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I am trying out a new metal Berg Larsen 105/1 SMS. I had my repair tech measure it for defects in the rail and table and all is good. He also seemed satisfied with a suction test. He was able to get it to seal (for about a half second).

Other mouthpieces I have will hold a seal for at least one or two seconds. I personally can't get the Berg to seal at all for me. I really like a lot of qualities of this Berg mouthpiece I think in part because of the baffle but I'm just not comfortable with the lack of a good seal! I've tried the original piece-of-junk ligature as well as a Rovner Versa ligature. I've also tried several different blue box Vandoren reeds to rule out the reed. Very frustrating and disappointing to be this close to finding a good metal mp.

Questions-
Am I being unreasonable with my expectations on the "suction test"?
Would I be better off looking for an older, used metal Berg? Where would I shop for those? Those don't always seem to have the roll over tip but how important is that?
What other mouthpiece would you consider comparable to this Berg?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I am trying out a new metal Berg Larsen 105/1 SMS. I had my repair tech measure it for defects in the rail and table and all is good. He also seemed satisfied with a suction test. He was able to get it to seal (for about a half second).
Dp you trust your repair tech ? If you do, why not follow his advice ?

Other mouthpieces I have will hold a seal for at least one or two seconds. I personally can't get the Berg to seal at all for me. I really like a lot of qualities of this Berg mouthpiece I think in part because of the baffle but I'm just not comfortable with the lack of a good seal!
The suck-it-and-see test is vachement overrated. Don't use it as an excuse for your misgivings, which, judging by your technician's report are unfounded.

I've tried the original piece-of-junk ligature as well as a Rovner Versa ligature. I've also tried several different blue box Vandoren reeds to rule out the reed. Very frustrating and disappointing to be this close to finding a good metal mp.
The original lightweight metal Larsen ligature is far from being a "piece of junk"; it's fit for purpose, but if you prefer another ligature, that's fine. As for reeds why have you tried only Vandoren blue box ? IIRC they are the cheapest reeds Vandoren produce. Try a Red Java 2 or 2½.

Would I be better off looking for an older, used metal Berg?
Maybe - maybe not - it's impossible to answer such a question without personal knowledge of you and your playing proclivities. I personally prefer older metal Bergs, but that's just me.

Where would I shop for those?
Try the Mouthpieces for Sale board here on SotW; have a look at JunkDude, Secondhandsaxes, Saxquest, USA Horn, GetaSax, PM Woodwinds, or any other website that deals in used saxophones. Do your own research: if you find a good one not mentioned above, let us know.

Those don't always seem to have the roll over tip but how important is that?
Some models have the roll-over tip, others don't; to those that require it, it's extremely important to have; to those that prefer mouthpieces without it, it's important not to have it. "There's no accounting for taste."

What other mouthpiece would you consider comparable to this Berg?
Frankly, no other mouthpiece really compares with a metal Berg (that is to say, metal Bergs have a unique sound which is inimitable and which you will either like or dislike), but if you want something in the same ballpark check out pieces made by Sakshama and Phil-Tone (HR, but quite close - some say better, but that's personal preference again).

My advice, for what it's worth: keep this Berg mouthpiece, try out different reeds on it, play it solidly for a month so that you get used to it, and only then decide.

At the same time, if you like Bergs or the idea of Bergs, start reading up on their history, their advantages and disadvantages, what to look for and what to avoid in a Berg. Once that is done, start looking for a good used one — or three.

Good luck with your search.
 

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If the berg plays well keep it, if not return it.

I make the Impulse and IMHO leaves metal bergs in the dust.

If you have a berg that plays well you got lucky. You can go through a bunch of them and find a horror show.
Their designs can be cool...their execution very sad.
 

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FWIW, my best sounding and easiest playing mouthpiece does not hold a seal any longer than the berg you are discussing. If you like the sound, and it plays well, keep it. If it is lacking in either category, move it on. It's really that simple.
 

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I never heard of the 'seal test' before getting on this forum 20 years ago. I have never tried it and other players I've known never did it or mentioned it when I was around. A mouthpiece blows or it doesn't - end of story. None of us can judge how a mouthpiece blows for you. If you got a new production Berg that plays for you and provides what you're looking for, go for it.
 

