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Discussion Starter #1
Whats the best way to test a variety of mouthpieces. I know that just because a sax player wants to sound like Brecker or (insert favorite sax player here) doesn't mean a Guardala will work for him. Different strokes for different folks to achieve whatever sound they are looking for. Ebay is great for this but buying a million mouthpieces could get expensive. I play a cannonball with a level air. Overall, my tone has improved drastically with a lot of practice but some notes still seem a little "dead". Middle f, e, and d are the main culprits here, especially at high volume. Just wondering if their is a shortcut or if somebody new which direction I should go. Want to brighten my sound a little.
 

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Find a music store with a good variety of mouthpieces and bring a few good reeds in varying sizes (different pieces will respond better with different reeds). General rule of thumb for those just getting into the hunt is the larger the tip - the softer the reed and vice versa. If you find one that you really like at a dealer, don't be so quick to think you can find the same one cheaper on ebay. It may be the exact size and make and model of the one you like but play completely different. Do yourself and the store a big favor and purchase the one you really like from the person or store that provided it for you to try out. It is the honorable thing to do.

You may also be able to find a refacer or private dealer who has a large selection. Try to give that a shot.

BTW what neck of the woods are you in? We may be able to direct you to someone.
 

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Bigdyno said:
I play a cannonball with a level air. Overall, my tone has improved drastically with a lot of practice but some notes still seem a little "dead". Middle f, e, and d are the main culprits here, especially at high volume. Just wondering if their is a shortcut or if somebody new which direction I should go. Want to brighten my sound a little.
Mouthpiece: What tip opening are you playing? What strength reeds are you using?

Bigdyno said:
Overall, my tone has improved drastically with a lot of practice but some notes still seem a little "dead". Middle f, e, and d are the main culprits here, especially at high volume.
Horn: When was the last time your horn was checked for leaks and regulation?

I'm guessing from your post that you may not have been playing very long. Make sure that you are taking in enough mouthpiece and keeping your throat open. I would think the Level Air to be at the far end of the bright spectrum - at least the ones that I once played. If you like the sound of the LevelAir, you just need to get everything else working properly.

Shortcuts? Please don't take the shortcuts. They will only lead you back to the beginning where you will start over again and have to unlearn the bad habits you have gained along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've been playing for about 20 years, although not with professional guidance. The horn is brand new and I don't think it has any leaks. I'm in North Carolina and don't know of many places to try mouthpieces. The dead spot may be a characteristic of the horn although I doubt it. Seems to be excellent in every other way. I think its a 7 level air. Thanks for the help.
 

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The dead spot that you cite may be the body octave vent not opening sufficiently (or partially clogged) - or poor regulation or a leak. It doesn't make sense to me to blame that on the mouthpiece. But I've been wrong before...

Did you have the same problem with the same mouthpiece on a different horn?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The horn is about 6 months old and I must clarify, I have been playing alto for 20 years (off and on) and I am new to tenor. My alto is a 62 model mark VI. It leaks everywhere, lol. The dead spots I'm talking about are very slight. Around here there aren't any music stores that have a bunch of mouthpieces to try. Maybe I need to relocate. :(
 

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Which part of North Carolina? Charlotte's got a few stores like Sam Ash that can at least hook you up with a few different ones. I find it hard to believe that with the history it has there isn't much to choose from considering the different colleges that are well known for sax studies there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Swampcabbage said:
Which part of North Carolina? Charlotte's got a few stores like Sam Ash that can at least hook you up with a few different ones. I find it hard to believe that with the history it has there isn't much to choose from considering the different colleges that are well known for sax studies there.
About an hour from Charlotte and 45 minutes from Greensboro. When it comes to schools and such, I'm kind of out of the loop. I don't know many other sax players. Most of the musicians I hang out with are guitar, bass, drums types. In Raleigh there is Marsh woodwinds. They are a nice store but as far as mouthpieces go they sold me a Jody Jazz rubber mouthpiece when I bought the horn. Blaaaghhhhh.:evil:
 

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You should have played the mouthpiece first. ;)

Go back and see them and see if they'll take the piece back on trade? Bottom line is that you will save a lot of dough if you try them out first. Well worth the trip.
 
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