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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been on a mouthpiece search for what seems like forever (3 years).
I'm a junior in college and I play in jazz bands, but I'm not a jazz major. I am majoring in music ed with an emphasis in classical tenor saxophone. I play alto sax in a combo and I take jazz lessons. I have been told so many times that my sound is too bright. No matter what I do I'm too bright.
I currently play a meyer 6m with a rovner dark ligature. I have tried so many different reed strengths (ranging from 2-3.5) and types (vandoren blue, zz, v16, java, gonzales, rico reserve, rico jazz select, and so on...). I have a rovner light ligature and several metal ligatures and none of them help to darken my sound.
I work on overtones and subtones to darken my sound and I also do mouthpiece exercises. None of those things have really helped.
I have tried a number of mouthpieces (metal link, hr link, vandoren java, vandoren v16, runyon metal, meyer metal, selmer c*, classical rousseau, rico metallite, stock yanagisawa, metal jody jazz chi, sr tech legend, and claude lakey).
The only mouthpieces that I liked out of all of those have been the Vandoren V16 A6 and the SR Tech Legend. I wouldn't say that they darkened my sound by much, I just think they made my lows more rich and allowed an even tone throughout all registers of the horn and they were both very easy to blow.
I sound super dark and rich on my rascher mouthpiece, but I can't use that for jazz because there is no projection.
I'm not looking for a sound so dark that I get lost in the ensemble or have to blow my brains out to be heard... I want a dark, warm sound with depth.
My favorite saxophonists to listen to are Desmond and Phil Woods.
Could I get some suggestions on how to make my tone darker and more rich?
I think that it has to do with my set up and the fact that I haven't found the right match for myself.
Any suggestions of any kind would be great. :)
Thank you ahead of time!
 

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the gear but constitutes to part of the tone, major contributions of your tone will be your embouchure.
long tones will always help with the tone.
you may wish to consider testing a Jody Jazz DV NY. this mpc lends to the "richer tone" and is great for low notes. I am using this with a Rovner Mk III or Jody Jazz gold ring ligature. I am currently using the vandoren blue box for this setup with reed strength of 2 & 2.5
this journey will likely be a lifelong one as our taste change or mature.
P Desmond is a major influence for me.
dun stop at one if possible, test as much as possible. but a 3 minute playing is not a test with due diligence. most of my frens recommend playing at least 2-3 months before giving verdict on the mpc.
happy testing.
 

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I have been on a mouthpiece search for what seems like forever (3 years).
I'm a junior in college and I play in jazz bands, but I'm not a jazz major. I am majoring in music ed with an emphasis in classical tenor saxophone. I play alto sax in a combo and I take jazz lessons. I have been told so many times that my sound is too bright. No matter what I do I'm too bright.
I currently play a meyer 6m with a rovner dark ligature. I have tried so many different reed strengths (ranging from 2-3.5) and types (vandoren blue, zz, v16, java, gonzales, rico reserve, rico jazz select, and so on...). I have a rovner light ligature and several metal ligatures and none of them help to darken my sound.
I work on overtones and subtones to darken my sound and I also do mouthpiece exercises. None of those things have really helped.
I have tried a number of mouthpieces (metal link, hr link, vandoren java, vandoren v16, runyon metal, meyer metal, selmer c*, classical rousseau, rico metallite, stock yanagisawa, metal jody jazz chi, sr tech legend, and claude lakey).
The only mouthpieces that I liked out of all of those have been the Vandoren V16 A6 and the SR Tech Legend. I wouldn't say that they darkened my sound by much, I just think they made my lows more rich and allowed an even tone throughout all registers of the horn and they were both very easy to blow.
I sound super dark and rich on my rascher mouthpiece, but I can't use that for jazz because there is no projection.
I'm not looking for a sound so dark that I get lost in the ensemble or have to blow my brains out to be heard... I want a dark, warm sound with depth.
My favorite saxophonists to listen to are Desmond and Phil Woods.
Could I get some suggestions on how to make my tone darker and more rich?
I think that it has to do with my set up and the fact that I haven't found the right match for myself.
Any suggestions of any kind would be great. :)
Thank you ahead of time!
You are welcome to participate Kanee pass around hold at http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?147957-Kanee-Hard-Rubber-Mouthpieces-Pass-Around, there are lots of opitions, I think Kanee Custom M5 might work for you.

Thanks
Kane
 

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Check out the Rousseau New Classic facings with a hard reed.
 

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Perhaps try mouthpieces with a larger chamber. For example, getting a Meyer 6L instead of a 6M. I read somewhere that a larger chamber gives you a richer, darker sound.
You could also consider buying a second Rascher and getting it modified as in...let's say, opening up the tip size.
Another option is to try a Selmer Soloist E or F size.
 

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So many mouthpieces...so little time. :bluewink:
 

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I think you should try Vandoren Java Reds if you havent already with your Meyer. The Reds give you a darker sound compared to the Green Javas and that might be what your are looking for. I might also suggest finding a great Otto Link Tone Edge. That should even out your sound and it worked great for me as lead alto in a big band with green javas.
 

