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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

I just started playing a B&M Champion Tenor Sax a few days ago (except some trials before that) and it's working pretty well.
The only thing is that I'm not 100 % lucky about the MPC / reed combination.

I know that questions about MPCs for beginners are asked a lot and it seems that everyone suggests to try out several but my question is more about wether to change the MPC or the reed.
The sax included a MPC from Weltklang (the sax is a Weltklang Solist Stencil) and has a tip opening of 2 mm, tip facing is about 18 mm.

It came with reeds in size 1.5 from Rico.
Since I regularly had problems with stuck tones (seems to touch the tip) and as it didn't feel well in general, I bought some Rico Royal 3.
Well, they work but especially the higher notes sound dull and I often get an octave to high without pressing the octave key.

Now I thought about trying Ricos in 2 or 2.5 but also read that the tip size is pretty big for a beginner.

My question is now, especially as I'd like to concentrate on Jazz music (I read that a greater tip opening is better for this type of music), if I should look for another MPC like a Yamaha 4C or 5C or if it's better to go for other reeds in 2 or 2.5, eventually those from Légère (2 or 2,25 then).

Air pressure doesn't seem to be a problem at the moment but embochure seems to be more an issue.

Looking forward to your replies,
Thanks!
 

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Mouthpieces cost a lot more than reeds, so start with reeds.

Rico Royals are excellent reeds and value for money. However 3 is too strong for a beginner: get some Rico Royal 2.5s or even 2s. Remember that reed sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer — for example, a Rico Royal 3 is about the same strength as a Vandoren 2.5.

As for mouthpieces: that mouthpiece tip opening is not too bad, particularly for a beginner. Don't look for a bigger one just yet. I personally have little respect for Weltklang stock mouthpieces: you might well be better off with a Yamaha hard rubber (ebonite) mouthpiece of the same tip opening. If you don't mind spending a little more money, check out a Vandoren ebonite piece.

You don't mention a saxophone teacher anywhere in your post. If you don't already have one, get one right away ! You don't have to spend years taking lessons, unless you want to sit exams and work in an orchestra, but if you're starting from scratch it is essential that you have a teacher to show you the basics of playing the instrument, so you don't develop any bad habits in your technique, which might stuff you right up later on.

Good luck — have fun !
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mouthpieces cost a lot more than reeds, so start with reeds.

Rico Royals are excellent reeds and value for money. However 3 is too strong for a beginner: get some Rico Royal 2.5s or even 2s. Remember that reed sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer — for example, a Rico Royal 3 is about the same strength as a Vandoren 2.5.

As for mouthpieces: that mouthpiece tip opening is not too bad, particularly for a beginner. Don't look for a bigger one just yet. I personally have little respect for Weltklang stock mouthpieces: you might well be better off with a Yamaha hard rubber (ebonite) mouthpiece of the same tip opening. If you don't mind spending a little more money, check out a Vandoren ebonite piece.

You don't mention a saxophone teacher anywhere in your post. If you don't already have one, get one right away ! You don't have to spend years taking lessons, unless you want to sit exams and work in an orchestra, but if you're starting from scratch it is essential that you have a teacher to show you the basics of playing the instrument, so you don't develop any bad habits in your technique, which might stuff you right up later on.

Good luck — have fun !
Thanks for your feedback!

Regarding reeds:
I'll try out some 2.5s.
Would you already go for a synthetic one just to have a constant reed that doesn't really change over time to be sure it's not about a worn-out reed after a few weeks / months?

Regarding MPC:
I had a look on the Yamaha series and for tenor the one with the same tip size would be the 7C even though I always read that beginners should use a 4C (1.7 mm) or 5C (1.8 mm) at max.
Wouldn't it be better to get one of these then?

Thanks
 

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I tried synthetic reeds a long time ago and didn't really like them. Others on here will tell you they're the best thing ever invented. In the end it comes down to personal preference — but remember, they cost a hell of a lot more than cane reeds, and so, until you have decided what strength of reed and which mouthpiece you're going to persevere with, don't try them.

