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I'm a highschool player and I recently picked up the soprano this summer and I practiced quite a bit at the beginning then stopped for awhile because of marching season, and now I am practicing it everyday. I started out using a Rousseau NC4 on my Custom EX but then I switched to a Selmer Concept because I was getting a better sound. I've been working on mouthpiece pitch exercises and long tones but the concept just keeps on wanting to play with wacky intonation even when tuning to A=440. So I just wanted to know if any of you guys think I should stick to the concept or if I should try out some new mouthpieces. Thanks!
 

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I recently bought a Concept (it came at a discount with a new soprano I bought) and I have had nothing but great results with it. I love the thing. But what someone achieves with a certain mouthpiece doesn't mean others will, too.

I'm using mine on a variety of sopranos, curved and straight, vintage and modern and its intonation has been spot-on for me. I'm using #2 Vandoren Javas and Fibracell Premieres on mine.

I think you should try some different reeds before leaving the Concept. DAVE
 

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I like the Selmer Super Session, and the Bari HR on soprano myself. Round chamber, squeeze throat, what’s not to like? I’d mention Link too, but they are manufactured so poorly that I can’t recommend them.
 

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If you really have your heart set on trying a new mouthpiece, you should take a look at this thread to see what other players using your model of soprano are playing.

That said, assuming that you're playing a modern soprano, there's probably no problem with the mouthpiece that you're currently using, and I would suggest that you just put more time in on it. Intonation on the soprano is more fickle than on the other saxes, and it's notoriously difficult for beginners on the soprano to keep it in tune across the range of the horn.

I would suggest that you keep practicing long tones, but that you do so by playing along with guide or drone tones and working to maintain your intonation with those tones.

I practice long tones this way using the "sound back" feature of the Korg OT-120 tuner, but the Tonal Energy app has similar features. The important thing is to use your ears (not the needle on a tuner) to adjust and maintain your intonation, and to get the embouchure adjustments into your muscle memory by practicing long tone note transitions across the range of your horn.
 

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I recently bought a Concept (it came at a discount with a new soprano I bought) and I have had nothing but great results with it. I love the thing. But what someone achieves with a certain mouthpiece doesn't mean others will, too.
How does the Concept compare to the SL3?
 

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I'm a highschool player and I recently picked up the soprano this summer and I practiced quite a bit at the beginning then stopped for awhile because of marching season, and now I am practicing it everyday. I started out using a Rousseau NC4 on my Custom EX but then I switched to a Selmer Concept because I was getting a better sound. I've been working on mouthpiece pitch exercises and long tones but the concept just keeps on wanting to play with wacky intonation even when tuning to A=440. So I just wanted to know if any of you guys think I should stick to the concept or if I should try out some new mouthpieces. Thanks!
I wouldn't throw money at the problem because you still might not get it sorted out. Maybe Joe from Soprano Planet will chime in - he knows more about soprano pitch issues than anyone that I know of. If you have the funds to experiment, I think the place to start is with Joe because he can advise you on what works for your particular horn and work with you on getting a mouthpiece that will work well for you. Soprano can be tricky, at best, to play in tune sometimes.
 

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I think mouthpiece tip sizes may have something to do with intonation. I had similar intonation issues moving between registers on soprano when I was getting started with it. I started with a mouthpiece with a tip opening of 0.062". Switching to the Optimum AL3 mouthpiece with a tip opening of about 0.045" solved the intonation problem. After many months of practice, I could play on either of the mouthpieces and maintain good intonation.

In your case, your tip opening is already quite small at 0.042" and was 0.051" on the NC4. I imagine the intonation issue was worse on the NC4, but you didn't mention it. I don't know that anything will improve by switching mouthpieces, as you will likely get the best intonation and control with the Selmer Concept. I would say stay with the Selmer Concept and practice daily.
 

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Yamaha Custom EX paired with a Selmer Concept mouthpiece is an outstanding combination. The intonation issues are most definitely not a mouthpiece problem. The best strategy for you and other young musicians is to get private lessons.
 

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LostConn: I like the Concept the best of my closed-tip mouthpieces, although the others (SL3, scroll-shank C*, and S-80 D, to name three favorites) are all players.

I have two sopranos on stands in my office right now; a five-digit VI and a new Kessler curvy - they wear the Concept and the SL3. Side-by-side, the Concept is stronger, sweeter, and more reed-friendly than the SL3. The Concept played very smoothly and effortlessly right out of the box. The SL3 for me is rather subdued - a conclusion I reached after playing it for several weeks and side-by-side with other mouthpieces.

When I talked to Dave Kessler before buying his curvy, he recommended the Concept as one I should try and he gave me reasons for his recommendation. He was spot-on. There were several mouthpiece options included with his curved sopranos. I'm one to take risks on things I haven't tried, and I'm glad I did.

