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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
Can anyone share the the difference between the Selmer short shank D and the Caravan and Houlik pieces? Or maybe if you've played on both, give a comparison between them, ie tone, response, back pressure..

I play on the short shank D, but I've been reading a lot about how people like the Houlik and Caravan pieces for classical playing.

Thanks, I really appreciate your time-
Ryan
 

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It depends on for pedagogy and sound concept as for what you should go for. There's a lot I don't know here, so my advice may be limited. Teacher? Favorite classical saxophonists to listen to? What do you play now? What are you looking for? What made you consider these three?

To answer the question...

They're pretty much nothing alike, all three. The Caravan and Houlik are the most similar, but still those two are what I'd consider to be rather different. Both share a large round chamber, but the Houlik has a much wider tip and more baffle to allow extra projection, brightness and flexibility. I believe it is somewhere around .090". Caravans are much more close, likely around .075". The Caravan would be easy to play softer down low but will have more back pressure throughout the range. Additionally, the Caravan would play darkest being fairly dark with the Houlik being a bit brighter, closer to the middle of the spectrum. Both are made by Babbitt so there is some inconsistency, but Ronald Caravan hand finishes most of his mouthpieces. If you're after Houlik's sound, go with his. If you're after something more Rascher-like or like Steven Mauk, go with the Caravan.

The Soloist is a completely different kettle of fish. The tone will be more focused and not as broad than either the Caravan or Houlik. There is a slight amount of rollover baffle at the tip rail, but that mostly allows faster articulation. This mouthpiece will also offer a medium sound, but more focused and centered in quality than the Houlik. The smaller tip, in my opinion, allows for greater control and ease of approaching this mouthpiece for the first time. I'd actually recommend not a short shank Soloist but instead, the long shank ones from the 70's. The short shanks will tune more sharp, perhaps too much so for your horn, plus the long-shank ones can be found easier and for less money.

If you're willing to consider something else, I'd also consider the Vandoren Optimum TL3. My review on the TL3 can be found here: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...NO-COMMENTS)&p=1676636&viewfull=1#post1676636
 

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FWIW, I tried a Houlik and found it much opener, brighter and easier-speaking than my Caravan. It really reminded me of a Link or perhaps a Morgan. The Caravan is more along the lines of the Rascher or 1920s-40s stock mpcs.

I only tried a Soloist briefly, as I play vintage tenors and couldn't get it to tune.
 

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The Caravans come in medium and large chambers on alto, so that's something to take into consideration. The tip on my Caravan is .062", the Houlik is .060" (Carl, where the heck did you come up with the numbers you report above?! - perhaps you are talking about tenor, and I now see the OP didn't specify which he was talking about). Modern Selmer alto D is nominally .075", I don't know if the vintage ones are the same. I think my Caravan is a medium, and it seems to have a slightly smaller throat than the Caravan. The Caravan has more excavated sidewalls. Your Soloist is a different animal entirely.
 

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The Caravans come in medium and large chambers on alto, so that's something to take into consideration. The tip on my Caravan is .062", the Houlik is .060" (Carl, where the heck did you come up with the numbers you report above?! - perhaps you are talking about tenor, and I now see the OP didn't specify which he was talking about). Modern Selmer alto D is nominally .075", I don't know if the vintage ones are the same. I think my Caravan is a medium, and it seems to have a slightly smaller throat than the Caravan. The Caravan has more excavated sidewalls. Your Soloist is a different animal entirely.
I'm sorry, I was indeed talking tenor.
 

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The Houlik is only made in tenor, AFAIK.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry everyone, I play mostly tenor, so I am indeed talking about tenor mouthpieces. Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer this thread.

I study sax in Hawaii, and my teacher was taught by Harvey Pittel, so we learn that style of playing. I really enjoy listening to Houlik, but I believe that is a totally different school of playing. I also like Roger Greenberg. I play on a short shank Soloist D on a Selmer series II with Vandoren traditional 3 and 3.5s.

I am looking to get a slightly more spread sound. I feel my tone is too centered, so I thought a larger chamber mouthpiece would be able to help me out. And from what I read here on the SOTW forums, people like to play on Caravans, Houliks, Selmers, and Vandoren

Thanks again!!
 

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Sorry everyone, I play mostly tenor, so I am indeed talking about tenor mouthpieces. Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer this thread.

I study sax in Hawaii, and my teacher was taught by Harvey Pittel, so we learn that style of playing. I really enjoy listening to Houlik, but I believe that is a totally different school of playing. I also like Roger Greenberg. I play on a short shank Soloist D on a Selmer series II with Vandoren traditional 3 and 3.5s.

I am looking to get a slightly more spread sound. I feel my tone is too centered, so I thought a larger chamber mouthpiece would be able to help me out. And from what I read here on the SOTW forums, people like to play on Caravans, Houliks, Selmers, and Vandoren

Thanks again!!
You would be correct. Houlik is a derivative of Rascher, an actual student of Sigurd himself. Mr. Rascher, who saw his proclivity for the tenor, essentially told him that he could go his own way and be successful, so he did! Hence, the American saxophone.

According to Pittel's bio, he originally studied at USC with some training on clarinet under Mitchell Lurrie. After that, he studied with Fred Hemke for a few years. Shortly after, he was accepted into the West Point band, and subsequently, qualified for lessons under Joe Allard. Pittel states that he completely changed his pedagogy and studied under Joe for some 15 years. As you can see, Pittel is quite the mishmash of American and traditional French schools. Pretty cool though nonetheless, thought you'd appreciate a little history.

Also, Pittel uses the long shank soloist-style Selmer mouthpieces. I am not sure of the facing.
 
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