The claim that "beginners should use a 4C (1.7 mm) or 5C (1.8 mm) at max" is a "one size fits all approach." There are certain items which fit that, but saxophone mouthpieces aren't among them. just think who beginners are — anyone from a 9-year-old girl to a 65-year-old retiree. Different physiologies, different capabilities. And here we're just talking about Yamaha mouthpieces and tip sizes. Other mouthpieces have different characteristics — larger or smaller chambers, higher or lower or absent baffles, etc. — another brand entirely might be better for you than a Yamaha. On the other hand a Yamaha might be the perfect choice for you. Only you can decide that.

Does your local music shop have a selection of mouthpieces you can try ? As a rule of thumb, look at the range of mouthpieces available in any given brand and pick one with a tip opening just below the middle of the range. Try them all, different sizes, different brands, until you find one you really like, then stick with it for a year. When the year is up, go back to the shop and try the next size up in your chosen piece, as well as trying any other one that takes your fancy.

And by the way — get a teacher who will show you the basics of embouchure, breath control, fingering exercises, and sight reading — and provide you with advice about choice of mouthpiece, reeds and basic instrument maintenance.

Again, good luck and have fun.
 

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that would bea .078 which is small for tenor...about what you need right now.

If you have a teacher have them check out if its a decent mouthpiece. If its all jacked up then it can be a hassle even at a small tip. If your teacher says its messed up get a 4 or 5c. Its not that expensive.

It takes time to build your embouchure and as mentioned...at teacher is really good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi!

Thanks for you support.

Just wanted to let you know what I did now:
Bought 2.5 Rico Royal but a few minutes after found an offer for a Yamaha C4 demo MPC + BG Flex Ligature for 27 € and had to buy it.

I'll now try several combinations of MPCs and Reeds.
 

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Hi!

Thanks for you support.

Just wanted to let you know what I did now:
Bought 2.5 Rico Royal but a few minutes after found an offer for a Yamaha C4 demo MPC + BG Flex Ligature for 27 € and had to buy it.

I'll now try several combinations of MPCs and Reeds.
The 4C will be fine for you for a while. Please don’t try a bunch of different mouthpieces until you can easily sustain all the notes on your instrument from low Bb to high F. And do find a teacher; a few bucks invested in a teacher now will pay off big time in a few months. Better a teacher than mouthpieces.
 

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Change reeds? I would say maybe yes.

It will be remarkable if you are held back by your gear.

One exception to that could be the reed.

If I were to go back to being a beginner, knowing what I know now, I would never buy a reed made of reeds. I would buy a Legere soft.

Natural reeds can be good or bad and a beginner may not know what to do. So simplify by cutting that function out of the equation.

Many disagree with this conclusion. I hate the whole business of soaking, trimming, sanding, tuning, waterlogged, changing strength while playing ...... arrgh.

This conclusion would not apply to a music student in a regular school, as the teacher should be there fixing problems and teaching the fine points involved.

If you are more on your own, rather than mess with all that, it is better to have something that stays the same and is reliable.

Next.

Practice getting the best tone you can out of every note on the sax at every volume level. Make that 4C work for you. It will.

Get some tutor to keep you from reinforcing bad habits, and make sure you are getting the fundamentals OK.

Be patient and play every day. The difference between a sax player and every one else is that a sax player plays a sax, so play it.

After a year or so, consider what move you want to make with your sound and what mouthpiece might get you there.

By then you will probably be happier with a harder reed on your 4C.

[If I were going to play jazz, I would get a stock Brilhart Ebolin 3 or 4 as my first or starter piece. But the Yamaha will work great to get your chops in shape.]

Relax and have fun. Pick some songs you like to play and be sure to play them to wind up your practice session, ending on a positive feeling.

Good luck.
 
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