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Discussion Starter #1
I play bari and tenor in a concert band but I have a mouthpiece dilemma with the bari.

Using a Selmer S80 mouthpiece with a D facing and Gonzalez 2½ reed I get the sound I like on the bari but I have difficulty getting LH palm key notes above high D when going directly to them from lower down, and front F doesn’t work for me at all with this set up. Using either a Yamaha 5C mouthpiece or a vintage Yamaha piece with an unknown tip opening, both with the same reed, I have no trouble with the LH palm key notes, including front F, but I don’t like the sound at all with either of the Yamahas.

There isn’t much difference in tip opening between the S80 D and Yam 5C so I guess it’s the difference between their respective baffles and chambers which makes them work or not work for me. So where do I go from here? I seem to need a bari mpc with the flat baffle and horseshoe chamber of the Yam to get the LH palm key notes, but the rollover baffle and square chamber of the Selmer for the sound.

Any mouthpiece suggestions to resolve my bari mouthpiece dilemma would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Finding a baritone mouthpiece that has a nice round sound, delivers booming low notes as well as a clear upper register pretty much describes the general mouthpiece hunt for many bari players.
I would suggest a Berg Larsen hard rubber 90, 95 or 100 over 2 or 3, M facing. Unfortunately, you may have to try several modern Bergs before finding a good one. I guess out of those possibilities I would pick a 95/2/M for you to try first.
BTW, what baritone are you playing? This could also influence the answers.
 

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I have this issue occasionally but I find, for me, it's mostly tied to the reed and my lack of skill. A reed that feels good to me, has the right amount of resistance, for the lower bell tones is typically a little too soft for the palm key notes without a bit of extra help in voicing with throat and tongue position as well as a little firming of the embouchure. I have no trouble with those intervals going up to the palm keys when playing a new or stiffer reed but then I struggle to get the low notes to speak well and with control.

It may be that the facing lengths or tip openings between your pieces are just different enough to make these notes speak more easily on one than another. Those notes will speak and the intervals are possible on your S80 you just need to figure out what combination of things you need to do to make that happen. I'd suggest practicing those intervals very slowly paying close attention to the differences in tongue, throat, and embouchure needed to make the notes speak compared to when they don't. You may need to practice them every day for several weeks but eventually your body will adapt and you'll make the necessary adjustments without having to think about them anymore.
 

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BTW, what baritone are you playing? This could also influence the answers.
For sure this could be a factor, and for choice of best mouthpiece we can almost certainly say "it depends..."
Also, the horn should be checked for leaks and properly regulated, to get ANY mouthpiece to play well.
But the facing (lay) is likely as big or bigger a factor than the shape of the chamber, although baffle shape/height can be important in getting the right response.
Once you're sure the horn is in top playing condition, the best thing is to get to a dealer with a good selection of mouthpieces, and take the time to find the one that's best for YOU and for THIS horn.
Lastly, you need a big supply of reeds of different cuts/strengths to sample, especially if you're trying a lot of mouthpieces, but even to simply get the most out of the S80, or the 5C. REED is critical, and they're as different as night and day, even out of the same box... even the same reed, on a different day!
A reed can make a great mouthpiece play like a total dud, and the other way around.
One thing I've found with Gonzalez baritone reeds is that they are super WIDE. I actually can't use them with my mouthpiece/ligature, without planing the edges. This may be a factor in your problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for that advice, as it happens I was looking at a Berg.

My main seat in the band is on tenor and while the band is without a bari player I was asked to double on bari for those charts which have big bari parts such as Blues Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson charts and the like. So I bought myself a budget Chinese baritone, one of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRILpttSW24

It plays very well and I'm really pleased with it for the money but I think it could do with a professional setup, so I might get to the local tech in the new year.

Thanks again for the advice, much appreciated.
 

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It is possible that you are closing the reed in the upper register. Make sure that you are inserting enough of the baritone mouthpiece when you play. The Selmer mouthpiece has a longer facing than your tenor mouthpiece and likely a longer facing than the Yamaha mouthpiece. Look at the mouthpiece from the side and make a mark where the mouthpiece meets the reed. The apex is around where your bottom lip should be placed. You want to find the "sweet spot" where you have control, but the reed vibrates freely. This spot will feel different on the baritone than on the tenor. This should help with your upper register problems.
 

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All the responses have merit. I also have a Chinese bari that looks a lot like that one but under a different 'brand' (Kessler). Maybe its just my way of playing and the mouthpieces I like but any Chinese or Taiwan sax I've tried plays very flat. Consequently I have to adjust the corks so I can get the mouthpiece very far on. However I think the baritones tend to have a nice round sound and good relative intonation once you get your global tuning, and don't seem to have any glaring bad tendencies. The mouthpieces I have liked on baritone over the years have been a Brilhart Ebolin 5* (1959, Brilhart Level Air 9* and Berg Larsen 130/1/M - these were used on Martins and a student model Conn. When I got the new low A bari in 2015, I started trying mouthpieces and although I'm pretty well settled on another Level Air 9*, I still try one every so often. The latest one is a Brancher Ebonite L29 (.114) that did play great but was a little too open for where I am now so I'm selling it.
My point is you can get lost in the mouthpiece world. After reading kfosters comments, I also was thinking maybe you should look into re-facing the Selmer D to be a little more aggressive since you love the sound of it.
Another thing is articulation - baritone and bass sax teachers stress 'slap-tonguing' for the purpose of eliminating 'scooping' notes and providing a good start for every note. You can always tell a tenor player on baritone by 'scooping' on the upper register. Being a tenor player like you, I never learned slap-tonguing and I do struggle sometimes with getting the right reed to do everything I want on bari, including a nice 'cool-jazz' sub-tone. I know its crazy but the Level Air is what's doing it for me for now. My reed of the moment is a Fibracell #3. I have to use synthetic because a cane reed would dry out between uses of the bari on a typical gig.
I look at it like a player with a good strong embouchure should be able to play a #4 reed on a .090" baritone mouthpiece so maybe the most expedient thing you can do is to work up to at least a #3 reed on the Selmer according to shlock's comments which might just eliminate the mouthpiece change. Then you have the embouchure suggestions by foster involving taking more mouthpiece which might help too.
This is really a good thread that I think many players would get something from - I learned a few things myself. Sometimes we get a little lost in these things and its good to get other points of view on it.
 

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If the harder reed tends to give a sound that's too bright for you, keep in mind that you can adjust that with reed selection. Its also the other reason I use the Fibracell which is a much 'darker' reed but with the high-baffle piece I use, still delivers 'punch' when pushed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lots of really excellent advice here. Thanks very much everyone - greatly appreciated.
 
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