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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm having some response troubles with my bari setup (as follows):

Selmer Serie II
Selmer E
Stock Lig
Vandoren 3-3.5

I'm thinking it's the mouthpiece--others in the studio claim that the response issues have arisen from this infamous Selmer E that I'm on. To add to my frustrations, the other bari player that I share the bari with (a doctorate student) claims to have no response issues (he's on a different setup), and no find no troubles with the horn itself.

I'm thinking of these pieces as a replacement:

Vandoren BL3 or BL4 (what's the diff?)
Selmer C** or D

I tend to get washed out from the quartet's sound--I can't seem to produce a great foundation beneath everyone else. Something that slightly pops through the ensemble sound but remains dark enough for our repertoire (classical) would be ideal. Perhaps something a tad more free-blowing as well. I'm not sure--maybe another Selmer E would solve the problem (but it seems to have been handpicked by my professor).

I'd like to stick to my reed strength at around a 3.25.

Any suggestions would be great; I've had limited bari experience, so any help would be fantastic.

J
 

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You might want to try a C*, C**, or a D. I use a Rousseau 4R (about the same as a C*), and I had no response issues with a 3.5 or 4.
 

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Currently I'm using a vintage Selmer Soloist C* and Vandoren 4's, and this is OK for right now (for my bari setup I look mostly for ease of response and some resistance for voicing purposes).

I'm going to switch to a modern Selmer S90 190 or 200 before I have to perform on bari again. Dr. Connie Frigo's bari students at the big University of Tennessee (Knoxville) sound very good, and they are all on S90 190. Dr. Frigo herself is on a refaced S90 190, and she's the fantastic bari player for New Century Saxophone Quartet.

Angel
 

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I used selmer E with vandoren 4's, had no issues there, but now I use a vandoren B35, sounds even better!
 

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I use a Selmer S90 200 with 3.5 blue box reeds. I am completely happy with this setup and i would recommend it to anyone.
I personally dont like the Vandoren Baritone mouthpieces, i feel there is too much edge and i am not comfortable with the beak shape on them.

Each to there own.
You shouldnt be having difficulties with the E i used one for ages and had no probs and so have many others, could it be bad reeds? sax not sealing? posture?

Look at all avenues before you change mouthpieces.

Just my 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies...

I bet the Selmer E is a great piece--I was having some good days with it, but more bad days seem to overshadow its performance with me. Again, maybe it's just THAT mouthpiece.

I'll keep my eyes out for anything.

J
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Indeed--there are so many other things that could be going wrong.

I've changed up ligatures several times--that's why I'm back to the stock lig, to help clear up with some response things (I was on a Rovner). I also got a new harness which helped the angle entry of the mouthpiece, which seemed to help things (my back loves it!).
 

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Hmmm...this is a tough one. Bari and Tenor mouthpiece setups are tough because there isn't really a standard. (I've seen very high level players use everything from a Rascher to a vintage Brilhart. The Bari player in the Deffayet Quartet used a Brilhart Tonalin!) I tend to prefer brighter pieces on lower horns.

That being said, I'll give you a couple of alternative mouthpieces to try...the Hite Artist is a good choice, as is the Vandoren Optimum. The difference in the two Optimums is the facings - the BL3 has a smaller tip with a longer facing curve, and the BL4 is the exact opposite. Check the Vandoren website for the exact measurements. If you want something a bit darker, and you can find one, a Morgan "C" is always a good choice.
 

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Vandoren B35

Hello,

I have tried Vandoren B25, B35, BL4, Selmer D.

IMHO the winner and the best for me is the B35 by far.
#3.5, #4 Vandoren traditional reeds.

Regards,
Anselmo
 

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j44breaker said:
To add to my frustrations, the other bari player that I share the bari with (a doctorate student) claims to have no response issues (he's on a different setup), and no find no troubles with the horn itself.
What is this other person using that works so well on the same horn? Is that too obvious a question? Have you asked to try it?

Which leads me to...

j44breaker said:
Any suggestions would be great; I've had limited bari experience, so any help would be fantastic.
Maybe it's not the setup. Maybe it's you. Perhaps a smaller tip opening would help. Don't be afraid to bracket reed strengths until you find what works. I understand that bari reeds are expensive but you need to find the optimum strength for your level of playing now.

