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Discussion Starter #1
I'd be interested to have a discussion about this topic. Are you looking for resistance in a mouthpiece or would you prefer it to be as freee blowing as possible? How much resistance is "good" and are there different "types" of resistance or different types of playing where resistance is more or less desirable? How are you measuring/defining resistance? What does more or less resistance do for you in terms of tone, dynamics, articulation, etc? Any thoughts at all really...
 

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Being from a classical field of play, I actually prefer a good bit of resistance. Not to the point that it hinders the horn from speaking, but to the point that the tone is percieved as controlled, focused, and somewhat resilient. I usually accomplish this by using a thicker reed however, so think about a thicker reed moreso than a more free blowing mouthpiece I guess. However, low volume, low notes tend to be the most work in this setup...=/

- Pat
 

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On Clarinet, I use a wider tipped mouthpiece and stiffer reeds, it impreoves my articulation and makes me work to get a nice tone and makes me exaggerate my phrasing.

On Sax, I don't want to work as hard, but I still like to have something that "pushes back." Too 'free blowing' and it starts to get wild and gross.
 

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With an extremely free blowing mouthpiece (e.g., JJ DV) you will need to go up in reed strength. This has some advantages and some drawbacks. If you want control without such a hard reed, you need more resistance built into the mouthpiece. But too much resistance will force you to use a very soft reed, which generally makes your sound and response suffer. This is a practical way of thinking about it. Whether from the reed or mouthpiece, a certain amount of resistance is required to allow precise articulation and avoid squeaks.
 

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I find the a fair amount of resistance helps clean the squeaks out of the altissimo range. However, not too much. I guess if I were to measure it, it would be enough to just feel the note push back, like it's coming out of you instead just on the horn. Like you're still part of the note it that makes sense.
 

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I cannot abide stuffy, resistant mouthpieces. I want free-blowing. Like stated above, you add resistance as needed with the reed. My tenor set-up is an original Guardala 'King Curtis' with a RJS 3S. The piece is about a .120. All my other set-ups are similar in effect, all Guardalas except a rubber Berg 130/1 on baritone. How can you have a lush, liquid sound with a 'tight' mouthpiece? I guess the answer is that not everybody wants a lush sound. My idea of a good tenor sound has always run the gamut from Stan Getz to Boots Randolph, King Curtis, Plas Johnson, etc. That might seem strange, considering Getz's sound does seem to have a lot of resistance in it, but it's still a very musical and clear sound, not 'strident' and thin as is the fashion today. I can get a fair 'Getz' sound with my set-up when I want to.
 

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I like some resistance, but I need the horn to be able to speak instantly. Just enough that I feel like I'm working, but not so much that it's exhausting.

I play a Link, which has a fair amount of resistance, although it has a fair amount of material in the baffle area, so it's not stuffy AT ALL. I also have a Berg 110/2, which has less resistance than the Link, although not much less. I've tried Dukoffs and Metalites on tenor, but I just couldn't get along with them. They didn't feel like I was blowing against anything. I've tried compensating with harder reeds, but reed resistance feels different from resistance naturally in the mouthpiece from chamber/baffle/tip opening, and it starts to get difficult (for me) to get them to speak down low or to sound good up high.

What does this really mean? I would need to spend more time with high-baffle, low resistance mouthpieces in order to sound good on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the thoughts so far guys, it's interesting for me to learn more about this from the more experienced guys here on SOTW because I'm just getting to the stage in my playing where I am beginning to notice and care about these things.

The desire for more information came about when comparing two mouthpieces that are tonally quite similar but one is more resistant than the other. The more resistant one needs more effort to get it going but feels like I get more control, the less resistant one allows me to flow around the sax with ease but I lose some of the control and precision over my articulation. To me the tone of the less resistant one is also a little less complex and a little less subtoney, but both tones are nice.

Of course I realise that a lot of this is where I'm at in my learning curve as well...
 

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Don't get me wrong. I don't like stuffy or thin. Just enough that it doesn't feel like the note has totally escaped into the horn. Otherwise I feel like I'm playing a kazoo.
 

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I like a mouthpiece you can push hard without it giving out on you. I've played extremely free blowing pieces, typically longer facings and for me they sound great, but you lose some control and ability to shape the sound.

For me a large chamber/large bore piece is what I like best with a medium facing. I've tried lots of pieces, but this set up is what I always come back to.

Right now I'm playing a HR Link, but I do use metal NY links as well. I recently hollowed out the bore and carved out the throat and chamber on a Kessler OL7 pro and it plays quite a bit like a HR slant, I just need to open the tip a little.
 

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I think there is good resistance and bad resistance. Good resistance allows you to open up your throat, shape the sound, and feel like the air has something that pushes back and helps to sustain the tone at many dynamics. Bad resistance causes squeaks, a tendency to bite, pinching in the throat, and loss of tonal control in general. Also we all have a tip opening range that works for us on any given saxophone. Go too far beyond this with your chosen reed strength and you're in bad resistance land. This tip opening range can change based on the baffle size and shape that coincides with the tip. I've found that as the baffle becomes straighter/smaller, the same tip opening will tend to feel more resistant. On the other hand adding more rollover baffle to the same tip will take away some resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I tried out a slightly harder reed (from RJS 2H to 3S) on the less resistant piece and this has increased the resistance and tonal complexity but it's making me work harder!

Incidentally, both of these pieces are tenor "link style" ie with a big chamber and little to no baffle.
 
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