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The title pretty much explains what I'm looking for. I've done the search engine but just found glancing references to these two MPs. For background, I am looking for a non-nasal, more "classical" sound on soprano (Buescher True-Tone) and I don't need a particularly loud mouthpiece, as I am naturally one of the loudest brightest sounding sax players around. Just trying to tame the beast a bit.
 

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Large chamber low baffle mouthpieces that sound dark. I have never seen one with a good facing on it. I think most classical players that use them get really good at adjusting their reeds to compensate for the facing irregularities. Or they get them refaced.
 

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The Caravan mouthpiece is hand finished and tested by Ron Caravan before shipping. I have many of these mouthpieces (for my professional playing and for lending to students) and they are remarkably consistent. The Caravan (only one soprano model) is the safe route for the kind of sound you are looking for. And it is beautifully compatible with vinatage sopranos.
Paul Cohen
 

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In case you haven't seen it, here's a good video comparison (by an SOTW member) of several classical soprano mouthpieces, including the Caravan. The horn is a Yanagisawa rather than a vintage model, but the sound differences should still be of interest:

 

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I’d also go with a Caravan on that horn. I tried Rousseaus on TT horns before and they sound very nasal. The original Bueschers are good, but finding one in good condition is tough.


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I've been wanting to try a Caravan because over the years I've seen a number of people say it's "easier" to play than a Rascher. The Rascher takes a little bit of time to adjust to, but it's well worth it! I get a beautiful, dark, almost flute-like tone. Then, of course, I stop playing classical sop for a while and have to relearn the Rascher, which is when the "maybe I should switch to a Caravan" thoughts pop up. Then I put my nose down and practice and it comes right back...
 

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I should not imply that they all have crooked facings. Just the ones that I have measured. It is possible that they warped after Ron faces them.
 

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I bought a Rascher to send to Erik Greifenhagen for refacing but like it as is on my TT enough that i’ve been very slow to send it. It’s a big warm sound and the only trouble I have is getting the palm keys to play well. That’s probably just an issue with darker mouthpieces in combination with my crappy technique. What i’ve read is that although the other Rascher mouthpieces are Buescher copies, the soprano is a copy of a Martin mouthpiece.
 

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I bought a Rascher to send to Erik Greifenhagen for refacing but like it as is on my TT enough that i’ve been very slow to send it. It’s a big warm sound and the only trouble I have is getting the palm keys to play well. That’s probably just an issue with darker mouthpieces in combination with my crappy technique. What i’ve read is that although the other Rascher mouthpieces are Buescher copies, the soprano is a copy of a Martin mouthpiece.
Carina addressed this a while back. Initially, she played a Buescher, but it broke, and she tried a bunch of mouthpieces from Bruce Weintraub’s collection, and she liked the Martin the best. They based all of the Rascher mouthpieces off of the mouthpieces used by the Rascher Quartet, and so her mouthpiece was “immortalized”.


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As I reported elsewhere, I recently acquired a Vandoren Optimum SL3, and I've really been enjoying it on a variety of sopranos, including my two MKVI's, a '27 Conn NWII, a '26 Martin Handcraft, and a curved Yanagisawa SC902. I use softer reeds than the player in the video posted in this thread . . . I use Vandoren and Alexander #2's with a Vandoren Optimum ligature. Of course, my music is not classical - it is trad jazz, but the SL3 does it very nicely for me.

In the video above, I heard little difference among those mouthpieces he played, but the last three were noticeably stronger than his Caravan - and he said he was looking for more projection. While those two things (volume and projection) aren't necessarily the same thing, I think there is a correlation and I'd imagine that the last three mouthpieces would give him more projection than the first one. Oh, I could be wrong and there ARE more things that go into a player's perception of a mouthpiece besides volume. DAVE
 

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The Rascher mouthpieces can be very good, but they are notorious for not being finished properly from the factory. Everyone I know who has purchased one had to have work done on it. Not refaced, but just finished to original spec with greater care and accuracy. At that point they played to their potential.
Paul Cohen[
 

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The Rascher mouthpieces can be very good, but they are notorious for not being finished properly from the factory. Everyone I know who has purchased one had to have work done on it. Not refaced, but just finished to original spec with greater care and accuracy. At that point they played to their potential.
Paul Cohen[
Mine is the only Rascher i’ve played on soprano, and it’s pretty good, but I guess it can be improved? Someone has access to the original measurements, and can duplicate them in a soprano piece? That is one very good machinist.

A well known dealer of vintage instruments told me that the Rascher soprano is a good candidate for converting to a jazz piece, because it doesn’t lose the warm and dark character when the tip is opened like the other large chamber vintage style mouthpieces. I assume that you are not talking about doing that, just cleaning up the tip rails, etc?
 

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Any idea why he would do that? It seems like it would just make the mouthpiece reed picky.
I’ll let Dr Cohen answer this, but I think I read that it’s done to increase resistance.


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There are better ways to provide resistance in a mouthpiece facing while keeping the facing symmetric.

Several clarinet mouthpiece refacers used to provide asymmetric facing as an option or standard practice. It is almost extinct now except as a defect.
 

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I can't speak for Ron Caravan, but I think he mentions it on his website. He feels his asymmetric facing conforms to the natural contour of player's embouchures. I can't speak for that, but I have many of his mouthpieces, and they all have worked well (and differently) on different saxes.
Paul Cohen
 

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Speculations: asymmetry in facing, if not too extreme, might diffuse the sweet spot enough to widen the range of reeds that will work on it at the price of limiting the performance of a reed that is a perfect fit?

Or: asymmetrical facing might enhance tonal flexibility of the reed by introducing a bit of instability?
 

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Also, consider a Morgan Large Chamber Jazz Model. It has a large open chamber with no choke in the throat. It was designed by and they are made by Erik Grieffenhagen who has been mentioned in this post several times. It is a top quality hard rubber piece and is handcrafted inside and out...not just hand faced. Shank, chamber, baffle and facing are all handcrafted. These are designed to be much like the vintage pieces of the 1920s, but the Morgan's are more free-blowing. They are available in multiple facings and facings are symmetrical. They have just a bit of baffle to push the air through faster; however, they can also be custom ordered with no baffle. The Morgan's are more expensive, but they are top quality and crafted by one of the best in the industry. As with most products, free shipping in the US and 14 day trial period.

Here's Erik demonstrating this model:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGwCHu1IDNw

http://www.morganmouthpieces.com
 
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