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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I am sure this is a pretty basic question. If I play a size 7 / .100” tip size tenor mouthpiece with a #3 reed, what would be the equivalent tip size and reed strength on an alto mouthpiece and reed?

Thanks
 

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Well, on some mouthpieces, one size larger on tenor. For example, I played a C* on alto but a C** on tenor. For jazz, settled on .105 for tenor and #6 for tenor depending on mpc characteristics. You are probably seeking some kind of compatibility, but for me, I had to actually try them out because mpcs vary. All things the same, though, I would play one model-size bigger on tenor than alto.
 

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Hello,
I am sure this is a pretty basic question. If I play a size 7 / .100” tip size tenor mouthpiece with a #3 reed, what would be the equivalent tip size and reed strength on an alto mouthpiece and reed?

Thanks
Well, if you are comfortable playing a .100 tip with a #3 reed, and it gives you the sound you like on tenor, then the corresponding tip/reed combo on alto is the one you are comfortable playing and gives you the sound you like.

I'm not being condescending - really. The important thing is to find a setup that works for you. You don't say what kind of mouthpiece you play or what reed you use. A .100 tip is a fairly middle of the road opening, and a #3 is a medium strength reed, so if you are looking for a place to start, try the same strength/brand alto reed on a mid-range tipped alto piece - around a .075 - .080. That doesn't mean you are going to like the way it plays or the sound you get out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cool. Thanks, guys. I play either a Link STM or an Aizen SO (Selmer Soloist copy) with Rico orange box #3 or Vandoren Red Java #3 reeds on tenor. Middle of the road is right. I just picked up an inexpensive alto to have around the house for fun, practicing scales and fingering while sitting on the couch watching T.V., etc. Sounds like from what you guys are saying that a #6 tip, or .075-.080, with #3 alto reeds will put me back in the middle of the road. Don’t know alto, but I’ll probably go with a Meyer as that seems to be the default mouthpiece for alto (like a Link is for tenor).
Thanks again.
 

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Middle of the road is right. I just picked up an inexpensive alto to have around the house for fun, practicing scales and fingering while sitting on the couch watching T.V., etc. Sounds like from what you guys are saying that a #6 tip, or .075-.080, with #3 alto reeds will put me back in the middle of the road. Don’t know alto, but I’ll probably go with a Meyer as that seems to be the default mouthpiece for alto (like a Link is for tenor).
Thanks again.
Jody Jazz published some nice facing charts and they basically equate a 7 tenor with a 6 alto as "middle of the road":

https://jodyjazz.com/facing-page/alto-sax-mouthpiece-facing-chart/

https://jodyjazz.com/facing-page/tenor-saxophone-mouthpiece-facing-chart/

There are some great hand-faced copies of Meyers being made for very reasonable prices by craftsmen at companies like Mouthpiece Cafe, Morgan, Marmaduke, and depending on your budget, there are many others. I would actually recommend taking a look at those as opposed to buying anything mass-produced by jj Babbitt, which owns Meyer and Otto Link, among others. I think you'll end up with a higher quality piece that way, but good luck whatever you choose.
 

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Cool. Thanks, guys. I play either a Link STM or an Aizen SO (Selmer Soloist copy) with Rico orange box #3 or Vandoren Red Java #3 reeds on tenor. Middle of the road is right. I just picked up an inexpensive alto to have around the house for fun, practicing scales and fingering while sitting on the couch watching T.V., etc. Sounds like from what you guys are saying that a #6 tip, or .075-.080, with #3 alto reeds will put me back in the middle of the road. Don’t know alto, but I’ll probably go with a Meyer as that seems to be the default mouthpiece for alto (like a Link is for tenor).
Thanks again.
Yes, a lot of people play Meyers, but it doesn't mean they are right for you. Many (many, many, ...) years ago I went to the music shop to get a Meyer alto piece, because that's what everyone (including my sax heroes) played. I tried them and hated them. I wound up with a Gregory, which I played until last year when I switched to a custom piece from Liu Shizhou.

A good cheap start would be to pick up a three pack of Rico #3's, maybe a set of 2.5's and 3.5's as well. As far as mouthpieces, a Meyer #6MM or maybe a Link Tone Edge #6 is an inexpensive start. Or maybe a Vandoren V16 A6M or a D'Addario Select Jazz D6M. If you like the Soloist, the current Selmer Soloists aren't bad - try and E or F tip if you can find one. If you can go to shop and try several pieces, maybe a tip size up and down, it would be best.
 

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Well, two thoughts:

1) For those makes that make the range of mouthpieces (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone) it appears that most manufacturers choose their facing numbers so that the stiffness is roughly similar for the same number. So a #6 Meyer is a kind of medium facing in alto, tenor, and baritone.

2) Despite point (1), keep in mind that the facing number system only works well for mouthpieces of the same size and same manufacturer (i.e., Link tenors have a different numbering system than Dukoff tenors, and so on). Some manufacturers' number systems don't even seem to relate to the actual tip opening (looking at you, Brilhart and Claude Lakey).

Personally I tend to prefer slightly small tips on smaller instruments (so, for example, I play a Selmer C* on soprano with a slightly stiffer reed; whereas I play a Meyer #8 on baritone with a slightly softer reed - the C* most people would consider more closed than average, whereas a Meyer 8 baritone most people would consider moderately open).

As far as the Selmer Soloist, I often use a C* Soloist on alto for small group gigs, and have not felt it too closed for those applications, even though I usually play a #7 Meyer on alto. I wouldn't start out with a E Selmer, I personally would start with the C*.
 

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Yes, a lot of people play Meyers, but it doesn't mean they are right for you.
True, they are right for me; but I remember some years ago playing duets with a friend, both of us on tenor, and we decided to swap MPs. He couldn't get anything out of my #8 Meyer tenor piece but a few sad moans, and I couldn't make any sound at all on his rubber Berg Larsen.
 

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My experience is that the tip opening and facing on one size horn is not necessarily what works best on others.

In fact tip opening for one mouthpiece on tenor does not necessarily mean the same opening works best on another tenor mouthpiece, as the facing curve differences can make the opening size feel very different.

When it comes to different sizes, I use 9* mostly on tenor but 6** on alto. 5 on soprano and 7 on baritone and bass.
 

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My rule of thumb is a .020” difference in tip opening from sop to alto to tenor. Most players are in a .015”-.030” range of diffs. On Bari some players use the same or a smaller tip than they use on tenor (especially if they use a huge tip on tenor).
 
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