Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
I've been working really hard at trying to just play one mouthpiece over the last couple of weeks. It's made me start thinking about something....when I was younger I played on a Couf alto and a Beechler HR mouthpiece. I got the mouthpiece from a music store. I tried a few and it was the best for me. I remember going through a stage where I was trying to get the Sanborn sound. I worked for hours trying to get that sound. Adjusting my bottom lip, changing my air, changing my tongue position.....It was hard but I think I did well trying to get that sound. Years later, I played a Couf tenor with a Sugal Super Gonz I and I remember practicing for hours trying to get that bright Brecker sound out of it. The point is I worked on my sound and became flexible with one piece to cover different styles and sound different with the same piece. As I have been playing one piece lately I have found myself thinking the piece is too dark, or too bright or not loud enough or not appropriate for R&B......and I want to switch to a different piece to get the result I want. I'm not spending the time I used to on one piece really becoming a master of all I can do with it. If it's not bright enough instead of fighting with it and changing the way I play I just slap on a piece with a higher baffle and go. I use to spend a lot of time finding reeds that were what I wanted to. If I needed a brighter sound I would go through 20 reeds ;looking for that brighter reed. My point is, I wonder if some of the younger guys on here will learn the art of mastering their horn or mouthpiece. Of being versatile, of deepening their tone......... I had a student ask me the other day if they should get a different mouthpiece to get that Sanborn sound and it hit me that the easy answer probabloy isn't the best. The harder answer "stick with you Meyer and learn how to change your sound" in the long run will be better for this student. I heard a player a number of years ago playing a Ponzol M2 that had a fat dark sound. Very old school jazz. I was amazed that he could play that piece like that. the fact is he played what he had and made it sound like he wanted. The great players in the past for the most part spent a lot of time on one setup and worked so that their individual voice would come out of their horn. If we're always switching and changing is it possible to develop your individual voice? Is it possible to become a master? Or are we slaves?:?