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I know this topic has been covered before but I'm wondering with all the new boutique pieces out there is there anything that stands out for lead playing?
 

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A Meyer 5 refaced by a well known refacer like Phil-Tone or EZ. others will probably say say bigger tip openings like a 6 or 7 which is fine, but in my opinion those types of pieces are best made for .072 tip opening around that area. You can do just about anything on those pieces, it's a joy to play and you will always find a happy place on that no matter what your playing. Just my two cents.
 

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I will forever sing the gospel of Ted Klum. I think they are simply the best mouthpieces around. These are pieces that you can grow into FOREVER. The better you get, the better they get. They may be harder to control at the outset, but they let you completely shape your sound in the way that a classic Meyer does, but they're more responsive, extremely durable, easily re-acquired if something happens and basically dirt-cheap for what they are.

The Acoustimax is cheaper, but from what Ted and Sebastian told me, it is the current top of the line alto piece. I'm playing an Acoustimax B, and when I saw Will Vinson a couple weeks ago, he was on an Acoustimax as well. I tried the B (.73-ish) against the more open C (.77-ish), I believe... or maybe the D (.80-ish), don't remember. I found the responsiveness and feel to be identical. I'm sure there was a difference, but I couldn't feel it, which is very strange considering the difference in tip opening. The B sounded sweeter to me, and I'm in the process of selling off my old mouthpieces ever since.
 

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Dan is also correct. Ted Klum mouthpiece are a true long term solution and something you can grow into, some of the best quality around, extremely consistent and timeless pieces. There are so many choices these days it's hard to pick.
 

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You have a lot of options in that area my friend. I currently play on a Ted Klum AcoustiMax D and I'm loving it. It's a great lead piece, It's like everything a great MeYer should offer you, a tone that's FAT, full throughout the registers, In tune, and responds great. It has just enough brightness that it lets you "sing" on top of a section easily. But I did order a Drake NY Jazz, just for the sake of having two great MeYer Style pieces I can rotate around.

But for Lead pieces there are a ton of options, I'll name a couple of MeYer style pieces:
Ted Klum Acoustimer
Ted Klum AcoustiMax
Drake NY Jazz
Drake Jazz
Phil-Tone Custom MeYer
Marmaduke
Aizen Jazz Master
Aizen NY
Pillinger NYA
Pillinger LA
Ralph Morgan Jazz M
Ralph Morgan Jazz ML
Morgan Fry NYZ
MouthpieceCafe NYC
Phil Barone NY
RPC R
Saxscape Wilton
SR Tech Legend
Theo Wanne Amma
Theo Wanne Gaia
Vandoren V16
Warburton Custom MeYer
Ishimori(wood Stone) Traditional Jazz

and the list goes on, there are plenty of other great pieces that can be equally good for lead playing, such as Soloist, Brilhart's, Beechler Diamond Dot, various little MeYer variations i.e. smaller chamber, slightly more baffle and what not, like the various pieces Eric Falcon design, and make for Warburton. and Vintage Bergs, Francois Louis, and the list goes on.
 

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Nothing beats a Vandoren Jumbo java alto piece for me,they truly sing,play easy,reed friendly and a good price.A true lead alto piece.
 

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I play a Greg Weir 'Soloist' (his take on it) and it's a monster piece. Cheap too, can be had on ebay for $120!
 

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There have been several threads about this topic here at SOTW. My feeling is that lead alto is more about concept than equipment. I can report than professional lead alto players, past and present, have used some pretty standard stuff.

In the past:
Johnny Hodges: Brilhart "Tonalin", rubber Berg, Bruno (stock mouthpiece) and others.
Willie Smith: A. Lelandais "Streamline"
Marshal Royal: A. Lelandais "Streamline", Brilhart Ebolin, Conn "Comet"
Earle Warren,: metal Selmer
Phil Woods: Meyer med chamber
Bobby Platter: Meyer small chamber
Jerome Richardson: Rubber Otto Link
Jerry Dodgion: Link STM, rubber Berg, RPC
Frank Wess: Beechler "diamond inlay"

Today:
Sherman Irby: Selmer "Soloist" with ground out chamber
Wess Anderson: Vandoren "Java", Manning Custom
Dave Glasser: Meyer small chamber, now on a Meyer larger chamber
Chuck Wilson: Meyer med
Mark Gross: Vandoren V16
Jay Brandford: Brilhart hard rubber
Ted Nash: Beechler "diamond inlay"
Me: I have used Brilharts, Lelandais, Conn Comet, Runyon custom and Brancher L chamber. Now I play MC Gregory (the plastic one not the Paul Desmond type).

Anyway, as I've said, lead alto is more about musical concept. The gear doesn't matter much.
 

