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Hi everyone, it's my first time posting here. I'm going to start learning the alto saxophone and bought myself a vintage conn 6m that did not come with a mouthpiece. After doing my research and based on what's available locally where I'm at, I have narrowed down my choice to the Rico Graftonite B3 or B5. The B3 has a tip opening of 0.70 while the B5 has an opening of 0.80. Both have the same medium chamber.

My questions are:
1) What would be the difference between these two mouthpieces given that they are identical in every way except the tip opening?
2) I have read that larger tip openings produce "more sound" or "bigger sound". Does that only mean a louder volume or does it also imply some other tonal characteristic?
3) Finally, some people complain that the B3 is "too closed" for them when they started out, what does having a "too closed" opening actually mean?

Thank you!
 

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welcome to sax on the web

A more open mouthpiece would normally be used for a better playing comfort ( depending on the strength of the reed used) but , depending on your embouchure, it may also indeed deliver a bigger souns , yet you are talking of rather closed mouthpieces with a really small interval, so there is not a huge difference there.

The bigger sound is a relative thing. You may use an opening that is too big for you and that you cannot manage therefore you won’t be able to play softly in the low register, then you have two ways, either you scale down the mouthpiece size or you try a different, lighter, reed. But playing light reeds on a large opening (I do) is not for everyone, requires a lot of control and reeds wear out quickly.

Traditionally, at least in the past, people played smaller mouthpieces and thicker reeds than we generally do now. This is something that has never worked for me, then , SOME of the people whom started with this set up went up with the opening of the mouthpieces or the reed or both.

I have always preferred to play on large mouthpieces and very light reeds.

Embouchure is not something that we all develop the same way for everyone nor it is necessarily a progression towards thicker reeds and more open mouthpieces.

You have to try what works for you. Of course you have to start somewhere and a cheap and rather nondescript mouthpiece such as the Graftonite ( Yamaha or Selmer) are just as good as any of the ways to start. Then you start looking at how and what feels good and make some attempts to improve the comfort and therefore sound output.

Remember you are juggling many things in the air that you are not mastering and trials and errors is the word.

One piece of advice is to take in more mouthpiece than most ( dwelling pretty much on the beginning of the tip) do in the beginning. You may have a splattered sound and you certainly don’t have to put the entire mouthpiece in your mouth but think that the sound all comes from the vibrating part of the reed.If you have only a couple of millimeters of reed chances are that you will be chocking it ( a lot of people start with incredible force on the embouchure which brings to teeth cutting in the lips and a chocked reed).

Good Luck!
 

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Personally I'd rather see a beginner on a smaller-tip piece, spending time working on embouchure / diaphragm / technique. Smaller tips are also (generally) easier to play in tune, or at least, they are usually less flexible intonation-wise than more open pieces.
 

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Just as a clarification, I didn’t say that a beginner should not use a small tipped mouthpiece.

I tried to address all the questions and concerns and give some pointers. This is a long quest and starting on a small tip and a medium reed is the way that all people started and proceeded or not to find their way out of the maze.
 

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You are only looking at the tip size. More importantly, the Graftonite comes with different chamber sizes and different facing lengths. I find that these two factors really are more important than tip size. I do not know how locally accessible these mouthpieces are to where you are located, but if at all possible, try the mouthpieces out before buying. If this is not possible, see if you can purchase from a store that will allow returns, and consider purchasing more that one chamber and facing to see which works better.

You are smart not to go for fancy boutique mouthpieces at the beginning part of your saxophone journey. That said though, there are many affordable, good mouthpieces on the market. You might consider a Yamaha 4C. I used this for awhile on a 6M, and it worked well with a nice even tone.
 

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Get a Meyer 5. You’ll never need to buy another mouthpiece.
That is so not true. I think meyers are overrated now. So many better meyer inspired mouthpieces on the market today..such as mouthpiece cafe..showboat..drake phil woods..all of these are way better than a stock meyer and even ny meyers.
 

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That is so not true. I think meyers are overrated now. So many better meyer inspired mouthpieces on the market today..such as mouthpiece cafe..showboat..drake phil woods..all of these are way better than a stock meyer and even ny meyers.
Well, I bought an off the shelf Meyer piece about 20 years ago for my 6M and I've managed to get along just fine with that, ever since. So for some of us, we won't ever NEED to buy another mouthpiece. WANT is another story.
 

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There are so many factors that affect how loud a mouthpiece plays. Tip opening is only one factor and many fixate on that one number. Baffle, chamber, facing length, etc, etc, all play a part. I have heard players who use a fairly close tip play with great projecting sounds. Sometimes a closer tip will have a more focussed tone, giving the projection one needs. Get comfortable playing with a decent basic mouthpiece (there are some inexpensive decent ones like the Fobes Debut, Hite Premiere that work well) and once you get your act together you can play around with different set ups and see what works for you.
 

