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Discussion Starter #1
I play lead alto for a college jazz band. I'm looking for a great mouthpiece from 350 down that would suit that kinda of music. I've been using a meyer, but it just doesnt have enough sound. I also solo alot, so I dont want this really bright piece that sound ugly on mic. If anyboy of you could give suggestions. HR or metal..either. thanks
 

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i play lead alto in a big band also. i use a Jody Jazz Classic 7 with a # 2 fibracell. it has a sweet tone and it can scream. it comes with a spoiler if you need more edge. without the spoiler it has that true lead alto sound, sweet, but with some cut. best of all its about $ 130.00 bucks. if you want more try the DV for $ 475.00. BTW i tried the HR and it didn't do it for me.go to Jodyjazz.com.the classic is a polycarbonate piece that sounds like a good hard rubber but projects like metal.also very durable. i've already dropped it onto tile twice with no damage.
 

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My main piece is a Yanagisawa metal # 9. I love it!

I highly recommend you try one of these or if you can find one used (and in your budget) a Jody Jazz DV.
 

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the DV and Classic have the same core sound. the DV has more power and can holds its own on stage with anything sans mic . the classic is a great choice for less bucks, still plenty of power and very little resistance.
 

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saxdude11 said:
I play lead alto for a college jazz band. I'm looking for a great mouthpiece from 350 down that would suit that kinda of music. I've been using a meyer, but it just doesnt have enough sound. I also solo alot, so I dont want this really bright piece that sound ugly on mic. If anyboy of you could give suggestions. HR or metal..either. thanks
When you say the piece doesn't have enough sound are you saying that it feels restrictive in terms of the amount of air you can put through it? If that's the case and you dig the Meyer tone then I would look at a larger tip as my first step. If you are looking for a different tone then I would look at the Jody Jazz DV or the classic. Play testing as many pieces as you can is the best way to go.
 

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I used an RPC 95R when I played lead (and for everything else too actually). The guy who preceded me as lead alto played a Meyer 7M. The guy who took over after I graduated uses a metal Beechler. We all sounded great. ;)

In my search I played a Tenney Meyer 6M, a few VanDorens, JodyJazz ESP, Lamberson 6M, a couple of Morgans. Nothing gave me the power or fullness of tone that the RPC did. But that's just me.
 

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How about a morgan excalibur? I use a morgan 6m now on my conn 6m...PLENTY of power.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not enough sound is what I meant. The sounds pretty great, but I just want more. Tried all sourts of reeds... even made my own baffle. The sound got weak in the uppper registers. Tell me a little more about ESP, DV, and the classic... I've been cinsidering these.
 

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I'd just go for a Meyer in a larger tip opening, or a Morgan. RPCs would be awesome but you'd have to wait awhile...but worth it :)
 

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I have played lead alto in big bands for over 20 years, from my college band at the Manhattan School of Music to the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and I can tell you that it is not about the gear. I like Brilharts, Runyons and Branchers. Other cats blow Vandoren, Link, Berg or custom one-off jobs. Find what is comfortable and flexible for you and the concept you have.

Just for general info, here is what some pros, past & present, play on.

Jerome Richardson-rubber Link
Jerry Dodgion-metal Link-rubber Berg, RPC-now on a Morgan of some kind.
Wess Anderson-Vandoren-Beechler-now on custom Manning.
Sherman Irby-Selmer "short shank"-customised
Frank Wess-Beechler
Chuck Wilson-NY Meyer bros
Dave Glasser-Ny Meyer-small chamber
Marshal Royal-Lelandais, Conn "comet" (runyon) sometimes Brilhart
Willie Smith-Lelandais "streamline"

I gotta go now. Maybe I'll think of more later. The point is, it's not what kind of mouthpiece you use.
 

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I'd second the Morgan Excalibur. It's bright enough to be cutting, but still retains a more "sweet" sound than something like a Beechler or Dukoff.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh of course, I'm all for what works best for me Barry, but I'm just looking for some suggestions. I'm just looking for the mouthpiece that will suit me best. I appreciate you post'n the pro's setups.
 