As far as tip-openings and intonation, I played open pieces for YEARS (Super Session J, Missing Link .072, Morgan 7, Sapphire .070, etc.) and the only intonation issues I experienced were because of the horns being played, not the mouthpieces. My main axe is soprano and if a certain soprano was out of tune, it was out of tune regardless of what mouthpiece I used (and I have a large collection of mouthpieces) to include both open and closed mouthpieces.

A recent switch to closed tips has been revealing for me. Yes, the Concept is claimed to be .042, but it plays much bigger than that while at the same time giving me good focus and acceptable volume without overwhelming other instruments (a problem I had with those mouthpieces with .070 tips, based on some recordings of live performances). Of course, we are all different. DAVE
 

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Thanks for the comments, Dave. Interestingly, the alto Concept also plays "bigger" than its tip opening would suggest, i.e., with more projection.

I may give the soprano Concept a try. I like the SL3 well enough, but I'm on the lookout for a slightly warmer, rounder sound. The SL5 is a small step in that direction, but its short facing creates a lot of resistance on the lower half of the horn.
 

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I wouldn't throw money at the problem because you still might not get it sorted out. Maybe Joe from Soprano Planet will chime in - he knows more about soprano pitch issues than anyone that I know of.
Sadly, Joe Giardullo has not posted here in approximately two years.
 

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Thanks for the comments, Dave. Interestingly, the alto Concept also plays "bigger" than its tip opening would suggest, i.e., with more projection.
Don't forget, projection (aka loudness) is not necessarily related to tip size of course. All other things being equal a larger tip can help with loudness, but all other things are not always equal!
 

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I find many mouthpiece-terms to be really subjective . . . results that are difficult to accurately describe and words that have a different meaning to different players. Projection, focus, resistance, warmth, etc. come to mind.

In jazz ensembles with multiple horns (like a Dixieland group), "loudness" and "projection" are often the result of the player playing the right notes in the ensemble's mess. I can often hear the various players better when they are not clashing with one another. So are they loud or are they accurate?

Clarinets come to mind in that they can be buried in the ensemble if not filling the gaps properly (and a side-issue where they frequently - and falsely - demand to be amplified rather than playing the right notes). It is SO much better if they stay away from microphones . . .

So, with my soprano Concept, I SUSPECT that I'm achieving adequate volume (I think something that many of us fail to properly evaluate - the audience is a much better judge of our volume than we are) while at the same time NOT playing with a "hugeness" that comes from my open mouthpieces, e.g., more focus than the bigger tips give me.

When I listen to recordings I've made, the open tips often created a larger-than-necessary "presence" (think Sidney Bechet) - a soprano sound that was bigger than necessary. I have yet to record anything with the Concept - all of my observations come from behind the horn.

I feel little resistance from the Concept, but maybe that is because the sopranos I'm now playing are nicely set-up and play very well, AND the reeds I'm using are better suited for the Concept. DAVE
 

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Hi everyone.
Dave has vey good points on soprano mpcs.
I have owned many Scroll Shank Selmers,a few metal ones,mostly hard rubber ones.
E,D,one C* that was refaced by Joe to .71, and another C** which i intend to keep it as is.
I also have owned two Link Slant 7 that i stupidly traded .
Many others,like a two Morgan ones,two Yanigasiwa metal ones,one 9 and one 8, a few Miami Dukoffs,one Drake mpc,one Soprano Planet mpc etc etc
Though i always come back to Selmer Scroll Shank mpcs,,so far.
As i get older,strangely I just prefer smaller openings.
Like this Selmer Scroll C** ,a few years back,i would never given the chance to keep those ,now i really do apreaciate those ones,but i put more time on those.I find that even a small opening will give a great sound,and great intonation..
Just sold lately a Selmer S80 G,it was nice,but i felt the intonation was all over the place in the high register.
It is also nice to keep a few ones,so depending on what you play or with which style and band you play,it s very usefull to have at least two mpcs.
Best of luck
Regards
Mario
 

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Thanks for the comments, Dave. Interestingly, the alto Concept also plays "bigger" than its tip opening would suggest, i.e., with more projection.

I may give the soprano Concept a try. I like the SL3 well enough, but I'm on the lookout for a slightly warmer, rounder sound. The SL5 is a small step in that direction, but its short facing creates a lot of resistance on the lower half of the horn.
Selmer definately did a homerun with the Concept! They brought Vandoren back to the drawing board with that one. Their answer to the Concept is the Profile (SP3). Definately worth a try as well. I'd say it's a little brighter than the Concept.
 

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Is the Selmer “scroll shank” the same as the “metal classic “ or are they different animals?
Different animals. The Scroll Shank is hard rubber and the “metal classic” is the metal version.
I think the interior design is almost the same but the metal is slimmer.
I’ve always preferred the metal. I had a scroll shank and it warped on me, badly. That’s the only time that’s ever happened to me.
 
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