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Fussy/inconsistent Vandoren?

1857 Views 9 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  MM
Everywhere I've read, people praise the Vandoren mouthpieces because they are consistently made and play well.

The question is, who out there has gotten one that didn't play properly? Not "I didn't like it," but there was something wrong with the finishing.

I'm curious, because my A7S seems very...resistant. It really doesn't want to play at all. Of course, the chances of the problem being me are high, because I'm a total beginner. I'm using a V16 3 with it.
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Try a softer reed instead; a size 2 or even a 1.5. Forget about what others play or are what you want to play. If the resistance disappears, it is probably you and not your mouthpiece. If you are a beginner the combo you have chosen may be a bit much. Vandoren mouthpieces really do tend to be consistent and chances are small that yours is practically unplayable.
You could also try a Vandoren A5S with a 2.5 or 3 reed. It should feel more responsive and be much easier to play.
V16s have a thick tip to increase resistance. Try a Java 3 to quicken the response.
You can have a few others try the mouthpiece to see if they get the same impression as you. But trying some other reeds should help. You can also adjust your reeds.

I can analyze your mouthpiece, but try the other stuff first.
That's a very large tip opening for a will absolutely need a softer reed. I'd actually suggest that you buy a piece with a smaller tip opening because with one that is that large, you might not be able to find a reed that is soft enough to make it work...
Have a look at Vandoren's website: Click "Choose your mouthpiece". You'll see the recommended V16 reeds for the A7 are 2.5 or 3. Since you're just starting out, you may have to start soft and work up to a 2.5 over the months / years.

My student saxophone (Trevor James "The Horn") came with an A35 mouthpiece, which has a slightly larger tip opening than an A7, so in my experience this opening is fine for beginners, provided you use a soft reed.
I second the motion that your mouthpiece tip is too open. An A75 has a tip opening of 105, against the likes of a Selmer C*which is 65! (

I started on and still use a Selmer C*(your Vandoren similar would be A25/A27), which is much easier to play than a very open tip to begin with. Try a couple of less open pieces. If you trawl the archives here, you'll find a wealth of information about mouthpieces and suitable starting points!! Perhaps you might even be able to trade your piece here for something more suitable, or keep it for later when you've developed your embrochure more.

Good luck

i also played a vandoren 7 m alto and is a big too open and hollow for me. somemore i'm using just a rico jazz 3S.
Hey, this is an A7S, .081" tip, not A75 which is crazy open. But definitely try softer reeds than for the C*. Maybe a Java 2.5 for starters, perhaps going to a 3 when you grow into. The V16 and ZZ alto reeds are harder so try 2 to 2.5.
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