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Hey, been playing quite small tipopenings since I started playing sax. Been playing a Berg Larsen 105/2 with a 3ricoroyal reed but last week my teacher who always plays really big tipopenings let me try one his mouthpieces (a Dave Guardala fatboy MBI) the thing is that my intonation sucks with it. I feel like I adapted quickly to the bigger tipopening and I really dig the sound but the whole lower register is like 25cent flat! Have this ever happend to you? Is it just a learning process to get comfortable with that bigger opening? Or what can I do wrong? The Guardala is a 8* and I play a 2,5 reed on it.
Thanks!
 

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I don’t see a reason to relate it to the tip opening as you are comparing two different mouthpieces.

if you could compare the same make and model with different tip openings it may be a more relevant comparison. In my experience a bigger tip per se (ie if its was the same mouthpiece) can allow more flexibility of pitch so can allow you more control, but no actual charge to the overall basic intonation of the horn.

But two different mouthpiece models could mean different internal volume whom which (even with same tip opening) could have an effect on intonation, not to mention that you may well want to to (or should) use a slightly different embouchure anyway if, for example, the length of the facing curve is different irrespective of actual tip opening.
 

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Hey, been playing quite small tipopenings since I started playing sax. Been playing a Berg Larsen 105/2 with a 3ricoroyal reed but last week my teacher who always plays really big tipopenings let me try one his mouthpieces (a Dave Guardala fatboy MBI) the thing is that my intonation sucks with it. I feel like I adapted quickly to the bigger tipopening and I really dig the sound but the whole lower register is like 25cent flat! Have this ever happend to you? Is it just a learning process to get comfortable with that bigger opening? Or what can I do wrong? The Guardala is a 8* and I play a 2,5 reed on it.
Thanks!
A Berg Larsen 105/2 with 3 reeds is not a small setup, that tip- and reed size are the most common used combination (medium setup). If I remember well a DG fatboy is also around an 8* tip, which isn't really big either (especially not in combination with with a higher baffle). So it's normal that you can handle that setup without big issue.

Between equal mouthpiece designs the intonation on bigger tips is normally more flexible, which means harder to control. Your intonation issue on the DG could come from pushing too hard (I think a Berg /2 requires more air and pressure). Best way is to tune on the DG on the lower register and try to adapt the tuning in the upper register with your embouchure. It's just something getting used to.
 

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Between equal mouthpiece designs the intonation on bigger tips is normally more flexible, which means harder to control. Your intonation issue on the DG could come from pushing too hard (I think a Berg /2 requires more air and pressure). Best way is to tune on the DG on the lower register and try to adapt the tuning in the upper register with your embouchure. It's just something getting used to.
I agree bigger tips can mean more flexible tuning. However I think whether this makes intonation more difficult can depend on the experience, aural ability or skill of the player.

Somebody who is good at hearing pitch discrepancies and adjusting may find a flexible mouthpiece easier for that purpose
 

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You may have to slightly change the amount of mouthpiece you put in your mouth, or better, where you put the lower lip. It can also be that the chamber really differs from the one you're used to. You may have to raise your tongue in the back of your oral cavity to speed up the airflow. Practice long tones with a tuner and find a comfortable spot on the mouthpiece where you can be in tune without having to force your embochure in a tense way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Between equal mouthpiece designs the intonation on bigger tips is normally more flexible, which means harder to control. Your intonation issue on the DG could come from pushing too hard (I think a Berg /2 requires more air and pressure). Best way is to tune on the DG on the lower register and try to adapt the tuning in the upper register with your embouchure. It's just something getting used to.
I agree bigger tips can mean more flexible tuning. However I think whether this makes intonation more difficult can depend on the experience, aural ability or skill of the player.

Somebody who is good at hearing pitch discrepancies and adjusting may find a flexible mouthpiece easier for that purpose
Hmm yeah probably, it feels really different from my berg
 

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FYI: Reed strengths vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A Rico Royal 3 is about the same strength as a Vandoren Red Java 2½. (Both of these are French file cut reeds, which I find best for me.)

