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Discussion Starter #1
I played alto for 15 years before stopping about 6 years ago to focus on guitar and banjo. I had always wanted to play soprano, but the ensembles I had played with required alto and the occasional tenor. Anyway, as you may have seen in my other post, I am starting to play again and just acquired a beautiful Mark VI soprano. It came with a modified D9 Dukoff (changed to be more like a D8). The Dukoff tone isn't really my thing... I like the tone Lacey gets from his setup, but some of my favorite tone is the darker, warmer sound Coltrane got (for example, search for the Birdland clips on youtube). I'm also not currently able to play a hard enough reed to use the Dukoff since I haven't played in years and will have to strengthen my embouchure. I've been looking at getting an Otto Link or Selmer mouthpiece. Should I be looking at metal or rubber, and which model? I read somewhere the Coltrane used a metal Soloist E, but didn't he change mouthpieces frequently?
 

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Congratulations on your acquisition. For a good match with a Mark VI soprano I suggest you try a Selmer Super Session. It's the closest current production mouthpiece to what was originally shipped with the horn. They are also reasonably priced new, and fairly easy to find in the second hand market as well. You might need to try several different openings to find a size you are comfortable with as you get your chops back.
I would stay away from the Selmer metal mouthpieces for now. They are quite expensive, even second hand. Get some time with horn first, then you can make a more educated buying decision.
And don't worry about what Coltrane played - you're not going to sound like him from copying his setup.
 

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I don't know that what I use on my MKVI's will help you, but here goes. I have a number of mouthpieces that play well on mine ... Selmer S-80 D, E, G and J; Selmer Super Session J; Morgan Vintage 6 and 7, Phil-Tone Sapphire .070, and Joe's Missing Link .072. There are others, too, but you et the idea.

I use soft reeds (Alexander Superial or Vandoren 2-various cuts) and I shave (adjust) them when I prep them.

The S-80 D gives me a more metallic oboe-like tone; the open tips in .065 to .072 range give me more of a saxophone sound, but the individual reed is critical to that effect. I use the same reeds for all of them except that for the D/E pieces, I don't do nearly as much adjusting as I do on the open tips. I use the same set-ups on my vintage and modern sops, too.

I avoid amplification like the plague - these set-ups allow me to compete with the brass without any electronic help.

I am NOT a fan of those players you mentioned; I am a Bechet-guy, but most of all of that comes from the player, not the horn or the set-up. DAVE
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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One thing you said doesn't add up; you don't have the embouchure yet to play a 'hard enough' reed on the Dukoff.

#!, how do you know the Dukoff 'isn't your thing' if you can't play it?
#2, typically you would use a softer reed on a more open mouthpiece, at least at first, so how do you figure a D8 requires a harder reed?

You should at least try the Dukoff and you might be surprised. Try a #1 1/2 on it. Possibly the previous owner was trying to get the Kenny G. sound since he plays a Dukoff.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, the previous owner was trying to get the Kenny G sound. I tried a 2 1/2 on the Dukoff and it was squeak city... 3 1/2” and I could barely get a sound out of it. The other day I was playing some Yani’s at a store and had no problems with a 2 1/2 and a rubber Selmer C.

I was thinking about getting a metal E for jazz and a rubber C for concert band use. That’s what I used to use on alto.
 

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You want a soprano mouthpiece that will help you to get a sound like Steve Lacy's ?

The answer is a simple one:

The expert in soprano sax mouthpieces is Joe Giardullo of SopranoPlanet. I play his mouthpieces on both my sopranos: they are superb. In addition, Joe was a personal friend of Steve's — they played together many times. No one is better equipped to help you in this matter than Joe. If you can't get to the NY State area too easily, Joe will happily correspond by email. He'll ask you a shipload of questions in emails, regarding the instrument you have, the sound you want from it, and what you're used to using so far. When he's happy he knows what you want, he'll make you a mouthpiece to suit. This is what he did with me, for three different mouthpieces, and every time he absolutely nailed it ! As well as being the soprano mouthpiece expert, Joe's a hell of a nice guy. I can't recommend him highly enough.

Joe's a member here, but the fastest way to contact him is via his website, sopranoplanet.com. email: [email protected]

EDIT: And check out Joe's description of Steve Lacy's mouthpiece here: http://sopranoplanet.com/steve-lacy-mouthpiece-link-tone-edge-12/
 

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I'll second what he said about Joe G.! A few years ago he started a 'pass-around' with a hard rubber 'Missing Link' .090". That's what I said, an .090 soprano piece. So naturally I signed up for it. When it arrived I slapped the reed I was playing on my previous .065 Guardala Liebman and the thing blew great on the same reed I used on a smaller mouthpiece. Its like Joe says, tip opening doesn't tell the story - its how it plays. I was so knocked out by the mouthpiece I contacted Joe that day and made a deal to buy it. Sorry about the pass-around but I needed it. It is still my soprano piece. I play a 1 1/2 on it - as I said, I was already playing a 1 1/2 on the Guardala.
It sounds to me like the Dukoff is damaged or faulty or maybe you don't have any soprano chops yet - you'll find out if you keep playing it that one hour on it is like three hours on tenor, so you work your chops out really good with it. I always recommend guys play the soprano when their practice time is limited. One very key thing to be aware of is to control your biting on the high notes because its natural to do that. You'll catch yourself biting, and when you do, go back and do the phrase again going up to the high note and remember to do it with the embouchure instead of the jaw. This instant feedback system will cure you of it almost immediately. Foe sheer torture, which I highly recommend, start your practice on soprano with a full five minutes of excruciating long tones.
If I had that Dukoff I would send it to John Reilly in LA. He'll fix it if its humanly possible.
 
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