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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey everyone,
My uncle wants me to play in his classic rock band on a few tunes that have an alto, specifically Turn the Page by Bob Seger and Heart of the Night by Poco. I am just getting back into playing after an 8 year layoff due to heath issues, and picked up a used Cannonball Alcazar in like-new condition. I really like this alto. Its bright, very bright, especially compared to the Reference 54 I had when I was actively playing in big bands and combos.

On the Ref54, my main mouthpiece was a V16 5M but I also kept a Yani metal 7 in my case for a louder, more cutting alternative. At one point I had tried a Jumbo Java against the Yani metal, and I actually thought I could approximated the stereotypical contemporary alto sound better on the Jumbo Java, but doing so would require a lot of time on the piece and perhaps playing it exclusively. The Yani metal on the other hand required no adjustment period. Its purpose was to sit in my case and be available for those times where I found myself in a dead room with no mic and needed to cut through better. It served that purpose very well, so I didn't keep the Jumbo Java.

Now I have this Cannonball alto, and want to get that contemporary alto sound, bright and edgy but full, not harsh and thin. My budget is $200, which gets me the Jumbo Java, Claude Lakey, or Jody Jazz Jet. I realize that nothing short of play testing all three extensively will give me the answer. But what I'm interested in hearing is your experience with various bright mouthpieces on top of an already bright horn. If the horn is already crazy bright, will the big step style baffle on the Jumbo Java just make it harsh?
 

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YAS-875EX, YTS-61, YBS-52, YFL-677, YCL-SEVR
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I play a Jody Jazz Jet on my bari. I like it a lot- but I'm not sure that I would call it "bright." I play a YBS-52 purple logo- fantastic horn with a lot of sound, but not necessarily "bright." I think it accentuates my bari really really well, and if you want a bright sound with a bright alto it would probably accentuate that well too.
 

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If your base sound is already pretty bright, I'd probably steer away from the Jumbo Java. Out of the other two, I'd probably lean toward the Jet just due to the consistency and fit and finish. Unless they've improved, the Lakeys are a bit hit and miss.
 

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Selmer Series III Alto
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I know Scott Paddock plays on a Barkley Pop Custom, and he has a great contemporary alto sound, and you can get those for ~$200 on ebay. I've not played that specific model, but I do have a couple of other Barkley pieces and they're well made, though you'd probably not be able to get one to the US quickly.
 

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the jumbo java in the a35 isnt hard to play at all. its the bigger tip ones that require work. sadly i agree the lakeys quality control is too hit or miss but have you considered the beechler white diamond model in small chamber? its very bright and powerfull and easy to play. . another belive it or not is the rico metalite in 5 or 7 facing esp with plasticover reeds. this was my go to setup for rock alto after long periods of not playing as a sub . too bad runyon is out of biz they made several very bright easy on the chops non metal alto mpcs at very affordable prices. another thing with the lakeys is if you have a out of shape embouchure -they are tiring to play and control pitch
 

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Runyon altos are great, I have a few of various colours (both literal and figurative); if you can find one with a spoiler, they're the brightest. I find the Jet alto to be bright but without much resistance, which some might like. My CE Winds mainstream, a Java blue copy in resin, is still extremely bright but more meaty and my favourite in this category, though they're not made anymore. And as super20dan says, don't dismiss the Metalite! They're so cheap you can try one first, and just move on if it's not for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
yeah, I don't remember for sure which Jumbo Java I tried but I'm guessing it would have been the A45. Honestly even the A35 is a little more open than I'd like, but I realize everything changes with a step baffle like that. I'm seriously close to pulling the trigger on a Jet in the 5 facing, mostly because I didn't realize they were under $200 until I looked this morning. For the price, I wouldn't mind playing that Jet 5 for a few months and if I felt like I really needed 6 or 7, I could sell the five and move up (or even keep both for a while before deciding).

...another thing with the lakeys is if you have a out of shape embouchure -they are tiring to play and control pitch
Dan, do you think the same is true with the Jet in a 5 facing? When I was playing the Ref 54 alto with a V15 5M, I was rehearsing/performing about 6 hours per week, plus another 4 hours a week at-home practice time. Now its only 3-5 hours a week total, at-home practice only.
 