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I think the suction test is only useful if your set up normally passes it as a baseline. Then it is a test for if you have a warped reed table. Or, you have damaged your mouthpiece. Sounds useful but a play test is better.
 

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I am trying out a new metal Berg Larsen 105/1 SMS. I had my repair tech measure it for defects in the rail and table and all is good. He also seemed satisfied with a suction test. He was able to get it to seal (for about a half second).

Other mouthpieces I have will hold a seal for at least one or two seconds. I personally can't get the Berg to seal at all for me. I really like a lot of qualities of this Berg mouthpiece I think in part because of the baffle but I'm just not comfortable with the lack of a good seal! I've tried the original piece-of-junk ligature as well as a Rovner Versa ligature. I've also tried several different blue box Vandoren reeds to rule out the reed. Very frustrating and disappointing to be this close to finding a good metal mp.

Questions-
Am I being unreasonable with my expectations on the "suction test"?
Would I be better off looking for an older, used metal Berg? Where would I shop for those? Those don't always seem to have the roll over tip but how important is that?
What other mouthpiece would you consider comparable to this Berg?

Thanks in advance!
Having a longer suction doesn't really mean anything. It could be the Berg just has a shorter facing or not as gradual a facing along the whole curve. That would make the reed bounce back faster. I am one of the guys that think the suction test is important primarily because most of the mouthpieces I have received over the years that didn't get suction played like crap for me.
 

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Vandoren Blue Box on a S/S Berg?.. not for me bro' We always used Rico (brown box) back in the day. Try Java's Red and Green. The reds are more resistant than the greens-- but try both.
 

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I hated my new metal Berg (105-1-sms) and began to wonder what people saw in them. So I tried a HR one, and bingo. Night and day difference for me, even though they are the same facing. Have you tried a hard rubber Berg?
My HR really likes Vandoren ZZ's; it DOES NOT like blue box and tolerates red & green. Spent the last year rotating through different types of reeds, "your mileage may vary" but ZZ 3's are the best I've tried so far.
 

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I hated my new metal Berg (105-1-sms) and began to wonder what people saw in them. So I tried a HR one, and bingo. Night and day difference for me, even though they are the same facing...
No. One of them had a better facing, else they would have played the same.
 

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No. One of them had a better facing, else they would have played the same.
That is most likely the case. I don't have a gauge to measure actual tip opening, and both pieces are modern (<5yrs old) and unrefaced.

The (in)famous quality control of modern Bergs is always a factor, maybe OP should try a different example of "same" specs?
 

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The new Bergs are a vague shadow of what was compared to when you find a great denim table offset letter models.
 

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Having a longer suction doesn't really mean anything. It could be the Berg just has a shorter facing or not as gradual a facing along the whole curve. That would make the reed bounce back faster. I am one of the guys that think the suction test is important primarily because most of the mouthpieces I have received over the years that didn't get suction played like crap for me.
...which you found out by play testing them. Sounds like some played well since you said “most of them”. I presume some mouthpieces that passed the seal test did not play well too.

I guess players like the seal test because it is fast and there is a general correlation to the set up playing well. But it sets up a bias before you even play a note. If it plays well the player still wonders if it would play even better if it passed the seal test.

In my experience, with players visiting me, sometimes my work does not pass the seal test. We can then spend 30 minutes or more modifying the facing in order to improve the seal test. The mouthpiece can start playing worse along the way then gets back to about where it was. But to me it was a waste of time. It was fine before we started messing with it.
 

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The new Bergs are a vague shadow of what was compared to when you find a great denim table offset letter models.
That's the truth. If you play a vintage one in good shape, you understand what all the fuss is about. I have a good number of vintage Bergs at any given time. Ted Klum's London Model (which I also sell) is the modern piece that is most like a good Berg. It's about a 2 baffle if you're wondering.
 

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That's the truth. If you play a vintage one in good shape, you understand what all the fuss is about. I have a good number of vintage Bergs at any given time. Ted Klum's London Model (which I also sell) is the modern piece that is most like a good Berg. It's about a 2 baffle if you're wondering.
When I asked about it, I was told it was a 1.5. :bluewink:

The “London” is the loudest mouthpiece I have ever played. I could not rein it in enough to play with a (loud) section. That is to say it is very efficient.
 
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