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Hi to all

this afternoon I took possession of a 60s-ish Cousenon Monopol Conservatoire alto saxophone. Apart from the fact that this instrument had not seen the light of day for over three decades it was in fabulous shape. A brief perusal later and I concluded a number of the keys were not closing properly and contacted my technician to book it in for an overall appraisal and fix-up. Within the case was also the Cousenon hard-rubber mouthpiece in excellent but dirty condition - now in a vinegar bath. I decided to test-play this sax to determine just how much operational capacity it actually had. Low and behold it played almost completely. Oh sure a few too many of the keys needed a little crunching but apart from the low B and Bb it played!!! I slapped an old Dolnet MP on and blew. Tone-wise it was subdued, stuffy and somewhat lifeless. I then reached for a Riffault Superfini and had similar results. Rummaging through the myriad of mouthpieces here I spied and reached for a Yahama 4C - which brought this little French horn to life - much to my surprise. Ok I thought, I knew I had a Selmer S80D somewhere and very much like the 4C I had volume and tone and a good taste of the Cousenon's character. The Hite Premier followed and again like the the 4C and the S80 I had volume and brightness. So.....while I wait for the vinegar to clean the Cousenon mouthpiece I thought I would ask all and any Cousenon players what MPs they'd suggest and if they'd found the Monopol to be particularly MP fussy. I will endeavour over these next couple of days to explore the other MPs here but in the meantime welcome your response and advice

regards from Melbourne town

Glenn
 

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I never thought these were particularly mouthpiece picky. I have played them with Selmer S80, with Yanagisawa mouthpieces with very good sound and result. Looks very beautiful. Good luck!
 

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I never thought these were particularly mouthpiece picky. I have played them with Selmer S80, with Yanagisawa mouthpieces with very good sound and result. Looks very beautiful. Good luck!
Hi again Milandro - thus far the S80 is the one I am leaning towards but have "just" finished cleaning the monopol MP and it's not bad - not as big a sound as the S80 and a tad more closed me thinks but otherwise OK. I'll try a few different reeds and see (er, um, hear) what happens ;-)
 

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The original mouthpiece is probably a stencilled one and often were very closed tip. I love the original art deco ligature of these pieces.

In my experience also the S80 is way better if one uses a more open tip than most C*. E of F if not G is much louder and complex in sound.
 

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The original mouthpiece is probably a stencilled one and often were very closed tip. I love the original art deco ligature of these pieces.

In my experience also the S80 is way better if one uses a more open tip than most C*. E of F if not G is much louder and complex in sound.
I don't (as yet) have a gauge to measure tip openings but I would guesstimate it's close to as open as the Hite Premier. On one edge, just below the table, there appears the number 8 plus qualite superieur. The only other MP I have seen with this is an A. Lelandais Paris piece - perhaps this is the maker?

I've just sent an unbranded vintage tenor piece off to my refacer so I doubt I'll be having an alto MP refaced anytime soon as that (tenor) piece is now in a que!

I still have a few other pieces to play with the Monopol such as the A. Lelandais mentioned, the vintage Otto Link Tone Edge (I like with the Amati Toneking) a Hawkes & Sons, a White Dot etc so it's gonna' be interesting.
 

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I am reasonably convinced that Generally Riffault made the pieces but could have been Lelandais too. I have had original ones with alto and tenors. I gave two of them to a friend whom collects both and now I no longer have one to compare.
 

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If your Couesnon alto is stuffy and lifeless, then it seriously needs a service, or more. A conservative mouthpiece as suggested by @milandro could be a good choice. I mostly use a Vandoren AL4 which is a good match (to my taste).
 

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If your Couesnon alto is stuffy and lifeless, then it seriously needs a service, or more. A conservative mouthpiece as suggested by @milandro could be a good choice. I mostly use a Vandoren AL4 which is a good match (to my taste).
lifeless & stuffy with a couple of MPs I used. It opened up with others. I heed your advice and will try a Vandoren. Needing a service - with 30+ years of sittin' in it's case yes, a service is required and that will, I reckon, have it's own influence. Could be a little playing, and associated moisture, semi-resurrected the pads? T'will be a month before any local tech can check it out so will more than likely strip, clean and re-lube myself and see how it travels - for want of better terminology. As mentioned above, by the time the S80 was slid onto the cork it was wanting to be heard - so I have hope. My other Mps I am sure will be interesting.
 

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Until the horn is cleared for takeoff by the ground staff, forcing it to fly will tell you little about type of fuel you are using to test its performance.
 

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Until the horn is cleared for takeoff by the ground staff, forcing it to fly will tell you little about type of fuel you are using to test its performance.
hmm, pretty well said but...type of fuel needed perhaps? Fortunately as mentioned, apart from years in the dark this Monopol is terrific so I am in hope that not too much coercion will be required before this girl sings. I will continue to test-play my other MPs tryin' to find the one I have that suits it the best in order to track down something that suits us both. Personally, and considering the years in the dark, I am amazed it plays at all.
 

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hmm, pretty well said but...type of fuel needed perhaps? Fortunately as mentioned, apart from years in the dark this Monopol is terrific so I am in hope that not too much coercion will be required before this girl sings. I will continue to test-play my other MPs tryin' to find the one I have that suits it the best in order to track down something that suits us both. Personally, and considering the years in the dark, I am amazed it plays at all.

