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I'm looking for some advice and/or recommendations on what good jazz mouthpieces are out there, especially for a nice dark tenor sound. I've been playing for over 12 years now on alto and for about 3 years on tenor in my college's jazz ensemble. I'm playing on a Yamaha Custom Z tenor with the stock Yamaha 4C that came with the horn, a Rovner leather ligature, and Vandoren blue box #3 reeds. I've also played on a Selmer C* in the past for classical applications which I did also like.

I recently found a recording of Brian Clancy soloing on "Yesterdays". His tone is what I'm ultimately aiming for. I believe he plays on a Vandoren V16 metal, but I'm not sure whether metal or rubber is the way to go.

I should also note that I have tried a couple Jody Jazz mpcs that I didn't quite like. The overall length of them was quite short and ended up making my intonation go way sharp to the point that I cannot adjust anymore.

I'd appreciate any tips or advice on finding the right mouthpiece.
 

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Your Yamaha tenor is essentially a Selmer copy. There are a number of well established choices.

1) The go-to mouthpiece for the Selmer tenor sax for the last 60 years or so has been the Otto Link metal mouthpiece. I have read a number of places that the current production ones are not made with the highest quality control, so you should consider one of the Link copies that are made supposedly with better QC. MacSax makes a 3d printed copy of a Link that is supposedly really good value for money. I tried one of these and though it wouldn't have worked for me, it was a really high quality MP for the cost. It is ugly though.

2) Hard rubber Link can be a really good choice also. I played one of these on an old Selmer tenor for a few hours some years ago when the tenor player didn't show up and the band leader handed me his backup tenor and told me "set the bari down and play this". I was very favorably impressed.

3) I would check out the hard rubber Meyer for tenor, not a popular choice but a good one (in full disclosure, I have played hard rubber Meyer on tenor (though not exclusively) since 1978).

4) Vandoren hard rubber MPs in the more open facings have a significant baffle and generally Vandoren's stuff is high quality. I would definitely give this a try.

5) The Dukoff D7 was a standard go-to MP for people who need a bright MP but one that can also be played with some meat to the sound (not just a bright duck quack sound). I don't know if they are still in production. QC on these was iffy and mine never played really right till it got a good refacing and the inside cast surfaces cleaned up a bit. The material is weird and soft. The OE Dukoff ligature is junk and the standard replacement used to be the standard Selmer soprano ligature with two screws which works great.

Overall for a young player just starting to get into the more aggressive MPs I would recommend hard rubber even though that's not the path I followed.
 

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Jazz mouthpiece? Jazz can be played on any mouthpiece that works (responds) for you, including the Yamaha you're using. Define what direction you want your sound to take, brighter (higher baffle , smaller chamber) or darker (lower baffle, larger chamber), for example. Material makes no difference (that'll get a response) except for your comfort and susceptibilty to damage. The Jody Jazz and Aaron Drake sites have very comprehensive descriptions of their pieces and several sound samples of their pieces, which cover a gamut of designs. Take you time and try several. Don't stock up on reeds, because there's a good chance that when you start changing tip openings, baffles and chambers, what you're using now won't work with your new piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm looking for a nice dark sound on tenor. I'm doing fine with the 4C I have now, but I figured I could find something more jazz oriented or something to get a darker feel.
 

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"Dark" can take on several meanings. I would say you could describe both Ben Webster's sound and Lester Young's as "dark" depending on how you think about it, yet the two guys sounded very different. For tenor players I would check out a list like the following (not comprehensive) and see what kinds of sounds speak most to you. I think of the guys I am listing below as kind of "exemplars" each of a particular kind of sound on tenor sax.

Coleman Hawkins
Lester Young
Arnett Cobb
Ben Webster
Coltrane (late 50s)
Sonny Rollins (late 50s)
Stan Getz

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying these are the only people. For example, I adore Rahsaan Roland Kirk's tenor sound. Rahsaan is one of my sax heroes. But I think of his sound as being closely allied to Ben Webster.
 

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So many and you will be swamped with recommendations but I would check out the Mouthpiece Cafe models particularly the Slant Supreme or Expresso models for a darker sound. They are a good value and consistent unlike new Otto links or Selmers and some other brands so you know you won't be getting a piece of junk. They have a website with descriptions and sound samples.
 

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So many and you will be swamped with recommendations but I would check out the Mouthpiece Cafe models particularly the Slant Supreme or Expresso models for a darker sound. They are a good value and consistent unlike new Otto links or Selmers and some other brands so you know you won't be getting a piece of junk. They have a website with descriptions and sound samples.
If you like the tone you are getting on your 4C and you are able to play the entire range of the horn comfortably, you could just stick with what you have.

However, if you want to try something else, I second bstrom's recommendation. In fact, I love my Slant Supreme so much I bought a second one in a larger tip opening. You can often find them selling quite inexpensively used and, as they are hand-finished by a craftsman, they are much more consistent than the stock Links you will find nowadays.

Being a copy of the vintage Otto Link Tone Edge, they feature the classic large chamber/rollover baffle design that you hear on most of the great jazz recordings of the 40's - 60's, which seems to be what you are going for.
 
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