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Are there mouthpieces that better enable overtones?

3041 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  littlemanbighorn
I'm struggling with trying to expand my range of overtones. I'm wondering if there might mouthpieces that would make it easier. I'm thinking that maybe after getting better on one that's easier, I could transfer to my preferred piece. Is that the wrong approach?
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My advice would be to first and foremost play on the mpc that affords you the best control, tone quality and intonation over the natural range. How responsive a mpc is to the harmonics/altissimo is a secondary concern for me. It may be more important to you though, so it's tough to say.

If you like your current setup for all other reasons besides overtone response, I'd say stick w/ it and hack your way through. Are you playing on a large chamber/low baffle piece? I think it's generally true that higher baffles and smaller chambers make overtones easier, but they come w/ a totally different feel and tone quality.

I learned altissimo on relatively closed pieces. They weren't necessarily good pieces however. Much easier on others. I'd try a high baffled RPC for tenor.
It looks like your setup will work fine,the 6 is a horn i have used in the past with good results,some horns are not as altissimo ready,for me.i will warm up daily with harmonics from low c,helping to open my throat,singing low notes,as low as possible,also helps,i cannot bite,i will go through my top lip,i have to depend on my throat.the dog will howl when i practice altissimo,my wife wonders if i am losing it,my children leave,so now i wait for the right time.i live in the woods so at least i have the chance to do altissimo.mouthpieces can make a difference but for me not much of one,but the horn has to be the right one,i have had some tenors that were great playing instruments but did not work well in altissimo,but it looks like you have one of the top three have fun tony
Thanks, all. I'll look for a high baffle mpc.
I have found high baffle pieces to be better for the high overtones, but something like a Link (ie less baffle) for the lower ones.
Billt4mn said:
Thanks, all. I'll look for a high baffle mpc.
I don't think that's necessary at all. I learned the Top Tones for Saxophone book on a Metal C* (Alto). Learning that book is really the key to sound production (tone, intonation, focus, ear training, etc) on the sax in general. A 90K Selmer is one of the easiest for overtones/altissimo I can think of. My suggestion would be a stiffer, more responsive reed. Easier said then done or found. Something with a big heart. Vandoren blue box is a good choice. But the reed really is the key. Part of my daily is practicing with a legit set-up on over tones. If you can do it on a C*, I would think you could do it on anything.
You really don't need a high baffle for altissimo. I actually find that they limit the altissimo range. I compared my Guardala Studio to my Florida link and the Link had much better altissimo. The Guardala seemed to just cut off after about G4. The Link i could keep going all the way up for at least another octave or two. To eliminate any confusion when i say G4 i mean the next octave above the first altissimo G. The link really suprised me when it beat the guardala out by so much. The question though is how in to altissimo are you? If you aren't looking to go to the absolute extremes you can use whatever you want, but if you want something that can really get up there the main thing is get something with a fairly large tip and as hard of a reed you can still get a good sound out of. I use Alexander D.C. 4's with my link that is refaced to an 8.
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Thanks for the tip on reeds, Sopranosaxm and and Eugesax. I'll look for harder reeds.
Yup, a baffle helps. I hooked up an Ernie Northway yesterday that I almost never play with big bad baffle and went soaring into Lenny Pickettland for the first time.

You don't need a high baffle. Keep working the overtone series. Set up is fine. It will come with time.

Good luck
A really dark piece will make it harder to play the high overtones, since the mouthpiece will sound dark because it emphasizes the fundamental and lower partials, but they're all still there. It just takes a little more time to find them and hit them consistently. It's time well spent, though.
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