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Discussion Starter #1
I am a weekend bari player trying to find the right mouthpiece.

I play in a community Klezmer band and want a sound that projects, can be punchy, holds the bottom, but can also be warm and woody when we play under singers.

I play my great-grandfather's 1904 Buffet Evette-Schaeffer, recently overhauled. A nice horn with tricky double keys for the upper register.

I have been playing the ebay game looking for relatively inexpensive mouthpieces so I can gain some experience as to what I am looking for. I have picked up the following mouthpieces:

Rousseau 4R
Metalite (on the recommendation of MartinMusicMan)
Dolce by Wansley (http://www.dolcemp.com/)
Selmer S-90
Vandoren V5 B35

Of these five, the Vandoren plays with the biggest and most complex sound, both penetrating and restrained. I loved the Rousseau until I got the Selmer and Vandoren; in comparison the Rousseau sounds dull, although it can be pushed. (The Metalite simply would not be tamed.) I have read on SOTW that the Selmer piece is favored by classical players, but I feel like my horn forces the Selmer to play Klezmer, whether it likes it or not.

I just received in the mail three Beechler metal Bellites, sizes 5,6,7 to try out from Weinermusic. I am wondering whether this is the piece or not. (I've got 13 days left to decide.) All three of these are a larger tip opening than the largest of the hard rubber pieces I have, and I am wondering what size tip opening might suit me.

As someone who doesn't play full-time, my chops are not what they could be. I'm a little perplexed though. I figured the 5,6,7 would be harder for me to play in that order, with the larger tip opening giving me more trouble with control. I don't find that the case. The tip opening doesn't seem to be the issue. I am getting the best sound with the 6, but I suspect this is because the 6 is just a better mouthpiece (although to the eye each one looks flawless).

In any event, the Beechler Bellite physically is extremely narrow. I have a small mouth, so I thought this would be okay, but it's really very narrow, no wider than the reed itself. Perhaps I could be able to get used to the small size.

The sound I get from the Bellite is much louder than the Vandoren, and much more open. I thought the Vandoran was open-sounding, but the Bellite adds several dimensions of sound. I would have to work quite a bit, though, to sustain quiet lows. I feel I can be quite legato-expressive (at mp) with the Bellite, or put out some funk grunts, so I like the versatility. (It is not sickly sweet sounding.)

I suppose I am wondering whether I should stick with the Vandoren V5, which I like, or keep the Bellite, which I feel has a lot of potential (if I could catch up to it, and teach myself to play it quietly), or if I should look to, say, a Berg Larsen HR or metal, which I've never tried, to see if it's more comfortable in my mouth, and if I can more readily control the bottom. (I am thinking the Berg will have the more open sound that I am drawn to, but I'm not sure. I have yet to try a meyer or one of the jody jazz pieces, and I don't really know if they have a characteristic sound. Maybe I should try one of the Beechler Hard rubber pieces? I admit I am drawn to the stainless steel because it matches the color of the sax, but that can only get us so far, right?)

Some say that my vintage horn needs a large-chambered mouthpiece; perhaps I should start with that; the bellite is not large-chambered, quite the opposite, but it doesn't sound like the small chamber is throwing the horn out of tune. I suppose I should actually check against a tuner. Perhaps there is a larger chambered mouthpiece I should be looking for?

Thanks for listening!
 

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I would recommend choosing the one you like the best from these and sticking with it for a year. The Vandoren sounds like a good choice for the type of playing you plan to do. After a year, you will probably be a different player and may have different needs. Buit don't be surprised if other mouthpieces do not make you want to switch after you get to know the Vandoren.
 

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My band plays an occasional Klezmer tune (and apparently nearby, geographically!), but we're very loud, maybe not that similar. I occasionally wonder what I'm doing in that band, bari sax isn't very common instrumentation and maybe I can see why. It's complicated, though - you sound different mixed with all those instruments (particularly the tuba), you know you sound different out front than in your own ears, and personally I don't think bari sax records very well so you can't get a really true sense of how you sound live from a recording either.

Anyway, MojoBari is right as usual. If the question is whether you should send the Beechler(s) back, I'd say - don't feel that you ought to keep it in case you might like it someday. If you don't really like playing it now, it's not for you. I'd like to try an HR Berg Larsen myself, one of these days, sure sounds good on another bari sax I've played beside. People here worry a lot over reported manufacturing inconsistencies, and there is probably be some truth in it, but I suspect the odds are still in your favor.
 

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I'd second (or 3rd) the Vandoren. For a mass manufactured off the shelf mouthpiece they are quite good and, as Mojo said, in a year or so you'll be a different player and willl be better able to decide what's going to work well for you in the long term.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, all, for chiming in! There are a lot of options, and it's easy to feel like all roads lead nowhere. When I played regularly (almost three decades ago, egads), I just played whatever mouthpiece came from the band director. Now that I'm all grown up with a horn of my own, I have to work it out myself, which means I could use a little help, and I'm so pleased to have found this forum. What a wealth of information and opinion!

Donnc, I play with the Temple Beth Am family band: kids and parents, and a kids chorus, and the occasional chanteuse. We have a couple of ringers who are fabulous musicians, and I'd like to pull my weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just played about three hours on the belllite 6 (instead of grading papers). It's more fun than the Vandoren, and I'm getting the hang of playing quietly on the lower register. The Vandoran zz 3 reeds were tame on it, but the Rico Jazz select 3M and 2H were better, more responsive. I like how I can get quicker attacks on the bellite as opposed to the Vandoren. It is freeing.
 
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