Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another topic made me think of the following:

According to me, when the reed of a sax slams to the mouthpiece (in slow motion when playing the sax) causing some kind of under pressure in the chamber. when it bounces back the air from the lungs cause an over pressure, and that pressure change repeats itself at a steady frequency depending on what tones we play on the sax.
That under/over pressure at a certain frequency is amplified by the horn, and that is what we hear, a much louder version of the sound manufactured at the reed (kind of like an old needle to horn phonograph).

Now my question would be, if the internal size of the (hollow part of the) mouthpiece would be enlarged, would we hear more bass tones?

In case it would be possible to mount a tenor mouthpiece on an alto or soprano sax, and compare that sound to the original mouthpiece, would we hear more bass or lowend sound coming out of our instrument?

If so, then perhaps if we have a cheap sax, that has too much of a mid tone, almost as if you'd be playing inside of a plastic bucket, could you counteract that mid-frequency by choosing a mouthpiece that has a larger or smaller internal hollow space or room?
I mean, that is where the sound originates; if it can get changed there, the change of sound will reflect through the amplification of the waves by the horn.

So for a sax leek that is able to distinguish the cheaper saxes from the more expensive ones, is it really as easy as just adjusting the mouthpiece? Can you get rid of a "plastic bucket"-like sound by the use of a good mouthpiece?

a larger mouthpiece for a deeper sound, smaller one for a more shallow and bitey sound?

(same goes for metal vs plastic mouthpieces, a small change there result in larger changes of the tonal properties).

Did I get it right so far?

I mean, it would at least explain what I read people saying to change the mouthpiece, but with so many different types available, often online where you can't see or test them (not all people have local music stores), and ~$100 per piece, it seems quite overwhelming for a beginner.

If there's some sort of trick in finding a good mouthpiece, It'd be nice we knew what it was...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,624 Posts
It absolutely impacts the sound of the piece.

Rather than get into really long technical discussions about mouthpieces its much easier to tell us what your current setup is and what it lacks for you...or what you are after.

As a beginner you will want to have one good general purpose piece that you know is of good quality and then practice, practice, practice.

Getting into the whole gear thing is a distraction from what you need to be doing.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
It is not so simple. The mpc has to have the correct volume, and using a mpc that has an internal volume too large or too small creates terrible intonation problems. While there is some effect on timbre using different mpcs, it is in large part due to baffle design and not chamber size. The material of which the mpc is made has little or no effect on the sound--it is all about the internal dimensions. Certainly the mpc matters, but its main function is to be the regenerator of the standing wave in the horn body, and that is the major part of what makes the sound. The reed and mpc can modify it to some extent, but that extent is limited.

Still, the mpc IS important, no question, and there is no one right mpc for everyone or for every type of playing. Mpcs typically used for classical work are not at all the same as those favored by jazz players.

What kind of music do you want to play? Who are some of your favorite players? What sound do you favor, something more sweet and mellow, or sharp and bright? Answering those questions will help to point out a style of mpc that you might want to consider.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well, I like both!
Sweet and mellow on lower volumes, yet bright on higher volumes.
The only tone I like less is the mid frequencies. If I have elevated low end, and nice brights I'd love that most.

The main reason for starting this thread is to get rid of the mid bump on my sax, standard equipped with a cheap mouthpiece.
I think it is of as much importance to deepen yourself into the gear as it is in playing!
Players that play very well on crappy gear might get as far as less good player playing on excellent gear.
I think there's a balance between both, and I do believe it IS important to study your instrument, including the acoustics and dynamics, and parts of the instrument!

I will agree though, I will never be a really good, good sax player. But that does not stop me from growing where I can!
I am a fairly 'new' player, but expect to switch over from my student model sax to another more intermediate within a year to a year and a half, due to the limitations of this model.
Right now I'm hoping to get the best out of the instrument I have, and research to make it better!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
I've only been playing for a few months on a Selmer AS300 student rental sax with a no name brand of MP. I sounded terrible and was convinced that I got stuck with a real lemon of a saxophone. I started practicing regularily, purchased a Selmer C* S80 and a new Vandoren ligature and guess what, that Selmer AS300 is a pretty good sounding saxophone..... lol

Diskman50
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
Your best bet, I think, would be to find a shop that lets you audition mpcs, or perhaps ask to play those of friends or acquaintances, and see what floats your boat. Be aware that mpcs come in many different facings, and they require different strength reeds. A more closed facing will generally require a harder reed and vice-versa.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
35,039 Posts
Did I get it right so far?
Hmmm, no.

If you want to read up on the 'net, check out sites by MojoBari

http://www.mojomouthpiecework.com/FAQ/tabid/55/Default.aspx

and Theo Wanne

http://www.theowanne.com/mouthpieces101/glossary.php .

For a beginning player, just get a good mouthpiece and learn to control the tone and color of your sound. A "standard" mouthpiece with a good facing is the way to go if you want to play the horn.

Find a teacher with a good sound and spend a lot of quality time listening - listening to other players, listening to your tone as you play.

G'luck.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
For a student just starting out on saxophone the Yamaha 4C or Fobes Debut are excellent choices. Until good tone production skills are established and the player has developed the ability to begin to control the sound, an expensive mouthpiece is unnecessary. In fact, if the mouthpiece design goes toward the extremes in facing length, baffle, or tip opening it can actually do more harm than good in the development of embouchure and tone production fundamentals.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
35,039 Posts
Listen to John and don't be a gear head (like 82% of SotW readers).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,881 Posts
So many variables. The mouthpiece chamber size or internal volume is one obvious variable.

Yes, as a beginner you should practice and play on those mouthpieces deemed 'standard' or middle-of-the-road like those by Meyer, Link, Selmer and Vandoren. However, as you progress the critical mouthpieces to have are the ones that your idols play on. Then play along with their recordings until the cows come home.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Interesting!
I saw a video of a guy rehearing his songs on his mouthpiece! Just the mouthpiece and a reed, and he was able to get (kind of) an a-major scale out of it, all notes on the scale!

I think I could do that with the stock mouthpiece while using the better mouthpiece for playing.

I never thought of playing a mouthpiece by itself!
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top