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Hi everyone, it's my first time posting here. I'm going to start learning the alto saxophone and bought myself a vintage conn 6m that did not come with a mouthpiece. After doing my research and based on what's available locally where I'm at, I have narrowed down my choice to the Rico Graftonite B3 or B5. The B3 has a tip opening of 0.70 while the B5 has an opening of 0.80. Both have the same medium chamber.

My questions are:
1) What would be the difference between these two mouthpieces given that they are identical in every way except the tip opening?
2) I have read that larger tip openings produce "more sound" or "bigger sound". Does that only mean a louder volume or does it also imply some other tonal characteristic?
3) Finally, some people complain that the B3 is "too closed" for them when they started out, what does having a "too closed" opening actually mean?

Thank you!
As a beginner I would go with the Rico Graftonite #5 and start out with a light reed, say maybe a #2. The Graftonite being an inexpensive mouthpiece is a good choice because when you decide to upgrade you won't feel that you wasted a lot of money on a beginner mouthpiece. OK, now the most important thing you need to do is find a good teacher and learn a proper embouchure from the beginning. This is something you need to get right, right away. You don't want to develop bad habits early on as it takes a long time to correct them and frustration can set in. I'm assuming that there is someone you listen to that has inspired you to take up saxophone playing. I would expand on this and check out as many players as possible, from the early originators to current contemporary players as there is so much to learn by listening. Oh, BTW welcome to SOTW.
 

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Well, I bought an off the shelf Meyer piece about 20 years ago for my 6M and I've managed to get along just fine with that, ever since. So for some of us, we won't ever NEED to buy another mouthpiece. WANT is another story.
That is true haha :twisted:
 

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That is so not true. I think meyers are overrated now. So many better meyer inspired mouthpieces on the market today..such as mouthpiece cafe..showboat..drake phil woods..all of these are way better than a stock meyer and even ny meyers.
I agree with this. I had a NY Meyer a couple of years ago (I had 3, in fact) and none of them ended up fitting my sound concept. Sold them all. When factoring in how much they cost, I agree that they're overrated. They're good, but not ~$800 - ~$1,000 good. And let's not even get into the $1,500 - $2,000 Meyer Bros. Vintage Selmer Soloists (short shanks) are a better value for the money. I've only owned one stock Meyer (70's) and it wasn't too bad. However, from what I've read/heard, the modern ones aren't very consistent and often need some additional work done.

The blanket statement that you'll never need to buy another mouthpiece if you get a Meyer is simply not valid. What works for one person may not work for another.
 

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That is so not true. I think meyers are overrated now. So many better meyer inspired mouthpieces on the market today..such as mouthpiece cafe..showboat..drake phil woods..all of these are way better than a stock meyer and even ny meyers.
That is so very subjective. One could buy a stock Meyer and find that for them it plays better than any of the boutique makers you've mentioned. While I don't totally agree with Whaler either, I would say for the OP who's a beginner, Whaler's suggestion makes more sense because the mouthpieces you've suggested are twice the cost. And unlike Whaler's good fortune, most of us end up spending $$ on a few mouthpieces before we settle on one we really like. I think the OP's choice of the Graftonite is a good way to go because for $20.00 there's nary a whimper when it's time to move up.
 

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That is so not true. I think meyers are overrated now. So many better meyer inspired mouthpieces on the market today..such as mouthpiece cafe..showboat..drake phil woods..all of these are way better than a stock meyer and even ny meyers.
'inspired' doesn't mean 'same as', however.

While I agree that there is some inconsistency in the finished product of contemporary Meyer rubbers these days, they are still an incredibly reliable mouthpiece which is quite affordable, user friendly, and produces a tone which fits many player's desires/contexts.

The ones you mention as superior...are all way more expensive as well. So not quite sure how one should apply your logic. Comparing a $120 'piece to a $275-$375 one ?
Not quite an apples to apples comparison, eh ?


That is so very subjective. One could buy a stock Meyer and find that for them it plays better than any of the boutique makers you've mentioned. While I don't totally agree with Whaler either, I would say for the OP who's a beginner, Whaler's suggestion makes more sense because the mouthpieces you've suggested are twice the cost.
Exactly.

And with due respect (because I know a lotta folks here really have something for the Ricos)...and addressed more to the OP: I honestly feel the Ricos just are not very good mouthpieces, period. Yeah, they are cheap as all heck, but their precision of fabrication is poor and they are not really particularly user-friendly.
I actually feel they hamper a player, as opposed to assisting.
So if I were you, quixsax.... I would reconsider, quite honestly. You can get a much better 'piece for not a lot of $.

