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Discussion Starter #1
Hey. I really enjoy the community here and I was wondering if you guys could help me out. I've been playing jazz for a while and in high school I always played on a legit Selmer C Star. Although I could get almost get the tone I wanted, the sound wasn't big enough to play the way I wanted to. As a freshman in college, I borrowed a friend's Otto Link 6 and although the sound is big enough now, the bore seems to be too big. I'm dying for air on long phrases, my high range is much more difficult, etc. I really admire the sound of Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Phil Woods and Sonny Rollins, and I want to start experimenting with mouthpieces so I can finally get comfortable and hopefully sound a bit more like them.

Since I'm so unfamiliar with what's standard, I wanted to ask you: What are some good models to start with? Thanks for any help.
 

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Well, if that doesn't answer your questions, feel free to ask our opinions :) There are a lot of options out there!
 

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A couple of opinions at least!:faceinpalm:

You might want to re-try the Otto Link with a softer reed. Typically a C* will like a stiffer reed or a french-cut reed. The Link might be perfectly happy with a Rice 2 1/2 or 3 for a start.
 

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The people you mention play on a lot of very different mouthpieces. The best bet is to choose one and stick with it for a good while. Too much gear slows the learning curve. A link 6 from a C* is a really big jump in tip size as well. Dont get caught up in the big tip myth...most of your favorite players slaughtered their peers with small tips.
 

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We're talking alto mouthpieces right? Getz and Rollins play tenor.

Isn't the standard alto piece the Meyer? Otto Link is bees-knees for tenor, not alto. Look into/experiment with the Meyer or Meyer derivatives for a start for jazz alto.

Good luck in your hunt.
 

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My two cents would be to find a decent sized music store that has a good selection of mouthpieces. Then get a few different hardnesses of your favorite reed, and go try as much as you can. Once you find a few that work well for you, you will have an idea what to look for in a new mouthpiece (maybe you would even want to buy one that you try out).

As with looking for a sax, there's no substitute for going out and trying some until you find what feels like a good fit for you.
 

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+1
find a decent sized music store that has a good selection of mouthpieces. Then get a few different hardnesses of your favorite reed, and go try as much as you can.
You can sort of do this via mail-order but in-person much better. Go for what sounds and feels the best, and allows you to do the things you want with your sound.

The best bet is to choose one and stick with it for a good while.
That second quote is some great advice...

Shawn
 

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In my opinion most store sold stock mpcs will not play to their optimum potential. A lot of them have an intended good design but because they are mostly mass produced by machine and their facing finished by machine it is almost impossible for them to play perfectly. A hand faced piece done by an experienced refacer will play much better than any off a store shelf. One could spend a whole day in a store trying pieces and not find a decent one.

The following advice I am giving you next is advice I wish I knew 15 years ago that would have saved me hundreds of $$$. Research this site for competent mouthpiece makers / refacers that can set you up with a great piece. This way you set your reference point high of what a proper mouthpiece should feel like and perform like. Trust me there is nothing like the bliss of how a perfectly faced mouthpiece feels while playing. Whether or not you like how it sounds is a different issue, but it should mechanically perform flawlessly. Please, please follow this advice to save yourself some headaches and wallet-aches.

Now you have to be willing to pay just under $200 for it which may seem expensive but in reality if you are serious about the art of sax playing it really is an insignificant cost and is a sacrifice you have to be willing to take towards progress.
The person I can personally recommend on this site is sigmund451 (phil-tone.com). He has made some wonderful pieces for me for tenor and alto all under $200 with shipping. The pieces are just buttery in performance and response. There are others on here too that have given me good advice such as MoJo and Ed Zentera.

I am not saying that you won't get caught up in the trying frenzy that a lot of us players have gone through in our years but at least let you first benchmark be an excellent one and one which will be a good measuring stick for any others that you try afterwards.

Take this advice to heart and it is guaranteed to save you some frustration. Good luck in your search!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am talking about alto. I'm fairly new, a student player who just graduated from high school. I'm a pretty good classical player, but more and more, I find myself drawn to playing jazz. I've been learning the style and the people for years, but I've never had equipment I liked (for jazz), so I'd really like to get a broad palette for what's out there with mouthpieces.

And I wasn't aware that there was that big of a difference between tenor and alto, that an Otto Link would be better on an tenor than on an alto. I'm going to mail order a few different Meyer mouthpieces from wwbw.com before I do anything else, I think. Thanks.
 

