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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a Yamaha YBS-62 and I'm playing on a Vandoren V16 B5 very nicely. However, I'm going to start working on the Bach Cello Suites tonight (and then probably for the rest of my life) and I'm looking for as much control as a I can get. I think that I might benefit from using a decidedly classical mouthpiece such as one of the Vandoren Optimum mouthpieces or a Selmer S80. I do play a Optimum SL3 on Soprano.

Has anyone tried the Optimum BL3/BL4/BL5 and have anything to say about them?

Does anyone have information about an upcoming Selmer Concept mouthpiece for baritone saxophone?


Can anyone comment on any other mouthpiece suitable for classical playing?
 

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I play a BL-5 in wind ensemble and for quartet work. I am very pleased with it.
 

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I've got a beautiful Yani-Ruffault #4 with a round chamber. It sure sounds better than my Berg when I'm not playing jazz.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, thanks for the feedback guys. I read about the Caravan mouthpieces and it sounds like exactly right for me. I'm going to give it a try! I'm familiar with the Yani mouthpieces, and they're all around good mouthpieces. Depending on what happens with the caravan, I'll consider the Optimum series next.
 

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After a lot of trial-and-error I arrived at Vandoren V16 B7 for big band and jazz - and Selmer S80 D for classical.

\Bo
 

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I have several setups for classical/wind ensemble/concert band/quartet playing. One of my favourites is an old Buescher piece that I opened up to about 0.90". I have a Hite bari piece that is a great middle of the road piece - excellent for band material when you have to switch between popular and light classics. My Vandoren bass sax mouthpiece (you read that correctly) is also a great classical bari piece. Somewhere in my collection, I also have a Caravan bari piece which is also quite nice.
 

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I am pretty happy with my Selmer S90 in the 190 opening.
 

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Wow, thanks for the feedback guys. I read about the Caravan mouthpieces and it sounds like exactly right for me. I'm going to give it a try! I'm familiar with the Yani mouthpieces, and they're all around good mouthpieces. Depending on what happens with the caravan, I'll consider the Optimum series next.
Be aware that the Caravan (and Rascher) mouthpieces typically go VERY far on the neck to be in tune on modern saxophones (if palm keys are flat, you are not far enough on the neck). I had a YBS-52 and could not get the Caravan on the neck far enough until I had the shank shortened; this was due to a conflict in the designs -the shank was running directly into the reinforcing plate on the underside of the neck. I would guess, but don't know for sure, that the 62's neck is a similar design.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
On the included Yamaha 5C, I have to push in nearly all the way. On the Vandoren V16 B5 it's pushed in to cover about 4/5 of the cork. This is with Vandoren blue 2.5 reeds. I hope the caravan will be usable, but if not I can return it to Weiner Music or modified if I otherwise love the piece.

By the way I found the 5C to be okay, but the tone has much less depth than when I use the V16.

I'm looking to develop a cello-like tone on Bari and it seems that the Caravan was the right choice.

I will continue to lookat all the other recommendations above and I'm going to keep at it until I develop the sound.

I remain quite surprised how much difference that the mouthpiece makes on baritone sax. I can get by using the Vandoren AL3 or SL3 for jazz or the Meyer style pieces for classical. There is no way I can say the same thing on baritone saxophones. Maybe I could get by with the 5C, but the V16 literally growls automatically!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I received the Caravan baritone sax mouthpiece last night. The tone is wonderful. Great recommendation kfoster. However, awholley accurately predicted that it would play flat. I was able to push the mouthpiece so far in it went beyond the cork entirely. Still, it was flat (changed from nearly a 3/4 step flat to perhaps 10-20 cents flat). I was playing with Vandoren 3 reeds.

I'm not sure if this is tenable in the long run, but I'm going to give it a try. I wonder whether increasing the reed strength to Vandoren 3.5 reeds would help (I tried it with 2.5's and it was perhaps a little flatter, so perhaps the inverse might occur with a stronger reed?).

I would consider trying the Vandoren BL5 or Selmer S80 D next if I can't get the Caravan to work for me.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

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I use a baritone Caravan or Bilger mouthpiece for most classical work. It is typical to put both way over the cork, and it works well on modern and vintage saxes. The Bilger offers a wider dynamic range with the full rich sound as the Caravan, and has proved to be quite versatile.
Paul Cohen
 

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Absolutely try to find an old Selmer Soloist C* or D long shank with the scroll. There is nothing better.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the feedback once again. I'm going to see if I determine exactly far I can push in that Caravan mouthpiece. I had the reed on already so I couldn't tell if the neck was as far into the mouthpiece as it could go. Any thoughts about reed strength affecting pitch? I have Vandoren 2's, 2.5's, and 3's. I've never played on any 3.5 reeds before.

