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In the Gaia 3 thread, I posted a question about moving from the Durga 3 (8*) to the Gaia 3. For R&B/soul type of music, I’m afraid I may not have enough projection/cut against all the amped up instruments. I love how Theo’s Durga responds and it’s very easy to play, but I’d love the Durga even more if I could make it a bit darker and/or take the edge off a little more. Mind you, I’m being a little picky here.
I know Mark at 10mfan makes some great pieces as I played on a metal Boss for awhile. I know there are a bunch of forum members who have experience with the Black Widow. Is there anyone who has played any combination of the Durga/Gaia/Black Widow who can tell me if the happy medium between the Durga and Gaia is the Black Widow? I need the power and cut of the Durga but would like to be able to get a little darker at times, but still be able to pop out some altissimo when needed. Also, I haven’t played a hard rubber mouthpiece in years. Should I not worry about the transition or is it significantly a different feel because of width, slant, etc?
Thanks in advance!
 

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BariMelt, sound is subjective. You'll get a number of answers/advice here so I'll kick it off FWIW...I play alto on a regular basis in a horn section, and it is pop-style stuff. I also play in a smaller jazz standards combo on tenor. AND I'm a part-time sound guy when I'm not playing.

Projection, being heard with the electronic instruments- whether brighter mouthpiece or darker, you will be (or should be) playing into a mic and the sound person should make sure you are heard and balanced in the mix. I say this in my role as a sound person. OK, so a "brighter" mouthpiece (as in, higher baffle, maybe smaller chamber) will tend to produce an edgier and more focused tone that emphasizes mid- to higher-frequencies and easier to be heard in the mix. (By the same token, as the sound person, I can filter out frequencies OR emphasize frequencies over others so again...some of "being heard" can be handled by the sound person, even with a darker piece.

As for Durga/Black Widow vs Gaia (over 10 years I've played all three, still have the Black Widow), I categorize Durga/Black Widow (more baffle) as tending to play "brighter" than the Gaia (less baffle). However, reed plays into your sound...and YOU play into your sound. Many posts hear from players who play brighter or darker regardless of mouthpiece.

Me, I now play a ShowTime on tenor and Daddy-O on alto. I can make the Daddy-O is plenty "bright" in the horn section...pop arrangements...but the sound person is excellent and he knows how to mix my tone well. I DON'T play into a mic in the combo, but I can make the ShowTime darker/more spread on ballads or more focused/edgier on funk/R&B.

Your tone is like a fingerprint in some respects. Who are the sax players who you most admire and want to sound like? Make a decision on a mouthpiece and them play/record yourself, and work on your tone to match the sound concept. I tend to play more open chamber/less baffle pieces these days so I would look at the Gaia over the other 2, even for mostly soul/R&B; especially if you are mic'ed. I did funk-style solo recently over "On Broadway" on tenor, and loved the low-end bark on the horn's low-Bb from my ShowTime to mix into my solo.
 

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For your information, a metal Black Widow by Matt Marrantz is on the way, I don't exactly remember when it will be out but it should be soon.

I don't know about the Durga, but given that the change you want about your sound on it is relatively small, isn't something you could manage with different reeds? Like the Hemke or the Boston Sax Shop Custom that steve tested not too long ago?

http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2019/05/the-boston-sax-shop-custom-tenor-saxophone-reeds-review/
 

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Hi,
As for the metal BW, we are still working on that. I thought it would be finished by now but I am very picky and the updated Proto types while getting better, are still not perfect—— so we are still working on it.


TWOWHEELS——well said.
 

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BariMelt, sound is subjective. You'll get a number of answers/advice here so I'll kick it off FWIW...I play alto on a regular basis in a horn section, and it is pop-style stuff. I also play in a smaller jazz standards combo on tenor. AND I'm a part-time sound guy when I'm not playing.

Projection, being heard with the electronic instruments- whether brighter mouthpiece or darker, you will be (or should be) playing into a mic and the sound person should make sure you are heard and balanced in the mix. I say this in my role as a sound person. OK, so a "brighter" mouthpiece (as in, higher baffle, maybe smaller chamber) will tend to produce an edgier and more focused tone that emphasizes mid- to higher-frequencies and easier to be heard in the mix. (By the same token, as the sound person, I can filter out frequencies OR emphasize frequencies over others so again...some of "being heard" can be handled by the sound person, even with a darker piece.

