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Ok team, so what is the deal. Why does everyone say that Vandoren Mouthpieces are made “more consistently” than their competitors. Is there evidence for this or is it simply an urban legend perpetuated by Vandoren and Vandoren lovers? My thoughts:

1) With the accuracy of today’s CNC milling machines and other manufacturing technologies, it is really hard for me to imagine that one mouthpiece manufacturer has a competitive advantage over another when it comes to consistency.

2). Based on my experience, which is admittedly quite limited, I have never played a Vandoren Mouthpiece that has sounded consistently better than its competitors. In my experience, their sound tends to be inferior, though their pieces tend to take less air and can therefore be easier to play.

Notes: My mouthpieces tend to be ML in size, rather than medium or small. I have only played Vandoren Hard Rubber. I haven’t played their metal pieces.

Please chime in and let me know the basis of the “Vandoren Mouthpieces are More Consistent” opinion.
 

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Ok team, so what is the deal. Why does everyone say that Vandoren Mouthpieces are made “more consistently” than their competitors. Is there evidence for this or is it simply an urban legend perpetuated by Vandoren and Vandoren lovers? My thoughts:

1) With the accuracy of today’s CNC milling machines and other manufacturing technologies, it is really hard for me to imagine that one mouthpiece manufacturer has a consistent competitive advantage over another when it comes to consistency.

2). Based on my experience, which is admittedly quite limited, I have never played a Vandoren Mouthpiece that has sounded consistently better than its competitors. In my experience, their sound tends to be inferior, though their pieces tend to take less air and can therefore be easier to play.

Notes: My mouthpieces tend to be ML in size, rather than medium or small. I have only played Vandoren Hard Rubber. I haven’t played their metal pieces.

Please chime in and let me know the basis of the “Vandoren Mouthpieces are More Consistent” opinion.

Compared to an off the shelf Link they are, and that's always been what I've compared them to especially for the price-points they sell for.
 

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Not everyone says that. I don't know that a "consistency" argument means much when comparing Vandoren pieces to other brands.

But I suspect the "consistency" thing may apply to how all Vandoren SL3's (for example) compare to each other. There is a difference between comparing Vandorens to Links or Selmers and comparing all Vandorens to each other.

I am not a huge fan of Vandoren mouthpieces, so I'm not buying into the claim that they are consistent. But, I can't refute it either.

I like Selmer mouthpieces, though and I can cite examples of where multiple versions of one Selmer mouthpiece model were consistent with each other . . . and where they weren't consistent with each other. I view the claim mentioned in the OP as more myth than fact. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not everyone says that. DAVE

......yes, yes, yes. You are correct. Not everyones says that Vandoren's are more consistent. However, I feel as if I have seen the comments about the superior consistency of Vandoren's rather frequently......perhaps I should say, "A lot of people have stated......"

To clarify, in my original posting, I think that most people refer to Vandoren Mouthpieces being consistent with each other....for example all TL5s being nearly identical in how they play. However, this is not always clear in other's postings. My questions is intentionally rather open ended.
 

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I've only owned 5 Vandoren mouthpieces, but they all play or played very well with no twisted facings or concave tables.
 

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I do agree I have heard that "Vandorens are more consistently made" but this is usually when compared to S80's, Meyers, and Links off the shelf. And I would say that's true from first hand experience. Pretty much every Vandoren I have played has played well enough that I would be comfortable using it. I can't say the same for Meyers, Links, and S80's.

- Saxaholic
 

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Yeah, the "More consistent" comparison is totally accurate when you are just comparing other mouthpieces around the same price point.

Of course there are other companies that can get there. Saxscape comes to mind. But generally anyone else putting out 'as consistent' mouthpieces is charging more for them.
 

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It means nothing about today’s CNC milling machines or that you personally don’t like them. Just means that they’re well made, that if you come across a vando piece that’s in good condition it’ll play, and that if you’ve played a v16 T7 (for example) you can count on the next one being exactly the same. Can’t say that for lots of pieces vintage, modern, or other (?).
 

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I have owned at least 5 Vandoren pieces and while I haven’t *loved* the way any of them played for me, they were all very consistent and impeccably finished. I do know of at least one player who will be playing a stock Vandoren HR V16 T8 on the Newport Jazz Festival stage this year.

Steve Neff {nefertiti here on SOTW) gives some of the most informative and useful reviews of mouthpieces anywhere. Here are some of his comments regarding the consistency of the quality of the mouthpieces that Vandoren produces:

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2015/02/vandoren-t7-large-metal-tenor-mouthpiece-review/
“If you have ever bought anything from Vandoren before you probably know they are a company with a reputation for excellence. If you ask 10 sax players what the best mass produced mouthpieces are on the market most of them will probably include Vandoren in their response. I have played many Vandoren mouthpiece over my years of saxophone teaching. I have hardly ever seen any defects or imperfections in their mouthpieces. The T7 I am playing today also lives up to that reputation. Everything about the mouthpiece is beautiful. The table, rails, tip and baffle all look perfect. Smooth, even and flawless.”

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/?s=Vandoren
“Vandoren makes some of the best most consistent pieces out there.”
 

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Ok team, so what is the deal. Why does everyone say that Vandoren Mouthpieces are made “more consistently” than their competitors. Is there evidence for this or is it simply an urban legend perpetuated by Vandoren and Vandoren lovers? My thoughts:

1) With the accuracy of today’s CNC milling machines and other manufacturing technologies, it is really hard for me to imagine that one mouthpiece manufacturer has a competitive advantage over another when it comes to consistency.

