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I noticed that T sax mouthpieces cost a lot, esp. metal ones. I have an OK mouthpiece that came with the sax (plastic: Bundy) Is it worth a hundred dollars or more to get a new metal mouthpiece if I want to play jazz, or should I settle for a cheaper 80 dollar plastic. Also how different is the tone between the two mouthpieces
 

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Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
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Hello Kayso, welcome to the forum

I saw in the new members thread you were looking for tips on playing jazz. Well here is one: The material of the mouthpiece is unimportant, its the design of the rails, chamber, and baffle that cause things to sound different. You can get a really jazzy sound out of a Hard Rubber/Plastic mouthpiece mouthpiece just as well as out of a metal one.

Anyways, about whether it is worth it, thats comes down to whether or not you think it is. To some of us, it is worth it, and to others it isn't. You'll do fine either way.

A good start on how we can help you with mouthpiece is if you give us a sound concept. You must listen to some jazz players (if you don't I recommend so, as it is fundamental to learning jazz). Tell us what you want to sound like. However, your sound will always be unique to yourself, so don't think you'll immediately sound like someone else (or ever).

More good information would be telling us how long you've been playing, and where you feel you are at now with practicing jazz on your own. Finally, it would be helpful to know your price range, or how much you would really like to spend to get a good mouthpiece. I know you're asking if its worth it, but only you can decide that, and once you do, tell us how much would be a reasonable amount for you to spend.

As a starting place, a good starting jazz piece for tenor is an Otto Link Tone Edge 7. They are relatively cheap (the 80 dollars you said), but its not plastic, its hard rubber or Ebonite. These are the 'standard' in my opinion for tenor sax players.
 

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... The material of the mouthpiece is unimportant, its the design of the rails, chamber, and baffle that cause things to sound different. You can get a really jazzy sound out of a Hard Rubber/Plastic mouthpiece mouthpiece just as well as out of a metal one.

Anyways, about whether it is worth it, thats comes down to whether or not you think it is. To some of us, it is worth it, and to others it isn't. You'll do fine either way.

A good start on how we can help you with mouthpiece is if you give us a sound concept. You must listen to some jazz players (if you don't I recommend so, as it is fundamental to learning jazz). Tell us what you want to sound like. However, your sound will always be unique to yourself, so don't think you'll immediately sound like someone else (or ever).

More good information would be telling us how long you've been playing, and where you feel you are at now with practicing jazz on your own. Finally, it would be helpful to know your price range, or how much you would really like to spend to get a good mouthpiece. I know you're asking if its worth it, but only you can decide that, and once you do, tell us how much would be a reasonable amount for you to spend. ...
IMHO, this is an excellent reply. I would also recommend two other options that are in roughly the same price range, and more likely to work well "out-of-the-box" IMO. One is the Springer Rollover Tenor and the other is the Vandoren V16. I've had great luck with two Springers, and every guy I ever spoke to personally about the V16 loved it. I agree with Jared that Links are the standard, but that is for historical reasons and not based on their modern, hit-or-miss quality control. The important thing is the design, and the Springer is the same basic design. I'm not sure just how similar the V16 is, but I believe it is pretty close (roll-over baffle, low floor; not sure about the chamber or sidewalls).
 

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IMHO, this is an excellent reply. I would also recommend two other options that are in roughly the same price range, and more likely to work well "out-of-the-box" IMO. One is the Springer Rollover Tenor and the other is the Vandoren V16. I've had great luck with two Springers, and every guy I ever spoke to personally about the V16 loved it. I agree with Jared that Links are the standard, but that is for historical reasons and not based on their modern, hit-or-miss quality control. The important thing is the design, and the Springer is the same basic design. I'm not sure just how similar the V16 is, but I believe it is pretty close (roll-over baffle, low floor; not sure about the chamber or sidewalls).
How would the Springer Rollover and the V16 compare to my Morgan Excalibur 9E, which is kind of bright? It would be nice to get a richer, warmer jazz tenor tone without spending $800....

EDIT- searching around (and looking at it), it appears my Excalibur has a rollover baffle, yet other players think what I have is a bright piece...
 

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Seriously, get a Rico. There is a Metalite thread on this forum. Under $30.
+1. Try a Graftonite for under $20. If you want to try a bigger baffle, louder with more edge, try a Metalite for under $30. See what you think. Either one will be better than the Bundy. Then you can decide if you want to explore other pieces. It depends on what you want -- a darker, more mellow sound or bright and edgy. You can get a Runyon custom for $70. Add a spoiler for another $10 and you got some serious edge. But that might not be the way you want to go. Whose sound do you like?
 

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If you have a music store near you, go in and try some to see how they sound. A decent store will let you try them out. I tried the Rico Graftonites, but didn't like them. I have a hard rubber Vandoren V16 that I like, and it is roughly similar to the Link.
 

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How would the Springer Rollover and the V16 compare to my Morgan Excalibur 9E, which is kind of bright? It would be nice to get a richer, warmer jazz tenor tone without spending $800....