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I have played Selmer mouthpieces on alto since 1964. I find the Selmer Super Session D to be a great solution. I used an S-80 D and a Meyer 6M for a long time but for me, the Super Session has the power that the S-80 does not and the richness I can't get with the Meyer. Don't forget to have a selection of reeds for testing mouthpieces. The reed that works on your C* may be too hard for a D. Sometimes people will rule a certain mouthpiece out as they didn't match the reed correctly. As Phil (a seasoned mouthpiece maker) said, don't get caught up in the massive tip myth. Also Phil can be of great help for you when selecting your mouthpiece.
 

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On tip size for Alto, a roll-over piece for me, was perfect at .080, while my high baffle piece is .085. On Tenor I have a .090 refaced classical, .108 roll-over, and a .110 high baffle, and a .105 roll over, and .115 high baffle on Bari. Soprano I have a .055 roll-over, and a .061 high baffle.

See a pattern? Those aren't huge tips, but more medium in size. They are also mostly high quality or refaced pieces. I did have to step up to even those sizes though, so I would recommend a .070 to .075 to start with on Alto for a good Jazz setup.

There are some rare exceptions. I have played a .127 Tenor Hollywood Dukoff (custom reface) and a .129 Bari Sax Berg Larsen (custom reface) that both played as easily as a .110!

And if all this is making your head spin, don't worry. You have time. All you NEED now are the basics :) .
 

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:twisted:Buy the most expensive and start working your way to the cheapest.:)
 

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:twisted:Buy the most expensive and start working your way to the cheapest.:)
LOL! :D That is what it sounds like huh. There are quality factory pieces out there, they are just harder to find. But frankly, with people like Aaron Drake and Phil-Tone building high quality mouthpieces at affordable prices, I don't know why anyone would buy an off-the-shelf factory made piece. Just doesn't make monetary sense anymore. $150 to $300 is not expensive for a sax mouthpiece. $400 to $1200 and up, is expensive (and yes, I do have a couple Drake Customs too, and because of the price, would not recommend it to anyone unless they absolutely knew the sound they were after!).
 

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If you really liked your sound on the Link, give it quite some time so you can work up to it's potential ;)
Although Meyer seems to be THE alto jazz mpc, I've always played Links on my Buescher. And since I see you play a Beaugnier, I would advise towards a large chamber mpc. Yes, you will need more air... but once you get into it you will also get more sound.
I started with a 5* Tone Edge and I'm currently playing a 7 Super Tone Master. And I get all the sound I can get from it ;)
 

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The people you mention play on a lot of very different mouthpieces. The best bet is to choose one and stick with it for a good while. Too much gear slows the learning curve. A link 6 from a C* is a really big jump in tip size as well. Dont get caught up in the big tip myth...most of your favorite players slaughtered their peers with small tips.
Yeah agree at 100% an Otto Link is very difficult to play (even a 6) and to master it (due to the very large chamber) then, absolutely not designed for a beginner !

A Meyer 5MM is a standard after the Selmer C*
 

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Yeah agree at 100% an Otto Link is very difficult to play (even a 6) and to master it (due to the very large chamber) then, absolutely not designed for a beginner !

A Meyer 5MM is a standard after the Selmer C*
+1, totally agree with thejazzyfly on this.

in fact, after my Selmer C*, I got a MEYER 6M too :)
 

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I actually got a Meyer 6M as my first HR mouthpiece, then I got a C* after. I think a mouthpiece that is gaining more popularity on alto for jazz is the Vandoren V16 HR. Usually a Meyer 6M is what most beginners to jazz use.
 

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If you really liked your sound on the Link, give it quite some time so you can work up to it's potential ;)
Although Meyer seems to be THE alto jazz mpc, I've always played Links on my Buescher. And since I see you play a Beaugnier, I would advise towards a large chamber mpc. Yes, you will need more air... but once you get into it you will also get more sound.
I started with a 5* Tone Edge and I'm currently playing a 7 Super Tone Master. And I get all the sound I can get from it ;)

On Beaugnier Altos, Large chambers are NOT needed! Both of my mouthpieces on my Beaugnier Model 38 Alto are MEDIUM chamber. One in high baffle, the other in a roll-over. The Tenors love the large chambers, and most med chambers, and absolutely hate the small chambers.

But, I don't think the OP ever mentioned what brand of Alto he owns. As far as chambers go, he'll quite safe with a Medium chamber anyway.
 
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