You are fortunate in having mpcs available to test already, and do not intend to spring for more too early. I think that is very wise.
Moreover, you already know that you cannot get the most out of your baby until she is in full form.
Besides that, you are excited about your horn and want to get some good discussions going with folk familiar with this type of beast.
That is all very well, and no wet blankets like me are required. Harshing your mellow. I was no fun, and perhaps I should not have spoken up.
I hope I have not soured anything.

Still, it may do no real harm to have a reminder that a horn without leaks feels, sounds, reacts, plays, much differently than one that is sad that way.
If not for you, than for a newbie reading this after a search, who may be about to move on to finding the right mpc, buying several when the horn will not yet sound anything below an E. Sadly, that can happen.

I could not tell anything about the final preferences or sound capabilities of my leaky, out of regulation horns. That is an unfun, cold hard fact for me that I had to learn and deal with. It does NOT, however, keep me from getting very excited, anticipating which mpcs will best make the new girl sing.
 

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You are fortunate in having mpcs available to test already, and do not intend to spring for more too early. I think that is very wise.
Moreover, you already know that you cannot get the most out of your baby until she is in full form.
Besides that, you are excited about your horn and want to get some good discussions going with folk familiar with this type of beast.
That is all very well, and no wet blankets like me are required. Harshing your mellow. I was no fun, and perhaps I should not have spoken up.
I hope I have not soured anything.

Still, it may do no real harm to have a reminder that a horn without leaks feels, sounds, reacts, plays, much differently than one that is sad that way.
If not for you, than for a newbie reading this after a search, who may be about to move on to finding the right mpc, buying several when the horn will not yet sound anything below an E. Sadly, that can happen.

I could not tell anything about the final preferences or sound capabilities of my leaky, out of regulation horns. That is an unfun, cold hard fact for me that I had to learn and deal with. It does NOT, however, keep me from getting very excited, anticipating which mpcs will best make the new girl sing.
G'day Mate

I fully understood your initial post, recognised the validity of your advice and cannot criticise either and thank you most sincerely for your input. Yes I am fortunate to have a few pieces to test and equally fortunate to be able to recognise which pieces are working the best - otherwise I'D be waiting a couple of months - seems all the local techs are booked. My 1951 Amati Toneking alto really only sounds like it should with an old Otto Link Tone Edge. I have a late 20s / early 30s Dolnet here plus a Universal (1970?) and was 'sort-of' expecting a tone something more like these from the Monopol. Speaking of good fortune - equally good that the little Cousenon is in such excellent shape. Rest assured she will be appreciated :)
 

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G'day Mate

I fully understood your initial post, recognised the validity of your advice and cannot criticise either and thank you most sincerely for your input. Yes I am fortunate to have a few pieces to test and equally fortunate to be able to recognise which pieces are working the best - otherwise I'D be waiting a couple of months - seems all the local techs are booked. My 1951 Amati Toneking alto really only sounds like it should with an old Otto Link Tone Edge. I have a late 20s / early 30s Dolnet here plus a Universal (1970?) and was 'sort-of' expecting a tone something more like these from the Monopol. Speaking of good fortune - equally good that the little Cousenon is in such excellent shape. Rest assured she will be appreciated :)

Many players have a favorite mpc that they use for every horn. But I have found that some of my various horns prefer specific mpcs. My old Conn horns all seem to get something special going when teamed with an STM, or to a lesser degree, a Tone Edge. With this notion in mind, I often take some time on various mpcs and see how the horn reacts. Joyful anticipation in finding a really good match. Good luck. I hope you will report back often and let us know what happens.
 

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I am reasonably convinced that Generally Riffault made the pieces but could have been Lelandais too. I have had original ones with alto and tenors. I gave two of them to a friend whom collects both and now I no longer have one to compare.
Hi Milandro - after comparing the A.Lelandias & Cousenon pieces they are identical in every respect with the single exception of the chamber. The A.Lelandias piece has the larger chamber of the two.
 

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Congratulations on the wonderful find! I use mine for symphonic band and am playing the Morgan 8C (classical) piece. Just a beautiful dark sound although the wide open chamber gives alot of resistance prompting me to use a surprisingly light reed.
Outside of the symphonic band I enjoy a metal Ponzol M1 alto (the old brass, larger chamber darker sounding M series) which is far more free blowing than the Morgan classical but with a more balanced sound.
I also find the Couesnon very mouthpiece friendly but those are my personal favorites. Mine came with a Couesnon 7 that I did not enjoy as much, but as Milandro pointed out, has a beautiful art deco ligature.
I also find that certain mouthpieces work better for me with different horns, but agree with the theme of getting the horn sorted out properly before the trials.
 

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Hi Milandro - after comparing the A.Lelandias & Cousenon pieces they are identical in every respect with the single exception of the chamber. The A.Lelandias piece has the larger chamber of the two.
Very nice, good luck!
 

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My, you are lucky to find that Couesnon! Mine is not a looker but definitely my favorite of many I have tried. A Selmer C* does me fine but when the sax section in our concert band is just me (as it was last night), I pull out a Renzel-Mueller New York mouthpiece I found in my collection. Such richness, yet such punch! I play it with my favorite reed for every mouthpiece, a Rigotti Gold 2.5.
 

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Mine was not particularly mpc picky. One tip, though...make sure that your neck tenon is a good fit and absolutely leak free. Even a small problem there will make for a poor experience when you are playing.
 
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