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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2007
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Discussion Starter #1
I was noticing that on a very nice older stainless steel Berg I recently acquired the reed actually hangs over the rails of the mouthpieces a bit -- more so than on any of the other the other pieces I have had.

The first time I tried it, I actually double checked to make sure I had not picked up a bari reed by mistake.

I was out playing last night at a club. The other tenor player and I were yaking about mouthpieces. He had a pile of them in his case. On one of his, a Super King, I believe, I noticed that the reed hung over the rails even further.

What gives with this? Is there a design reason for this? If so, what is it?


Just curious. . .


Scott
 

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Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contri
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I wish I could provide a more thorough response, but some are just like that. One time I worked a tenor Berg so narrow that an alto reed hung over the sides. I actually had to play the mouthpiece on an alto and tenor to be sure of which it was.

There are Bergs describes as wide body or fat body - these are older (I don't know what years of production or that sort of trivia). These span a reed nicely - though I'll say it's no guarantee the facing is any good! When buying a SS Berg, if possible, get a picture of how a tenor reed lays on it.

The reed overhanging the sides by a slight amount usually is not an issue, though if the window is too narrow it tends to make the piece play a bit resistant and fundamental - lacking complexity in the tone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Ed!

Thanks Ed.

On the Berg, the reed doesn't hang over that far, though I can feel it with my fingers. And this thing plays surprisingly well. It's an older stainless steel one, 110/3 with an offset M, whatever that means. I looked for milling marks on the table, but I really don't see any. So perhaps it was hand finished by someone.

But on this guy's Guardalla, which was one of the Super Kings that WWBW was selling off, the reed seemed to hang waaaay over the edge of the piece.

Here's another thing that got me thinking about all of this:

I went to a workshop with Jeff Coffin, the sax player with Bella Fleck and the Flecktones. Very good player. He plays tenor reeds on alto and swears by that.

I don't play much alto. I have one to take on business trips and use to hit the local blues jam, etc. I picked up one of those little VGV cases and it snugs right into the overhead.

But I digress. . . I tried the tenor reed on alto thing, and I dug it. If I were a real alto player, I might not do it. But it works pretty well for what I'm doing.

Of course, the tenor reed does hang over the edges of the alto piece. That caused be to notice that on certain tenor pieces, the tenor reed seems to hang over a bit.

Made me wonder if this was some sort of design thing.

Scott
 

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Tenor reed on alto can be really wild. I have an older HR alto Berg 130 that I occasionally play with tenor reeds and it creates quite the wall of sound - accepts twice the air I could ever give it. A little overhang with the reed but it doesn't get in the way of a good time.

Interesting to hear about the WWBW Super King. I wonder if they are all like that. The LT's I've seen so far fit a reed rather nicely.
 

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If it's any consolation, I play tenor using baritone reeds. On a SS Berg that I once used, the baritone reeds overhung to a large degree...it made very little, if any, difference. I remember, on one occasion, shaving the sides of the reed , but as this also made little difference, the experiment was not repeated.
Simply fit the reed and blow...no problem.
 

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The one problem is that if the reed is hanging over too far it can cut your lower lip on both sides.

Pieces with narrow windows almost always sound hard to my ears if that makes sense.
 

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A bunch of years ago I cut my lower lip using a Bari plastic reed on a vintage Level Aire mouthpiece. I was playing outdoors with a street band and really blowing loud. It had some reed overhang but was not a problem for most of the 20 years I played on it.

Most Guardalas LTs I've seen have some overhang. There is some variation between reed brands, but not a lot. In the case of Guardalas, I'd have to say it is intentional. They want thin rails and wide windows. But if you go too wide, some reeds may not be wide enough to cover the window. So overhang is preferred to underhang.

A lot of modern Link STMs are narrower than typical reeds. These can be ordered with a smaller tip than desired and then opened up to target. This will make the rails wider as you reface into the wider body of the STM. It would be too dificult to do this on a SS Berg. The LTs' body is not wide enough to fix them by refacing.
 

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MojoBari said:
A bunch of years ago I cut my lower lip using a Bari plastic reed on a vintage Level Aire mouthpiece. I was playing outdoors with a street band and really blowing loud.
Same thing happened here. It was no fun scrubbing the blood off the mouthpiece, or the reed, or the shirt.
 

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Carl H. said:
Same thing happened here. It was no fun scrubbing the blood off the mouthpiece, or the reed, or the shirt.
If the lig doesn't fit, you must acquit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now that I think about it. . .

Now that I think about it. . .

I used to have a couple of real Links in the drawer. I don't any more. But I think the reed used to hang over a bit on them.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to be a problem with this Berg. The thing plays real nice. Not too bright. Not too dark. Plenty of focus and zing.

Guess I've just been playing wider pieces. No biggie. Just have to be careful puting the reed on in a dark club.

Scott
 

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... and be careful of cranking the lig too tight. If you do, you may find that the reed tends to warp as you play.
 
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