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Have recently got an International Woodwind (E & R) C sop. Comments from wife and others was that it sounded a bit harsh in the upper register. Intonation is good but probably need a very stiff reed to make the upper D to F# speak well, and that would exacerbate the harsh problem.

Tried a bunch of different sop mouthpieces and found the Selmer SS J to bring it together fairly well.

Here's an improvised piece that the guitarist laid down. Very simple lullaby so no great shakes in terms of playing. I tried to bring the brightness of the tone down (too much?). It's called "White Hands" (the other pieces on this page are played on a nino)

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandid=1100295&content=music

Comments, questions, etc. welcome
 

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Hi Wade, I liked the tone of your C sop.
What´s the name of the stencil you´re playing?
I play a King C sop, with a Selmer metal C** modified, refaced (I think to E), with chamber and throat augmented, I use #2 Gonzales or Vandoren reeds and found the intonation of my King very good, and very easy to play.
I would like to try an ER C soprano, did you tried prior to the purchase?
By the way I liked your nino tone also.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The name on the horn is International Woodwind. They put their own badge on although it's supposedly an E&R. Not sure why they do that as I would have thought having E&R on there would be better, but then what do I know?

I didn't have a chance to try before purchase and just took a chance that it was as good as promoted. I was interested in the Aquilia, but have been put off by their not having them available when stated (for more than a year and a half?). Last I heard from Aquilia they swore they would be available in May. Too late now. Hopefully they are not delivering because they are still trying to get the bugs out. Better yet not to make promises that you can not deliver on.

Thanks for the compliment on tone. I’m very happy with the nino tone, but not sure about the C sop yet. Will have to give it more work to find the balance between playing too flat and dull (“white hands” sounds a bit dull to me) and too harsh.
 

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I have had Holtons, Bueschers, Conns and Martins in C (at least 2 of each) and all have had a nice round sound. Maybe the wide open J might be a bit much. I find that anything over about .050" on a C is a bit too bright. I alternate with a Yamaha 4C and 3C. As to intonation on the old US horns......frightening!. The Martins are the best with the Holtons (keyed up to F) next and the Conns the worst. I will be interested in your intonation findings on the new horn. The C soprano is one of the funnest of the saxes and handy pitched in C.
Welcome to the next step of insanity!!! I will never be without a C soprano....
 

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Nice sound clip with a lovely tone.

I also recently bought a E&R C soprano, directly from Benedikt Eppelsheim. I believe that he has stopped making them, or at least stopped his involvement in the collaboration.

It was interesting for me trying out different soprano mouthpieces and at the moment I have settled on a Brendan Tibbs sterling silver piece that gives it a nice sweet tone. But it is a struggle to play the palm keys and upwards with any mouthpiece or reed that I have.

I find the C soprano noticeably more free blowing than the Bb sop, presumably there is less resistance (back-pressure). It is also a bit disconcerting that the pitch comes out higher than I am expecting or used to for each fingering, even if it is only two semitones.

Rhys
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Bruce and Rhys for your comments.

I tried a number of different mouthpieces on it with different combinations of reeds. The Selmer SS sounded best and a Morgan vintage was the worst with intonation off by quite a bit. Most seemed too bright/harsh in the upper register.

I agree with you Rhys about being more free blowing than a Bb sop. Actually I find the nino more free blowing as well. I'm still enjoying the novelty of playing in keys other than what falls under Bb or Eb instruments. Since I switch continually between Bb and Eb instruments I'm less set on a fingering equating to a specific sound and play in the appropriate key to get the sound wanted.

Glad to hear that the palm keys are a problem for you as well (it's not just me). What other mouthpieces did you try? Would be good to not have to repeat the same mistakes.

My list of mouthpieces tried and (mostly) rejected:
Morgan Vintage
Lamberson FM7
Lamberson SD
Bari metal
Otto Link Soprano Planet modified
Lakey
Caravan
SR tech
Yani metal

I don't have a Tibbs at the moment but appreciate the clue that it may be a good one.

Cheers,

Wade
 

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Glad to hear that the palm keys are a problem for you as well (it's not just me). What other mouthpieces did you try? Would be good to not have to repeat the same mistakes.

My list of mouthpieces tried and (mostly) rejected:
Morgan Vintage
Lamberson FM7
Lamberson SD
Bari metal
Otto Link Soprano Planet modified
Lakey
Caravan
SR tech
Yani metal

I don't have a Tibbs at the moment but appreciate the clue that it may be a good one.

