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Your favorite alto mouthpiece?

  • Mouthpiece #1

    Votes: 5 31.3%
  • Mouthpiece #2

    Votes: 4 25.0%
  • Mouthpiece #3

    Votes: 1 6.3%
  • Mouthpiece #4

    Votes: 6 37.5%
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have four great mouthpieces for my alto and I can't decide which one to stick with. Here's a blindfold test for you! I played some blues noodling with my horn and with these 4 different mouthpieces:

https://soundcloud.com/user784030874/alto_mpc_comparison_mpc1
https://soundcloud.com/user784030874/alto_mpc_comparison_mpc2
https://soundcloud.com/user784030874/alto_mpc_comparison_mpc3
https://soundcloud.com/user784030874/alto_mpc_comparison_mpc4

Which one do you like the best (and why)?

Thanks!
-TH
 

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I liked 4 because I liked the focus of the tone. I didn't like 1 at all. Too spread and hollow sounding for my tastes. I liked 2 also something about it was a little generic sounding. I didn't really dig the midrange around middle D with #3. These are just first impressions after listening to each one quickly. I also thought 4 was the best solo of the 4 which makes me wonder if you feel the most comfortable on that one...........
 

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I liked 4 because I liked the focus of the tone. I didn't like 1 at all. Too spread and hollow sounding for my tastes. I liked 2 also something about it was a little generic sounding. I didn't really dig the midrange around middle D with #3. These are just first impressions after listening to each one quickly. I also thought 4 was the best solo of the 4 which makes me wonder if you feel the most comfortable on that one...........
Steve does a great job with his descriptions of reviews, so I'm quoting him because he covers my comment on the first mouthpiece perfectly. I like something more focused as well and preferred the other three besides 1, in general; all three of 2-4 had more focus....I like some crispness and hint of edge in an alto tone. 2 and 4 were my favorites, but I picked 2 because it sounded like you were comfortable, like Steve said about 4. G'luck, it's hard to pick just one! :)
 

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Well, I'm the outlier so far as I like #1 the best. To my ears it is brighter and the tone carries better. I also like how you shape some of the phrases on it.
Second favorite is #4 - a warmer tone, different feel. Like others said, you seem comfortable playing it.
#2 & #4 both have an almost tenor-like tone to my ears.
On #3 you play over a greater range of the horn, not sure why you chose to play so differently on this sample. Not a bad sound, but my least favorite.
 

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I liked 4...well rounded, better control, and even throughout.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I can tell you what mouthpieces were used in this test (not in this order) : Meyer 6M, Ishimori WoodStone #6, Ted Klum Acoustimax 6 and a Vandoren V16 6M.

And all played with the same Vandoren Optimum ligature, a Vandoren V16 reed and on a Selmer MkVI alto from 1958.
 

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They all sound great to me. More interesting than this to me would be post say six recordings, three on each of two unidentified mouthpieces. Challenge us to identify which recordings are on the same mouthpiece, i.e., are we really hearing differences between the mouthpieces?
 

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LOL....checking the trending, so you know preference is NOT #3 since no votes as I post this (unless it suddenly gets a surge). Kinda even among the others. Lest you thought this would help you sort out what to stick with (right, Steve Neff?). <SMILE> You sound good, BTW, strong tone and clean technique.
 

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I liked 2 the best cause to me it had a little more reedy and grainy texture to the sound which I prefer. They all sounded just about as good though, with the exception of 4 which to me sounded too open for you and/or the reed.
 

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Ideally, you'd want to hear the same melody on each....

Sound great on them all, for me, I'd go number 1 shading it from number 4 which sounds similar but slightly more aggressive. I like how mellow the first one is.
 

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I'm impressed with your phrasing & articulation on all four tracks, -TH. Clearly you have your own alto sound regardless of whichever mouthpiece you're using.
1: Tone not actually bad, but seems dull & hollow compared to the others.
2: Edgier in low range, more lyrical in high range.
3: Tone mellower, some might call it more spread. This piece is an easier blow, seems to inspire you to play fluid lines with vocal-like expression. To my ear, this is the ideal alto sound.
4: Dunno why, but this piece is least pleasing.
 

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Very nice -TH !

My preference is clearly for #4, which sounds nice & crisp and "open" in my ears.

There may be a bias because you seem to have the most fun on #4. But, more fun is also a very good reason to stick with a mouthpiece or a horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks all for your comments!

The mouthpieces were:

Mpc1 : Ted Klum Acoustimax
Mpc2: Meyer 6M
Mpc3: Vandoren V16 A6M
Mpc4: Ishimori WoodStone #6

The Meyer and the Ishimori are the most free-blowing ones. I like a bit of resistance in a mouthpiece. Vandoren V16 gives me just the right amount of resistance although it sounds a bit boxy sometimes. The Klum is the most resistant of these. I kind of like and hate it at the same time... You have a nice secure feeling when playing with it but that also limits the flexibility of the tone. The Klum is by far the loudest of these mouthpieces and that's why I've been using it in a big band playing the lead alto.

-TH
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have a nice memory also about the V16 mouthpiece.. haha.. We were playing a christmas concert with our local big band. There was a huge concert house packed with people, over 1000! And the whole show was nationally broadcasted on TV. I had a long alto solo in the first tune. When the first tune starts and you realize that you had left your neck strap backstage!!! I held the alto on my knee and tried to hold the horn that it wouldn't drop.. Finally it all went pretty well. Fortunately I was using this mouthpiece at that time because it felt the most secure mouthpiece to play so I could only concentrate to hold the horn on my knee..
 

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Thanks all for your comments!

The mouthpieces were:

Mpc1 : Ted Klum Acoustimax
Mpc2: Meyer 6M
Mpc3: Vandoren V16 A6M
Mpc4: Ishimori WoodStone #6

The Meyer and the Ishimori are the most free-blowing ones. I like a bit of resistance in a mouthpiece. Vandoren V16 gives me just the right amount of resistance although it sounds a bit boxy sometimes. The Klum is the most resistant of these. I kind of like and hate it at the same time... You have a nice secure feeling when playing with it but that also limits the flexibility of the tone. The Klum is by far the loudest of these mouthpieces and that's why I've been using it in a big band playing the lead alto.

-TH
Nice! The one I picked was the Ishimori 6 which I have one that I have kept since I reviewed it years ago. Great mouthpiece. I love a Woodstone 3 1/2 reed on it!
 

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I have a nice memory also about the V16 mouthpiece.. haha.. We were playing a christmas concert with our local big band. There was a huge concert house packed with people, over 1000! And the whole show was nationally broadcasted on TV. I had a long alto solo in the first tune. When the first tune starts and you realize that you had left your neck strap backstage!!! I held the alto on my knee and tried to hold the horn that it wouldn't drop.. Finally it all went pretty well. Fortunately I was using this mouthpiece at that time because it felt the most secure mouthpiece to play so I could only concentrate to hold the horn on my knee..
Wow. The stuff of anxiety dreams.
 

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1 and 2 sounded about the same to me, but intonation was better with 2. 3 was really stuffy in higher registers. 4 has the best focus and also the biggest sound, seeming to have more colors to it, and it sounded like the one you were most comfortable with.
 
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