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Hello! I've been playing soprano saxophone for a year and bought a tenor 6 months ago. And I was so surprised of how easy it is to play saxophone coming from soprano :) now I play the tenor 4-5 hours every day.

So

I bought the horn with a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece. Vandoren Java 2 1/2 seemed too easy and then I got Java 3. I played on this setup for 6 months and it got very very easy, up and down the horn with altissimo, the whole package. I wasn't very excited about the sound of the mouthpiece. Someone gave me a Selmer S80 C** to try and I liked it soooo much, ( I couldn't keep it because the diameter on it was much smaller than my cork, and I don't want to sand the cork to that size, because then I can only fit Selmer mouthpieces on the neck. I did this on soprano, but there I have 2 necks. One Is for Selmer and the other for any other mouthpiece :) ) It made a huge difference. I could hear and feel the quality of it. Then I decided to advance to a decent mouthpiece. And bought 2 of them to try. A Vandoren V16 T6 and a DAddario Select Jazz D7M or Tenor 7.

Now my predicament

The DAddario is PHENOMENAL. It sounds like a dream come true! Very easy to blow, the low notes are a breeze. I can sing them so quiet and so loud. BUT. It is so tough on my embouchure. After playing on it for 30 minutes I feel like I did push ups with my lips. I am constantly aware not to squeeze, or tighten the embouchure, but it requires a bit more effort that the 4C I was used to. I only play up to first F with the octave key, because that is the point I fount that I have the tendency to squeeze and change my embouchure to go higher, and I don't want that bad habit. I switched to Java 2 1/2 and it is manageable. The Vandoren T6 is a bit easier to play, since it is a bit more closed than the other one, but still, the mouth push up experience is present.

Now my question

Should I press on and be patient? Will it become easier? Is this how you advance to a bigger mouthpiece? Just take it and start training on it until it becomes easy, or play on a smaller one for a long time, and then finally when you get a size 6 or 7 mouthpiece you can just blow effortlessly?



Thank you for reading so far :)



Have a great day and hope to hear your suggestions!
 

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Wow. Nice jump in mouthpiece size. I play a D8M and love how free blowing it is. I might not have the skill level you do, but it takes me about a month to get fully acclimatized to a new mouthpiece. Give it time. You will love it.

From my personal experience using a bigger diameter mouthpiece or a bigger tipped mouthpiece is great for developing embouchure. Using them definitely improves my skill on the smaller mouthpieces......so even if you don’t stick with the D7M for long, every hour on it will improve your skill to whatever you might switch down to. (Down in size, not down in quality).

.....but ultimately, it isn’t about how our jaws feel, but how much fun it is to play.....and mastering the challenge!!! The pain will go away
 

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I question the concept "advance" to a bigger mouthpiece. Many people play mouthpieces in about the same tip opening as the D'Addario 7, but almost as many play on smaller tip mouthpieces. Coltrane played on a 5 or 6 tip opening... Of course some play on larger tip openings too, so you have to figure this out for yourself.

Good work on not biting. There are a couple of other things you can do that will help that - 1st is to push the mouthpiece on too far, so that you are sharp, then play in tune (which requires dropping your jaw and thus reduces pressure on the reed). Just make sure to keep your lips firm so you create a good seal. 2nd is to work on harmonics AKA overtones. That's better than altissimo work because it requires you to VOICE the note, rather than pinch and squeeze to get it out.

I like your comment about push-ups with your lips. That's exactly correct, you have to build strength, but please continue to not bite - that's just a compensation for your lip muscles giving out. Like any muscle build up routine, multiple short sessions are better than single long sessions. So practice for 30 minutes, then rest for 30 (do something musical like transcribing or just listening to someone you you admire).

It sounds like you are on the right path :)
 

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4 to 5 hours per day of practice is a LOT. I would completely expect your face to be tired after practicing that long, especially after moving to a wider tip. The key is to, and you're aware of it, maintain that feeling of ease... if you feel that you're starting to tighten up in order to play, stop and take a break.
 

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There are no prizes for playing a larger tip size, play what works for you.

If that S80 C** really works for you ( I hated the tone of those on tenor when I tried one), either sand the neck cork down (easy) or ream out the mouthpiece to make it fit (harder). Its easy enough to wrap plumbers PTFE tape, or even a strip of paper around the cork if for some reason you want to flip flop between the Selmer and the larger Yamaha later on.

Yes, your face will get stronger with practice, Softer reeds might help, but dont just play a larger tip size for the sake of it being a higher number.
 

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As long as it’s the sound you want and not creating bad habits then give it time. If the only problem is a sore embouchure you just got keep playing it and work up your stamina, which you’ll get there with practice. Again, as long as it’s the sound you want and it doesn’t create bad habits...bad habits are very hard to break, but easy to develop.

Good luck!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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A 4c to a 7 is a whopper of a change.

I would have suggested a 6.

Plenty of very experienced and pro players use that size.

I make more meyer type pieces in a 6 than any other size.

Bigger isnt always better.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Should I press on and be patient? Will it become easier? Is this how you advance to a bigger mouthpiece?
I agree with everyone else questioning the word "advance" as if it's a goal to aim for or some kind of benchmark of proficiency - same as with harder reeds. (I actually often recommend "advancing" to softer reeds as they are actually more difficult to play properly once you take the physical development out of the equation)

Having said that I think for some styles and sounds a wider tip can be useful, but also bear in mind a wider tip can be a meaningless change (depending on the facing curve).

It can be worth going to a more open mouthpiece if you have got to a stage where you know exactly why and what you want from it, as opposed to looking on it as a badge of achievement.

And if you do appreciate the advantages of a wider tip, but find some physical issues, then the obvious thing to try is softer reeds.
 

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Yes, it may be semantic but words matter since words form thought.

I make all sizes of pieces and many very experienced players often order smaller tips...or moderate.

When you put together a setup every choice should be on purpose...for a specific reason. If you dont have a reason then you are just taking shots in the dark.

...And the worst possible scenario is when guys order the size and type of piece their hero uses. There is nothing more crazy than this.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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...And the worst possible scenario is when guys order the size and type of piece their hero uses.
This would actually make sense, but only if they also order their hero's lips, tongue, lungs and brain. Possibly also their soul.

Very soon after I first started (within a year or two) I was playing an 8* Lawton on alto with 4 reeds.

I have gradually advanced now to a 5M (Meyer-alike) PPT with 2.25 reeds. It was not an easy journey but by persevering with the embouchure and tone exercises I can finally control this kind of outlandish setup.

(But I still use an 11 on tenor sometimes of course)
 

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True but Pete has been a pro as long as some members here have been alive.
He also does not make random choices about gear. If he is playing an 11 he is doing it for reasons he could spell out in detail.
 
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