Yamaha, Bari Esprit, Fobes Debut...for instance... IMHO, are fall ar more solid bets than any Rico (regardless of model or chamber size/tip) both froma blowing perspective and a sound perspective (particularly the Bari), IMHO. Not to start an argument, I know they are popular, but they seem popular because they are cheap; not because they are particularly good.

Regarding tip opening, others have already given good answers....best of luck.
 

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Hi everyone, it's my first time posting here. I'm going to start learning the alto saxophone and bought myself a vintage conn 6m that did not come with a mouthpiece. After doing my research and based on what's available locally where I'm at, I have narrowed down my choice to the Rico Graftonite B3 or B5. The B3 has a tip opening of 0.70 while the B5 has an opening of 0.80. Both have the same medium chamber.

My questions are:
1) What would be the difference between these two mouthpieces given that they are identical in every way except the tip opening?
2) I have read that larger tip openings produce "more sound" or "bigger sound". Does that only mean a louder volume or does it also imply some other tonal characteristic?
3) Finally, some people complain that the B3 is "too closed" for them when they started out, what does having a "too closed" opening actually mean?

Thank you!
Welcome to SOTW! You will find a ton of different opinions on gear and such. If you are just now starting for the very first time, a Yamaha 4C or Selmer C* will work fine, as will the pieces you mentioned.

One thing I would advise: take lessons with the best sax teacher in your area. Lessons with a good teacher are FAR more important than your starting mouthpiece.

Best of luck! :)

- Saxaholic
 

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OP, the first thing for you to do is to start with a moderate mouthpiece and fairly soft reeds and build up your embouchure and air stream. Until you get that under control, you don't need to be chasing "bigger sound" and suchlike.

A Selmer S-80 C* would be a good choice except that it might be too long to fit properly on the Conn 6M with the tuner neck. However, for a bit more money you can buy the "Selmer Soloist" reissue which will work fantastically well on a Conn 6M (I have one of the originals and I know what I"m talking about). Yamaha 4C is another great choice. In years to come, either of those two will still be highly usable for certain applications - I regularly use my C* Selmer Soloist (on my 6M Conn) for small group work.

You will do a lot better buying a basic good quality mouthpiece like one of those two, some #2 Vandoren reeds, and getting yourself to a qualified instructor for lessons on basic air stream management and embouchure, than spending any more time and money on specifics of equipment choice at this point.
 

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Having recently gone through the beginning stages of learning myself, I suggest the Yamaha 4C, or a Hite Premier, with no more than a 2.0 reed. I also suggest (especially in the beginning) use Fibracell synthetic reeds, to take the reed variability problem out of the mix. Buy something like that, so you can work on getting your air supply where it needs to be. It's the most important thing you can work on, in the beginning. The other things will come with time, but if you don't have enough air, everything else will suffer until you take the time to get it up to snuff.
 

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That is so not true. I think meyers are overrated now. So many better meyer inspired mouthpieces on the market today..such as mouthpiece cafe..showboat..drake phil woods..all of these are way better than a stock meyer and even ny meyers.
Let's not push expensive boutique mouthpieces to the beginners that come to this site for information.
 

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Having recently gone through the beginning stages of learning myself, I suggest the Yamaha 4C, or a Hite Premier, with no more than a 2.0 reed. I also suggest (especially in the beginning) use Fibracell synthetic reeds, to take the reed variability problem out of the mix. Buy something like that, so you can work on getting your air supply where it needs to be. It's the most important thing you can work on, in the beginning. The other things will come with time, but if you don't have enough air, everything else will suffer until you take the time to get it up to snuff.
Mouthpiece choice - I agree, with perhaps the addition of the Fobes Debut.

Reed choice - I disagree, use a Rico Orange Box 2 or 2 1/2. Why? Cane reeds are the standard, synthetic reeds are useful in certain situations (doubling in a cold pit, for example), but there is almost nowhere in the country where you can't get a good Rico. I disagree that reed variability is a "problem" - reeds are part of the instrument, and we can get just as much variability from temperature and humidity swings.

<RANT_START> I think people, and in particular, amateur saxophonists, worry too much about the "complexity" of adjusting reeds. It's simple, requires little training (very little), and should be "part of being a saxophonist". You don't see young oboe players stressing about reeds; their teachers show them how to adjust, and then eventually, make reeds. Kids aged 9-10 with a Rigotti reed knife, a plaque, Grenadilla chopping block, tubes and gouged cane. Get a grip people!!! <RANT_STOP>
 
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