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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All;

I am new to the saxaphone and have only been taking lessons on tenor for 2 months. I have been having a lot of difficulty getting notes which require the use of the octave key. My instructor can hit them so it's not a problem with the horn, it's all me. My instructor advises that I may want to look at getting a better mouthpiece. I searched though the strings on mouthpiece advice and I don't want to ask, "what's the best mouthpiece for a ....?" but I could use some help with the sizing variences to help in finding a better one.

I downloaded a chart from saxaphone.org which lists tenor saxaphone mouthpieces from various manufacturers and their various sizes. (65 to 130) The website states that the the sizes indicates the opening. Would that be the tip opening and is that to mean the gap between the tip and the reed? More importainly what I would like to know, if possible, is if someone can shed some light on how the sizing effects the playability by which I mean easier or harder for beginners. Are there any other considerations or variences that I should be concerned about. Like I said I am really green here. I'm not looking at refining my sound for a darker tone, a lighter tone ,a brighter tone or a jazzier tone. All I'm looking for at this point is a consistant tone with fewer squeeks, shrieks, overtones and other rude sounding noises.

And actually the same question can be applied to reeds.

Another question. A lot of the advice in the mouthpiece strings advises to "check out a bunch and pick the one that works best for you". Which makes a lot of sense but with all of the manufactueres and different sizes, where do you even start? And while were on the subject, is it common place for a music store to let you try different mouthpieces and then put back the ones that you don't like? Sounds kinda gross! Definetly have to remember to sanitize any "new" mouthpiece I should get from this point on.

Well I'd appreciate any advise you folks can provide.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi
Like I said in my opening line, I'm learning how to play tenor sax. If it has any bearing, right now I have an Alpine tenor. The place where I take lessons is getting in a Beuscher Aristocrat which the owner has in the shop getting overhauled. The serial number puts it around 1975. I may upgrade to that when it comes in.

Thanks
 

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Cool, so I'll try to be as concise as possible.

Bluesblaster said:
I downloaded a chart from saxaphone.org which lists tenor saxaphone mouthpieces from various manufacturers and their various sizes. (65 to 130) The website states that the the sizes indicates the opening. Would that be the tip opening and is that to mean the gap between the tip and the reed? More importainly what I would like to know, if possible, is if someone can shed some light on how the sizing effects the playability by which I mean easier or harder for beginners.
Yes, the phrase "tip opening" refers to the size of the opening at the tip of the mouthpiece, and it is usually measured in thousandths of an inch. It is advised that those who are new the saxophone begin with a relatively close tip. This usually makes for easier and more consistent blowing and note production. As players develop, many choose larger tips, while others stay with smaller ones, but the latter are where about 97% of us start out. A really common choice is the Selmer S80 C* or Yamaha 5C.

Are there any other considerations or variences that I should be concerned about.
At this point, no. Contemplation of any other aspects of the mouthpiece at this stage will only serve to further complicate an already difficult process.

All I'm looking for at this point is a consistant tone with fewer squeeks, shrieks, overtones and other rude sounding noises.
Keep in mind that this is not just up to the mouthpiece. The only sure-fire way to eliminate these "rude noises" is faithful, dedicated, and regular practice. (This was a good opportunity to sneak in a plug for good practice ethic. :) )

And actually the same question can be applied to reeds.
Another common starting ground: Vandoren Traditional (blue box) or Rico #2. Again, the vast majority of us started here.

Another question. A lot of the advice in the mouthpiece strings advises to "check out a bunch and pick the one that works best for you". Which makes a lot of sense but with all of the manufactueres and different sizes, where do you even start?
This advise is generally for those who are looking to modify their sound or some other playing characteristic in a way in which their current mouthpiece will not [easily] accomodate. However, for those just starting out, the main focus is just learning how to play the instrument, as well it should be. It is not necessary at this stage to sample several different makes and models. That will come with time.

And while were on the subject, is it common place for a music store to let you try different mouthpieces and then put back the ones that you don't like? Sounds kinda gross! Definetly have to remember to sanitize any "new" mouthpiece I should get from this point on.
Not to worry! Music stores that offer this option - which not all do - have some potent sanitizing spray on hand to sterilize mouthpieces after play-testing.


I hope this helps to some appreciable degree. Be sure to come back if there's anything else you need (or want) to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Renaisance Man;

Thanks for getting back to me. You hit everyone of my questions. I appreciate the help. And yeah I know the mouthpeice will be no wonder cure. Practice Practice Practice! Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Pinnman;

Thanks for the link

Curious, what is it about the 1975 Aristocrat that you don't like? Have you had a bad experience with the horn?

I haven't seen too much negative on the 1975 Aristocrat, other than that it no where near the quality of a Buescher from the 1950's below and should not be construed as such. Other than that most of the info on SOTW indicates that the horn is comperable, if not identical, to the Bundy and overall a pretty good student horn for someone starting out. Additionally it fits within my meager budget. I'm real interested in hearing a differing opinion so as to be well informed.
Thanks for the help!
 

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I don't share in the general knocking of Selmer owned buescher production, but the saxes made from 1957 onwards were the result of much cost cutting. A mid-1960s Aristocrat would be a better direction to go in, at a very similar price - hence my comment.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Pinnman;

Thanks I appreciate your feedback. Like I said I'm aware that a mid 70's Buescher shares the same name as the vintage horns but the similarities end there. Curious, what's your opinion of Bundy horns? Thanks again for the insight.

Dave; Relish the glow! You added to website and have given something back to the community! Good luck in your mouthpiece quest.

I agree this website is fantastic. When I bought my sax I did not even know a sax player. Now I have about 5000 friends to get advice from. I look forward to the day when I can give back as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Pinnman;

Thanks I appreciate your feedback. Like I said I'm aware that a mid 70's Buescher shares the same name as the vintage horns but the similarities end there. Curious, what's your opinion of Bundy horns? Thanks again for the insight.

Dave; Relish the glow! You added to website and have given something back to the community! Good luck in your mouthpiece quest.

I agree this website is fantastic. When I bought my sax I did not even know a sax player. Now I have about 5000 friends to get advice from. I look forward to the day when I can give back as well.
 
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