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Discussion Starter #1
good folks, i have a beginner question.

i'm a songwiter who plays several instruments professionally. i know nothing about playing the sax, but i am determined to learn. with that intention, i just bought a late 50's king cleveland tenor in good shape for cheap. it came with a vandoren t20 mouthpiece and some 1.5 rico reeds.

from what i gather, the vandoren t20 is a nice classical mouthpiece that cost a over a hundred bucks, but alas, i won't be doing any classical... i.e. i'm more rock than Bach, more fart than Mozart, more Big Lebowski than Tchaikovsky.

so...should i be using this mouthpiece/reed combo to start out on or something else? (if something else, then preferably inexpensive). i'm not in a hurry to buy something, i just what to make my initial plunge into this learning venture as easy as possible.

fwiw, provided i overcome my current level of utter sucktatude (i've been playing 1 day so far), i'll be attempting to play jump blues and nasty old pre 60's r&b. (at least i finally figured out how to play a flat 5 on the dang thing, so maybe there's hope for this old dog yet)

any advice/recommendations appreciated. thanks in advance
 

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good folks, i have a beginner question.

i'm a songwiter who plays several instruments professionally. i know nothing about playing the sax, but i am determined to learn. with that intention, i just bought a late 50's king cleveland tenor in good shape for cheap. it came with a vandoren t20 mouthpiece and some 1.5 rico reeds.

from what i gather, the vandoren t20 is a nice classical mouthpiece that cost a over a hundred bucks, but alas, i won't be doing any classical... i.e. i'm more rock than Bach, more fart than Mozart, more Big Lebowski than Tchaikovsky.

so...should i be using this mouthpiece/reed combo to start out on or something else? (if something else, then preferably inexpensive). i'm not in a hurry to buy something, i just what to make my initial plunge into this learning venture as easy as possible.

fwiw, provided i overcome my current level of utter sucktatude (i've been playing 1 day so far), i'll be attempting to play jump blues and nasty old pre 60's r&b. (at least i finally figured out how to play a flat 5 on the dang thing, so maybe there's hope for this old dog yet)

any advice/recommendations appreciated. thanks in advance
You'll probably like a metal mouthpiece like a Berg Larsen.
 

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Ignore the above response.
Stay with that piece for a while and take some lessons.
Then ask your teacher what you should do. Learning to play the sax is not as intuitive as you would think. And it's not about "knowing how to do it", but training yourself to "develope" into a player.
Best of luck.
 

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I agree with JohnGalt on this one. Work with that setup for awhile. Since it is decent quality, it shouldn't really limit you. After you have played for a while, you will know better what works for you. Mouthpieces are highly personal - what works for one player will not work so well for another. If you want to change things around, start with trying some other reeds - much cheaper, and larger effect. Just make sure the horn is adjusted properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You'll probably like a metal mouthpiece like a Berg Larsen.
while i appreciate the reply, i'm guessing that putting a $250 dollar mouthpiece on a $250 dollar horn is not ideally what i need to do as a total beginner with limited funds?

in searching here, i see the very inexpensive hite premiere come up. would that make my initial learning foray easier? and/or what size reed should a beginner use?

again, as of now, i know nothing about playing sax, but i'd be willing to wager that if i were i to actually buy the afore mentioned berg larsen, i'd probably still royally suck, but merely be $250 dollars poorer...

i.e. where i live, with that $250, i could probably buy a coupla lessons, a case of beer, half a tank of gas, a lottery ticket, and maybe a pair of hookers that weren't born in the eisenhower administration :)
 

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I play hard rubber berg larsen mouthpieces and like them, but I wouldn't recommend you go out and buy one. Especially a metal one, given their cost - it sounds like you can make much better use of $250 while supporting your local economy. I don't know if the Hite would be any better/easier than the Vandoren, but I am guessing the difference would not be significant. For reeds, I would say probably a 2 or maybe 2.5, or the 1.5s you already have. Some lessons would be a much better investment than a $250 mouthpiece.
 

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Have any of you that have large tip opening metal pieces ever had a non sax playing fried play your sax? If so, it's very clear why a metal larsen is not ideal for a beginner.
 

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Ditto on the Graftonite, but I would also suggest the A3 or A5. In my experience the A chamber is plenty edgy enough, especially for a pop songwriter with a penchant for bad puns.

These are the most consistent, and well made, mouthpieces available today at any price, and the fact that they are available for $20 just makes it better. Perhaps not my first choice for chamber design and tone, though they are surprisingly good, but they play very very well. Get a Rico ligature (not the H lig, the regular inverted one is just fine) to go with it and you will be set for many years.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks all for the illuminatingly wide array of informative advice. as it stands, i bought a hite premiere for 10 bucks on ebay and seem to be making considerable forward progress. the "geetar keys" (E, A ) are a damn struggle though. kudos to all you "real" horn players that have had to continually put up with that nonsense! i feel your pain. :)
 
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