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'71 MKVI
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,
Been playing for years in a 7 piece band with 3 horns doing rock, funk, soul, pop, etc. I have been playing a cast MBI that I had Sakshama customize for me to be a little less bright than normal. The piece sounds great acoustically but now, after 10 years, I'm finding that it might be an easier road to just commit to a full on bright piece so I don't have to work so hard to cut through. Tried a "normally" baffled CNC Sakshama in a .110 and found it great but intonation became an issue when the reed started lose it's rigidity. Which happens on 3&4 hour gigs and I can't have that happening when I play in a horn section. Tried a few Berg Larsens and I dig the sound with Vandoren Blue Boxes a la Lenny Pickett. Tried Metal .105/2, .110/2, .105/1, .110/1. .My favorite on loan right now is a .105/1 SMS. BUT, pitch is an issue. I have to have the mouthpiece pretty far out to get in pitch and I'm not a guy that uses a lot of pressure either.

So, my question: Anyone find a solution for Berg Larsens? Does the pitch come down a bit if I go with a larger tip opening? What if I go with a larger tip opening and a baffle #0 (higher baffle) will I be back in the same boat with the pitch issues? Any advice would be appreciated. Playing on a '71 MKVI if the helps.

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Bigger tip will probably make you more sharp. Having played pretty open Bergs for 40 years, also on an early 70's MKVI, what I think is happening is you're not used to the SMS which opens up pretty suddenly and nearer to the tip. So you're not taking in enough mouthpiece and just your normal embouchure pressure is bending the reed up, raising the pitch. So try taking in more mouthpiece first and see if that brings the pitch down. That SMS does take some getting used to. Once you're in the right place on it, pitch shouldn't be an issue.
 

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'71 MKVI
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bigger tip will probably make you more sharp. Having played pretty open Bergs for 40 years, also on an early 70's MKVI, what I think is happening is you're not used to the SMS which opens up pretty suddenly and nearer to the tip. So you're not taking in enough mouthpiece and just your normal embouchure pressure is bending the reed up, raising the pitch. So try taking in more mouthpiece first and see if that brings the pitch down. That SMS does take some getting used to. Once you're in the right place on it, pitch shouldn't be an issue.
Thanks for the advice mmdavej I'll give it a shot and see if it helps.
 

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Tried Metal .105/2, .110/2, .105/1, .110/1. .My favorite on loan right now is a .105/1 SMS. BUT, pitch is an issue. I have to have the mouthpiece pretty far out to get in pitch and I'm not a guy that uses a lot of pressure either.

So, my question: Anyone find a solution for Berg Larsens? Does the pitch come down a bit if I go with a larger tip opening? What if I go with a larger tip opening and a baffle #0 (higher baffle) will I be back in the same boat with the pitch issues? Any advice would be appreciated. Playing on a '71 MKVI if the helps.
Those are tip openings are not that big, taking into account that Berg tip openings normally measure at least 0.005 lower than marked on the piece. Could be that you are just putting too much air and in some cases smaller tip pieces will close up and/or give intonation issues if your reed is too soft. Did you ever try a plastic reed and/or harder reed for those long gigs?

A bigger tip will make it easier to put in all the air, the same goes for a /2 chamber compared to a /1 or /0 chamber. So you might want to try a 120/2 for instance. I'm a big tip (10*) Otto Link player myself, but also have two big tip Berg Larsen mouthpieces. The modern 150/2 SMS plays for me better than my 140/0 SMS, which doesn't seem to take all the air I want to put into it (the chamber is much a smaller compared to the 150/2). I also have a big tip (12*) Theo Wanne Durga and that might be a good piece (probably not in that tip opening!) for you, it's in between a Berg and a Link and can seriously cut. I think the same is valid for some 10mfan models (I have an 11* Robusto which is nice).

I have some compare clips of a Blues in Gm (concert key) with these mouthpieces, in case you want to hear the sound differences when played by me (for you it could be different):

1. Berg Larsen metal 150/2/SMS: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545660
2. Berg Larsen metal 140/0/SMS: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13555344
3. Theo Wanne metal Durga 12*: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545663
4. 10mfan HR Robusto 11*: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545658
5. Otto Link Florida no USA 10*: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545661

Bigger tip will probably make you more sharp. Having played pretty open Bergs for 40 years, also on an early 70's MKVI, what I think is happening is you're not used to the SMS which opens up pretty suddenly and nearer to the tip. So you're not taking in enough mouthpiece and just your normal embouchure pressure is bending the reed up, raising the pitch. So try taking in more mouthpiece first and see if that brings the pitch down. That SMS does take some getting used to. Once you're in the right place on it, pitch shouldn't be an issue.
It's always good to take in enough mouthpiece, but since Keith doesn't play big tip openings I don't think the bending is a real issue for him. Also, with Berg's you never know what the facing lengths are, from what I've seen and read SMS and M facings are all over the place.
 

