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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started with Yamaha 5c. It was fantastic. I moved to the Hite Premier. Wow what a great difference. Much fuller, rounded sound. The Yamaha now sounds narrow, focused, but less pleasing. The Hite sounds good. And yes I could stay with it for a while and will, but what else is out there that I am missing? I cannot play a hard reed yet. A 3 has my cheeks sore before I finish a tune (I start every practice using a 3 playing scales until I tire). Even a Rico 2 is too hard until I scrape it to my playing level.
Having said that, I still would like to move on to a different piece, maybe with a .095 opening approximately(I believe the Hite opening is .085. My reading here indicates that ending with a .115 would be a normal place. I understand that it is the baffles that really make the difference, but I only understand the words not the effects.
Yes I am a beginner posting in the beginner forum. It is very likely that other beginners may read this. What are your comments addressing the above?
 

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You state that you are a beginner. If you have been playing, less than 2 years, I would suggest holding off on changing mouthpieces until you have more experience. That said, it would probably help if you stated what horn you have, including the make. From the tip sizes you mention, I assume that you are talking about a tenor piece. It sounds like you are early in your development, so I would not look at the $300+ boutique mouthpieces since your embouchure may not be fully developed or finalized yet. There are some very good non-boutique mouthpieces that you should consider. Ones that come to mind quickly are Jody Jazz and Vandoren. They will not break the bank, and both makers seem to have sufficient quality control to insure that their pieces are playable out of the box. I would also look at medium or larger chambers at this time. I think you should hold off on any high baffle pieces until you have more experience.

Here is the key. Try them out before you buy! Resist the temptation to buy off the internet just because they look cheap. You need to play these new pieces and see what tip and chamber type works to give you the sound you like. Forget the part about, "ending with a .115 would be a normal place", and don't worry about playing harder reeds. The normal place is the setup that plays best for you, not what plays best for others. Note, you are looking at larger tips, which should work well with the reed strengths you are using. There are other good, reasonably priced mouthpieces out there. I hope other members will chime in and suggest a few of them.

Go try some out and have some fun!
 

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My advice would be to stick with the Hite until you can play a 3 (without a ton of jaw pressure) on a tune without your face hurting. This isn't a race, and there's no finish line anyway. There are plenty of pros out there playing on Link-style 6-7 tip openings on size 3 reeds. As a beginner, please don't get hung up on gear, just get a solid foundation on the Hite and come back for gear in 3-4 years or so (seriously).
 

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As another beginner....

Earlier you posted that your frustration with reeds is enough to stop you practising. And reading this I do wonder if you are not putting too much burden on reed/mouthpiece for tone; and it's getting in your way.

My limited, personal (etc) experience has been: I've got a (alto) 4C, 5C, 6C and tried Vandorian Blue, Green, Red (2.5 - 3, variously). None are much work to push air through (maybe a reed needs a couple of days to break in) and hold a steady tone. I don't fuss with this much, I prefer 6C, Green 3... but no variation on these makes a fraction of a difference compared with what practising overtones, indeed practising long 3rd, 4th, 5th overtones etc. has made. It took me 3 years to get some controlled access to the overtone / altisimo world (I still can't "play tunes" reliably there!); but having done so, I do feel more in control of what tone is produced, through the whole range, and can change it to what [I think] suites the music I'm playing.

Now, should be said, I don't have great ears and, in general, I'm not a good musician. You probably have a better idea of the sound you're after and if that's heavily dependant on a MP - I've no idea.

my 2 cents.
 

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Sometimes beginners appear to believe that constant equipment changes/"upgrades" are a sign of progress in the learning process, like mastering two more pages in one's method book. "I've been playing a No. 2 reed for two weeks -- surely it's time to move to a 2.5?" "I'm ready for a new mouthpiece, but which one?" "I've been playing for three months now -- which Yamaha pro horn should I buy as an upgrade?" (The last one is a paraphrase of an actual post here.) Needless to say (hopefully), this kind of thinking is fallacious.

At this early stage of your development, player improvement should precede equipment improvement. That is, as long as you have a decent horn and a decent mouthpiece, which apparently you do, there's no immediate reason to change anything. Wait until you are sufficiently experienced as a player to understand why you'd like to make a change, i.e., you've established a specific musical goal that could be more readily attained with different gear.
 

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If you are scraping down a 2 on the Hite, you (your embouchure) is/are no way ready to move to a different mouthpiece.
Stay with what you have for at least a year.
And starting the practice sessions with a 3 until your face poops out... NOT a good idea. It promotes biting which is a nasty habit to correct down the road.
 

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If you are scraping down a 2 on the Hite, you (your embouchure) is/are no way ready to move to a different mouthpiece.
Stay with what you have for at least a year.
And starting the practice sessions with a 3 until your face poops out... NOT a good idea. It promotes biting which is a nasty habit to correct down the road.
Good advice!
Eventually, you will hopefully find heaven on some form of Otto Link.
 

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Definitely stay on the Hite for quite a while. Rico 2 is not a bad reed, continue using it. The only reason to go to a harder reed is if you have trouble keeping the pitch stable, especially in the 2nd register. I don't mean tremble-tone due to tired chops, but a loose, flabby sound that plays a little flat. If you do notice this, first try a new reed, and only then consider going up to a 2 1/2. Also, please make sure to rotate between 3 or 4 good reeds at all times. Play one reed one day, then the next day go to another. This gives reeds a chance to dry out between uses, which prolongs their life. Be sure to keep them in a decent reed case (the new D'Addario ones are quite good, and cheap).

Your idea about the "proper" tip size for a tenor mouthpiece is incorrect. There is nothing wrong with always using a 0.090 or 0.095" opening (equivalent to a 6 or 6* in Link mouthpieces). Many, many great musicians use that size mouthpiece.

Finally, what is "proper" anyway? Play what suits YOU. Do not fall into the "bigger is better" mouthpiece war games. I say this as a guy who used to play a 0.130" tip opening, and now feels that maybe 7* (0.105") is a little too big. FWIW, the 7* size is considered the "standard" size, but as I said, a 6 or 6* is just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for the responses. I will stay with the Hite for some time as I'm not ready to move yet, but I have my eyes set on a Link or Jody Jazz as those seem to be normal. I just read the 64 page thread on "what is your setup" looking to see what is normal and Otto links seem to be popular.....it also seems selmer 6 is a popular sax. My sax man had a tenor and alto 6, and just like my cymbals they were not to be touched. I have three Vitoes that have good voices for me.
 

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Hey all I started playing alto 22 years ago. I started on a YAS23. I played on the factory mouthpiece for the first 6 months then moved up to the Premiere by Hite. I play on Vandoren Java, Jazz, and v12 3s. I joined a local wind ensemble and decided to upgrade my horn I just purchased a Cannonball big bell stone series with brute finish no lacquere. I was struggling to get a low D and C on my 23 I can effortlessly play those notes with a clean attack including low G. I was blown away how out of shape my 23 was. I would like to get another mouthpiece something more open for a nice rock/blues tone. Pentatonic growls! I notice if I put more mouthpiece in my mouth I get a little bit closer to the tone I want but it’s much harder to control the horn. I really love the tone that Luis Gratziatto has I want this tone for when I’m at home improving. Planning on sticking to the hite to blend with the wind ensemble better. That is unless I can tame a more free flowing mouthpiece to be warm and round and use its edge for solos. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 
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