I'm just getting started on baritone sax and I'm exploring different sound concepts. The Caravan gave me exactly the sound I was looking for the Bach cello suites. I had planned on using the Vandoren V16 B5 as a Meyer/Rubber Otto Link style mouthpiece of which I'm typically fond of on alto/tenor. I typically use a Meyer/Otto Link mouthpiece for wind ensemble/jazz ensemble playing on tenor and alto, but I sound too raw for that kind of playing on the baritone V16, though but not raw enough for rock/pop. Now, I've ordered a Rico Metalite M9 on the advice of a fellow saxophonist for a raw aggressive sound.

Perhaps the combination of the Metalite M9 and Caravan will cover all the bases with practice. If not, the the Soloist is an interesting idea; I know that's a versatile mouthpiece.
 

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Pretty sure you just need to push it on farther. That's a reasonable reed to use.

  1. Keep an eye on the chamber as you go way-far-on. If you are not careful, you could end up with the end of the neck scratching the roof of the chamber (learned the hard way).
  2. If there is a brace on the underside of the neck, assume you will probably get pretty close to it with the shank of the mouthpiece.
  3. As previously stated, if the palm keys are flat, you are probably still not on far enough.

Didn't realize I was responding to a kfoster recommendation. (Hi Ken!) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for following up, awholley. I was able to get in tune earlier today by pushing the mouthpiece much past the cork and onto the brace. I still have some room in the chamber, but the neck is certainly deep into the chamber. I've never pushed a mouthpiece that far and I didn't even think it was possible, but it is working. Much appreciated!
 

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I play V16 B9 with Java red 3 for not-classical and S80 D with Blue Box 4 for classical. I had a Yamaha D that was *fine*, but the Selmer D works well for me. I've wanted to try different classical-style mpcs, but I spent so much time with the Selmer and have such little call for classical that it'd be a frivolous purchase.

Glad to hear what you're playing is making sense. Stick with it and work at it.
 

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I played a S80 C* for years for legit stuff, with Vandoren blue box #4 and a Winslow ligature. I got the idea from the guy who arranged them for Bari. Jim Kaspryzk was a phenomenal teacher for me, and man you should hear him play the Cello suite. His circular breathing is amazing. I should add that I just sold the piece. I'm using one piece for everything these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm working on the James Kaspryzk arrangement of the Bach Cello Suites. It's wonderful and it must have been great to study with him. I was inspired to play the suites after hearing Henk van Twillert play his arrangement. I've enjoyed the Caravan mouthpiece, but I'm going to return it because I still tend to be flat and I have a difficult time getting the palm key notes to respond easily (these weren't at all problematic with the Yamaha 5C, Vandoren V16 T6, or Rico Metalite M9). I'm hoping to develop a similar sound concept with an easier to use mouthpiece.

I'm thinking about the Hite Artist mouthpiece for baritone saxophone as it might give me enough for the classical playing and also be useful in wind ensemble if it's ever needed. However, I couldn't find very much detailed information about this mouthpiece. The other options that seem to be standard are the Selmer S80 and the Vandoren Optimum. I'm just not sure about the correct model in these lines. It seems to be very difficult to know what the right tip size is without trying the mouthpiece given my contradictory experiences:
I found the Selmer S80 C* and Optimum AL3 felt too constricting on alto; yet, the Selmer Concept alto mouthpiece (with a a slightly smaller tip than an S80 C*) plays perfectly for me.
I felt as though I was constricted by the Optimum TL4 on tenor, but given my experience on alto, I ordered the Selmer Concept for tenor.
The Optimum SL3 on soprano plays beautifully for me and I use it for classical or jazz.
The Yamaha 5C on baritone sounds dull and I have difficulty making rapid transitions from the low register to the high register smoothly (which was not a problem with the Caravan).

I haven't mentioned reeds, but I have tried reeds from the Vandoren, Alexander, and Rico brands with the same overall results.

I would probably start with Selmer S80 D or Optimum BL5 (long facing) unless Selmer releases a Concept Mouthpiece for the Baritone sax sometime soon. The Selmer Soloist and Bilger baritone saxophones mouthpieces aren't available new and I'll consider them if I can't get something working with any of the above.
 

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If you want to try blue box 4 I have a few I could send you. After selling my S80 I really don't have use for them. I have found however that as I age, I can make one mpc do a variety of things. This comes with time and embouchure development. I play those suites all the time on a high baffled wooden piece with rigotti reeds and can make them as pleasant and rich as the S80. Providing I don't play too loud 😁. Pm me if you want the reeds.
 
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