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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All.

OK, so...as a refurber and reseller, I do a fair amount of vintage BigHorns...and some of the more popular models actually also have a propensity for being a little squirrelly in the intonation dept when teamed up with a modern mouthpiece (Conn 12M perhaps the most common example, but there are several others as well).

(The most typical issues which come up over again in such scenarios are: the entire horn playing sharp, despite proper keyheight regulation....or the horn playing dramatically sharp in certain registers, despite various troubleshooting techniques employed).

I have many a tester mouthpiece, and in certain instances some of my usual 'common' testers (Yama 5C, Selmer Paris for example) are rejected by the horn like a bad liver transplant*
Typically, I find a few of my large-chamber pieces which settle the issue quite nicely.

The problem is, those mouthpieces are the likes of an old Vito, France , an old Conn ebonite pickle-barrel, a vintage stock Martin, etc..

So in an instance where I sell these horns, should I be asked...I really have little to go on as far as recommending a contemporary 'piece.

So, those of you who have teamed 'touchy' vintage Baritones with newer 'pieces....suggestions ?

(I would prefer that you share your firsthand experiences in this instance, por favor ....as opposed to speculating which ones 'might' work)

*(that was stolen from Grumps, btw).
 

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My George Bundy Signature is perfectly in tune top to bottom on my 70’s vintage Conn. But my Otto Link takes a lot of effort to keep in tune.
 

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The new Morgan GM Model Baritone with the XL shank is a great match for vintage American baritones. These are made from the original M.C. Gregory / Gale baritone mold. The regular shank works well with Selmer Paris and most modern baritones. The XL shank allows for excellent intonation on the American baritones.
 

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I don’t play Bari, but I play tenor and I know the Conn tenor’s all have similar issues. I”ve heard good things about Morgan too. I ended up purchasing a vintage Gregory large chamber, medium facing piece for my Conn. It plays nicely in tune.

I also had luck getting in tune with a Vandoren T75. It is a medium long facing. If you happen to have a B7, B9 or B95 laying around, you might want to give one of those one a shot. They have a long or medium long facing lengths. Chambers are larger......don’t let your customers use a hard reed on them though....probably a 2.0 is the the best reed to for ‘try-out’. Might be worth investing in a Legere Sig for customers to try out the horn. Those plastic reeds can be sanitized between players.

The Vandoren mouthpieces are priced well compared to most other options.
 

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Being budget minded, past 7 years been using a Rico Graftonite B5 mouthpiece. The B5 works great on my early to mid 1950's Le Blanc Beaugnier Vito baritone saxophone. It plays well throughout the entire range from low Bb to falsetto. This combination makes it my favorite horn.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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Ed Pillinger and Ron Coehlo will make pieces with a longer shank. It works really well.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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My TrueTone bari loved my RPC (Ron Coelho) .105 (rollover baffle). I didn’t need an extended shank on that one.

Call Ron. He’s a bari player and likely has worked with a LOT of players looking for The Mouthpiece for their vintage horns. He loves to talk, so don’t hesitate in that regard.

RPC Mouthpieces: https://saxmpc.com
 

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Mouthpiece Cafe Grande, Link STM and Tone Edge, Berg 3 chamber (although mine is not a modern Berg) Vandoren B95 with a chamber mod by Eric G and my recently acquired PPT (power model I think but not sure).
I have personal experience with all of these on both my The Martin Comm III and Conn 11m.
They were also great pieces and played well in tune on my 36 12m when I had it.
All of these horns initially had there tuning issues, but given some time on them many of these tendencies disappeared, even with pieces that initially would not tune well at all.
Except a Theo Wanne Durga, that thing was the worst combination I came across with finicky horns.
 

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Hi George. I thought you'd deserted us. Good to see you back on line, bringing recks to the reckless.

Modern bari mouthpieces for vintage machines ?

In my searches I have found (only) several modern mouthpieces that play well in tune, with good tone, on my Conn 12Ms (1936 and 1964).

First, I have two PPT (Pillinger-Pete Thomas) mouthpieces — an old cream Onyxite model (.110") and a new purple Hooligan (.125"). Both play beautifully and I have no problem with tuning on either of them, although the Hooligan, which has a shorter shank, sits quite a way out on the cork. The mouthpieces are the same length except the cream Onyxite one's shank is a centimetre longer. (Overall length: old Onyxite, 14.5 cm; Hooligan, 13.5 cm). I'm told that Ed Pillinger will provide a mouthpiece with a longer shank on request.

Another favourite of mine is my MacSax D-jazz HR piece, which has a very mellow tone. With a tip opening of .125", it plays very easily. It was made by Eric Falcon, but I gather these MacSax pieces are no longer in production. However Saxquest has put out a HR bari piece ("The Hoss") which is also made by Eric. I haven't tried it yet (I'm saving up the US $399.00), but if it's anything like the D-Jazz, it's well worth the money.

