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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I play tenor with a trumpet player. He's three times my volume. That I expect. Recently started playing with another tenor player who has the same sax ( Yamaha YTS21) as me but uses metal (guardala) mouthpiece - and he has twice my volume. So I took off my Selmer soloist I (and i'm happy with the tone I get with that) and bought an otto link STM 8. RESULT: no change in volume!. Lots of loss in richness of tone. Blowing harder doesn't help, just destroys the tone.
What I want to ask is "What are the factors effecting the volume from a sax" so I can try to increase my volume yet keep my tone (somewhere between Ben Webster and Art Pepper after 6 years hard at it)
Would appreciate any pointers thanks
:|
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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The Guardala is likely to be much louder than an Otto Link, so getting one of those might help - but could be trickier to get the tone you like. Another very loud mouthpiece (and not so expensive) is a vandoren Jumbo Java.

I have found that an RPC is by far and away the best mouthpiece for volume plus versatility of sound. I used to have a guardala which was loud, but when I got the RPC I could still get that volume but also get a lovely soft sound which was not so easy with the Guardala. The down side is they take a few months to get one.

EDIT: have you tried asking the trumpet player if he would like to blend more with you. That's a polite way of asking him to turn down.
 

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I would also consider a Ponzol M1 or M2. At any rate, the last thing you want to do is compete with the trumpeter's tone quality if he's playing brightly (IMO). There are plenty of folks who get paint-peeler mpcs and become, in essence, the second trumpet. You can if you want to, but if you have good projection and a good solid body to your sound, it will have it's own kind of presence.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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gary is right - it would be a mistake to try to match the sound of the trumpet. But I always feel in saxophone/trumpet combinations there can be a little compromise on bothe sides. As a section its often good to get a blend so making the saxophone just a little bit brighter when playing with the trumpet is useful, but it's better if combined with a little sensitivity from the trumpeter, who should also be prepared to compromise a bit of volume and brassiness to work well with your sound.

As I said, you can be diplomatic, suggest that you should be aiming for a better ensemble sound, and that you cannot play as loud or as edgily as he can. Suggest that you will do your best but could he please also try to come down a bit and work as a team, not as opponents.
 

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Trumpets and Saxes - neither player is in a good position to judge the overall sound of the band and it's really easy to get an ugly argument where none is needed.

The classic answer is a trustworthy pair of ears out at the front - sometimes this is the conductor and sometimes this is the soundman. Use whatever clues you can get.
 

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All the brasses output quite a bit more power than woodwinds. That is just the nature of the beast. Live with it.

Toby
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for the good sound sense! Problem is as I said above that now there's another tenor sax player with twice my volume. Admittedly he's starting to sound like a second trumpet, but what can I do now except increase my volume or live with being drowned out? So in trying to increase volume (projection?)but keep my preferred tone I've gone on with the Otto Link, slightly more volume, different tone. That's why I'm wondering about the other possible factors which effect volume apart from 1: louder mouthpiece 2: blow harder 3: different horn. Are there other factors? Or is this just the nature of the beast and if you play the sax this is what you live with or use some amplification?
Thanks again. All suggestions appreciated
 

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use a mic and maybe the trumpet doesn't need one. Go for Tone quality over volume. There are middle of the road mpcs that can give you both but if you prefer a darker jazz tone it's harder to get loud and dark. believe me I 've been wishing for that one for a while.
 

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Try using a larger mouthpiece? You can usually push the piece harder before loosing your tone. This might help a little bit. But still, you should follow what other people here have said, and stay with good tonal quality over volume. There is something to be said when it's your turn to blow and the band drops down in volume. If you have a killer tone, the volume won't be an issue, your presence will still be known.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I can't begin to tell you all how much this advice helps me! It really is what I've had in the back of my mind all the time but been pushing it down and telling myself I have to get more volume. Go for the tone is great advice. It's true. If you're worth hearing people will make space for you. Loud is not it.
Love "after the rain" Mike, thanks, have put it on my pc to listen again tomorrow.
 

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Let's face it, there are great differences between players in terms of sound output. When I was playing oboe many years ago I was always amazed at the difference in sheer volume between my teacher and me. It is a question of breath support and embouchure adjustment to handle the extra power. I can't comment on your situation, but it may be that you could do with some more shedding on long tones with varying dynamics. As you develop a bigger sound you will adjust your playing to match, perhaps going to a different mpc (or perhaps not). But playing louder does not necessarily mean losing your tone; it could improve it if you develop your embouchure and breath support as well.

Toby
 
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