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i doubt its the same with the jet. there is something about the shape of the lakey alto mpc thats harder on my chops. i dont have this issue with other full sized hard rubber or plastic alto mpcs . i own 4 alto lakeys and they all do this. the 4*3 is the easyist to play of the ones i own, i have not played the jet but it gets very good reviews
 

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I have played some of the mouthpieces commented about. I have decided to use the Jumbo Java A45 over the others. The reed has a lot to do with the sound (obviously, I know). The Super Jet, the Lakeys, the DV7... Beechler... and by all means I rather stay with the Jumbo. But I would definitely address the whole combo, with the reed. I know it can take a lot more trying and experimenting. But the Jumbos can be more versatile than what many think (as any piece) if you give them a different approach and try different reeds. If the reed gets kind of softer with use.... then that overtones can come out easily .... if a harder reed is used, well.... you have to work more and maybe that extra brightness might not be present. Just my point of view. My horn is, after many experimentations, a S80II.
 

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The reed has a lot to do with the sound
Absolutely! And the brand of reed matters too. You might try a bright reed like a Rigotti Gold or, if you can't source those, a Vandoren Java Green. Plasticovers or Fibracells will give you a bright tone too, if you're not a cane purist.

Ultimately, it's as much about how you hear the tone in your head as it is your setup. Think bright and edgy, and you'll sound brighter and edgier.
 

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I can't comment on the Jumbo Java, but I have both a Claude Lakey 7*3 and a Jodyjazz Jet 7. Both were bought this year.

Both of them are well made and play very well. If Lakey had a quality issue at some point, it seems to be fixed, at least from my sample of 1 (they also have a generous return policy). From a quality perspective I wouldn't hesitate to buy either. The Jet is beautifully made and hand finished.

I'll start with the Jet. The Jet has a bit beefier sound at the bottom but also has more high overtones so has a sort of piercing or singing tone especially above second octave G (depending on your perspective). It is also very loud and freeblowing. I find I have to hold back to play if moderately. I find it edgier and unfortunately the high overtones upset my tinnitus. That said it has a very rich sound with a strong midrange, if you can tame it, but it's very powerful.

The Lakey is my preference, in fact it may be my favorite piece. It is bright but less extreme than the Jet. I find it much easier to play moderately but it can be very loud if I push it. It has a tone I would call "brassy" but it doesn't upset my ears. It is freeblowing but is a step or two less naturally loud. Part of this may be the slightly more open tip.

Both of them have a 'complex' tone but both can cross over for standards playing. In some ways they play similarly, both have a little bit more resistance on the low notes and both are very easy to get altissimo on. That said, though they seem similar in some ways they are quite different.

Edit: on tuning, I really don't have any issues unique to any mouthpiece. I'm playing a Yamaha and things are rarely much out of tune (middle D tends sharp, C# tends flat, same on every mouthpiece), and if I have issues a slightly stiffer or different type of reed will make the tuning more stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
...I find I have to hold back to play if moderately. I find it edgier and unfortunately the high overtones upset my tinnitus. That said it has a very rich sound with a strong midrange, if you can tame it, but it's very powerful.
thanks Aquarian, do you think a smaller tip opening would help with the control issues you mention above? If I got the Jet, I would probably go with a 5 since I play significantly less than I did a decade ago (and even when I was playing a ton, I was still stayed on a 5M with my V16).

I just don't know if its weird to seek out a mouthpiece like the Jet to play rock/pop, but then stay down in a 5 opening. I know common sense says to play what opening you are comfortable on and can control, but it seams like the vast majority of sax players on a rock/pop set-up are on a 0.085 or up (so a 7 or 8).
 

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thanks Aquarian, do you think a smaller tip opening would help with the control issues you mention above? If I got the Jet, I would probably go with a 5 since I play significantly less than I did a decade ago (and even when I was playing a ton, I was still stayed on a 5M with my V16).

I just don't know if its weird to seek out a mouthpiece like the Jet to play rock/pop, but then stay down in a 5 opening. I know common sense says to play what opening you are comfortable on and can control, but it seams like the vast majority of sax players on a rock/pop set-up are on a 0.085 or up (so a 7 or 8).
My own experience is that smaller tip openings tend to be brighter if anything. The smaller chambers and high baffles tend to make up for the larger tip openings somewhat (and I use softer reeds), though if you're not comfortable on a larger tip you just shouldn't use one. I have the opposite issue, I don't get on well with small tips and hard reeds. I don't think it's weird to go for a smaller tip opening, if that's what fits your embouchure then you should follow that.

