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What ligature and what reed should I use to get the darkest sound on my Bb Soprano saxophone? I am already using a large chambered hard rubber mouthpiece.

Thanks
Bryan Kendall
 

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Vandoren Blue Box reeds or Gonzales. The ligature won't make that much difference in sound...ligatures generally affect things like articulation and the "feel" more than the actual sound.
 

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Hemke's work pretty well. I think a Rovener will darken your sound. Maybe it's just me. J Max knows his stuff but I think a lig will make a huge difference to your sound. Joe Viola used to tell me that the closer to your mouth the more important to your sound. Although he meant this in terms of technique I think there is a corollary to equipment.
 

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If you want to sound dark, why don't you play alto or tenor instead?? :? :D
 

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"Large chamber hard rubber mpc" does not guarantee a dark sound. Different makes will give you significantly different levels of brightness. Try Bari if you want a dark sound.
 

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I know this isn't a direct comparison, but FWIW, I get a darker sound on tenor from the Gonzalez reeds than I do from the Vandoren Traditional or Alexander Classique.
 

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segaleon said:
"Large chamber hard rubber mpc" does not guarantee a dark sound. Different makes will give you significantly different levels of brightness. Try Bari if you want a dark sound.
If you're talking about Bari the company (vs. Bari the horn), it's not a dark mouthpiece. A large chamber hard rubber mouthpiece implies something like a Buescher, which is FAR darker than anything else out there.
 

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Giganova said:
If you want to sound dark, why don't you play alto or tenor instead?? :? :D

Uh, because he needs a soprano? You can have a dark sound on any horn...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The mouthpiece is a custom hard rubber Morgan C Soprano similiar to a 1920s Buescher C Soprano saxophone mouthpiece. The horn is a 1921 satin silver Conn C-Soprano which I completely refurbished - Selmer Springs, white Rascher pads, satin silver plated domes all the way up, rods trued, swedged, everything reworked and replated with particular attention to tuning. All done by Paul Maslin of PM Woodwinds in Chicago. By the way, I had him pull out the lyre mount. That huge rod going down the center of the bore couldn't help the tuning.

It plays beautiful. Just beautiful. It just goes to show me what happens when a superb repaiarman who is also a top tier saxophonist can do with a bit of TLC.

I am looking for a very dark sound with lots of wood ..........like Bechet.

Thanks for your advice

Bryan Kendall
 

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An original Conn Eagle, Buescher, or Rascher mpc will all be darker options that the Morgan, I suspect, though I like Morgans very much. A firm Vandoren reed, 3.5 or 4 will also help, and will be a fine match for any of these mpcs.
 

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I'm also looking for a dark setup on a C soprano, a Buescher TT. I tried a Buescher Bb mpc, but it was too stuffy, and the intonation was bad. I then tried a Bari HR .68, which I use on my TT Bb soprano, and it was almost perfect (good intonation, even scale), but the tone was a bit too loud and bright. I'm looking for more controlled, quieter, darker.
 

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I had Dave Tondi finish an old Buescher Csop blank for me; I received it with a 0.052" tip opening and a roll-over baffle. I'm very happy with it on my Conn Csop. I find that this mouthpiece definitely tames my horn and gives me the type of warm, dark sound I'm looking for on it.

Good Luck!
 

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Bryan: Just came across the follow-up posts in this thread.

Bechet? Good luck!!!

There are a host of soprano players inspired by the great Bechet and I've only heard a few that even came close . . . Jean-Francois Bonnel from France (who recently played with HOT ANTIC JAZZ BAND from Nimes; and Bob Wilber, who as a youngster, studied with Bechet (more so clarinet than soprano). Wilber has since changed his sound in my opinion.

Another Frenchman, Christian Vaudecrane, who plays with Sac 'A Puls, has the idea but it is his technique more than his sound, that approximates Bechet. Lastly, Alain Marquet, from France, gets it on clarinet - he played with Charquet & Co. and now plays with Paris Washboard.

To achieve that sound, you'll just have to experiment - I'd think that more open pieces and softer reeds are the answer, but everyone is different. I'd LOVE to be able to do that. DAVE
 

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Giganova said:
If you want to sound dark, why don't you play alto or tenor instead?? :? :D
Alternatively, you could get a black lacquer or black nickel horn...but seriously, you should look around for an old Buescher or Conn piece with ultra-large chamber...it will probably have a small tip opening but can be opened. Play it as is, and see if you really want a 'darker' sound or if something else is missing.

The other approach is to try taking in a lot of mouthpiece and open your throat and play longtones with more air...this will provide a fuller sound (that many folks call 'dark'). You may need to start this exercise with softer reeds. Play the full dynamic range and pay attention to keeping your throat open; change dynamics with air support, not by 'squeezing' the reed. This is hard, but worthwhile if you want to play soprano.
 
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