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Hello,

as the title suggests, I'd like some general advice before I head over to the music store. I've already read up on the beginners corner on starting again which looks like some good stuff in re-harnessing a clean sound.

I played first chair alto for about 7 years and would have considered myself definition intermediate, however I'd like to start again after 4 years on a tenor this time around.

I can only afford to rent at the moment, so I assume I don't want to get anything fancy (and they probably only have a limited selection for renting i.e. Yamaha or Selmer). I do however want to buy nice mouthpiece ($150-300) that can help me develop a bit of a warmer or darker tone (big fan of Ben Webster and Thad Jones, for example), but would this be advised? Or should I end up just getting a neutral mouthpiece and opening e.g. C* (what i used throughout high school). I suppose I'd like to be able to play a varied repertoire, from Jazz standards to Paganini (eventually).

Anyways, tl;dr what's a good non-professional setup for relearning.

Also any tips on going from alto to tenor besides loosen the embouchure?

Thx,
oreodog
 

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Definitely rent for right now, bu be aware that, at least in the US, right now is a super-busy time for music stores preparing for the upcoming school year. Make sure the instrument you get doesn't have any leaks or problems. Since you know how to play, play-test the instrument before taking it home.
One alternative is Music and Arts. You can rent online in some areas too, and they would send the instrument to you. When I was teaching in NY, I loved using them because the students would be renting brand new instruments - the only catch was that it was a rent to own program, so the money put in would go towards buying the horn. If it's a decent brand, it's not a bad idea. When I used them, they had Selmer, Yamaha, Jupiter.
Either way, check the instrument first.
I would also recommend that you don't go crazy with mpc's right now. Selmer C* or Yamaha 4C is fine. Get comfortable on the tenor first. When you're ready for a new mpc, take some lessons from a reputable teacher for guidance on which mpc would be your next best step.
 

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I can only afford to rent at the moment, so I assume I don't want to get anything fancy (and they probably only have a limited selection for renting i.e. Yamaha or Selmer). I do however want to buy nice mouthpiece ($150-300) that can help me develop a bit of a warmer or darker tone (big fan of Ben Webster and Thad Jones, for example), but would this be advised? Or should I end up just getting a neutral mouthpiece and opening e.g. C* (what i used throughout high school). I suppose I'd like to be able to play a varied repertoire, from Jazz standards to Paganini (eventually).
I can honestly say that, having never tried to rent a woodwind as an adult, I have no idea what you should expect regarding price or terms. Rental inventory tends to be low-end student equipment, however, so maybe adjust your expectations accordingly.

The Selmer S80 C* is a very good alto mouthpiece, but not so good a tenor mouthpiece. Even the C** (I used to play this) is probably a little small on tenor if you want to play all-around repertory including jazz and classical. You probably can't go wrong with a Yamaha student mouthpiece, though, at least for a while. I agree with DonnaSax not to buy too much mp too soon. I haven't played a Yamaha piece, but they get generally good reviews and are super-cheap ($30). I would go with a 5C to start on tenor, but you could actually buy or two or three of them outright in different sizes, and still pay much less than for a new professional mouthpiece.

In addition to embouchure adjustment, air support is very important on tenor. You're filling up a bigger tube. This also means that posture is important, so you can breathe deeply.
 

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A moderately open Vandoren with a low baffle may get you in the middle of jazz/classical so that, with practice, you could reasonably play both on the same piece. No matter how hard I try, I can't get what I call a jazz sound on a Selmer C*, especially on the low end. I think the laws of physics make that impossible.

I wouldn't necessarily describe a tenor embouchure as looser than another, just bigger. I feel like the tightness/looseness is the same for me on Sop/Tenor/Alto/Bari. Most players just naturally adapt to different horns with practice. I would just play, without analyzing too much, until you get the knack. Since you were first chair, you clearly have skills and should have no problem. My only advice is just to take in a little more mouthpiece as the curve of the mouthpiece facing dictates. You want to make your lip contact the reed about where the reed and rails part ways, just as you do automatically when you play your alto. But you should be able to hear/feel when you're taking in too much or too little.

Lastly, jazz and classical sounds are usually quite different. But some players like Desmond and Getz manage to blur the lines. To keep your sound from being all over the place, pick one player, i.e., Ben Webster, who is closest to the sound you want, and concentrate on matching that. On your journey, you'll find your own sound that has all the elements you're after. Then when you switch gears and do your classical thing, pick a classical player with the sound you want and repeat the process. I personally found it took a whole lot more time and effort for me to arrive a my ideal jazz sound than it did my ideal classical sound. This could be because a classical sound is usually achieved with the textbook embouchure that I learned from the very beginning. Jazz was more of a departure from what I had already mastered.
 
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