I used to have an alto RPC. I'd have to say out of all the alto mpcs I've used, that drew the most "wow, what's that?" comments. (I mean in a GOOD way!) But down the road a bit, I picked up a Johannes Gerber refaced Bilger-Morgan that seemed to (for my tastes at the time) beat it. (By the way, I later sold that RPC.)Never played an alto RPC. A few tenors over the years but that was before my website. His main alto piece is a .090. I have seen an .080 but not as often as the .090.
Which brings me to why I called...
Folks, never get rid of your high quality mpcs. You might come back to them one day when your tastes shift. And they will. Case in point, and this is far from the first time this has happened: I had been playing for a while on what I had been calling a Wonderlakey. It was a vintage Lakey 4*4 refaced by an unknown mpc tech, and opened to .086. This mpc grabbed me from the moment I first played it. Seemed to have so much power, but much more warmth and color than any other Lakey I had tried. And it played well in tune. Whoever worked on it was GOOD, no doubt.
I was happy with this mpc, and would periodically take out my old favorite alto mpcs to compare, just to be sure it was still beating them. And it did!
But something odd happened the other night. I was playing lead alto in a big band rehearsal, and we pulled out the Basie alto feature "Lonely Street." I had played this chart with this band before, but maybe not since I had been using the Lakey. I felt like I could just not get the color, warmth, and shading I wanted for this tune. The tone was strong and bright, but not shrill, but I couldn't play with any subtlety.
I knew it was time for another Mouthpiece Challenge. This weekend, I pulled out my Gerber-Bilger-Morgan, a vintage HR Berg, and a Morgan Excalibur 8E I used to use. Three strong mouthpieces. Long story short, the Excalibur grabbed me again! There was the power I wanted, but I could also get the shading and the warmth and the expression I wanted. I had shelved this Excalibur back when I had my Mark VI. I had not played it with my Ref 54 before. But what a nice combination! And to think I almost sold this mpc a while back. Glad I didn't!
So many times, I've switched to a mpc thinking it was the greatest I had ever tried, only to find my tastes shift to something else later on. Or maybe shift to something I had used before. Funny how that works. Kind of wish I had that old RPC to bring back and compare, to see if I preferred it again.