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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I am in the UK and have just bought myself a 1946 King Zephyr alto serial number 281xxx as a step up from my Yamaha yas23 student horn which I have played for nearly 40 years! The Zephyr is the series 3 with the 3 rings for the neck strap hook.
The 2 mouthpieces I have at the moment are a vintage Lafleur Paris Artist and an Otto Link Metal STM. I have had them both years and I really didn’t know anything about mouthpieces when I acquired them. The Zephyr sounds pretty good with the Lafleur, the Link really doesn’t seem to work so well as it sounds less expressive, and lacking depth. I mostly play in a large sax group doing jazz standards, Motown, funk and soul, plus at home I tend to noodle around playing along to darker mellow ‘doom jazz’. I would really appreciate any words of experience to help me in choosing a new mouthpiece, ligature and reed combo that may suit this particular sax as I have read on this forum that they can be a bit picky. I am looking for control plus plenty of projection when I need it, without losing expressively and mellowness. I have to say that having had the Zephyr just 24 hours, I am already in love! I feel so lucky to have found such a wonderful sax to progress on. Thanks in advance. Helen
 

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Forum Contributor 2014-2017
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Congratulations on your fine purchase. I’ve got a ‘45 Zephyr alto and it’s got a beautiful rich sound. Mine is mouthpiece friendly. A Meyer works great. Lots of projection and it can be very expressive IMO. I don’t think you can go wrong there. My Optimum AL5 and my Jody Jazz also play great on the Zephyr. Lots of choices out there. Like you, I didn’t like my Link (HR) quite as much.
 

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Agreed, Zephyrs are very mouthpiece-friendly. While it's really a very personal choice, FWIW, I like either a Ted Klum Focustone Acoustimax or a Selmer Super Session D with my 1950 Zephyr alto, depending on my mood. The Klum's more spread and versatile, while the SSD is more focused and woody in my experience.

These two pieces beat out many others in my collection, including a Jody Jazz HR and Jet, a Brilhart Tonalin, a Theo Wanne Gaia, red and blue Runyons (with and without spoiler), vintage King and Buescher pieces, and a Macsax Aura (which is really nice). But I still like a CE Mainstream or Metalite 7 for playing Sanborn-style Bowie tunes.
 

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Thanks, are you using ebonite or hard rubber Meyer and Jody Jazz ?
They are HR pieces. Zoot has some interesting suggestions that I’m sure will also work. I just listed a few moderately priced modern mouthpieces that are readily available which I’ve tried and found to be good players. Especially the Meyer. I should also add that some vintage mouthpieces have also worked very well too.
 

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I use my Selmer S80-D on my 1938 Z Special and it works as well as on my other altos. I agree, they are mouthpiece friendly and anything can work. Try a Meyer 6M.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all. Really helpful, especially readily available mouthpieces . Any further recommendations welcome as I will go to a big sax shop and try them all. X
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Any further recommendations welcome as I will go to a big sax shop and try them all. X
Helen, I would go to the shop as opposed to wondering about recommendations. Then you know what you get will work for you, not somebody else. Seriously.

I'm sure anyone who has recommended their own favourite mouthpiece will agree. I hope.
 

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I am also searching for a mouthpiece for my Zephyr. I only play at home, so, I don't a loud mouthpiece. I am looking for something that is easy to play with a deep and focus low notes. I tried all the mouthpieces I have, and so far like the Berg Metal 85/2/M and the Otto Link STM 7 the most. The STM can be less expressive as what OP described, because it sounds very dark. However, it roars in the low notes. Somehow, it resonates with the whole horn. But I feel the tip opening 7 is a too big for me and I am going to try a smaller tip. How small I should try without changing the tone?


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dealaddict -

There are just too many variables in your question. Loud, deep, focused, dark, expressive, are all subjective terms. The only way to find out what mouthpiece works for you is to try some. Tip size is only one factor in mouthpiece response. Facing length, embouchure, reed strength, and chamber geometry all make differences. If possible, why not do what the OP did and visit a music store that carries a variety of mouthpieces? Try some and see what you think. Best of luck on your quest.
 

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I used a piece of sand paper, did about 14 stroke near the "root" and voila! Problem solved. I like the Berg stainless steel with Vandoren Java Green 2 the most.


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