Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
626 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So finally I've ended my quest for a metal tenor piece by purchasing a Level-Aire off guitarcenter.com (mainly because I could use a $10 coupon). I'm expecting good things, from what I've heard.

Just wanted to know what kinds of reeds are recommended, if the stock ligature is any good, things like that. Anybody?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Unfortunately you'll never know the sound of a Level-Air until you own/play on an original one.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
4,507 Posts
My advise on LevelAires is: place it under the door and use moderate pressure, if the floor's too hard use a rubber matt, you don't want to damage the facing while getting the best out of your MPC. :tsk:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Now shoot me! I hate Level Aires! :mrgreen:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,831 Posts
The best sax I've heard a Lever-Air played on, was a 1918 Conn Wonder Bari sax. It was a vintage Level Air. But that Bari is stupidly dark to begin with, that putting the ultra bright Level Air on it actually made it sound like a modern Bari with a very mild mouthpiece on it! And the guy was playing a BARI brand Soft reed with it! In most cases that would mean chainsaw buzzy, but not in this instance!

My point is, new or vintage Level-Air, they are like some Bergs, Dukoffs, and Jody Jazz DVs. hey can be unwieldly bright and buzzy, if paired with the wrong reed, sax, and player.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008-
Joined
·
2,375 Posts
Find an original(one on ebay right now)
John Klemmer built his career playing one,as did Anthony Braxton,Ornette Coleman Herbert Morgan(who you experts probably never heard of).
The thick bite plate actually positions your embouchure in an open good way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
I play with someone who loves his old Levelaire. I honked on it a bit and enjoyed it too, but his is a 7 or 7* and they don't come up that often in tip openings that big.

He almost never plays it currently 'cause the biteplate is very worn and he hasn't found anywhere to get a replacement.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,831 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
4,507 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,319 Posts
To the original poster. You are purchasing a new style Levelaire made by the Runyon Company, which is more like their Quantum mouthpiece internally, but externally, it is more like a Smoothbore. Anyways, I played one for a number of years on loud Blues gigs. I experimented with Bari brand plastic baritone size reeds (medium) which gave it a buzzy and fuller sound which i liked at the time for the blues. Any regular reed will work, you'll just have to experiment. I've also used Fibracell tenor medium reeds. Today, I took it out to try some regular cane reeds on it. My #8Levelaire plays quite well with a # 3 java reed. Mine plays real well in the altissimo range, with the lowest notes playing thinner than I like. Without the baffle, it can be more flexible regarding different styles of music. playing it today, I found it to be very free blowing. My tastes have changed over the years and I now prefer a somewhat darker sound, which I'm getting from a Ponzol M2 or a Berg 130/2. Without pushing the volume too hard, the tone is quite nice. Pushing it hard brightens it up quite a bit.
The stock lig is an inverted type and frees up the reed well and usually holds the reed well.. A Rovner lite, or even a Dark might be nice, especially if you find the sound too bright. For the price, it's a very good bargain. It plays no worse than many stock mouthpieces, such as Otto Link.
I got mine after a long run using a Dukoff D7. It is actually not as bright as the Dukoff.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,831 Posts
(referenced to 1918 Conn and Level-Aire) With a neck extension?
Nope. Seen him play twice. It's pulled out, but not so far as to be loose or falling off. He must play with a very tight embouchure, cause I couldn't do it! His tone, intonation, and technique are awesome! He owns the Wonder, a New Wonder, and a very early 12M. He plays the 1918 Wonder the most on that setup.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,978 Posts
Nope. Seen him play twice. It's pulled out, but not so far as to be loose or falling off. He must play with a very tight embouchure, cause I couldn't do it!
I would think very loose to combat the sharpness these horns are known for with modern styled mouthpieces. I know mine from 1920 fits the stereotype. But everyone blows different, so it's not too surprising.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,831 Posts
I would think very loose to combat the sharpness these horns are known for with modern styled mouthpieces. I know mine from 1920 fits the stereotype. But everyone blows different, so it's not too surprising.
Yeah, sorry. I play with a loose embouchure myself, but I'm not sure I can play that setup in tune either (I had the neck extended on my 1926 King, cause I was pulling Links and Bergs out too far. Now I play with my Drake almost all the way in! Custom piece, so Aaron really knew what he was doing building that mouthpiece! Now doubt I even need the extension, except when I play on the H. Couf Artist 5*R).

My brain was in backwards! :)

Either, he has zero intonation problems audible to anyone listening!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
I picked up a rare vintage 9* ser. #4635 for tenor. I am playing Rigotti Gold #3 reeds. This plays much better than other LAs I have tried over the years. A warm tone with the edge when you need it. It lines the overtones on my horn better than other pieces that I have in my collection. Very even tone and scale. Not very loud but works great on a mic.

I just pick up a vintage 7 ser. #1836 for my alto and it is a screamer. Great intonation also. Very vintage Sanborn sound.

I have heard some very bad ones also from the vintage line but I got lucky with these.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,975 Posts
BTW, many of us including me have called these Level "Aire"s. I have a couple of 70's era boxes here that say Level "Air" on them. Does anyone have a mouthpiece or box with the "Aire" usage?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor
Joined
·
4,379 Posts
I'm in a big band with an 85-year-old who toured when he was younger and still plays in several KC-area groups. He plays an original Level Air 7 with LaVoz medium hards on a Selmer SA80 bari. He sounds glorious! Fat, juicy with a moderate buzz.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top