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My current setup is a Conn New Wonder Series II, with a Vandoren V16 7M and Rico Royal #4 reeds. This setup gives me that fantastically warm, spread, lead alto sound.

BUT... I've unfortunately developed some sort of allergy to the ebonite in my mpc (I know its the ebonite cuz when I play tenor with my metal mpc, my lips don't flare up like they do when I play alto)

So I guess my question is what are some good metal mouthpieces for alto to get that "lead" sound, preferably at a reasonable price point. I've looked at the JodyJazz DVNY and it seems pretty good but I'm worried it might be lacking a bit in projection. It's also pretty pricey. So any suggestions would be extremely welcome!
 

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I'd look at a Link metal. The larger chamber and modest baffle will keep it from getting too much like a duck call. I think that's what Charlie Parker was playing in his last years.

I doubt very much whether a Jody Jazz DVNY will lack projection. I have his bass sax mouthpiece and it's a very good piece. But like I say, I'd start with Link, the price is reasonable. If you're going to be playing lead, you need to develop the ability to project at high and low volumes anyway, without going shrill. A Link will do that for you.

You could also try a Conn Comet/Runyon transparent plastic, or a Brilhart Ebolin or Tonalin, which are not hard rubber but rather some kind of acrylic (I think). I believe the PPT mouthpieces are also made of a non-hard-rubber plastic, but again, probably pretty pricey.
 

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Regarding the allergy to ebonite (vulcanised rubber), I think it's more likely a fungus or bacteria or some chemical residue from the manufacturing process on the reed or mouthpiece. If it's residual chemicals (likely thiuram), that can be partly neutralized by sodium hydroxide (bleach). I'd try thoroughly cleaning, disinfecting and soaking all of the above in a mild bleach solution before switching mouthpieces. Rinse very thoroughly of course since bleach is also toxic.

Back when I played lead alto, I played a Dukoff which worked ok, but took some effort to control the brightness and blend with the section.
 

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My current setup is a Conn New Wonder Series II, with a Vandoren V16 7M and Rico Royal #4 reeds. This setup gives me that fantastically warm, spread, lead alto sound.

BUT... I've unfortunately developed some sort of allergy to the ebonite in my mpc (I know its the ebonite cuz when I play tenor with my metal mpc, my lips don't flare up like they do when I play alto)
Are you using a tooth patch? I have seen instances where Stuff grows around and under the edges of tooth patches if they are not rigorously cleaned. For all my years, I don't recall hearing of ebonite allergies - brass sensitivity, nickel sensitivity, yes, but not hard rubber.
 

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I agree with mdavej, as my first thought was that it seemed more likely to be the reed or something existing on the mouthpiece/reed.

However, if those don't work, there are some decent options. Having played and owned a JJ DVNY 5 on alto for many years, I did find that it was a little hard to project on, but It had about the same amount of projection as my V16 7M (which I see you also play). So I imagine there wouldn't be much of an issue there.

However, The DVNY5 is expensive, and I'd have some other recommendations that are cheaper. The Metal Otto Links can be good on alto, having played a modern STM, 1930s Master Link, and 1950s Tone Master on alto. My favorite was the Tone Master, but it was a very closed tip, so it didn't work for me (3*). Other cheaper options could be a Theo Wanne Fire Series (much cheaper than his other stuff), an SR Tech Polycarbonate or Metal piece, or maybe even a metal Meyer.
 

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That's a drag about your reaction to your mouthpiece! I've never heard of that happening before but I'm sure it's possible, although as mdavej said it would be worth thoroughly cleaning it to see if that helps. I would think an allergic reaction to metal would be more likely than rubber, but I'm far from a medical professional.

There are lots of alternate materials being used for mouthpieces these days that you might try in addition to metal. I think the SYOS pieces are made from a durable non-toxic plastic. Several friends of mine are playing on those and sounding great. Additionally, I think the Mouthpiece Cafe pieces (which get great reviews) are made with a non-rubber resin material, although someone more familiar with them might correct me.
 

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Regarding the allergy to ebonite (vulcanised rubber), I think it's more likely a fungus or bacteria or some chemical residue from the manufacturing process on the reed or mouthpiece. If it's residual chemicals (likely thiuram), that can be partly neutralized by sodium hydroxide (bleach). I'd try thoroughly cleaning, disinfecting and soaking all of the above in a mild bleach solution before switching mouthpieces. Rinse very thoroughly of course since bleach is also toxic.

Back when I played lead alto, I played a Dukoff which worked ok, but took some effort to control the brightness and blend with the section.
+1 my bet would be the reed, or some plaque in the MPC rather than the rubber. A good disinfectant would be any toothpaste that can be used to polish the MPC inside and outside.

Are you using a tooth patch? I have seen instances where Stuff grows around and under the edges of tooth patches if they are not rigorously cleaned. For all my years, I don't recall hearing of ebonite allergies - brass sensitivity, nickel sensitivity, yes, but not hard rubber.
And that's another good point.

But of course, there is always a first. And like others mentioned, there are plastic mouthpieces out there that are less expensive than HR and should not cause the problem if it is really related to HR.
 

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But of course, there is always a first. And like others mentioned, there are plastic mouthpieces out there that are less expensive than HR and should not cause the problem if it is really related to HR.
But we don't like to call them plastic, we can say "composite."
 

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Yanagisawa 7 metal is what I’m playing for lead alto these days. It isn’t nearly as bright as you’d expect.
 

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Yanagisawa 7 metal is what I'm playing for lead alto these days. It isn't nearly as bright as you'd expect.
Ynagisawas are great, possibly underrated. And I would never describe them as being bright.
 

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Ynagisawas are great, possibly underrated. And I would never describe them as being bright.
I use them all the time on alto and bari. The soprano is a touch bright for me, but I keep it handy. Still looking for a metal tenor #8, but I may just settle for a #7.
 

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Years ago, Peter Ponzol became very concerned with the materials players were putting in their mouths, so he stopped using plated metals and rubber and started using surgical grade stainless steel, food-grade delrin, and anodized aluminum. The Ponzol alto pieces are excellent lead alto pieces.
 

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I played a Link STM on alto for a couple of years. Jazz groups, pop shows and played lead in big bands. Eventually came to my senses and went to a Valentino rubber piece, which was really a Gregory stencil. The Link, which I chose from about a dozen, had a bit of a tubby sound, and was kind of resistant. It wasn’t bad, but had some unattractive qualities.

Pete Valentino gave me the mouthpiece in the early 80s, but i think he had them made many years earlier and just had some laying around. He was just getting started with his pads at that time, I met him because I needed my piccolo repadded.

Depending on your budget and musical needs, I would investigate Drake and Theo Wanne mouthpieces. Drakes come in a ceramic material, and the Theo Wanne pieces are made in metal, hard rubber and a “composite” material that’s harder than rubber. Both those manufacturers gave a wide range of mouthpiece types so you should be able to find one that suits you.


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