
Feb 6th 1:43 PM
Thats another thing that leads me to think that he was playing on a more open Meyer... I don't care how good you are, there is no way that you can get that kind of sound out of a Meyer 5 with a rico 2 reed...At least I dont think there is...
Dr G
User ID: 9356783
Feb 6th 1:47 PM
He adjusted his reeds with a toenail clipper.
User ID: 1759784
Feb 6th 2:10 PM
Maybe he started with a 5 as a blank. I had a 5 that I grew to feel was too closed and I had it opened to more like a 7. He probably had someone open the mouthpiece or did it himself.
Jeremy Barzizza
User ID: 1139804
Feb 6th 2:34 PM
Sherry, that is what I am thinking too. But does anyone know for sure?
User ID: 1056474
Feb 6th 2:38 PM
Most of the greats played on small tip openings. Today, many players use more open pieces to compensate for the volume increase in modern music. Back then, they didn't have to compete with over amplified guitars, basses and keyboards! Several factors also contibuted to their large sounds. Most played on harder reeds(#4's),they had great chops, they learned how to project their sound, and their horns had a lot of power(Conn's King's) I play on a Conn 6m alto with a NY meyer 5 and I can blow away any modern sax/mpc.
User ID: 9990163
Feb 6th 3:31 PM
Back in the day, a Meyer 5 was a considered by many to be a very open piece. Reed grading has changed over the years, so a 2 back then would be close to a 4 now. My Cigar Cutter alto came with a table B* large chamber mouthpiece. That was considered a 'pro' size piece. Put a hard reed on it and it gets quite loud. Not like a Berg 100, but able to keep up with an acoustic piano.
User ID: 0387824
Feb 6th 3:58 PM
According to Ralph Morgan, an old meyer 5 is about the same as a new meyer 7.
lo 'n hi
User ID: 8604013
Feb 7th 1:50 AM
Right. I saw an article by Ralph Morgan, "A Meyer is a Meyer is a Meyer". According to him an old Meyer 5 would be something like today's Meyer 7. Also I noticed Cannonball places his reed on the mouthpiece a little out front, so you can see the tip of the reed sticking out a bit. This makes a soft reed feel 'hard'. I play on a Meyer 5 and this is what I do because I play on soft reeds like 2 1/2.

User ID: 9858163
Feb 7th 4:37 AM
If a #2 reed back then is like a modern #4, how the hell did anyone manage to play on a #5???
William Gowers
User ID: 0234554
Feb 7th 9:10 AM

I played alto for years in a big band using a current production Meyer 8 and Rico Royal 3 1/2 reeds. My ex-teacher also used the same setup. It takes practice, but you can get a lot of volume/fullness out of an open mouthpiece/hard reed combination.
User ID: 3452384
Feb 7th 9:33 AM
My teacher plays a huge tip on alto, about 100, with a RR 3.5 reed. The dude must have lips like a vice! Gets a big, loud, round tone, but airy when he has to play softly. I use an 80 tip with a 2.5 reed, and that's plenty stiff enough for me.
User ID: 0561484
Feb 7th 11:18 AM
A thespian can whisper on stage and yet be heard clearly in the back row. An average person on stage is difficult to hear clearly from the front. Richard Burton spent hours every day yelling from the Welsh hills to strengthen his voice. Wind players can learn how to project; it's not all in the mouthpiece/reed.
Simon D
User ID: 1557854
Feb 8th 3:57 AM
I have a CD of Cannonballs. On a track 'Spring is here' he sounds quite like Parker to me, in terms of phrasing and tone etc. Is it just my 'young' ears / imagination?
Jeremy Barzizza
User ID: 1139804
Feb 8th 3:13 PM
They had a lot of the same influences. Both Bird and Cannonball were really into Lester Young.
User ID: 0582664
Feb 9th 12:32 PM
I have seen somewhere that cannonball used #2rico reeds and also la voz medium with NY meyer#5
or gregory #4or#5 mpcs.have seen article by ralph morgan about new meyer and old Ny meyer bros mpc and Mr morgan said that old Ny meyer is close to
a 6or7 new meyer (i think the closer is #6M because tip almost the same .076/.080 and facing lenght is identical: 20,6mm).
I pesonnaly play a #6M new meyer with la voz medium reed and i think its perfect.BUT i'have asked to theo wanne, from mouthpiece heaven,
about new meyer#5 and old NY meyer#5 and he
said to me that it was exactly the same tip
opening : .071"!!!
User ID: 2853674
Feb 9th 4:27 PM
lo 'n hi, how do you know that he left a bit of cane past the tip of the mpc? I do that when the reeds it too soft and can't get another one right away...Why don't you just go and get a 3? What do you feel are the pros and cons of this pratice?