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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to share one experience I made end of last year. To all mouthpiece addicts out there. And I count myself to that category ;)

At a workshop the saxophone teacher was playing on the first evening with a Navarro Maestra (with metal band) and on the second evening in the same room with a different one (a Brilhart, I forgot the exact model). He told me afterwards, that he did not like the sound on the first evening. So he changed the mouthpiece.
In the audience I did not really heard any difference in his sound. But what I heard was, that he felt more comfortable the second evening. He was playing much better on the second day.

I will not stop searching for the best mouthpiece out there. But this experience was quite interesting.
 

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Its not about what the audience hears - it is about what helps the player to meet his expectations. This incident is a prime example of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Its not about what the audience hears - it is about what helps the player to meet his expectations.
This is exactly what I wanted to say. The audience is not hearing a difference in the sound. But the audience is hearing how much the player likes himself.
 

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I want to share one experience I made end of last year. To all mouthpiece addicts out there. And I count myself to that category ;)

At a workshop the saxophone teacher was playing on the first evening with a Navarro Maestra (with metal band) and on the second evening in the same room with a different one (a Brilhart, I forgot the exact model). He told me afterwards, that he did not like the sound on the first evening. So he changed the mouthpiece.
In the audience I did not really heard any difference in his sound. But what I heard was, that he felt more comfortable the second evening. He was playing much better on the second day.

I will not stop searching for the best mouthpiece out there. But this experience was quite interesting.
You're pretty much going to sound the same on any mouthpiece unless they're dramatically different. That's because your tone is determined by the way you phrase. I make and sell mouthpieces so I have nothing to gain by sharing this information. But I will say that there's a lot of garbage on the market so I think that contributes to players always wanting to switch. I'll also say that there's really something to be said about playing one mouthpiece for a long time because you really don't learn to play a different mouthpiece completely for a long time. Sonny Rollins played the same mouthpiece for almost fifty years so there's no reason why anyone else can't you'd be much better off focusing on your practicing and forgetting about mouthpieces. Phil Barone
 

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You're pretty much going to sound the same on any mouthpiece unless they're dramatically different. That's because your tone is determined by the way you phrase. I make and sell mouthpieces so I have nothing to gain by sharing this information. But I will say that there's a lot of garbage on the market so I think that contributes to players always wanting to switch. I'll also say that there's really something to be said about playing one mouthpiece for a long time because you really don't learn to play a different mouthpiece completely for a long time. Sonny Rollins played the same mouthpiece for almost fifty years so there's no reason why anyone else can't you'd be much better off focusing on your practicing and forgetting about mouthpieces. Phil Barone
I appreciate you saying this Phil. I feel a little out of sync with most players because I'm not obsessed with MPs. It's fun to try different ones, but I'm more into other factors that contribute to sound.
 

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Can one say they "need" different mouthpieces (ok, not 8) if they play on day a) in a loud bar with electric everything, and possibly without a mic on day b) a small restaurant with low key trio, day c) with large brass band playing at 'actions' and events out doors, day d) a small focused brass funky ensemble? Maybe just two will do ; )

(I'm really intriged with what P Barone said about possible el trasho out there on the market...possibly other than mass produced stuff??...The quality out there is very high I believe, in the hand crafted world and the many makers out there in that world)

But to the original point...I think it's spot on (esp as paired with any given horn), but, not in a vacuum viz. my schizophrenic music world. If I play my Marantz HR in the bar dive, I don't think Im making the same impact as my TW Shiva with band cranking away. I like "how the Marantz plays" (handles) alot more! but its not the all wheel drive vehicle needed to ideally navigate the evening
 

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Focusing on the music at hand, is always the number one goal.

My experience:
For me, that is most easily done once you have the set up that you are comfortable with. Once you have the set up, you can forget about that and just focus on the other stuff. The drag is, when a player is never satisfied with their set up. It makes the music at hand more difficult to navigate because mentally they are always feeling stipend by the sound they are hearing, etc...

As a player, I have always felt that I play my absolute best when the set up is just what I want. Always searching and never finding something that makes you happy, is a very difficult journey. Some people get stuck in that journey for a long time.
I have been using my HR Robusto mouthpiece for almost 6 full years now and as I have said many times around this website, I have a Barone and a Conn 10M tenor here that I enjoy very much. These are my only two tenors that I use, and I am very satisfied with both. I never look for a tenor because I am completely satisfied.
I’ve had the finest vintage mouthpieces through here for the last three decades, but what pushed me into starting my own company making original design mouthpieces, was that I couldn’t find something that fully moved me 100% ever. That motivated me to go in a different direction to try to satisfy my needs. My search ended for me after my Robusto was completed, and I am very thankful for that. I am not under the belief that most players sound the same on any mouthpiece. Thats certainly not anything I can agree with, but I would say once you find the set up that you really enjoy, just stick with it and have fun with it. Once you find the feel, the response, and the sound that you want from a certain mouthpiece, you can stop looking and just focus on the music.

If you are a player that plays a lot of different things, you may end up with a couple different mouthpieces that allow you to play in those styles the way you want but there’s probably not a need for more than a couple of mouthpieces.

I wish all of you good luck and a fun time on your journeys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
These are great replies. And I think we all are on the same page. Nothing replaces practicing.

