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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All sorry for being so dumb (and I am sure this has been covered a zillion times elsewhere) but I cant get my head around why they would make two mouthpieces from different materials if as is widely claimed there is no difference between a metal and a hard rubber mouthpiece.

I own two 7* Theo Wanne Gaias one in HR and one in metal

I am not good enough to know which of the two sounds or performs better but I have a very definite preference for the metal one.

To me the metal one sounds less aggressive (deliberately choosing alternate wording as things like bright and dark and soft and hard and mellow may mean differing things to different people) and also is slimmer and as such feels better in my mouth.

The HR version also appears to be physically fatter (meaning I have a lot of mouthpiece in my mouth when playing) and not as good at responding to my attempts to go from low to high notes and back again and I am guessing that this is because I need to put more air through it

So to me the two mouthpieces play with distinct differences and generate differing sounds

Anyway just wondered whether anyone had any ideas as to why they make the same mouthpieces with different materials when they are supposed to generate the same sounds.

NB When I say they are supposed to generate the same sounds this is what I see being claimed everywhere I go on You Tube when they compare HR to metal mouthpieces
 

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personal preference in how they feel. I bet if you make a recording of the same passage of each you may not find an obvious difference between the two. It is likely that you are feeling the sound difference through your teeth/bones vs. just your ears, especially if the metal one has a patch on it and the HR doesn't.

I personally can't stand HR mouthpieces, but that's just me.
 

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A discussion that (as you have pointed out) has taken place many times on many levels and will continue to do so.
Ultimately so long as some people prefer metal and some people prefer HR there is the reason to produce both. However, despite this, the playing characteristics and tonal differences you warm to or turn against are generally not down to the material and neither is the sound.
It is of course the curve the tip opening, the the baffle, the chamber, the thickness of the rails, and the overall quality that marries to a given reed and blower on the end that is accountable and a few more things besides but the preference for metal or HR will still exist IMO due to long standing individual experiences with either type and the way they feel in your chops when you are playing.
 

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Anyway just wondered whether anyone had any ideas as to why they make the same mouthpieces with different materials when they are supposed to generate the same sounds.
There is a false assumption here that a lot of mpc designers are making the SAME mpc in both metal and HR. In most cases, they are not the exact same design. There are often differences in the facing, baffle, and chamber that will influence how they play and sound. And the best mpcs are hand finished, which means there will sometimes be subtle differences from one mpc to the next, even with the same design and material.

And, as you have discovered, there is a difference in how a metal mpc feels vs a HR mpc. Beak profile is usually different and the metal mpc is often slimmer, so all of that will have an influence in how you play it.

As to why they are made in different materials, there's a market for both. Metal is more expensive and (I assume) a bit harder to work on and hand finish, than HR. So if you don't have any particular preference based on how they feel, you can get a high quality HR mpc for less money than you'd pay for an equally high quality metal mpc. And some players simply prefer one material over the other, based on how they feel.

Unless you've already developed a clear preference in how one feels over the other, the best approach is to find a design that works best for you based on how it plays and helps you get the sound you are looking for, regardless of the material its made out of. It's a mistake to assume one or the other material will, in itself, give you a specific sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am not sure I have found my 'sound' yet, I just know that I have a preference for the metal mouthpiece over the HR one

In the past I tried alternating between the two mouthpieces but quickly discovered I liked the metal one more so use that one all the time nowadays but only wrote this post because I practiced using the HR one today which has probably exaggerated my bias against it as it hasn't been played for a while and I am therefore more used to the metal one.

Originally I played using a HR mouthpiece that came with my first horn (a Yani T902) but then moved onto the HR Gaia but was never truly happy with it and then tried the metal Gaia2 which I prefer and have been using full time since.

However I still do not think it is my ultimate mouthpiece so will have to find a few days to go and try out a wide range of mouthpieces as I believe I would prefer something that has a little less edge and can soften my sound somewhat.

The problem however is that it cant be that easy to find an ideal mouthpiece when realistically you can only get to play and assess one for an hour or so before moving onto the next one as I don't believe there are any places left that will let you take one home for a week or two to give it a good try out first.

The replies received so far are much appreciated but maybe I should try out some second hand vintage mouthpieces too rather than just new ones as I play an old horn and I am not sure about the compatibility of new mouthpieces with old horns but am sure I will find something eventually.

Having said that I am very happy with my current set up despite feeling that there is a better mouthpiece choice for me out there but in all honesty I need to get a lot better as a player before I can start criticizing any mouthpiece I use and the material it is made from
 

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The replies received so far are much appreciated but maybe I should try out some second hand vintage mouthpieces too rather than just new ones as I play an old horn and I am not sure about the compatibility of new mouthpieces with old horns but am sure I will find something eventually.
What is your “old” horn? I am confident that several people here have played a similar horn and will comment on its compatibility.

Having said that I am very happy with my current set up despite feeling that there is a better mouthpiece choice for me out there but in all honesty I need to get a lot better as a player before I can start criticizing any mouthpiece I use and the material it is made from
I suggest you stick with the one you prefer and stop questioning the finer details for now. Spend some time growing with your current setup and enjoy the path.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I play a 1949 Selmer Balanced Action using Leger Signature Series 2.5 reeds and a metal Theo Wanne 7* Gaia 2 mouthpiece

Took some getting used to having come from a modern Yani but slowly but surely I will get there....assuming I dont die first ;-)
 

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I play a 1949 Selmer Balanced Action using Leger Signature Series 2.5 reeds and a metal Theo Wanne 7* Gaia 2 mouthpiece

Took some getting used to having come from a modern Yani but slowly but surely I will get there....assuming I dont die first ;-)
I used to play a BA tenor - sweet horns!

You should have no issues with a Gaia since they are derived from/inspired by the Otto Link design that has been a successful match for those horns for decades.

I’m not a fan of Legere reeds (having a preference for cane), but if they work for you...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do use cane reeds from time to time but when practising its just so much easier and more convenient to have the consistency of a synthetic reed

Cane reeds dry out and squeak in the higher range if I play too long but tbh I cant tell the difference. Some days with cane or plastic it sounds great and other days not so great which is probably more to do with the exact position of my reed on the mouthpiece or how well rested I am or how sloppy my attitude is on any given day rather than the reed type itself.

Then again i think the best sound I ever managed to date was with a 2.0 gonzales regular cut cane reed whch I used when playing down in the low range of my horn. Alas I have never managed to reproduce it though.

Overall I find cane reeds pretty inconsistent between reeds but on the downside for the synthetics I find them pretty stiff for the first few days before they settle down to a comfortable resistence and thwn get too soft as they age
 
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