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Hi, a few days ago, I started renting a soprano from a local dealer. I've never played soprano before, and I know very little about it. Right now I'm playing a Selmer S-80 D and though it sounds pretty good, I find it hard to play in the low register. I play what I would consider to be medium-medium large tips on alto and tenor, so I'm thinking I need something bigger. I've noticed pretty much everyone plays variations on Selmers or Links on soprano so I've been considering either of those. My favorite soprano players are Bennie Maupin, Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Chris Potter, Kenny Garrett and and Josua Redman. Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

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One piece I play on is a variation on a Selmer. Meyers are also very good soprano pieces. Anyway, I play an .055 Drake ceramic piece (Jazz model) and a #6 Rovner Deep V metal (both of which are out of production!). Both are polar opposites of each other.
 

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Yes, I would think Joe G is the right guy to consult as he has a wide and deep knowledge of soprano mouthpieces. I have been playing soprano a number of years, and have the following mouthpieces - Selmer metal classic G, Riffault 5, Bari HR 70, Runyon Custom 6, and my main piece of the moment is the Runyon Quantum Delrin 6. The Bari HR and Runyon Custom seem to be popular choices which are fairly affordable, and they are nice pieces.
 

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Although I play a more open tenor mouthpiece, I like the closed ones for soprano (I have played soprano for nearly 50 years). I find the S-80s to be rather stuffy. You may want to try a Super Session or if you like an open tip, maybe a BARI. I currently like the plain basic Yamaha 4C which for about $20 is a really nice soprano mouthpiece with an open sound. Kind of a shocker for me!
 

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I've tried a bunch of soprano pieces, including the Yamaha 4C, lots Vandorens, Selmers, Meyers, Barones, and Baris. the only ones I liked at all were the Vandoren S35 (V5 Jazz series) and an Otto Link Tone Edge. All the other pieces were thin and bright-sounding to me, but the Vandoren and the Link had a really nice feel to them - I could get a nice big tone on them that was projecting without being bright or nasal, which is not easy on soprano (for me at least). I ended up keeping the Link because the S35 was a little TOO open and I don't play sop often enough to build the chops necessary to play a big tip.

Having said all that, I imagine a custom piece (and I see that sopranoplanet does custom Links) would be even better, but of course there's no substitute for trying mouthpiece out.
 

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My take on soprano mouthpieces..

Don't get fooled by big tips, they are very easy to play and feel comfortable but you'll be wrestling with intonation big time.. What you play on alto and tenor won't correlate what's your comfort zone on soprano (IMO). Something around "0.055 - "0.060 should be fine. A HR Link 6 is my favorite. Beautiful sound with projection and easy to play (with #3 reeds). Also try HR Yanagisawas: more bite and projection than Links. HR Baris are quite nice too. I have a 7* HR Link also. More projection and bigger sound compared to my HR Link 6, but I find myself struggling with intonation much more with that.

Maybe I'm a bit perfectionist what comes to intonation.. If soprano is played out of tune it really sounds horrible and everyone will notice that. Alto and especially tenor are more forgiving what comes to intonation. So if I were you I'd test several soprano mpcs (with tuner!) and look for solid intonation, warm sound and easy playability. Small/medium tips may feel restricted at first but you just have to play them a lot and get used to them. Soprano is a different animal..
 

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The basic Yanagisawa mps do very well. I have a n°5 which I use when power is banned. Difficult low end might also be due to the horn. You didn't mention the brand, but the japanese are the easiest down there.
 

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To echo TH, .055-.060 is a versatile tip opening from which you can play boldly without having to over-exert.
 

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Since you are new to soprano, I would say stick with the Selmer D for a bit longer. Like a year. I find that low notes are usually not a problem on sop sax. So try a softer reed until they come out. Have the sax checked for leaks if you suspect there may be some.

Read the articles written by Paul Coats about sop sax.

I recommend that part-time soprano players stay at .065" or smaller. It is not a question of lung capacity or sound. It is intonation control. Nothing else matters if you can not control the intonation.
 

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I agree strongly with Mojo. The Selmer should be fine for a year while you build your sop chops and learn to work your mouth. The sop takes more manipulation of the mouth. For the low notes think "ohhhh" with a softer reed - 2.0 or 2.5. I like the flexibility of ZZ reeds on sop.

But since you are already talking to Joe, you might check this site where you can hear many mouthpieces. Before you pop for a $500 piece listen to the Meyer.

http://www.sax-ccessories.com/
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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Soprano planet pieces are in the 2-300 range. Best deal in the sax world IMO. I have 3 but have settled in on my open sky as my main piece
 

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My take on soprano mouthpieces..

Don't get fooled by big tips, they are very easy to play and feel comfortable but you'll be wrestling with intonation big time...
Yes, soprano is easier to play if you don't care about intonation.
 

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Yes, soprano is easier to play if you don't care about intonation.
It does seem to take time to find a setup that works easily. It shouldn't be "work" to play! No, not even the "perfect" setup will "play itself", but some do make it much easier!
 

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Good spectrum of advice here from everyone. IMHO strong though it may be, is. EVEN Selmer soprano saxes can have serious intonation issues unto themselves.

The soprano being very close in the size of an oboe can sound like one very easily. Question is, do you want your soprano to sound like an Oboe, and is that OK -OR

do you want it to sound like a SAXOPHONE... I personally have spent a few thousand dollars on soprano pieces. Playing soprano is a separate art and instrument to

itself and should be pursued as such or not at all. Just because you can play Alto Tenor , even Bari flute and clarinet will not necessarily set you to play soprano

well. THESE things will guide your mouthpiece selection also. So you have, 1.right and or good equipment in good repair, all leaks sealed at least. 2. A new level of dedication

especially to sound and intonation. And 3. A budget and info to select from in your soprano mpc search
 

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All that being said, right now, my recommendations are for pieces that are custom made, hard rubber and not necessarily on the high end of the price range.

John Thomas, of Jacksonville Florida makes a great soprano piece for about $185. Eric Falcon, also in Florida, a former tech for Jody Espina makes the Warburton series pieces. I have a J6 .65 with a rovner mark III lig. $165 I think,now.

And lastly, Aaron Drake's pieces are absolutely on fire right now. This would be my next recommendation, also under $200 also I amr reasonably certain. I have one of his tenor pieces that I absolutely love. There are full reviews from me on all these pieces on this site.

I wish you good luck with your soprano ventures, you WILL be challenged.
 

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Since soprano is not my main sax I wanted to find something that was pretty easy to bounce back and forth from. I got a Morgan Vintage in the tip opening range that has been suggested above and find it is a very responsive piece for me. I also got a Phil Barone Vintage piece in a trade which also plays well for me but is a bit darker than my Morgan. The Morgan is under $100 new, but I wouldn't have guessed that based on the way it plays.
 
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