EDIT- searching around (and looking at it), it appears my Excalibur has a rollover baffle, yet other players think what I have is a bright piece...
I have a Morgan 9E, and it is perhaps a bit brighter than the Springer IMO, but the difference is not much. I t think the Springer Tone is okay - not superb. The strength of the Springer is that for $100, you get a mouthpiece that plays as though it is on spec. I say "plays as though it is on spec" because I don't measure mouthpieces. In any case, you can't expect a mouthpiece that plays as though it is on spec when you buy a stock Tone Edge. I don't know about the V16s. I jam every week with a tenor player that blows a V16, and he has a nice warm, darkish sound, but that could just be him and not the mouthpiece.
 

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I have a Morgan 9E, and it is perhaps a bit brighter than the Springer IMO, but the difference is not much. I t think the Springer Tone is okay - not superb. The strength of the Springer is that for $100, you get a mouthpiece that plays as though it is on spec. I say "plays as though it is on spec" because I don't measure mouthpieces. In any case, you can't expect a mouthpiece that plays as though it is on spec when you buy a stock Tone Edge. I don't know about the V16s. I jam every week with a tenor player that blows a V16, and he has a nice warm, darkish sound, but that could just be him and not the mouthpiece.
Thanks. I realize your post was aimed at a beginner. Since you have the same piece I do, and probably have played many many more pieces than I have, maybe you could recommend a darker alternative where money is less of an object?
 

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IMHO, this is an excellent reply. I would also recommend two other options that are in roughly the same price range, and more likely to work well "out-of-the-box" IMO. One is the Springer Rollover Tenor and the other is the Vandoren V16. I've had great luck with two Springers, and every guy I ever spoke to personally about the V16 loved it. I agree with Jared that Links are the standard, but that is for historical reasons and not based on their modern, hit-or-miss quality control. The important thing is the design, and the Springer is the same basic design. I'm not sure just how similar the V16 is, but I believe it is pretty close (roll-over baffle, low floor; not sure about the chamber or sidewalls).
The Springer sounded really interesting until I read his website. Only ships to US addresses. What's the point of opening up to the world by the internet and then not shipping to anywhere other than your own country?
 

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Thanks. I realize your post was aimed at a beginner. Since you have the same piece I do, and probably have played many many more pieces than I have, maybe you could recommend a darker alternative where money is less of an object?
If there is one thing I've learned over time, it is not to take my own mouthpiece posts too seriously, and I encourage you not to either. I've probably played more mouthpieces than I should have, and probably not as well as I would have played a single mouthpiece. Plus, even when I read posts by an expert like Steve Neff (nefertiti), I find that my own experiences can be very different.

With all that qualification, here are some thoughts for what they're worth. Some of these thoughts are based on my own experience, and some are based on my reading of forum feedback. I have tried to be clear about which is which. Anyway, these are the things I would consider if I were looking for a dark jazz mouthpiece today. ...

  • I have played the Tenney Jazzmaster and the Lamberson J6. Both are darker than the Excalibur, but both are flexible too and can sound very lively IMO. If you want to try a new Jazzmaster, call Tenormadness. Some recent posts in the forum have indicated that Fred is no longer making new Lambersons.
  • So far as I know, the Morgan mouthpieces are still well regarded. Their Jazz model is supposed to be somewhat darker than the Excalibur, and the Morgan Classical tenor 6 (.090") is reputed to be a fine mouthpiece suitable for a dark jazz sound.
  • I would also seriously consider a Phil-Tone. Phil builds to suit and describes his baseline mouthpiece as "medium dark tone rich in color with a focused core." I bought a "slightly refaced" mouthpiece from him and really felt well taken care of.
  • I recently traded for an RPC roll over which is too big for me, but which is uncannily appealing and which might fit your bill. I understand that Ron C will build to suit, so you might want to talk with him
  • I don't know what's going on at Saxscape these days, but Kenny B's dark models seem well regarded and his website currently lists the Uptown KB (aka Uptown Dark) and an upcoming new model, the Uptown Dark II. There was a period when Kenny's output declined and his backlog grew, so I would check to make sure that is all behind him.

I hope that helps, that you will consider it in the humble spirit in which it is offered, and that you get other good ideas too!
 

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You might want to look at Mouthpiece Cafe as well. Erik and Brian are highly regarded on SOTW. I personally have never had any work done by either of them, but I am looking at getting a House Blend or Phil-Tone in the near future.
 

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FWIW, the Keilworth "Jazz" MP I bought on a whim from this site for cheap (it's Hard Rubber) is surprisingly good for tone, (has some edge, and volume, still a full tone) and is my backup piece to my Link STM, who's sound I'd more attribute to Sakshama's fine work than Links. It's definitely not the material. The only fault I found with the Keilworth is, at least on my horn, (with it's non-original neck), it is a bit short shanked, so there are times that it tunes too far out on the neck to use. No problem now with my Link, I'm guessing it's the bigger chamber.
 
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