Pete Thomas makes a very important point (Post #2, above) about differences of internal volume and facing curves between mouthpieces made by different manufacturers, as opposed to different sizes made by the same manufacturer. For a while my regular tenor mouthpiece was a 10mFan HR Robusto 8½ (.115) tip. Trying out different brands of mouthpiece, I always had trouble going above a 9 (.120) tip. Then on a whim I bought a HR Robusto 12½ (.155) — and althoughit took a little more air, I had not the slightest problem with it !

The first tenor mouthpiece I bought for myself was a SS Berg 110/0 SMS. I was coming off the HR Selmer D mouthpiece that came with my first tenor and had this insane urge to try a Berg. It was loud as hell, very, very difficult to pitch in tune, and left me short of breath. I put it away in a drawer and went back to the Selmer D, with the odd foray out in the Otto Link STM direction. A couple of years later, I tried the Berg again. Still loud — but played like butter. I spent some time after that alternating between SS Bergs and Link STMs. Great mouthpieces.

That's enough of the anecdotage. Tell me, why do you want to move to a bigger mouthpiece anyway ? What's wrong with the Berg ? You and your teacher are two different people with two different physiques. The DG might suit himfine — but that doesn't mean it will suit you too. If you're determined to go on with the experiment, read PB's Post #3 again and see if his advice works for you.
 

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Lots of crap here but well-intentioned. The bottom line is your mentor was wrong to try to foist a mouthpiece onto you that doesn't work well for you. To me, a mouthpiece blows or it doesn't blow; I don't 'change my embouchure' or anything else to accommodate it. That process is exactly how a player can quickly lose his way, even a seasoned veteran. You like the Berg and a 105 is a respectable facing. If it works for you, keep using it until you alone discover something else that works better.
 

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Lots of crap here but well-intentioned
Slightly insulting that - there may be politer ways of disagreeing.


The bottom line is your mentor was wrong to try to foist a mouthpiece onto you that doesn't work well for you.
While I get that it is a valid argument in many cases to say people should stick to one mouthpiece, however there's also an argument that trying different ones and experimenting is not necessarily a bada thing.

But, if somebody does what to try something different (maybe due to a sound concept or advice from a teacher) they may well find they prefer the tone but intonation is not so good and in this case I would repeat and reaffirm my advice that you may want to try a different embouchure if you intending to play a different mouthpiece or a different facing.

I do also think Mr Peebee's advice (which wasn't crap) to try tuning to different notes, e.g. lower register, is worth trying.

If all else fails (especially if it's just a plain mouthpiece/horn mismatch) then going back to the original mouthpiece is always an option until something better comes along (if it does).
 

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I don't think a larger tip is any more difficult to play in tune once you get used to it. Yes it would be a little more flexible, but what that means is you actually have more control over tuning, but you have to learn to control it. And, as Pete & others pointed out, there are other factors involved when trying different mpc designs.

Bottom line, you need to take the time to adjust to a different mpc.
 

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I haven't had as much time on the tenor but when I went from a small tip size (5) to a larger one (7): My intonation wasn't "automatic" anymore. I had to train my ear and understand the tendencies of where the bigger tip blew. Still working on it. This has happened to me on previous occasions when switching up mouthpieces.

On alto I have it nailed in with my Meyer 6.

I think you just gotta get the drone out bro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lots of crap here but well-intentioned
Slightly insulting that - there may be politer ways of disagreeing.


The bottom line is your mentor was wrong to try to foist a mouthpiece onto you that doesn't work well for you.
While I get that it is a valid argument in many cases to say people should stick to one mouthpiece, however there's also an argument that trying different ones and experimenting is not necessarily a bada thing.

But, if somebody does what to try something different (maybe due to a sound concept or advice from a teacher) they may well find they prefer the tone but intonation is not so good and in this case I would repeat and reaffirm my advice that you may want to try a different embouchure if you intending to play a different mouthpiece or a different facing.

I do also think Mr Peebee's advice (which wasn't crap) to try tuning to different notes, e.g. lower register, is worth trying.

