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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've been playing saxophone for about four years. The first two years were mostly classical, then I got into jazz. Last summer I decided take the plunge and get a YAS-62 Alto Sax. I also bought a JodyJazz HR* mouthpiece. I'm playing on Vandoren 3 reeds at the moment.

I think my sound has a west-coast jazz feel to it, but I've always wanted to play with a more funky/smooth sound, something like this recording (an excerpt from Retro Funk by Souljazz Of Fortune):
View attachment 29594


Is it possible to change my embouchure to achieve this sound? If not, what mouthpiece/ligature/etc do you recommend?


Thanks in advance,
Steve P.
 

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I recommend Jumbo Java A45, Vandoren Masters ligature and a 2 1/2 reed.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot I have this set-up for sale. :)

B
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Haha I'll check it out. So, generally, smooth jazz is played with a bigger mouthpiece and somewhat softer reeds?
 

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The larger the tip generally speaking the softer the reed. However, primarily recommending the Jumbo Java A45 because of its high wedge baffle for brighter tone, faster response and ease of playing altissimo. I play an Jumbo Java A75 because I like large chamber and high baffle pieces on alto for funk and smooth jazz playing.

B
 

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I don't know that I'd characterize the sound clip you provided as funky. I thought it was fairly bright. I also thought it was interesting to see how quickly you jumped at trying to categorize an entire genre of music into a single stereo type of mouthpiece and reed combination.

If you try to define a style as funky SJ, I would think more of Eric Marienthal but wouldn't lock him down with that category because he's more versatile than that.

I can get that sound you put in the sound byte with my metal Selmer C** Classic and a 2 1/2 Rico plastic-coated reed and standard two screw lig that came with the mouthpiece. I can probably get the same sound with a few other combinations, but in truth I'm not crazy about playing with a set-up as bright as that. It's not bad, I just don't like it that bright.

The Selmer Classic doesn't strike me as being a very large bore. There just isn't that much room in that narrow piece to make much of a bore. Good breath support will also make a lot of difference toward achieving that bright sound without sounding "puny."
 

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When I think smooth I think Eric M. or Euge G. but when I think funk jazz I think Karl Densen. I have seen Karl use an A45 on alto and he peeled paint with that one.

B
 

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I don't usually think smooth at all when I hear funk... I hear Maceo! Eric M can flat out do it all. Gerald Albright holds his own in both genres too. The OP's sound clip reminds me more of an SJ Jazzmasters thing pretty commercial but oriented to the masses. Guess everybody has to pay the bills.
 

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Perhaps the OP could give a few artist examples as to what he means by "smooth funk."

We all use different terminology.

-Bubba-
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I guess I actually meant smooth jazz. Listening again to the track, I realize that it's more the background playing funk and the saxophone playing smooth (with a bit of funk).

I'll probably try a couple of private lessons in my area (Washington D.C.) because as jrvinson45 pointed out, it's definitely more than just the instrument that makes the sound.
 

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I listened to Warren Hill the other day (he plays a Jumbo Java A45), you could check this out on youtube. To me, this is a mainsteam "rocky" alto sound (pretty bright but not too sharp, unlike what lots of other cats are producing with, say, a JJ DV today).

The Runyon Custom (same as JodyJazz Classic, but cheaper) seems to be comparable to me (also, it has that removable baffle thing and is pretty flexible). Like the A45, it also doesn't break your bank. Soundwise, for rock and smooth jazz, I still dig Eric Marienthal most.

Regards,

Thomas
 

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listen to some Grover Washington...
I do not think that there are any fixed sound to any genre - guessed it is more perceived.

if your tone is to be defined by acceptance of another, then, we will never quite achieve it. the key is that you are happy with your own tone. :)
 

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Start at the top, with the reeds. I have been lucky, I think, to find a sax and a mouthpiece that I don't think I'll ever replace. Reeds, however, are a different story. They change my sound completely.

I think the reeds that make a sound closest to what you're after are Plasticovers or the Fiberreed Carbon. Maybe also a Bari (regular, not "star"). You could try all three for about $50. The Fiberreed Carbon is the most expensive, at around $30, but it is my choice for that sound.
 

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Sounds to me like you like a Sanborn kind of sound. I personally think the reed is important, but a Drake Contemporary will be of great help in getting you that kind of tone. Or a Jody Jazz DV. Or a ____________ (other members here will probably give you so many other suggestions)
 

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Are you sure that this is an actual saxophone at all? Maybe I am wrong, but it sounds like a midi or a synth sound to me.
Same here.
 
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