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· Registered
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son has informed me that he would like to upgrade his mouth piece and obtain some other accessories. He is in HS band and asked his teacher what he should get and was told to get a Vandoren Optimum AL3 (or OL3 ??) mpc, with a Rovner ligature. He also wants some Vandoren Reeds (#3).

Some additional accessories are a sax stand, cleaning snakes, cleaning pads, and cork grease.

I have two questions. The first is where on the web is a good (cheap and reliable) place to buy these accessories, mpc, ligature, and reeds? Personal preferences are appreciated.

Also, does he need (or should he use) an upgraded mpc for HS band? Does it make a difference in practice and solo playing. Is the Optimum a good all around mpc? Anybody have any other preferences for general use.

The mpc will be going on a like new Antigua A500 sax.

Any advice/opinions are appreciated. Thanks.

· Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
3,388 Posts
For marching band it wont make any difference as no one will hear anyway.

For real playing its such a personal choice its almost pointless debating it. Often different physical pieces of the same model will play differently, so mail ordering is a lottery, and often some trial and error is involved, and thats after you find out what tip opening is the best fit for your own style and embouchure:(

The stock piece with the CJS horn you are hiding is probably a B&S hard rubber piece that would be perfectly alright and quite vandoren like...maybe you can give him that somehow without letting the cat out of the bag? It might peak his curiosity so he looks into the brand a bit more and finds out about the horns too...but then if he stumbles on SOTW and reads your threads you are screwed:(

The optimum is supposed to be a good piece, and vandoren are among the most consistently made stock pieces. Other common options would be Meyers and Selmers, but everyone has a particular favourite.

If you cant find a way to introduce the stock B&S, then wwbw has a good trial return policy and competitive prices, otherwise trade here or on ebay and resell the ones that didnt work. Just cos they are being sold doesnt make a mouthpiece no was just not the one for that particular player. vast selection out there, although only Rico and sometimes Vandoren are held by most small stores. Everyone has favourite brands there too, and again trial and error is the way forward.

· Distinguished SOTW Member
4,127 Posts
Nolzman said:
Forgive the novice (non-player) question, but what is the difference between a Vandoren Optimum AL3 and AL4 mpc. What does the number identify?
Tip opening. The 4 is bigger.
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