Cheers,

Wade
Ones I tried on the C soprano include:

Selmer metal
Lawton ebonite
Selmer Soloist-style (?)
Berg Larsen
Pillinger
Vandoren (several)
SR Tech Legend

I think I also tried my Morgan, but can't remember for sure.

I'll go back and try again and write down my impressions on sound, resistance and tuning.

At the moment I'm playing it with a Legere reed and that seems to work quite well, except for the palm keys.

Rhys
 

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very nice indeed! I like everything , the sound, the structure of the piece (definitely a lullaby with hints here and there of Southern and Central European folk music ) and the execution of both guitar and soprano saxophone. This has to be one of the mellowest sounds ever and I am very very envious of that! Very well done!
 

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Wade, did you try it with the mouthpiece it came with? Was that any good?
 

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Wade: on my King C sop the easiest piece I have tried it´s the Selmer S80 E, super easy to play, powerful voice,with no resistance and better to play on the palm keys. I use the metal Selmer because of the tone, but I still have the S80 E because of this qualities.
I have a Bilger also which have a nice woody tone, dark but gentle.
What reed strength are you using? when I played the original Selmer C** for the first time, I tried with Vandoren #3 and for me was very hard to play, but now I am using #2, Vandoren or Gonzales and works perfectly on all the pieces.
What piece & reed do you play on your nino?
 

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Awesome recording! I really like how the guitar licks and saxophone go together
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks all for the comments. Glad many of you liked it. Not one of my favourites but sounded good enough to keep.

Honestly can't remember all the reeds tried but mostly used different strengths of fibrecell also tried a Hahn, and several Vandorens. I tend towards the synthetics as I'm lazy and just want to pick up the horn and play without the hassles of mucking around with reeds.

Thanks Rhys for your list as this will help eliminate ones not worth trying.

The horn didn't come with a mouthpiece. I thought this strange at the time, but most Chinese horns have plastic crap mouthpieces anyway which just sit in the drawer. Note that this instrument didn't come through Benedikt but International Woodwinds in California.

Will keep the other mouthpieces mentioned by Electricfuge in mind and see when/if I can give these a try, especially the Bilger as the upper register can otherwise be a bit harsh and needs to be tamed somewhat. I can't remember exactly which reed was used (am now in Australia so can't look at what's on the mouthpiece), but think it was a 2 1/2 fibrecell.

I have two ninos. On one I use a Yani HR that has been modified by Soprano Planet. The other is an old Selmer mouthpiece. On both I use either Vandoren reeds or Fibrecell Bb Clarinet reeds with the butt cut off. I don't know why but it seems like the nino is less picky about reeds as long as the strength is about right (between 2 and 3).

Thanks for your comments Mike. Yes, a lullaby waltz... only puts them 3/4 asleep.
 

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Thanks Rhys for your list as this will help eliminate ones not worth trying.

The horn didn't come with a mouthpiece. I thought this strange at the time, but most Chinese horns have plastic crap mouthpieces anyway which just sit in the drawer. Note that this instrument didn't come through Benedikt but International Woodwinds in California.
Some of those mouthpieces I listed worked pretty well, just not as good to my ears as the Brendan Tibbs. I wouldn't rule them out if you get a chance to try them yourself.

I just noticed on Ed Pillinger's website that he make a mouthpiece specifically for the C soprano. I haven't tried it, but all his pieces that I have played are good and have reed-friendly facings.

Benedikt was great to deal with directly: very friendly, did me a special finish, supplied a Vandoren V16 mouthpiece and actually charged me less than quoted originally.

Rhys
 

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I have just bought a Pillinger C soprano mouthpiece for my E&R. It is made of his bronzite material and has his 160 soprano facing on it (I believe that is around 0.065" which is my preferred tip opening on sop). It cost £155 plus postage.

This piece works well and is my new favourite on the E&R. It has a very sweet sound - almost too sweet with my Vandoren Optimum ligature. As the mouthpiece is a bit smaller than most Bb sop ebonite pieces it is quite difficult finding a ligature that fits well. At the moment, a Francois Louis lig seems the best, but even that is a bit too large. Unfortunately the mouthpiece seems to be just a bit bigger than most metal Bb sop pieces and a bit smaller than the ebonite ones.

With this Pillinger piece the tuning is very good and I find it easier to play the palm keys from high D to F, although they are still a bit hit-and-miss.

I will continue to experiment with different reeds and ligatures, but this is definitely the mouthpiece for me on the C soprano.

Rhys
 
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