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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm playing a Yamaha 5C on my YAS-23 alto. I was checking to see what mouthpieces are available just to try to brighten up my sound. My tone sounds more classical than Jazzy and thought I might experiment a bit. When I saw a $25 metal hi baffle mouthpiece on ebay like this one, I hought it would be cheap enough to mess around with.

Has anyone bought a cheap metal mpc and were satisfied with it or are they worth less than the $25-$30 to just mess with it? I was looking around for a used jazz mpc to experiment on but this sort of intrigued me (but I know so little about this.)

Thoughts?

Thanks.
 

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Mouthpieces from China are 99% in need of additional bench time to play well. However, there are some vendors
that also sell CNC copies of classic jazz mouthpieces and those are better quality.

What is your skill level and tip size preference?

Without those answers I can recommend Vandoren Jumbo Java. It comes in three sizes, 35, 45, 75 for alto maybe they have a "95" but I think that's for tenor.

Get a Vandoren ligature save you some some headache.

My 2 cents
 

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You gotta' factor in potential unsavoury materials used in construction. Try to hunt down a pre-loved Rousseau SJ5 or JDX5 perhaps a Bari RC5 or 6
 

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Bart: you're not going to get any affirmation on this here. You have to be willing to risk a small amount of money to find out for yourself. A mouthpiece for the price of a box of five reeds that is adequately well made and hand finished, and that could be corrected for $100 if needed, is still FIVE TIMES cheaper than a 'boutique' mouthpiece available today. However I will offer that I'm playing one on soprano without any refacing. It has reasonable resistance, good intonation and surprising response in the palm keys. Tone is actually a little too 'pretty' so I'll probably start using the straight neck to throw a little 'duckiness' back into it.
 

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A colleague of mine (flute, clarinet and sax teacher) bought a cheap Chinese plastic copy to compare with a genuine Vandoren he had. When it arrived we were both pleasantly surprised with how it looked. It ‘looked’ to well finished but closer inspection and measurement showed it to be much more open than the described mouthpiece should have been. If a student had bought it they may well have found it incredibly hard to play. The chamber was Also the wrong shape. It played ok I guess but nothing like the sound of the original, it was then ‘cured’ with a hammer. With well priced genuine kit available why risk a copy?
 

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Since the OP was referring to cheap Chinese metal mouthpieces, I'll give you my experience.
I bought 3 pieces so far. They cost around 30 bucks. They play incredibly well. If such pieces were made in the western world with a known manufacturers name on it they would probably sell for 10 times the price. That's how good they are. But I can only speak of Yibuy. Tip openings are mostly exaggerated. I have a 9 tenor that is more a 7 on the Otto Link scale. So that can be hit and miss. But for 30 bucks you'll find out for yourself.
 

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Even though Bart56's post was alto-specific, I thought that I would post a link to this video on YouTuber Adriene Spencer's (Sirvalorsax) purchase and tweaking of a sub-$25 metal tenor mouthpiece. I believe SoulMate mentioned one of the brands (if not THE brand) that Sirvalorsax purchased in the above post. Sirvalorsax also talks about materials used in some of these cheaper mouthpieces, as addressed by Hassles in post number 3 above.

I found this pretty interesting despite the fact that I would not purchase one of these mouthpieces (I'd rather stick with a hard rubber piece from a name that I know and trust).

 

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The one I bought once for tenor was horrible. I think it was $40. It made Blackwoodjoe look like a master craftsman. Total garbage. Roll the dice if you want to.........
 

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As I said, they are very good, but I have to add that they sound pretty neutral. Which can be a good thing.
I did switch to a hard rubber D'Addario Select Jazz D7M on tenor. More character, just better all around. I mostly played metal on tenor, but this D7M has won me over.
 

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Tip openings; the Chinese mouthpieces are on a different scale. Maybe similar to the Runyon scale where an 11 is not that big. I bought a '7' that was too small. I asked them if they could make a '12' which they did - I gave the first one away and the recipient is using it (soprano). I got the '12' and its still not that big - I'd say its a Link 8 or thereabouts. Anyway, it plays fine. I really like a soft cane reed on it. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to play soprano much since getting the new horn and mouthpiece (horn is Eastern Music) because the band I was using it with most went defunct. I really need to get that horn out and play it more often. I always say an hour on soprano equals two hours on any other sax as far as embouchure is concerned.
 

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I cleaned out my closet a month ago and found a tenor mouthpiece that I bought from a Chinese Ebay seller.I remember buying it ten over years ago. It has a silver finish and it is stamped 7. I never played it for some reason (it might have come without a ligature).. Years later, though unplayed, the piece is corroded, not tarnished. I see the same mouthpiece for sale on Ebay, but from a different seller (I believe). One mpc advertised on Ebay looks exactly like mine, so I suppose it is from the same manufacturer. The mouthpiece is so critical to so many aspects of playing the saxophone that unless you feel lucky and have the money to burn, in the long run, you would do better going with a known, popular western manufacturer.

Would you shell out money at home for an unknown brand of anything (or worse, NO brand) from the west? There are many highly playable hard rubber and plastic mouthpieces available in the west that are comparable in price to metal mouthpieces from China.
 

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Yep, bought a couple years ago, maybe the first generation knock-offs. Some might remember the Glodstar. Supposed to be Goldstar, as in the Saga Instruments brand, but they misspelled the name on this batch, and they were dumped on Ebay. Both played ok, both were quiet though, and one was quieter than the other. I was playing a CS80 mouthpiece with the F opening at the time. They were inferior to the Selmer. I let one go wiith a sax sale, and I kept the other as a backup, and possibly to practice facing on. You can probably get by with one, you can also probably face one to perform much better, but given the importance of the MP, and the reasonable budget of $200 for a known quantity name brand, you'll trade up eventually.
 

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'They sound pretty neutral'

I'd have to agree, at least on the one I've tried. And, I'll offer a little more 'back-story' on why I bothered with it in the first place. I've had a Taiwan soprano and a Chinese - both played very flat so I had to run the mouthpiece all the way on. When I got the second one, the 'Eastern Music', I had trouble getting my mouthpiece on far enough - the neck was a little larger and I had already sanded the cork paper thin. The problem was the mouthpiece had a shorter, smaller shank bore and it bottomed out on the throat ring. So I took a look at the Chinese mouthpiece, thinking maybe they used Chinese sopranos to design them by. Long story short, that worked out and the mouthpiece had a larger, longer shank bore, making tuning much easier. Plus, it actually played and I got good results on the tuner - so since soprano is a rare choice on my gigs, I decided to go with it for awhile.
The reason the shank bore is longer is there is no throat ring in the mouthpiece - it looks like the shank was cut with a ball-end mill so the shank bore ends with a ball shape. Otherwise, the baffle is the traditional kind with a little 'rollover' behind the tip rail and a smooth transition to the throat.
 

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I actually prefer to buy a blank chinese mouthpiece so I can have my re-facer make it to my specifications. I have had a lot of success doing it this way and saved much cash in the process.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I actually prefer to buy a blank chinese mouthpiece so I can have my re-facer make it to my specifications. I have had a lot of success doing it this way and saved much cash in the process.
What metal is it made from and what does it generally cost to have it re-faced? How do you specify besides tip opening and baffle height?
Thanks.
 

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I'm not sure what you mean by Blank mouthpiece.
Nor me. Well I do, you can buy blanks from the factory if you have a wholesale account, but it's not normally something a factory would sell individually AFAIK
 
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