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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings.I've switched from alto to tenor sax two months and a half ago.I play a JodyJazz Jet 6 with 2 1/2 Rico Orange Box reeds.Before,we dive into this dilemma,I should say that professionals in my area would say that I have a very good,solid tone on my alto.However,I am currently unhappy with my tone on tenor.I've been practicing every day,doing long tones,all the necessary stuff.My teacher at the conservatory says that I don't bite and that I don't have other problems with my embochoure except that my lower lip is a bit too outside but he's ok with it as long as it doesn't affect my sound and intonation.Sure,there is the occasional squeak but he says that I need some time to settle in with my new horn and I think he's very right about that.However,I remember discussions here that talked about avoiding free blowing mouthpieces.My JodyJazz Jet 6 is a freeblowing mouthpiece and my Serie III is a freeblowing sax.Coupled together,it might bring things out of balance.I can do crescendos and decrescendos from ppp to fff in tune,with a GOOD REED (key word:GOOD REED) it's very responsive across the range,easy to play,however the tone seems a bit hollow and dead compared to my friend's Dukoff which felt really alive and pleasingly bright to me.Another problem is the reeds.Finding a good reed for this mouthpiece is really tough.I've also seen posts that point out this issue,blaming it on the short facing curve.The main question is,though,is it helping me develop my sound,my breath support ? My main inspiration is Dexter Gordon.I just love his tone and really want to sound just like him(even though it's impossible).I might listen to other more modern sax players like Ben Wendel,Chris Potter,Joshua Redman,Jan Garbarek but ,no matter what I do,I still go back to Dexter,but I digress.Can you,guys,please help me reach a conclusion with this dilemma ? If you were to recommend me another mouthpiece,could it be available in Europe ?
 

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Never played a Jody Jazz jet, is that a small chamber piece? I know Joe Henderson was great but generally Tenor players gravitate toward the bigger chamber pieces like Links. If you like the Dukoff those aren't hard to find cheap, maybe your buddy will let you try it?
 

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PS if you really like Dexters tone, go for it! Don't tell yourself it's impossible, good music making requires belief in yourself and positive vibes.
 

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I've never played a Jet, though I know it's marketed as a bright piece with easy altissimo, so I would guess it has more baffle and maybe a smaller chamber than what we commonly think of as a traditional "jazz" piece with a large chamber and a low rollover baffle. It sounds like your teacher feels you are playing with good technique, so it certainly won't hurt you to play this piece. Also, it's important to keep in mind that even if you could acquire the same exact piece Dexter played, you would sound like you playing his piece, not him.

However, if you are unhappy with your tone and would like to try something closer to what Dexter would have played, you might consider picking up a vintage Dukoff copy. Sakshama makes a true replica and Phil-Tone's Mosaic was also inspired by Dexter's tone. Another good choice would be a Link copy and there are many to select from. Any of these pieces would feature a large chamber and low baffle which Dexter and most of his peers in the fifties and sixties would have played.

Large chamber pieces do require more support, so this might be a way to build up your airstream, though I would advise against playing a piece that is physically uncomfortable for you to play just because you feel you should.
 

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However,I remember discussions here that talked about avoiding free blowing mouthpieces.My JodyJazz Jet 6 is a freeblowing mouthpiece and my Serie III is a freeblowing sax.
I would ignore anyone telling you to avoid a "free blowing mouthpiece," what is supposed to be wrong? I'm not aware a free blowing mouthpiece has done me any harm.

Your Series III is just a normal saxophone, not free blowing, nor is it...er, whatever the opposite is.
 

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I don't know why so many people are playing these Jet pieces, but I digress. Get a Link, or a Link-type piece from one of the many (many) boutique makers out there. Get something to push against so you can shape your sound, rather than a piece that dictates what you sound like. I could go on forever but I'll stop here.
 

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Dexter played a Conn 10m circa mid 30's with a Dukoff Hollywood 6* tip as legend has it. Then he switched to a first series Mark VI (122k?) with a moderate tip 6*-7* Otto Link Florida Super Tone Master. But I've heard people do a credible Dexter imitation with other equipment. Selmer+ Link is hard to beat for that early modern , post bop tenor sound. By the way, all the other "modern" players you mention have been seen with the Link piece on a Selmer horn , I believe.
 

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Im gonna make it simple.

If you aspire to the tone of the players you mention you have the wrong piece.