Are you still "doubling" on other horns? If so, I'd suggest focusing on the bari and laying out on the others for a while. If you have not yet dialed in your bari embouchure, air stream, and support, your bari sound will suffer - regardless of mouthpiece.

G'luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I think I may have found the solution. I believe it may have been the ligature. I suspected that the metal lig that came with the loaned out mouthpiece wasn't sealing right after realizing that the two screws seemed to be misaligned in relation to each other (I understand that the outside diameter of the mouthpiece increase as it gets further down--but this difference with the top screw and the bottom screw was way too drastic). After giving an old Rovner a shot, the response problem seemed to have lessened. But because the lig seemed a bit worn (but screwed tightly), I'm not sure if it sealed correctly. Finally, after seeing some sort of progress, I was able to get my hands on a metal Selmer lig and...the Selmer E spoke freely and articulations were clean(er; than the old "stock" lig and the old Rovner).

Front F#, F, and E spoke. I was able to get notes to speak from niente with the same 3.5 Vandorens that I had thought were bad. I'm starting to think this old "stock" lig was the culprit. With some fiddling, I was able to get some altissimo to work as well--something that I wouldn't have been able to accomplish on the lig that came with the loaned mouthpiece.

Hopefully in tomorrow's quartet rehearsal this doesn't turn out to be a fluke (I tried my whole box of reeds to the same, positive results). Seeing as though it's not a mouthpiece problem--would the E still be a recommended piece to "start" out on? Strangely enough, I like the fact that I can get volume with the Selmer E with 3.5s, but I felt that at times my sound was a tad "spread." I actually feel that the E is a bit freeblowing--but maybe that's just me. With the C** that I tried out today, I felt that I was a bit limited with the dynamic range, but sound came quite effortlessly. Perhaps a D would be the happy medium.

Anyway--there's the update. Again, I hope this is a permanent fix.

<fingers crossed>
 

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On bari I have had good luck with Rascher and Caravan mouthpieces with Vandoren blue box #3.5 reeds. I play a Keilwerth SX90R and the afore mentioned mouthpieces work quite well for me. Give them a try if you get the chance. Try as many pieces as you can and experiment with mouthpieces and reed combinations. Find what works for you.

Chris
 

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j44breaker said:
Hopefully in tomorrow's quartet rehearsal this doesn't turn out to be a fluke (I tried my whole box of reeds to the same, positive results). Seeing as though it's not a mouthpiece problem--would the E still be a recommended piece to "start" out on? Strangely enough, I like the fact that I can get volume with the Selmer E with 3.5s, but I felt that at times my sound was a tad "spread." I actually feel that the E is a bit freeblowing--but maybe that's just me. With the C** that I tried out today, I felt that I was a bit limited with the dynamic range, but sound came quite effortlessly. Perhaps a D would be the happy medium.
What you need is to match your sound with the quartet. What mouthpieces and saxes are they playing? Your choice of mouthpiece should not be drastically different from theirs.

I prefer the Selmer S90 mouthpieces over the S80 series, and I also like a Morgan 1C mouthpiece for a darker sound. To my ears, the Selmer S90 gives a richer sound and the low notes are easier to play on my Selmer Series II bari than the S80 mouthpiece. I like a closed tip, 190 for the S90 (=C**) and C for the Morgan. There is not an issue of dynamic range for me when playing in classical quartets, but for jazz I need a more open tip. I prefer Alexander D.C. reeds when I can get them.
 

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j44breaker said:
Seeing as though it's not a mouthpiece problem--would the E still be a recommended piece to "start" out on? Strangely enough, I like the fact that I can get volume with the Selmer E with 3.5s, but I felt that at times my sound was a tad "spread." I actually feel that the E is a bit freeblowing--but maybe that's just me. With the C** that I tried out today, I felt that I was a bit limited with the dynamic range, but sound came quite effortlessly. Perhaps a D would be the happy medium.
I haven't seen your answer to the question I posed earlier - what mouthpiece/setup did you try that worked for you? If you like that, why not use that as a starting point rather than solicit suggestions from people that certainly play differently than you?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
j44breaker said:
Seeing as though it's not a mouthpiece problem--would the E still be a recommended piece to "start" out on? Strangely enough, I like the fact that I can get volume with the Selmer E with 3.5s, but I felt that at times my sound was a tad "spread." I actually feel that the E is a bit freeblowing--but maybe that's just me. With the C** that I tried out today, I felt that I was a bit limited with the dynamic range, but sound came quite effortlessly. Perhaps a D would be the happy medium.
Dr G,

Thanks for your reply. The mouthpiece that I started on and solved the problem with was with the Selmer E. But now that I have seemed to find the culprit of my problems--the ligature--I now can get a proper reading on my sound. With the Selmer E, seem to get a sound that is a bit too spread for my taste, but with the C* I tend to get a restricting sound. Heck, perhaps it's the reeds.