As for Durga/Black Widow vs Gaia (over 10 years I've played all three, still have the Black Widow), I categorize Durga/Black Widow (more baffle) as tending to play "brighter" than the Gaia (less baffle). However, reed plays into your sound...and YOU play into your sound. Many posts hear from players who play brighter or darker regardless of mouthpiece.

Me, I now play a ShowTime on tenor and Daddy-O on alto. I can make the Daddy-O is plenty "bright" in the horn section...pop arrangements...but the sound person is excellent and he knows how to mix my tone well. I DON'T play into a mic in the combo, but I can make the ShowTime darker/more spread on ballads or more focused/edgier on funk/R&B.

Your tone is like a fingerprint in some respects. Who are the sax players who you most admire and want to sound like? Make a decision on a mouthpiece and them play/record yourself, and work on your tone to match the sound concept. I tend to play more open chamber/less baffle pieces these days so I would look at the Gaia over the other 2, even for mostly soul/R&B; especially if you are mic'ed. I did funk-style solo recently over "On Broadway" on tenor, and loved the low-end bark on the horn's low-Bb from my ShowTime to mix into my solo.
These are excellent observations. I have never understood why one should need a specific mouthpiece (other than one's main piece) for a specific kind of music. I have played Stubbies and Tonemasters at funk gigs no problem, for example. I played into a mike and had a soundman with sensitive ears. A high baffled piece might make the job a little easier, but there is always in my opinion a sacrifice in tone. I can't remember which mouthpiece you are using today, I think you named three, but any one of them should work.
 

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These are excellent observations. I have never understood why one should need a specific mouthpiece (other than one's main piece) for a specific kind of music. I have played Stubbies and Tonemasters at funk gigs no problem, for example. I played into a mike and had a soundman with sensitive ears. A high baffled piece might make the job a little easier, but there is always in my opinion a sacrifice in tone. I can't remember which mouthpiece you are using today, I think you named three, but any one of them should work.
Thx for the kind words, Leon. I've seen good players make either kind of mouthpiece (high baffle, low baffle) work in multiple playing situations. GHawk, if you don't mind my dropping your name....you are smooooooth on your Black Widow piece, brother....I would love to get the tone you do on the BW and you can make it play in any situation. Me, I've developed my tone on a different type of mouthpiece but I can make it work in different playing situations as well. Well, OK, I haven't done any hardcore rock, but it works for funk/R&B, pop.

To the OP, I'd say try all three but you probably posted the question because it isn't practical for you to do so. What type of mouthpiece do you play now (high baffle or low baffle, big or medium chamber) and where does it fall short that you are asking your question...I think you mentioned more projection? Any of the 3 you list will give you that...the Durga and Gaia are a bit pricier, though, unless you find one secondhand. Have fun on the journey! (Me...I've had ALOT of fun and finally settled down last year. After many years of playing different pieces. :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am looking for something that is a subtle difference I realize. Reeds are a great suggestion for sure. I just found reeds that work consistently well for me and hate to move away from them. But it's a more affordable experimentation than trying new mouthpieces!
 

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In the Gaia 3 thread, I posted a question about moving from the Durga 3 (8*) to the Gaia 3. For R&B/soul type of music, I’m afraid I may not have enough projection/cut against all the amped up instruments. I love how Theo’s Durga responds and it’s very easy to play, but I’d love the Durga even more if I could make it a bit darker and/or take the edge off a little more. Mind you, I’m being a little picky here.
I haven't played either the Gaia or Durga, so keep that in mind. But I would bet that the Black Widow would fit what you seem to be looking for. A big, projecting sound, bright enough when pushed, but never shrill, and not too edgy.
 

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You could go to a bigger tip Durga (10 instead of 8*) or use a darker sounding reed (for instance Rico Royal) to make your 8* a bit darker.