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runyon jazz custom -red of course and rico plasticover reeds= great lead combo. there a many more i could suggest. lakey-beechler diamond inlay-selmer jazz -metal yani as randall suggested- i even used a hite artist for a while and a good rubber berg 2 chamber
 

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I second the JodyJazz Classic. I played a Classic 9 for two years in my college big band, both as second and lead alto, and had great results in both chairs. It's a good middle-of-the-road mouthpiece that can scream when you need it. I don't much care for the spoiler on anything but tenor, but it will definitely bring you out over your section.

A cheaper alternative is to get a Runyon Custom, try it out before you send it away, then have someone along the lines of Paul Coats (anyone remember him?) or another Runyon guy put the JJ facing on it (if they'll do it).
 

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You probably don't want to hear this but the problem isn't the mouthpiece. I played lead alto on a Meyer 6M for many years and never had a problem with volume and projection. It's all about air and how you blow that air into and through your mouthpiece. There are MANY lead alto players in professional big bands who play on Meyers.
 

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SaxyAcoustician said:
You probably don't want to hear this but the problem isn't the mouthpiece. I played lead alto on a Meyer 6M for many years and never had a problem with volume and projection. It's all about air and how you blow that air into and through your mouthpiece. There are MANY lead alto players in professional big bands who play on Meyers.
That's true. I play the lead alto in a big band. In the last three years I played this mouthpieces:
- Otto Link Tone Edge 7 (Hard Rubber)
- Meyer 7M
- Meyer 6M
- Brilhart Level Air 7 (Metal) from mid '70s
- Berg Larsen 85 3/M (Metal)
- Berg Larsen 85 2/M (Metal) Bullet Chamber
- Yanagisawa 5 (Metal)
- Runyon "The Spoiler Series" 12 (Metal)

I used to sound almost the same with all of these mouthpieces. None of these lacks of volume or projection. But is also true that certain mouthpieces, Runyon and Larsens for me, will sound closer to the sound you have in your mind and this shortens the road. You can sound in the way you want with any mouthpiece, the difference is how much work will be needed.
 

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There's a reason they call it "Lead" Alto. Turn around and tell the Brass section to follow the definition!!!:x
 

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I play bari in a big band at my uni and the lead alto player plays a *good* modern soloist. While he's complaining that his tone isn't cutting it for him and his gold plated 6 I think that sounds fine. He uses an Olegature with that as well. It works for him at the moment.

I will also say though - don't look for a mouthpiece just for now - look for a mouthpiece that will work for as far as you can see.
 

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Been playing 1st in the college big band for three years now and will probably do it next year too... was using my Meyer 5M for the first year or two, then had it opened to .80 by Mojo. Java 3's the whole way, first on a Yamaha 62 and later a Mark VI. So a good Meyer 7 is all you probably need.

If the brass are playing their faces off like they should be, then the saxes need to be mic'd. Don't confuse this as a "shortcoming" on your own part.
 

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I played lead alto both professionally in Colorado, and while in college at the University of Northern Colorado. I highly recommend you look in to a Phil Barone New York 6M. They really project well and unlike a lot of more open pieces, or metal pieces for that matter, they still sound beautiful and warm on ballads. And don't give up on Meyers, I had an older 6M that had a great sound, but didn't have the projection I needed to play loud. It just had an uneven facing and table that kept the reed from vibrating enough to get the needed projection. My main piece now is a meyer 6M that was perfected by Doc Tenney. I really dig it for both combo setting and big bands, it's a great lead piece for me. I have been known for over blowing the brass sections during shoot sections from time to time. Ligatures and reed choices can also greatly effect your able to get that lead sound as well. A lot of lead players I know love the Olegs, Francois Louis Ultimate Ligs, and the old Harrison inverted ligs.

As you can tell from the amount of posts and opinions. I think this has been mentioned before, but just got somewhere and try out as many mouthpieces as you can. Don't be in a hurry to buy anything if what you have it working right now, if you are going to spend around $300 you should really get your moneys worth.
 
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