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I have the following mouthpieces:

Vandoren Java A35
Vandoren V16 A6M
Phil Barone NY 6
Otto Link TE 6
Meyer G 6

I recently bought a Selmer Soloist D...Bingo!! This baby sings. It is dark has great dynamic range and
projects well. I play it with a Java 3 reed.

Try it, you never know, it might do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree that 3 min playing tests don't do the trick, but most times I can put a mouthpiece on and play it and know immediately if I don't like it.
I work on long tones everyday. I hope that my sound clicks for me soon.
I got my Rascher opened up about a year ago by Lawrence Wyman and he did a wonderful job, but the piece still isn't open enough for jazz playing and I don't intend for it to be.
I have really been thinking about going for a large chambered jazz piece.
I don't like big tip openings on my alto. I have a 9 opening on a rico metallite for marching band and it is difficult for me to control.
I wish I could afford to buy a mouthpiece to try it out for 2 months, but I lose money that way and since I'm in college money isn't that easy to come by.
I want to try out a soloist, super session, and s80 E and some mouthpieces with a large chamber. Any other recommendations?
I'm weary about trying metal on an alto... in my experience they sound extremely contemporary and for jazz I'm not really looking for that type of sound. I want warm, dark, and deep with a rich tonal center.
I am getting a new horn soon, so maybe that might help with my sound.
I'm loving all of this feedback.
Thank you, everyone.
Keep it coming, please! :)
 

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The trick is to pick one, and stick with it for a least a month.

Make sure to record yourself playing and listen to that. If you don't you could have a smoking sound but you won't hear it and maybe are letting other things (preconceptions ?) get in the way.

Could try an rpc http://saxmpc.com/ . I love mine on tenor and bari.
If you do make sure to follow Ron's advice on reeds.

But if you are to bright on everything , is it the equipment or you ?
Have you tried doing tone exercises ?
Just the mouthpiece or mouthpiece and neck.
What about practising overtones ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I practice overtones regularly. I haven't done mouthpiece exercises in about a year.
I have a dark tone with my rascher and I also get a dark tone on tenor... both classically and when playing jazz.
I just can't seem to get away from my ridiculously bright jazz alto sound.
I try different mouthpieces, but I always go back to my meyer.. because even though it doesn't give me the "sound" I want... it almost always has some edge over a different mouthpiece. I am considering putting the money into an RPC mouthpiece.
I will look into the Warburton mouthpieces too.
My main influences on alto are Cannonball Adderly and Phil Woods. I love Desmond, but his tone isn't suited for my playing style.
Both Adderly and Woods play(ed) on meyers, but they don't have an overly bright sound.
I don't believe that my internal sound concept is bright.
I'm not sure yet how to get rid of this brightness in my playing, but I work on it almost everyday.
Only time will get me there, I suppose.
 

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I always cosidered Adderley and Phil Woods pretty bright alto sounds...........I just want to make sure we are on the same page as far as descriptions. You say you want dark and the brightness out of your sound but I hear tons of brightness in Cannonball and Phil Woods so I'm confused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My sound is extremely bright.
It's nearly a shrill sound... like a David Sanborn sound sometimes.
While Adderly and Woods have bright tones they are nowhere near as bright as Sanborn.
I want to get away from the Sanborn and sound like Woods and Adderly... who in my opinion have mature sounds with bright overtones coming through. They both can be bright, but their brightness is compact and punchy. Sanborn on the other hand, to my ears, is overly bright all across the spectrum of his horn. He is a great player, his sound just isn't what I am after.
 

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You've gotten a lot of great advice already. I'll just add that I wouldn't be in too great a hurry to burn through a lot of mouthpieces. The first ten years or so of my own playing I didn't own more than probably four mouthpieces (two for alto, two for tenor) but I found my tone evolving nonetheless. Only in more recent years (after playing for about 24 years) have I done much experimentation with mouthpieces. Now I have enough embouchure and control to get more the quality of sound I want, with the mouthpiece as more of an enhancement than the cornerstone of my sound. Of course mouthpieces make a substantial difference, but if you persevere with your practice and technique I think you'll find more and more of "your sound" with any mouthpiece you use. Just IMHO. Keep playing and have FUN! Good luck on your quest.
 

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If you're in Hattiesburg, are you studying with Larry Panella? He'll probably give you better advice than anyone on the internet could, since he could hear you play in person, and he's an expert on the level of just about anyone else out there.

It sounds like the type of mouthpiece you're using isn't a problem. If it isn't right for you, it might be unbalanced, and could benefit from an expert reface.
 

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I can vouch for the Vandoren V16. Stunning mouthpiece! Experiment with different reeds on this piece if you can. To my mind, using more "classical" reeds will give you a darker tone. Try the Rico Reserve or Vandoren blue box.

If that doesn't work out for you try the JodyJazz HR. To my eye the design of these two mouthpieces are very similar. The JodyJazz mouthpiece is just a little bit more closed up. It produces a more "reserved/introverted" sound than the Vandoren does.

But heck, what do I know? These things tend to be relative from player to player.

Good luck with discovering your "sound". It's a hell of a lot of fun!
 
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