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'71 MKVI
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Those are tip openings are not that big, taking into account that Berg tip openings normally measure at least 0.005 lower than marked on the piece. Could be that you are just putting too much air and in some cases smaller tip pieces will close up and/or give intonation issues if your reed is too soft. Did you ever try a plastic reed and/or harder reed for those long gigs?

A bigger tip will make it easier to put in all the air, the same goes for a /2 chamber compared to a /1 or /0 chamber. So you might want to try a 120/2 for instance. I'm a big tip (10*) Otto Link player myself, but also have two big tip Berg Larsen mouthpieces. The modern 150/2 SMS plays for me better than my 140/0 SMS, which doesn't seem to take all the air I want to put into it (the chamber is much a smaller compared to the 150/2). I also have a big tip (12*) Theo Wanne Durga and that might be a good piece (probably not in that tip opening!) for you, it's in between a Berg and a Link and can seriously cut. I think the same is valid for some 10mfan models (I have an 11* Robusto which is nice).

I have some compare clips of a Blues in Gm (concert key) with these mouthpieces, in case you want to hear the sound differences when played by me (for you it could be different):

1. Berg Larsen metal 150/2/SMS: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545660
2. Berg Larsen metal 140/0/SMS: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13555344
3. Theo Wanne metal Durga 12*: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545663
4. 10mfan HR Robusto 11*: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545658
5. Otto Link Florida no USA 10*: https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545661

It's always good to take in enough mouthpiece, but since Keith doesn't play big tip openings I don't think the bending is a real issue for him. Also, with Berg's you never know what the facing lengths are, from what I've seen and read SMS and M facings are all over the place.
Revisiting this thread after a while and realized I never thanked you for your input. Thank you! I still haven't found the right combination of tip, baffle and reed for the bergs. Loved the tone go the Blue Box Vandoren with the .105/1 & .110/1 but the pitch issues are just too unbearable. #3 Blue box are far too hard for these pieces and they lose all the zing and just sounded stuffy, at least the box I tried did. I don't think going with a smaller tip opening to accommodate the #3 Blue Box VD reeds is a good idea but might stick with the 2 1/2 Blue Box and go with a larger tip opening. I think Lenny Picket does some ungodly large tip opening with a 2 1/2 Vandoren Blue Box. Worth a shot!
 

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Larger tip mouthpieces burn though reeds. High baffles and large tips mess with intonation.
If you place the tip of your tongue on the opening between the reed and the tip rail after you’ve set your embouchure, you’ll more than likely feel that you’ve made the tip opening a lot smaller than you think. Look at your reed after you’ve played it a while and you’ll how it’s curved to make a smaller opening.
I bet I can play as bright as I need on my 6 Tone Edge with the right reed than I could with any Berg.
My experience with Guardala was after a while it seemed I played darker on that than my Links.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not the whole range. It just seems to magnify the inherent intonation issues on my '71 MKVI. Basically, any notes that are inherently sharp on my horn (comparative to the overall tuning) are REALLY sharp with the Berg. With my main piece, Sakshama MBI, and all my link style mouthpieces, I can compensate for those sharp notes without too much of an issue. I can't compensate with Berg. I also have the same problem with another Saksham MBI that I bought which seems to have a much higher baffle than my regular Sakshama. It's a .110 and I have the same intonation issue with that one as well.
 

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I would try a different horn to see if this issue is consistent. Your MKVII could be too short? Also try different necks to see if these fixes the problem. I play a Berg 130/0 with Vandoren Java Red 2.5 and I have to pull out (the mouthpiece) more than my other tenor mouthpieces, but this only sets me about half way on the cork (also the best overall intonation for me).
 

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I think the answer to your question is the traditional rock and roll mouthpiece of the 1970s and 80s: Dukoff D7 with a Selmer soprano ligature.

There are some other better-made versions of this.

Tunes well, loud as hell. Some guy named Bracker or something like that did pretty well with one of these.
 

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I think the answer to your question is the traditional rock and roll mouthpiece of the 1970s and 80s: Dukoff D7 with a Selmer soprano ligature.

There are some other better-made versions of this.

Tunes well, loud as hell. Some guy named Bracker or something like that did pretty well with one of these.
I have this option also (D6* Black Vibracom) but with the stock lig. I have owned many Dukoffs in my career. I find that the Dukoff is a great lead mouthpiece, the Berg is more flexible and blends better in a horn section. If a /0 Berg is made well, it has a midrange buzz (overtones) that won't quit (with the proper reed). I have heard players achieve this with a modified Otto Link (Brecker) but more so with Bergs.
 
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