I think maybe a harder reed of the right cut might help, but again, if I was worried about being too loud or too bright I would just get a Lakey or Jumbo Java. I am much happier with the Lakey than the Jet. The Jet plays easily but it's not a subtle piece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks again Aquarian. It's conceivable I'll end up with all three just to try for a while. I'm not overly concerned about the lack of subtilty. My uncle's band is fully classic rock, not like a combo dabbling with rock/blues. As such, I'm ok with diving right into that in-your-face edge and brightness, rather than a middle of the road piece than can lean towards contemporary if needed. I still want to sound good though haha :cool:

I think I'll order that Jet 5, and if I don't fall in love immediately like others have, then I'll add the the JJ and Lakey. The jam sessions they're organizing aren't until Aug-Sept, so I've got time to figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
well, the Jet 5 arrived today, and I've been testing it out. In a strange plot-twist, I was digging through my shoe box of random gear to try and get a wide variety of reeds to try, and lo and behold I found my old Yani Metal #7. I thought for sure I had sold it a few years back after I stopped playing, but there it was, all tarnished and blackened. So I polished it up and have been A/B'ing it with the Jet.

The bottom line is, you were pretty spot on @Aquarian the Jet is a little hard to back-off with. There is no subtlety, as you say. I can't fault it. It does exactly what it says it does, but I don't think it will work for me. Having my old Yani metal to compare to was pretty useful, because what I found was the Yani had a pleasant amount of resistance that the Jet is missing. The Jet is just so dang free blowing, which to my impression made it hard to control. I suppose I could find a reed to add the perfect amount of resistance, but I still don't know if that would help me tame it. The Yani was fine with pretty much any cane reed in 2 - 2.5. With 3s I had to be more selective, but could still get along with a wider variety of brands and cuts.

I think I might still order the Jumbo Java and Lakey just to try, but my old Yani metal might be just fine for the "contemporary" sound I need. Its only negative so far is it is not liking Legere studio reeds. I have some Legere signatures on the way too, so we'll see. I would really like it if the mouthpiece I end-up liking also likes Legere reeds. In fact if two pieces were close to each other in sound/performance, the deciding factor might be which one takes to the Legeres better....
 

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well, the Jet 5 arrived today, and I've been testing it out. In a strange plot-twist, I was digging through my shoe box of random gear to try and get a wide variety of reeds to try, and lo and behold I found my old Yani Metal #7. I thought for sure I had sold it a few years back after I stopped playing, but there it was, all tarnished and blackened. So I polished it up and have been A/B'ing it with the Jet.

The bottom line is, you were pretty spot on @Aquarian the Jet is a little hard to back-off with. There is no subtlety, as you say. I can't fault it. It does exactly what it says it does, but I don't think it will work for me. Having my old Yani metal to compare to was pretty useful, because what I found was the Yani had a pleasant amount of resistance that the Jet is missing. The Jet is just so dang free blowing, which to my impression made it hard to control. I suppose I could find a reed to add the perfect amount of resistance, but I still don't know if that would help me tame it. The Yani was fine with pretty much any cane reed in 2 - 2.5. With 3s I had to be more selective, but could still get along with a wider variety of brands and cuts.

I think I might still order the Jumbo Java and Lakey just to try, but my old Yani metal might be just fine for the "contemporary" sound I need. Its only negative so far is it is not liking Legere studio reeds. I have some Legere signatures on the way too, so we'll see. I would really like it if the mouthpiece I end-up liking also likes Legere reeds. In fact if two pieces were close to each other in sound/performance, the deciding factor might be which one takes to the Legeres better....

Give time to each option. Just my advice.... Takes a while to adapt, to find what can each can do.... but, have all your options covered is a good idea, just take time to understand and feel it. All the best, JI.
 

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Its not in your budget but the Rift fits your description perfectly. It was out well before the jet. Its powerful,edgy but still fat and colorful through the entire range. Altissimo is crazy easy and response is lightening fast. All this in and as easy to control as a Meyer. Should your budget expand I do offer trails. Best of luck
 

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sounds like you just described the runyon bionex for alto. such a shame no one took over when santy died
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
thanks @zorroperro, play-time and reed experimentation are definitely critical with the Jet. In my case, I'm already on the smallest tip and I still need more resistance to be able to play it. I guess I have three weeks of trial to decide...

you will find the lakey hard to back off from also...
Dan, I'm trying to remember how difficult the Jumbo Java was too, in this regard. All I remember thinking was "this thing would take some time..." But the Yani metal was easy to play right off the bat. Maybe I should just forget about all this and stick with the Yani since I happened to still have it...

@Sigmund451, we'll see :) my birthday is coming up if I need an excuse to bust the budget.
 
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