If all else fails (especially if it's just a plain mouthpiece/horn mismatch) then going back to the original mouthpiece is always an option until something better comes along (if it does).
Yeah, Im not really thinking about switching just tried it for fun but got really confused when the intonation was so off, I gonna try to give it some time and try with another horn. I’m used to play a small chamber and this is a big.
 

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Hey, been playing quite small tipopenings since I started playing sax. Been playing a Berg Larsen 105/2 with a 3ricoroyal reed but last week my teacher who always plays really big tipopenings let me try one his mouthpieces (a Dave Guardala fatboy MBI) the thing is that my intonation sucks with it. I feel like I adapted quickly to the bigger tipopening and I really dig the sound but the whole lower register is like 25cent flat! Have this ever happend to you? Is it just a learning process to get comfortable with that bigger opening? Or what can I do wrong? The Guardala is a 8* and I play a 2,5 reed on it.
Thanks!
All I can tell you is that you have not taken seriously the mouthpiece exercises. Here is where you will be when you get it all figured out: Your mouthpiece will be pushed further in to accommodate the flat notes that you can’t “lip up.” (“Lip” is the wrong terminology, but it’s what everyone says, so I’ll say it, too.) Because this raises the overall pitch of the horn (to where it’s supposed to be in the first place), you will have used the mouthpiece exercises to learn how to CENTER your pitch (not lipped up, not lipped down, but centered so that you can go either way), and from there you did your harmonic exercises to learn the placement of pitches on your horn, throughout its entire range.

All this will have shown you the futility of playing extra hard reeds on wide tip openings. You will have learned to use a softer-tipped BUT more balanced reed that plays easily, yet has the backbone to handle the volume that your mouthpiece demands.

You will have relearned vibrato so that it goes UP & down, not just down, breathing, voicing so that your notes are centered without a lot of “lip” gymnastics, and a lot of other things like altissimo, double tonguing, circular breathing, and the ability to play rapid wide intervals (over an octave), all while shaping for the tone that you like, will be happening better than ever before.

And how did all this happen? You started playing the mouthpiece alone, playing a scale of an octave while changing dynamics (cresc., dim.) and maintaining the pitch with nothing but your voicing ability. Just doing that taught you to do everything else. In some cases, it REQUIRED you to make changes (reed strength and balance, for instance). Spend 5 minutes a day on the MP alone. Search the forum for posts on the Mouthpiece exercise. I’ve written them out several times.

Shooshie
 

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Hey, been playing quite small tipopenings since I started playing sax. Been playing a Berg Larsen 105/2 with a 3ricoroyal reed but last week my teacher who always plays really big tipopenings let me try one his mouthpieces (a Dave Guardala fatboy MBI) the thing is that my intonation sucks with it. I feel like I adapted quickly to the bigger tipopening and I really dig the sound but the whole lower register is like 25cent flat! Have this ever happend to you? Is it just a learning process to get comfortable with that bigger opening? Or what can I do wrong? The Guardala is a 8* and I play a 2,5 reed on it.
Thanks!
Of course it depends on the player, but I have heard some accomplished tenor saxophonists on this site that play large tips and always sound flat to me. I in my younger days played only a 10 star link and loved the sound I had with it but ended up selling the piece because I needed the cash. When I listen to recordings of me playing that piece, however, I realize now, my intonation was all over the place. Of course, that does not apply to people like Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Ernie Watts etc.
 

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For me, the facing curve affects intonation more than tip opening. I play softish reeds on big tips. A long facing curve seems to allow more wiggle intonation-wise.
 

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For me, the facing curve affects intonation more than tip opening. I play softish reeds on big tips. A long facing curve seems to allow more wiggle intonation-wise.
If it is a really long facing curve you might be flat but biting a little in the upper register to be in tune. I would say push in until your middle B is in tune and then make sure you don't apply extra pressure in the upper register or you will go really sharp. It just takes some getting used to.
 

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Different mouthpieces can also respond differently intonation-wise based on the horn too. Some modern mouthpieces especially if the chamber is smaller may not play as well in tune on a vintage horn. As with any change-up with reeds, mouthpieces, necks, horns it sometimes takes a little time to dial in and be calibrated well with a different set-up.
 
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