Seeing as though I have limited experience with bari, I would still like to "solicit" suggestions to those that have had a similar experience with these mouthpieces (or setup, in general), or those that would like to share their experiences (similar or not) to mine. I understand that their experiences and styles will vary--but I'd like to consider this thread "open" to those willing to enlighten me (or those that may have a similar issue). I'd like to keep SOTW a FORUM. I know I've found lots of information (both useful and useless to me) on these forums--why go alone on this one and shut everyone out who may have had very personal, uplifting, or helpful experiences with their own search? I know I'd love to hear them.

So yes--to somewhat answer your question--the Selmer E is my starting point, but I'm now unsure where to take my next step.

roofrabbit--thank you for your response. As of now, each of our players are in transitional phases with their mouthpieces because we're all on unfamiliar saxophones. But I think your suggestions are something to definitely think about as a group and as individual players.
 

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j44breaker said:
So yes--to somewhat answer your question--the Selmer E is my starting point, but I'm now unsure where to take my next step?
Thank you.

j44breaker said:
Off the record, isn't this what a forum is all about? I know I've found lots of information (both useful and useless to me) on these forums--why go alone on this one and shut everyone out?
On the record - since you are posting this in the forum rather than writing a PM - I am not suggesting that you "shut everyone out". What I was asking you to do was return the courtesy of a reply since I bothered to try to help you. If you only ask questions and fail to share useful information in sorting out YOUR problem, it is a waste of OUR time to work with you.

As to where to go next, it's up to you. I'd suggest getting a good ligature since you are just discovering how critical it can be to your success on the horn. After that, I'd suggest going on a reed quest. There is a lot of tuning that can be gained with an appropriate choice of reeds.

Dare I ask whether you were happy with the focus/spread of the other person's "E"? You said in your original post that you wanted something more freeblowing than the "E" - a "D" isn't the solution if that is still the way you feel about it. Spend some time with it, ideally get someone to listen to you and how your horn is present in the mix with your quartet. Sometimes we don't have an accurate perception of projection or balance at the other end of the room.

After that is done, then you will be better informed as to whether you need spread, focus, ad naseum. After that is dialed in, you can determine how much you need to adjust the resistance in the mouthpiece - whether through adjusting/selecting reeds or modifying the mouthpiece facing/baffle.

G'luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dr G--thank you again for your reply. In response to your earlier thread, I apologize for not being able to directly answer your questions. My response after yours was an update as to the matter at hand--and a realization that it was in fact NOT the mouthpiece that was giving me the response problems--but the ligature--a fact that I had ALSO tried to spend time to explain and make clear to anyone ELSE following this thread closely.

But to respectfully answer the rest of your questions:

Dr G said:
What is this other person using that works so well on the same horn? Is that too obvious a question?
He was also on another (school loaned) Selmer E, and had no response problems with his. At that time of my post, I hastily thought that my mouthpiece was fault, when in fact it was my poor ligature seal (he had been on an agreeable ligature). My post after yours addresses the fact that my ligature was in bad condition, and was a big reason for my inconsistencies, so I thought the response issue with the mouthpiece could be put to rest.

Dr G said:
Have you asked to try it?
No, I haven't asked him to play on his. Frankly, I haven't been able to catch him (when he's not playing on it) to see if there is some discrepancies between the two. But even so, if I did like his--there may be discrepancies with his and the mouthpieces I get on trial. Then again there could be satisfactory mouthpieces I get on trial as well.

Dr G said:
Dare I ask whether you were happy with the focus/spread of the other person's "E"?
I haven't played on it. I haven't heard him in his quartet, either. He seems to be on the fence with it and the sound he gets on it.

Dr G said:
Are you still "doubling" on other horns?
Yes. Mainly on alto. I understand your reasoning for laying off the other axes, but unfortunately, my lessons are conducted on alto and my recital repertoire consists of alto material. I do get time to practice on bari, and I have daily rehearsals with it to experiment.
 
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