I also have a couple of Otto Link STM metal pieces which play very beautifully. They date from the 1980s and 1990s, so might not be classed as modern.

Another metal piece I use is a Berg Larsen stainless steel piece, which is excellent, but as it has the denim markings on the table, it might not be considered modern either.

Bottom line: get yourself a PPT bari mouthpiece. You can't go wrong with them.
 

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Hard rubber Meyer MPs play perfectly on the Conn 12M. The distance from the tip of the MP to some registration point (I use the octave vent on the neck) is the critical dimension you want to be concerned with. Larger chamber MPs will have a smaller such dimension. When I went from a Vandoren small chamber MP to a Meyer the dimension described was about an inch shorter for the same tuning on a midrange note. This had multiple beneficial effects: intonation all over the horn got better; the extremely sharp middle E and F slotted into tune (a common but rarely admitted issue with 12M); the tendency to squeak went away; and the altissimo woke up.
 

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Hard rubber Meyer MPs play perfectly on the Conn 12M. The distance from the tip of the MP to some registration point (I use the octave vent on the neck) is the critical dimension you want to be concerned with. Larger chamber MPs will have a smaller such dimension. When I went from a Vandoren small chamber MP to a Meyer the dimension described was about an inch shorter for the same tuning on a midrange note. This had multiple beneficial effects: intonation all over the horn got better; the extremely sharp middle E and F slotted into tune (a common but rarely admitted issue with 12M); the tendency to squeak went away; and the altissimo woke up.
I think that challenge with the vintage Conn’s is that if you are a very experienced sax player, with a great embouchure, he/she going to be able to play many, many mouthpieces in tune on the Conn......but the beginners and intermediate players won’t be able to achieve that level of success......so if you are trying to sell a Conn, I think it is best to have a larger mouthpiece and soft reed laying around. I think it would make it more likely for a less experienced customer to play the Conn in tune.
 

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I think that challenge with the vintage Conn’s is that if you are a very experienced sax player, with a great embouchure, he/she going to be able to play many, many mouthpieces in tune on the Conn......but the beginners and intermediate players won’t be able to achieve that level of success......so if you are trying to sell a Conn, I think it is best to have a larger mouthpiece and soft reed laying around. I think it would make it more likely for a less experienced customer to play the Conn in tune.
Yes; a mouthpiece very much like a Meyer hard rubber. Maybe a #6 or #5. As I said.
 

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I find the Jody Jazz bass mouthpiece plays very well on a Conn 12M but it's expensive. The Jody Jazz DV bari mouthpiece played very well and tuned properly, with an appropriately small distance from the tip to the octave vent (which is what I use to gauge), but its shank even so was so short that it wasn't secure on the cork. I did not feel completely OK about buying this expensive MP and immediately soldering a shank extension on it. Of course this is also an expensive MP.

Since many of the Morgan pieces are supposedly closely based on Meyers, they would probably work very well also, and the scuttlebutt is that the QC on them is much better.

I've never tried a Link on baritone, but I'm a bit surprised to read of issues because the tenor Links have even a larger chamber than the tenor Meyers; is that not the case on baritone?
 

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First, I have two PPT (Pillinger-Pete Thomas) mouthpieces — an old cream Onyxite model (.110") and a new purple Hooligan (.125"). Both play beautifully and I have no problem with tuning on either of them,
The PPT baritones were developed in conjunction with a Conn12M, I've just sold a couple so bit short on stock but as we now have a new material (a very special high density ebonite composite) as soon as we can get more I may do a passaround again.


So this may be useful for you @JayeLID

Maybe best to discuss on the Café
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Pete.

And everyone else who has replied with suggestions (and keep 'em coming by all means).

Just to reiterate....personally, I am OK here myself regarding the vintage large chamber 'pieces I already have.

The help I need is in suggesting to customers what readily-available, current production mouthpieces might perform well on old models which are finicky regarding mouthpiece match....because naming my older, out-of-production mouthpieces which work well on my playtests is of little use to them....
 

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A current Meyer works perfectly on my old (251xxx) Conn. A rubber Berg Larsen does too, but I'm not 100% sure it's the current design.
 

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I don't know how finicky a Buescher 400 is, but I get good results with a Rousseau 5R and Yamaha 5C.
The son-in-law uses a Metalite 7.
Maybe our 'experience' on the old man makes it easier to make these pieces work well for us.
 

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What works on my ancient Conn bari, besides the old pickle-barrels, are RPC rollovers, with large chambers and for me, an extended shank (5 1/2 "). And yeah, I got two. So I'm with Dr. G in this regard. Plus Ron makes really great opened mouthpieces if you like them that way.

And this yes, after platefuls of bad liver transplants Jaye. Meaning, a lot of other mouthpieces people only thought would work.
 
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