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I would say a meyer 5 or 6 (preferably an older one or one that is refaced) or the current Vandoren V16 models. I liked the A6, medium chamber. Relatively affordable pieces too. I'm sure you want something versatile?
 

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My favorite - at least for a section of 3 in "little big bands" - is an old HR Brilhart with a V16 2 1/2 or 3. How is it they have so much more oomph than the Ebolins/Tonalins?

I want to know what pieces the real dinosaurs played.

Benny Carter, Toots Mondello and Hymie Schertzer all had commercial mouthpieces named for them (not that you're ever likely to see one). But before that...who knows.

I always loved Les Robinson's lead playing in the Shaw and Goodman bands - so bouncy and precise. I actually met Les years ago but never asked about his setup.
 

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I agree with the Ted Klumm Acoustimax.

I tried a friend's B a few weeks ago and REALLY liked it. I recently got a B (0.072 ish) and a C (0.075 ish) to try. The B played exactly like my friend's (speaks volumes about Ted's quality controll). I am thrilled with the B. Great sound, great intonation. You can make a lot of noise if you push it yet play softly with ease. Also seems pretty reed friendly.

For me the C opening added very little other than requiring a little more work to play. Like DanPerezSax I like the sound of the B tip opening better. I'm sending the C back.
 

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There have been several threads about this topic here at SOTW. My feeling is that lead alto is more about concept than equipment. I can report than professional lead alto players, past and present, have used some pretty standard stuff.

In the past:
Johnny Hodges: Brilhart "Tonalin", rubber Berg, Bruno (stock mouthpiece) and others.
Willie Smith: A. Lelandais "Streamline"
Marshal Royal: A. Lelandais "Streamline", Brilhart Ebolin, Conn "Comet"
Earle Warren,: metal Selmer
Phil Woods: Meyer med chamber
Bobby Platter: Meyer small chamber
Jerome Richardson: Rubber Otto Link
Jerry Dodgion: Link STM, rubber Berg, RPC
Frank Wess: Beechler "diamond inlay"

Today:
Sherman Irby: Selmer "Soloist" with ground out chamber
Wess Anderson: Vandoren "Java", Manning Custom
Dave Glasser: Meyer small chamber, now on a Meyer larger chamber
Chuck Wilson: Meyer med
Mark Gross: Vandoren V16
Jay Brandford: Brilhart hard rubber
Ted Nash: Beechler "diamond inlay"
Me: I have used Brilharts, Lelandais, Conn Comet, Runyon custom and Brancher L chamber. Now I play MC Gregory (the plastic one not the Paul Desmond type).

Anyway, as I've said, lead alto is more about musical concept. The gear doesn't matter much.
BarrySachs... best answer yet!
Yup pretty much, a good player will still sound good on anything. And BarrySachs list pretty much says it all, there is no "Standard" Lead piece. Just play what's comfortable, that gets you around the ball park for your sound concept for you and hit the woodshed.

But you know, don't you just love talking about mouthpieces?:bluewink:
 

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There have been several threads about this topic here at SOTW. My feeling is that lead alto is more about concept than equipment. I can report than professional lead alto players, past and present, have used some pretty standard stuff.

In the past:
Johnny Hodges: Brilhart "Tonalin", rubber Berg, Bruno (stock mouthpiece) and others.
Willie Smith: A. Lelandais "Streamline"
Marshal Royal: A. Lelandais "Streamline", Brilhart Ebolin, Conn "Comet"
Earle Warren,: metal Selmer
Phil Woods: Meyer med chamber
Bobby Platter: Meyer small chamber
Jerome Richardson: Rubber Otto Link
Jerry Dodgion: Link STM, rubber Berg, RPC
Frank Wess: Beechler "diamond inlay"

Today:
Sherman Irby: Selmer "Soloist" with ground out chamber
Wess Anderson: Vandoren "Java", Manning Custom
Dave Glasser: Meyer small chamber, now on a Meyer larger chamber
Chuck Wilson: Meyer med
Mark Gross: Vandoren V16
Jay Brandford: Brilhart hard rubber
Ted Nash: Beechler "diamond inlay"
Me: I have used Brilharts, Lelandais, Conn Comet, Runyon custom and Brancher L chamber. Now I play MC Gregory (the plastic one not the Paul Desmond type).

Anyway, as I've said, lead alto is more about musical concept. The gear doesn't matter much.
It's occurred to me that I put Frank Wess and Jerry Dodgion in the "in the past" list. Jerry is still an active lead alto man. Frank Wess is still quite active on tenor and flute but has given up section work because of poor eyesight. He says he's looking for a "seeing-eye-dog that can tap its foot and read music".
 
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