Sure...a great player can play anything and shape his sound to do what he wants on just about any piece.

However, if you are a normal human struggling like most of us to get the sound you want...well, you have the wrong tool for the job.

Yes Im a mpc maker...yes I probably am biased...but Im not knocking your piece...there is nothing inherently wrong with it... Im just saying its not very likely to get you anywhere near the vibe of those who inspire you.
 

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Phil is right. The Jet is a cool piece, but it's one of the brightest/loudest hard rubber pieces I've played. It's cool for what it is, but probably not what you're looking for.

I also play a Series III, and when I tried the Jet, I thought it'd be a good pop/smooth jazz piece (and of course the right player will be able to play anything on anything), but I think for most people, it'd be the wrong piece for a Dexter sound.
 

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I would ignore anyone telling you to avoid a "free blowing mouthpiece," what is supposed to be wrong? I'm not aware a free blowing mouthpiece has done me any harm.

Your Series III is just a normal saxophone, not free blowing, not...er, whatever the opposite is.
+1
 

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I love free-blowing, easy-playing set-ups. As you develop and start wanting more resistance and 'stridency' in your sound, you just go up in reed strength. All the resistance you want. A mouthpiece shouldn't be hard to play. A nice 'reed-friendly' mouthpiece means its an easy-playing piece even with a harder reed. The Series III tenor was brought about to help correct the mistake of 1974 and return the Selmer tenor to the characteristics of the Mk VI. For example, the III neck and the Mk VI neck are identical in bore and profile. If something happened to my VI, I would immediately go to the III. Selmer all the way.
 

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The Jet I tried was pretty unremarkable. It didn't have a lot of bite in it compared to what I'm used to playing. I couldn't push it and get more aggressive it just got a little bit louder.

The harmonics were a little dull too.

The tone was what I would call Medium Dark. The HR* for me is about as dark as this mouthpiece but they have a very different feel when blowing into them.

Compared to the Jody Jazz DV it is a pretty tame mouthpiece.
 

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OP - I used to own and play a Serie III tenor. Great horn.

For your stated goal, go for a Link-inspired mouthpiece - nothing extreme. A 7* with a 2 1/2 reed is a very standard setup.

Metal vs hard rubber doesn’t really matter - geometry rules.

When I was playing a III, I kept going ever darker in search of Turrentine-like tones. The Barone pieces were tops at that time: New York, Hollywood, Jazz were the pieces I played. I’ve also enjoyed several of the pieces by Sakshama. In hard rubber, my favorites for many more years were those made by Fred Lamberson in J or L models (mostly J). Nowadays I am getting everything I need from a Phil-Tone “Intrepid”.

Your goal of Dexter tones will overlap quite nicely with most any of these pieces, whether you get there depends on how you choose to shape your personal sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the answer,guys.Unfortunately,In my country(Romania) the overwhelming majority of saxophonists play alto and that means music stores don't stock up on tenor pieces.But,I think I'm going to go on a trip abroad to test out mouthpieces and see what I like after spending a little more time with my current piece,despite my pet peeves.On a side note,I think I've discovered today a method to check if a reed really does not seal well on the mouthpiece,something better than the pop test.On a bad reed, while playing a crescendo from ppp to fff on a low E and D,whenever I would get to mf,it would warble real nasty and then go back to normal by the time I got to ff.I had one of my colleagues and eventually,my teacher, put one hand below the mouthpiece and the other hand above the mouthpiece in the ligature area and then push down and up at the same time, hard,to bring the reed as close to the mouthpiece ( I think you would call that squeezing,in english) WHILE I would blow a crescendo same as before.This time around,that warble did not happen at all,and it went almost really smoothly from ppp to fff and back.I should mention that this was done on my piece with a rovner versa ligature.
 

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had one of my colleagues and eventually,my teacher, put one hand below the mouthpiece and the other hand above the mouthpiece in the ligature area and then push down and up hard to bring the reed as close to the mouthpiece WHILE I would blow a crescendo same as before.This time around,that warble did not happen at all,and it went almost really smoothly from ppp to fff and back.I should mention that this was done on my piece with a rovner versa ligature
This makes perfect sense to those of us who work with mouthpieces. For a start, the pop test can often mean very little - it can let you know whether a reed/mouthpiece passes the pop test but not how well it works or sounds inn real life.

