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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I played alto for a few years then bought a tenor, a mid 80s Yamaha which is lovely to play and has made me get a lot more serious about practising and playing. The tone I'm getting at the moment isn't as nice though, reedy and a little too bright for my taste (especially in the high register) so I've decided to upgrade my mouthpiece in the next few weeks. I'll buy online for the prices and selection but unfortunately high shipping costs mean that trying several isn't really an option; it will have to be a blind buy.

I was wondering if anyone could help me choose a mouthpiece, in the range of 200 USD, that would lend a little bit more richness, warmth and character to my tone? I'm not expecting some kind of holy grail piece and I know sound is mostly down to the player but if there's a way to help me sound a little more Dexter Gordon and a little less screaming ten year old I'd appreciate it a lot.

My current setup is the Yamaha 62 with a rico B7 mouthpiece (.105" opening) and a Rico Royal 2.5; I'm happy to change reeds to find something that suits but again there's a poor selection in my area. I've been tossing up especially between a Jody Jazz hr* and a Phil-Tone Custom Link so if anyone has an opinion on which of those is better quality please let me know, I'm open to other suggestions though too.

Thanks for reading this far and for your help!
 

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Don't expect too much from a mouthpiece, Conor. Although I think you can probably do better than a Rico B7. Do you have anyone nearby who has actually heard your tone and knows something about mouthpieces? That would more likely be of help to you in making a decision. Dexter Gordon played a Conn 10M earlier on with, I think, a Dukoff Hollywood piece. He later switched to a MarkVI. But even if you had the exact same setup it wouldn't get you appreciably closer to playing anything like his sound. I have owned and played a YTS61 for about 23 years now and I can count on one hand the mouthpieces I've used with it. I mostly use a Selmer S80 C* for classical work and a Dukoff D8 for jazz. But once again the mouthpieces are only one small factor in formulating a tone. Certainly take in whatever advice you may get from experienced players about a mouthpiece, but in the end it will be LOTS of practice and working on the basics that will bring you to the sound you want. Good luck and keep playing!
 

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Don't do it - blind buy, I mean.
Take Paul's recommendations, for example. I too play a Yamaha - a 23 - and I also blow a Dukoff D8. Now I know the 23 has a bit more edge than the 61, but there's no way I'd use my D8 for jazz...it's just too much of a monster. For rock, funk, soul and blues it's a great piece.
But that's me, and not Paul - we could play indentical setups and get completely different sounds out of it.

I know it's going to be a hassle but it really is worth taking the time and trouble to go to a store and try some pieces out.
Other than that, Pauls suggestion of getting some pointers from someone who can hear you play is an excellent idea.

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice, as it happens I'd already ordered one and I was became very worried when I read these - it arrived yesterday and thankfully it's great, my tone is a little richer and more focused but the main thing is that it's so much easier to play now. One of the biggest problems I had was that my high G would squeak up to a D at least 50% of the time, which hasn't happened once on the new piece.
That said, I realise I was lucky in this and I'll definitely avoid blind buys in the future.
 

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Thanks for the advice, as it happens I'd already ordered one and I was became very worried when I read these - it arrived yesterday and thankfully it's great, my tone is a little richer and more focused but the main thing is that it's so much easier to play now. One of the biggest problems I had was that my high G would squeak up to a D at least 50% of the time, which hasn't happened once on the new piece.
That said, I realise I was lucky in this and I'll definitely avoid blind buys in the future.
Which one did you buy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Which one did you buy?
Neither, in the end - I talked to Phil and he suggested a Link NY instead. He happened to have a second hand blank so it was about the same price as my other options. I posted a review in the tenor mouthpiece forum if you're interested.
 

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well, any new pice of equipment needs you to go through a couple of weeks (or months depending on how much you play) to really give you the idea of what it is that it does for you (or rather of what it makes you do with it) of adjustment and then you will settle into a sound upon which you can improve by choosing different reeds or slightly adapting your embouchure.

As I discussed in another thread, I have been amazed by how different a sound people can achieve on similar equipment and that has to be the work of the mind shaping what the body does to produce the sound. In other words, one has a mental image of the sound that he wants to achieve and , given a bit of time, you start unconsciously manipulating your embouchure to sound like you want to sound .

If you accept this possibility to alter your playing to fit a sound concept you actually achieve a strange conclusion and that is that one can more or less sound like one wants ( or like yourself) on pretty much anything the only difference is the relative ease with which you would do that or lack of it (which is what makes you prefer one model over another)

This is one of the oddest conclusions that I can draw by the fact that you take an experienced player like Pete Thomas or Steve Neff and you have them play different mouthpieces or saxophones and they pretty much sound ( perhaps more to the listener than themselves ) like themselves minus minor variations which could be adequately compensated given time and getting used to it or using different reeds.

So, when it comes to choosing a mouthpiece find something that make you feel like you are pointing in the direction that you want and that makes you feel at relative ease (no point in fighting an arduous battle if you can fight an easier one) and then start working to reach the sound concept that you are trying to match.
 
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