I have a metal Durga 12* and can play it dark or bright depending on my air stream, but I hardly play it (prefer my 10* Florida no USA Link, with which I can play all styles I want).
 

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12*? Whew! That’s some chops.
As reeds go, there is probably a post on here giving a list of reeds from bright to dark.
 

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12*? Whew! That’s some chops.
As reeds go, there is probably a post on here giving a list of reeds from bright to dark.
For me, I find Rigotti's tend to play brighter and La Voz darker. I also like Vandoren Greens, somewhere between the two for me. Most recently, I've adopted Gonzalez 627's... full-sounding but I wouldn't call them bright like Rigotti's.
 

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12*? Whew! That’s some chops.
As reeds go, there is probably a post on here giving a list of reeds from bright to dark.
Due to the very high baffle the 12* Durga plays about the same as my 10* Link. The huge tip compensates a bit for the brightness coming from the high baffle, hence I advised a bigger tip (for the same model/type of pieces a bigger tip almost always plays a bit darker and more spread than a smaller tip of the same model).

For me, I find Rigotti's tend to play brighter and La Voz darker. I also like Vandoren Greens, somewhere between the two for me. Most recently, I've adopted Gonzalez 627's... full-sounding but I wouldn't call them bright like Rigotti's.
Rigotti's are some of the brightest reeds on the market (with plastic reeds), so almost everything sounds darker than them. For me La Voz medium is also still bright, but much more in the medium range of bright to dark. But I can still play mouthpieces darker on a Rico Plasticover than on La Voz medium and Rico Royal sounds even darker for me. But I guess it's a bit different per player and also your type of mouthpiece plays a role.

For the interested ones I have here some example compare clips I made in the past with the Durga and different reeds:

1. - 'Blues in Gm' (Durga 12* - La Voz medium):
https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13545663

2. - 'Ruby My Dear' (Durga 12* - Rico Plasticover 2):
https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13149874

3. - 'Tenor Madness' (Durga 12* (Right channel) - Florida no USA 10* (Left channel) - Rico Plasticover 2):
https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13150683
 

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Well I have to respond to this because I play 6 nights a week in a horn section in a loud r and b blues funk band. I would NEVER use the Gaia way to dark and doesn't cut at all. I was using the a Durga 10 but I had to work way to hard. I am now playing my Datta 10 with a Rigotti gold 3 medium reed. Thank god I brought it. It has saved me. It cuts and also has a nice subtone or mellow sound if I need it. As for soundman I have never met one that knows how to mix horns or knows what a sax should sound like. It seems all they care about is the bass, drums, guitar and vocals being un real loud. I have to use in ears and a a wedge to hear myself. Good luck with your search.
 

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These are excellent observations. I have never understood why one should need a specific mouthpiece (other than one's main piece) for a specific kind of music. I have played Stubbies and Tonemasters at funk gigs no problem, for example. I played into a mike and had a soundman with sensitive ears. A high baffled piece might make the job a little easier, but there is always in my opinion a sacrifice in tone. I can't remember which mouthpiece you are using today, I think you named three, but any one of them should work.
Thx for the kind words, Leon. I've seen good players make either kind of mouthpiece (high baffle, low baffle) work in multiple playing situations. GHawk, if you don't mind my dropping your name....you are smooooooth on your Black Widow piece, brother....I would love to get the tone you do on the BW and you can make it play in any situation. Me, I've developed my tone on a different type of mouthpiece but I can make it work in different playing situations as well. Well, OK, I haven't done any hardcore rock, but it works for funk/R&B, pop.

To the OP, I'd say try all three but you probably posted the question because it isn't practical for you to do so. What type of mouthpiece do you play now (high baffle or low baffle, big or medium chamber) and where does it fall short that you are asking your question...I think you mentioned more projection? Any of the 3 you list will give you that...the Durga and Gaia are a bit pricier, though, unless you find one secondhand. Have fun on the journey! (Me...I've had ALOT of fun and finally settled down last year. After many years of playing different pieces. 🙂 )
I just saw this....thanks so much!!! Love my Black Widow. I'm selling a lot of my mouthpiece collection because of it. The BW is so versatile I just don't need them.
 
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