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There are mouthpieces that sell new at around the $20 range, for example Bari Esprit or Rico B5. Are these as crap as the price would lead you to expect? Are any of them worth trying? Does anyone here play such a mouthpiece as one of their primaries?
 

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They can be ok, actually. But they also can be less than ok. I think everybody should try these kinds of pieces. Better to have a $20 piece that gathers dust than a $300 piece. We've all been there.

But one of these might be exactly what YOU need at the moment. And, you can get them from places (like Weiner Music) that will let you return them if they don't work for you.

No harm, no foul.

A good question to ask yourself is: what do I want from a mouthpiece? That's the place to start.

And, if you can't answer that question, don't spend a ton of money searching for an answer. Spend your time before you spend your money. A $20 piece like these will at least help you toward an answer and sometimes it might be the right one. You never know.
 

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Rico mouthpieces are good. Their manufacturing process and material means they are very consistent. If you like yours, but something happens, it won't be a problem to replace it. The trade-off is that they can't be modified or perfected. (At least I think that's the case, I am open to correction on this topic.)

I don't have experience with Bari mouthpieces, and can't attest to their quality. I have read some good reviews on their professional mouthpieces, but have seen nothing about the Esprit.

Over the years, I have spent some money on mouthpieces, and have several disappointments in my collection.
 

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They can be ok, actually. But they also can be less than ok. I think everybody should try these kinds of pieces. Better to have a $20 piece that gathers dust than a $300 piece. We've all been there.

But one of these might be exactly what YOU need at the moment. And, you can get them from places (like Weiner Music) that will let you return them if they don't work for you.

No harm, no foul.

A good question to ask yourself is: what do I want from a mouthpiece? That's the place to start.

And, if you can't answer that question, don't spend a ton of money searching for an answer. Spend your time before you spend your money. A $20 piece like these will at least help you toward an answer and sometimes it might be the right one. You never know.
Great post Joe. I'd agree 100% - don't start looking unless you know what you're looking for. My experience with inexpensive pieces has been mixed. I bought/ borrowed a bunch of cheap alto pieces about this time last year because I have a niece and a couple of nephews who just started playing sax in grade school and I wanted to find them something better than the door stops that typically come with rental horns or second-hand saxes. The best I found in terms of facing-quality/price/consistency/sound were the Yamahas.

For a kid it doesn't make sense to spend much more than $25-$30 on a mouthpiece as the chances of it getting lost/stolen/dropped etc. are pretty good. However, for adults I don't see the point as there are always a bunch of lightly used pieces popping up here in the marketplace section of SOTW. I've purchased Meyers, Vandorens, Links, Selmers and several other hard rubber pieces here from SOTW members for $50-$100 that are very nice players (some of them even touched-up by refacers).
 

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Yamaha's C series are more than decent on soprano and alto, dunno on bigger horns, where I prefer metal and bigger tips anyway.
 

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I have a Rico Graftonite B7. Plays fine but nothing special so it's a good thing to have around. I use it on my CMel sometimes. Never liked the metalites and never liked anybody's sound on them but other people seem to like them, mainly I guess because they play very easy.
 

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Sounds like the Metalites are more rock than jazz pieces, right?
No...not right.
It takes a while, but a Metalite is very colourful & as flexible as you want it to be. It can scream or sub-tone in the hands of someone who has learnt to play one.
Not recommended for beginners though.
 

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I have owned a LOT of tenor mouthpieces in the past 50 years, some that sell for over $500 today and at this time two fo my favorites are a Meyer 8M and a Metalite M5. Even if the Metalite is not your ultimate mouthpiece, for the money it is worth keeping for the times where nothing seems to work. A forgiving bargain.
 

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I didn't even unwrap the mouthpiece that came with my horn. I had already spent hundreds on a few mouthpieces. Out of boredom I unwrapped it along with the cheap ligature and gave it a try. I was surprised when I was able to do overtones and altissimo. With the same reed on my other expensive mouthpieces it did not project as easily. The cheap mouthpiece was not as loud or lively as my others but it was not stuffy or unplayable.
 
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