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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a post over on the marketplace about a Brilhart piece modified to accept a tenor reed in the style of Hodges, and I'd read about this in the past. However I was curious exactly what modifications ARE done to an alto piece to take a tenor reed? Does it have to do with the length of the facing curve?
 

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I performed & recorded for years using tenor reeds on alto mouthpieces with no modifications. As you'd expect, this combination resulted in satisfyingly robust, punchy low notes with maybe a bit of thinness up top -- not a problem at the time, as I mostly played lowdown rhythm parts or midrange ballad-y lead parts. Players have asked whether the overhang of a tenor reed felt weird in my mouth. Frankly, I never noticed any overhang; it just felt like a reed on a mouthpiece.

Recently I've switched to bass clarinet reeds on alto, & they seem to provide a similarly hefty low range with added flexibility for note-bending. While this setup works for me, I make no claims about whether it would work for you or anybody else. You might want to try various alternate reeds on your alto piece(s) in their raw, naked alto-ness, before making any mods.
 

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Yup, Nice beefy lows but gets thin pretty quick up top...almost like the heart of the reed isn’t in the window. Oh. wait.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As near as I can tell the most appreciable size difference is the length; the tenor reed hangs out a good bit past the end of the table. Otherwise the tenor isn't all THAT much wider than the alto reeds (though JUST enough it won't fit my reed cases. Great, now I need another case...) and it seems to fit my Great Neck as-is. Did you do anything different with the positioning of your ligature? I noticed that if I put mine in the usual spot the plate protrudes slightly over the end of the vamp cut.

I do also wonder whether I ought to lop off the bottom end of the reed to make it fit the length of the mouthpiece table, tho...
 

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I place the ligature to the back of the table, so that it clamps only the curved top of the reed, and avoids the cut part.
I wouldn't bother cutting off the end of the reed - it wouldn't change anything.

And there is no need to change anything on the alto mpc.
There is some small variation in the width of the table of alto and tenor mouthpieces. A narrower one with a tenor reed may cause a little soreness for a while.

I also use bari reeds on my tenor pieces with a Rovner-style ligature.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So pretty much as long as the reed fits, don't bother have anything done to the mouthpiece. And cutting down the end of the reed makes no difference to the sound, so if I DO decide I want to get rid of the extra length it won't be hurting anything. I have two Vandoren hygro reed cases, and if I can mod the insert that holds the reeds to fit the slightly wider Tenor reeds on one, I can save myself some money. In which case I WOULD need to trim the ends off so the cap will fit.

Out of curiosity, do you use the same strength reed as for alto, or do you go with a harder strength?
 

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It depends if you want to use both alto and tenor reeds or just tenor reeds. You can put a long open alto facing on it which will be the same as a medium short tenor facing. The side rails can be fat like a tenor reed but the window left narrow for an alto reed. If the window is widened the sound will be bigger but an alto reed will not cover the width anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It depends if you want to use both alto and tenor reeds or just tenor reeds. You can put a long open alto facing on it which will be the same as a medium short tenor facing. The side rails can be fat like a tenor reed but the window left narrow for an alto reed. If the window is widened the sound will be bigger but an alto reed will not cover the width anymore.
And presumably opening out the window may address any thinness in the upper register, going by what swperry was saying.
 

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Okay, I gotta ask......why? You mentioned for a "Hodges style". I don't believe Johnny Hodges used tenor reeds on his alto, but that might just be one more thing I'm in the dark about. For what it's worth, I've known some alto players over the years who played in that style VERY well and there were no gimmicks involved.
 

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Phrasing, attack, articulation... and much, much, more, will get you close to sounding like Hodges (or pick any artist!) than chasing their reed/mouthpiece setup. Are you gonna get your lips fixed and your larynx tweaked as well?
 

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Phrasing, attack, articulation... and much, much, more, will get you close to sounding like Hodges (or pick any artist!) than chasing their reed/mouthpiece setup. Are you gonna get your lips fixed and your larynx tweaked as well?
Will universal healthcare cover a larynxoplasty?
 

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Is it worth creating a whole new mouthpiece design so you can cheat yourself out of the tone, chops, and character building that 10-20 minutes of focused low-end work a day will get you? I’m not aware of a lot of known players who use tenor reeds on alto for a long time and actually sound good. Jeff Coffin is an exception, but JC’s an exceptional player...also practices a ton.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Is it worth creating a whole new mouthpiece design so you can cheat yourself out of the tone, chops, and character building that 10-20 minutes of focused low-end work a day will get you? I’m not aware of a lot of known players who use tenor reeds on alto for a long time and actually sound good. Jeff Coffin is an exception, but JC’s an exceptional player...also practices a ton.
Is it worth using a setup that much more easily facilitates getting the sound you want, so you can work WITH your equipment rather than fight against it, and maybe use that time to work out other mechanical things?

Gee, let me think about that.
 

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Just realized I've been chasing the wrong grail all these years. Why did I mess around with alternate sizes & cuts of reeds, when I could've simply silver-plated my reeds for "purity of tone"? Akh, one becomes wise too late. (Or, in my case, not at all.)
 

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Is it worth using a setup that much more easily facilitates getting the sound you want, so you can work WITH your equipment rather than fight against it, and maybe use that time to work out other mechanical things?

Gee, let me think about that.
Affirmation vs information.

Sorry that you didn’t get what you were hoping for.

Yes, by all means. That’ll be great! Go for it!
 

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I have two mpcs that seem to be in between alto and tenor.
They are not old.
They came with two different altos and appear to be plastic and student oriented.
The facing is very long but they don't really fit either reed.
They have a small opening because my normal reads close.
Weird.
I'ved used bass clarinet reedson my tenor mpc and Cmelody.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Affirmation vs information.

Sorry that you didn’t get what you were hoping for.

Yes, by all means. That’ll be great! Go for it!
I'm looking for information. I'm getting it. Someone saying to the effect of, "Using equipment to help get the sound you want rather than relying entirely on blood sweat and tears is CHEATING!" isn't exactly useful, however.
 

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I have two mpcs that seem to be in between alto and tenor.
They are not old.
They came with two different altos and appear to be plastic and student oriented.
The facing is very long but they don't really fit either reed.
They have a small opening because my normal reads close.
Weird.
I'ved used bass clarinet reedson my tenor mpc and Cmelody.
Could be C melody tenor mouthpieces?
 

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I'm looking for information. I'm getting it. Someone saying to the effect of, "Using equipment to help get the sound you want rather than relying entirely on blood sweat and tears is CHEATING!" isn't exactly useful, however.
I certainly haven’t called it cheating. I don’t care how you achieve your goals. What I did say is that it will not be the secret to attaining any particular player’s sound. Neither does success take blood, sweat, or tears unless you are an emotional wreck practicing in a tin-roofed shed under the hot sun, and tend to bang your head or shins against sharp objects because you just don’t pay attention.

If you choose to keep chasing gear that won’t deliver your goal, at least you are now making an informed decision.
 

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I'm looking for information. I'm getting it. Someone saying to the effect of, "Using equipment to help get the sound you want rather than relying entirely on blood sweat and tears is CHEATING!" isn't exactly useful, however.
Dude, no need to get your knickers in a knot. I simply asked a reasonable and legitimate question. I do have to say that for some reason, this forum is the only place I've ever seen or heard of someone trying this. I've been playing for 40+ yrs and in that time have played with no doubt, thousands of saxophonists and I've never seen or heard of anyone doing this in a serious fashion. I'd think that in my experience and travels, if something like this would work, I'd have seen or heard it done before. Alas, have fun and be sure to let us all know how the reinventing of the saxophone wheel goes for ya...
 
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