2). Based on my experience, which is admittedly quite limited, I have never played a Vandoren Mouthpiece that has sounded consistently better than its competitors. In my experience, their sound tends to be inferior, though their pieces tend to take less air and can therefore be easier to play.

Notes: My mouthpieces tend to be ML in size, rather than medium or small. I have only played Vandoren Hard Rubber. I haven’t played their metal pieces.

Please chime in and let me know the basis of the “Vandoren Mouthpieces are More Consistent” opinion.
Just my opinion. I've never played a Vandoren I liked. That goes for double for their reeds. To each their own, but I've never liked any of their products.
 

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Just my opinion. I've never played a Vandoren I liked. That goes for double for their reeds. To each their own, but I've never liked any of their products.
I could totally see that.

I had a regular Java in what was I think around a 7* and a Jumbo Java that was an 8* and although they played they didn't wow me a lot. They didn't pop the way I like a mouthpiece to.

However I have always liked their reeds. For me with the Blue Box traditionals, green box and red box javas you don't need to change where you put your mouth. They all have that long vamp without much heart. The ZZ's are even more prominent in this feature and the heart is almost right at the bark of the cane (which I don't care for). Then compare them to something like a Jazz Select which has a whole lot of meat in the heart of the reed you have to completely change the way you position your mouth on the reed to get i to speak naturally.

Green box Javas will always be my go to.
 

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Yes, I agree that the conventional wisdom about the consistency is that the mouthpieces are consistent with one another, same with the reeds. The accuracy of CNC machining should even the playing field, but I think it's about the finishing. I don't know if theer's any real hand finishing with V mouthpieces, seems I read they do this, but it's hard to believe for the price. I have a metal V16 medium T8 that was my main piece for a while, liked it better than the vintage Link and other Links I've tried. It is a little stuffy. The green box reeds are my favorite right now of any brand, and they do seem to be consistent, though I only get one good reed out of 5 or 10. Reed makers should be able to do better than that.
Brian
 

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The myth is that everyone has not looked up the definition of consistency.

What people really mean is Vandoren piece are made better, with more quality control than others in that price point. Typically, people are comparing them to Links and Meyers. People are generally interchanging the word consistency for quality.

Is company X makes a piece that sounds and plays terrible for the same reasons every time they are highly consistent. Consistency does not equal quality. So lets get down to what we are really talking about.
 

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I actually had no idea Vandoren even made "mouthpieces", until maybe a year ago. I always thought they were just Reed makers. All of a sudden I see mention of the v16 pieces everywhere.
I've had pretty limited success with their reeds so am probably not about to drop a few bills on one of their mpcs.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Is company X makes a piece that sounds and plays terrible for the same reasons every time they are highly consistent. Consistency does not equal quality. So lets get down to what we are really talking about.
Yes exactly.

What it means is when you try out mouthpieces in a shop and you find a Link that you like, you better buy it then and there because if you just order another "the same," it probably won't be the same. With Vandorens, you can try somebody else's and if you like you can go and order the same model and be fairly confident it will be the same.

But there is a crossover with the terms if you assume that Vandorens and Links are good mouthpieces.

Consistent means that all Vandorens are good, inconsistent means some/many Link are good but some could be less good.
 

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Still gonna disagree but I get your point.

Inconsistent is like lining up 6 MK VI's
All six can sound really good. All 6 are likely sound different. The same goes with handmade mouthpieces.

I just think in terms of clarity we should talk about quality and quality control. A number of companies have pieces that should never have gone out the door to the open market. Some have more, some less.

I know its semantics but often times semantics matter....especially when misnomers become part of continued dialogue.

On the main subject...I dont care for Vandoren designs (their overall tonal approach) but their QC is pretty good. They are not perfect but Ive not seen many terrible examples leave the factory. When I get requests to work on them its most often having to do with customers finding them a bit cold and harsh...sometimes tip size preferences.

I am primarily talking about their jazz lineup. Ive not had as many complaints about their classical pieces.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Still gonna disagree but I get your point.

Inconsistent is like lining up 6 MK VI's
All six can sound really good. All 6 are likely sound different. The same goes with handmade mouthpieces.
Still disagree but I get your point :)

Talking about MKVI inconsistency is like talking about Link inconsistency over the last 5o years or so.

I think the main reason for MKVI inconsistency is down to them actually changing (improving?) them over the years. If you could go back in a time machine to 1970, you'd probably find the new ones consistent from one to the next, but not when compared to earlier examples.

Plus over the years some have got worn, been abused and whatever - we only have old ones to compare. You'd need to be able to several new ones to really make those judgments.
 

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Ok you can be right....(maybe)


But I still say that on this forum when people use the word inconsistent having to do with Brand X they are really saying, "Why do so many pieces sold by Brand X suck"?

I think that is very different from the real meaning of inconsistent.

From a craft point of view when I get pieces that players have problems with in terms of tone and response it is generally because that piece by Brand X is just poorly executed....no matter how good the design might be.
....I suppose one might say its inconsistent with its intended design but, to me, thats just dancing around the facts.
 

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My take is this: I've been using Vandoren's S15 and more lately SL4 soprano mouthpieces for the best part of 30 years, in conjunction with one or other of the Vandoren classic cut reeds. I started using these pieces because I needed a set up that was going to make playing 90 minutes of pretty much non stop high energy music as easy as possible. The short, close facings of those pieces - whilst tending towards shallow tonally - make my job a lot easier. Moreover, I know that wherever I am on tour, if necessary, I could go into a woodwind shop and buy another SL4 and a box of VD reeds and go straight and go my gig. That is consistency. I just had to get used to their characteristics.
 
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