I did not mention, that this experience was just acoustic. This means there is also an impact of the room and how you hear yourself. From the audience side there is normally no difference.
I noticed that myself already. For playing and soloing in the big band I prefer a brighter mouthpiece. It is just easier for myself to hear what I am playing. Practicing at home and playing in a smaller bands is different. And there is also the room.
As a result I normally have 2 mouthpieses with me. Both are going into the same direction, but are slightly different. The side effect is, that I always have a kind of spare mouthpiece with me. But there are always not more than 2. And these I am playing already for some while.
 

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What really matters it the quality of the one mouthpiece you are using. I bought a Dukoff D7 when I had my soprano fairly new, but had mediocre results. The baffle was uneven and not of the same height at both sides, etc. The horn was responsive but not great, and some notes were just difficult. I sent the mouthpiece to "Soprano Joe" ([email protected]) and got it reworked, and that made a HUGE DIFFERENCE. The horn is now very responsive, evenly over the whole range.

So the question is not "what mouthpiece should I use?" but "how good is the finish quality of the mouthpiece I use?"

Manfred

PS: I have no affiliation with Joe, but his great work should not go unnoticed ....
 

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The best clue in this mouthpiece endeavor is in the first post - the workshop teacher switched mouthpieces and played better on the second day. He didn't SOUND any different - Phil is right about phrasing making the tone, and additionally I think one's own physical makeup makes a contribution as well. But the workshop teacher felt more comfortable, and that was the difference.

What we all need is a mouthpiece that feels good in the mouth, that is comfortable to blow and is relatively reed friendly. Then it's all about practice and playing.

The trouble with the mouthpiece hunt (and I count myself among those who have occasionally gone searching) is that when you try a new mouthpiece, if it's any good it will attract you because it's DIFFERENT. So you play it a week or a month, then go on the hunt again. That way lies madness. If the mouthpiece blows OK, feels comfortable, most reeds work just fine and you can play your entire range on it, keep it and play it and start searching the cosmos for musical answers.
 

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I'll also say that there's really something to be said about playing one mouthpiece for a long time because you really don't learn to play a different mouthpiece completely for a long time.
This is so true. Lots of good info on this thread already, but this statement is important and not expressed often enough in these discussions. At least in my opinion, based on my own experience. Sure, you want to find a quality mpc that plays well and that you are comfortable with, but once you've found that, you gotta play it exclusively over a period of time. I can't say exactly how long because that will vary from one person to another, but in any case it's a fairly long time...You learn to make all sorts of subtle, mostly subconscious, adjustments to take full advantage of a mpc's potential. Then if you pick up a different mpc you'll have to start all over again making those adjustments, especially if it's a radically different design.
 

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Along the above, I just got a tenor HouseBlend 7* from Mouthpiece cafe ...I was immediately disa: o pointed and was set to send it back. I then went on a trip and didn't play for 7 days...I came back, started focusing on it and trying other reeds and now I see it more for what it is, not what it is compared to what I'd been playing (in comparison). Now I know just what IT can do which is pretty interesting. I'm still not sure I like it but its from a different perspective.

Of course, since they have not responded to email about it, it makes no difference I'd guess; I wrote to ask for some advice or ideas about other pieces of theirs. But, no response in a week-- just a reply via email from their marketing person would be nice. They have a 14 day policy but I think that's passed now.. ...nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The best clue in this mouthpiece endeavor is in the first post - the workshop teacher switched mouthpieces and played better on the second day. He didn't SOUND any different - Phil is right about phrasing making the tone, and additionally I think one's own physical makeup makes a contribution as well. But the workshop teacher felt more comfortable, and that was the difference.
That's exactly what I wanted to say and why I started this thread. There are a lot of mouthpiece discussions about brands, etc.. In the end it is practizing and finding a mouthpiece you like. Phrasing is part of the practizing
I will continue trying mouthpieces. But normally I come back to my favorite ones anyway sooner or later. And yes, I have 2-3 favorite mouthpieces and not just one.
 

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I think it's the same for a lot of gear. Nothing will instantly change your sound. You sound like you because you are you. Sometimes different gear can be really well made and make you feel more confident and comfortable when playing, which will indirectly and up affecting your sound. But in the end, it's all in you. Of course, this is coming from somebody who really likes buying stuff ;)

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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Maybe I'm the outlier here...but I played a friends early 40's SML on a lark at a loud bar open mic/gig. It was not the right tool for the job compared to my VI or Superba. I don't think I sounded like me at all, but maybe the crowd didn't know the difference.

Mouthpieces, the same.

Maybe these difference come out in non-acoustic or non-typical jazz settings that might be the paradigm most are speaking through. When the volume goes up or the vibe gets edgy, things change. It not all about More Is Better in the volume dept, but to be able to project with a good sound, without paint peeling, seems to be sweet spot that is driven by a good set up.
 

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Maybe these difference come out in non-acoustic or non-typical jazz settings that might be the paradigm most are speaking through. When the volume goes up or the vibe gets edgy, things change. It not all about More Is Better in the volume dept, but to be able to project with a good sound, without paint peeling, seems to be sweet spot that is driven by a good set up.
+1. I agree with this for sure, especially when it comes to mouthpieces.
 

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I’ve gotten where I use two different mouthpieces and it’s purely based on the gig I’m doing.
Both are EB Link 6s. Tone Edge and STM.
Gigs with other horn players or gigs where I can play softer and add more nuance and shading, Tone Edge.
Gigs where I need more edge, the STM.
I use the same reed with both, Rigotti 3M or 3S.
 
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