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I am a high school student doing a lot of tenor jazz soloing and big band work, and am looking for a good metal mouthpiece to move up into that more professional sound, but I don't want to break the bank. What are your suggestions? Thanks in advance.
 

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A common metal mouthpiece is the Otto Link STM, and it's readily available and inexpensive. However, you certainly don't need a metal mouthpiece to give a "professional" sound. HR pieces are just as good for many players. The best advice is to go to the biggest music store you can and try as may pieces as possible.
 

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Although it has been mentioned a few times, just in case you don't know, Link STM is well know to be "the reference" tenor mouthpiece, but it is also well know to be very inconsistent in quality. I bought two, and both of them are not symmetric, and of course, I bought them before I know the quality issue and didn't check thoroughly. So, it is a recommendation to buy the Link locally where you can pick the good one.

Alternatively, you can try Vandoren V16 metal mouthpieces. I want to try one, but can't find it locally. I read several reviews saying they play like a Link, but with much better quality control. Just something I read on the internet, so, not sure how true it is.

Another popular choice is Berg Larsen, it has different combination of baffle and facing, but it never work for me.
 

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You can get a better value in a HR mpc. Which is to say you can get a HR mpc for a better price than a metal mpc of equal quality. There is nothing inherently better about metal (or HR); what matters is the design. Every conceivable design is available now in HR.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, I'll look into the Link STM. However with the replies about not needing metal to sound good, are you saying that a metal mouthpiece isn't going to inherently make my tone brighter and more projected?
 

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At your point and budget, just get a Rico Metalite M5 for under $30. I have played tenor for 54 years and have one for when I want some bite in the sound. Don't let the price fool you. I have had Otto Links and they are good but start with the Metalite and see what happens.Metal can be twitchy but the Rico is a good compromise.
 

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JL is right on the money. I play a Tenney perfected Link STM on my Conn 10M tenor, and I wouldn't call it bright with lots of projection. It's a sweet piece, but if you're looking for brightness, volume and projection, there are lots of cheaper HR pieces that will do the trick, like a Vandoren Jumbo Java.

Good luck on your mouthpiece search,
Kenneth
 

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The Vandoren Jumbo Java looks interesting, which model would you recommend for playing it with Size 3 Vandoren Java reeds (my preferred reed)?
 

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Ok, I'll look into the Link STM. However with the replies about not needing metal to sound good, are you saying that a metal mouthpiece isn't going to inherently make my tone brighter and more projected?
Yup, not all metal mouthpiece will give a bright and more projected sound. Large chamber mouthpiece, like Link STN, will give you a darker sound. A low baffle mouthpiece will give more projection. If you want a bright and projected sound, you are looking for small - medium chamber, and a low baffle mouthpiece, regardless of metal or HR. For metal mouthpiece, a Berg Larsen may work for you. But yes, there are HR mouthpiece that is bright and has projection, like Jody Jazz, or Vandoren Jumbo Java already mentioned.
 

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The Vandoren Jumbo Java looks interesting, which model would you recommend for playing it with Size 3 Vandoren Java reeds (my preferred reed)?
Hard to say without knowing more about your chops, playing style etc. The best thing to do, if you have access to a physical store, would be to try them out before buying -- even within the same model, e.g. T55, some will play better than others.

Additionally, there's been quite a bit of discussion in this forum on the Jumbo Java, you might want to do a search, lots of pleasant research ahead :)! Who knows, you might even decide on another mouthpiece altogether...

Kenneth
 

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Ok, I'll look into the Link STM. However with the replies about not needing metal to sound good, are you saying that a metal mouthpiece isn't going to inherently make my tone brighter and more projected?
Design trumps material - a baffle and smaller chamber are what make mouthpieces brighter and more projected.

Consider the what the rest of the sax section is playing in your band. You should still blend with your section rather than the trumpets.
 

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However with the replies about not needing metal to sound good, are you saying that a metal mouthpiece isn't going to inherently make my tone brighter and more projected?
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. A HR mpc can be a lot brighter and more projecting than a metal mpc, and vice versa, depending on the design. A (modern) metal Link STM is actually a pretty dark mpc.

Which is not to say you should get an overly bright mpc; as Dr G says, you want to be able to blend.
 

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Get a Robusto and you will not really need anything else. I have a Jumbo Java. Its a good piece but has too much bite for most horns. I keep it to use exclusively on my vintage Toneking that is slightly stuffy with other pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
At your point and budget, just get a Rico Metalite M5 for under $30. I have played tenor for 54 years and have one for when I want some bite in the sound. Don't let the price fool you. I have had Otto Links and they are good but start with the Metalite and see what happens.Metal can be twitchy but the Rico is a good compromise.
The metalite seems quite promising, as I'm in a bit of a monetary pinch as I'm currently on the market for a new tenor sax as well. How flexible is the metalite?
 

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The Vandoren Jumbo Java looks interesting, which model would you recommend for playing it with Size 3 Vandoren Java reeds (my preferred reed)?
Don't be stuck on a brand or strength reed when changing mouthpieces. What mouthpiece are you playing on now? Vandoren has recommendations on their website for which strengths work "best" with different tip openings.

Design trumps material - a baffle and smaller chamber are what make mouthpieces brighter and more projected.
Consider the what the rest of the sax section is playing in your band. You should still blend with your section rather than the trumpets.
Blending!!! This is probably the most over-looked comment/thought/question when someone asks "what mouthpiece should I get?" If everyone else is playing on "classical" mouthpieces, you'll stick out like a sore thumb if you show up with a metalite or some other high-baffled piece. The Jumbo Java is also a high baffle bright piece.

The metalite seems quite promising, as I'm in a bit of a monetary pinch as I'm currently on the market for a new tenor sax as well. How flexible is the metalite?
Define flexible? Are you playing sax in a wind ensemble? If so, this won't be the piece for that. See above comment about high baffles.

A Link STM is probably your "safest" bet for a piece that can project, but still blend in an ensemble. Other good pieces are the Vandoren V16 (metal & HR), Vandoren Java (Rubber), or Link Tone Edge. You probably don't need to go and spend money on a boutique piece at this point.
 
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