Assuming you have tried this test with various reeds, then what it shows is there is either an issue with the mouthpiece table, or merely a mouthpiece - ligature mismatch.
 

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Thanks for the answer,guys.Unfortunately,In my country(Romania) the overwhelming majority of saxophonists play alto...
I’m sorry. Thank you for playing tenor. :twisted: :bluewink:

I think I've discovered today a method to check if a reed really does not seal well on the mouthpiece,something better than the pop test.
The pop test is not a reliable way to determine a bad reed. If you know the reed is bad, that’s where you stop, remove it, and put on a good one.

On the other hand, have you checked whether your reeds are flat? Do you leave them on the mouthpiece or store them so they stay flat between sessions?

Good luck in your mouthpiece quest. I’m amazed that you were able to find such a great horn, given your location.

Best wishes to you and yours,

George
 

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I agree with others that a Link-like mouthpiece is the best for the sound you want. Just make sure that you pay attention to correct embouchure placement (near the break point on the facing) and keep it as loose as possible, but no looser. Good strong air support also required.

If you want a hard-rubber piece, Dr. G's advice is perfect.

If you prefer a metal piece, I play and strongly suggest a Phil-Tone Tribute (it costs a bit more..) on my 100K Mark VI. It's like the best Link you ever played. It IS free-blowing (I agree with Pete and the others that free-blowing is a good thing), and it is clear and even low Bb to altissimo (however high you play - for me, D4 is the max...). Rico Orange Box reeds work perfectly on it :) As do a bunch of others...

(EDIT - adding this to add to others responses since I started typing - got interrupted). If you go on a trip abroad, Phil Engleman lives in France now ... be sure to drop him a line, he will fix you up.

Regarding the pop test, and the issue you described, I really dislike Rovner ligatures for just this reason. Get a good quality standard two-screw lig and you won't have these problems. I prefer the Bonade inverted ligatures, and use them on all my pieces except Links (which come with the standard Link screw-and-plate ligature) and my Tribute, for which I purchased the Theo Wanne Enlightened ligature (very similar to the Link ligature). All these ligatures put positive firm pressure on the reed, holding it flat to the table. Rovners have a tendency to fail in this regard.
 

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My teacher always rants on like this,

1)Let the horn and mouthpiece show you what it wants to sound like through playing the overtone series lots and lots.
2)Get the concept of trying to sound like a player out of your head and just listen intently with out forcing a concept on top of what is.
3)Play a middle of the road mouthpiece, Otto Link hard rubber 7* with a Vandoren classical number 2 or 2 and a half reed.
4)Softer reeds, more mouthpiece in mouth, drop the jaw, stay loose
5)All problems will be solved with time on the horn with out forcing.
6)We can only sound like ourselves.
7)Listening 25 hours a day is essential
8)Play the neck and mouthpiece, bend the note as far down as possible, then back to correct pitch

These are some of my teachers rants, hope they help
 

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My teacher always rants on like this,

1)Let the horn and mouthpiece show you what it wants to sound like through playing the overtone series lots and lots.
2)Get the concept of trying to sound like a player out of your head and just listen intently with out forcing a concept on top of what is.
3)Play a middle of the road mouthpiece, Otto Link hard rubber 7* with a Vandoren classical number 2 or 2 and a half reed.
4)Softer reeds, more mouthpiece in mouth, drop the jaw, stay loose
5)All problems will be solved with time on the horn with out forcing.
6)We can only sound like ourselves.
7)Listening 25 hours a day is essential
8)Play the neck and mouthpiece, bend the note as far down as possible, then back to correct pitch

These are some of my teachers rants, hope they help
I don’t intend any disrespect toward your teacher, especially since we don’t know your playing level and the intentions of what your teacher is pitching.

I fail to understand the choice of Vandoren Classical reeds - I’ve played them on a number of horns and mouthpieces, and find that they are not the best match for me for any application (and yes, I do perform in classical quartets).

There is a limit to what can be achieved on softer reeds. It’s not the correct solution for everyone.

“More mouthpiece” can only work if you are guilty of not enough mouthpiece.

I don’t play the neck and mouthpiece, I play the horn. Maybe that is a good exercise for a week, but then you’re done - that should not be a lifelong endeavor.

I’m good with listening 25 hours a day, as long as you practice, play, perform for the other 47 hours. :bluewink:
 
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