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Discussion Starter #1
I got into Lakeys when I was playing a lot of lead alto in big bands... I found I could control the brightness and intonation pretty well, and liked the clean, clear sound I got and still do, and have often been told I sound like Paul Desmond... these days though, I am playing world music, combo jazz and contemporary sax in church, so wanted something darker and richer, more like the Link on my tenor, for the combo and Middle Eastern world music, and something more contemporary for the Afropop and pop church music...

My current setup is a Lakey 5 star 3 on a Selmer Mark VII with 2.5 Rico Royal or LaVoz Medium reeds, and a Berg Larsen ligature.

I'd appreciate any suggestions from those of you who play more than I do and try all kinds of mouthpieces... I tend to find something I like and REALLY, REALLY go to town on trying to master it and really do what I want with it. The off side of that is getting in a rut and not having a fuller range of sounds to be able to access, I think.

Thanks...
 

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Been there, done that on the Lakey's. I didn't feel I could keep the thing in tune. Sounds like you had more skill or a better ear.

I don't know how some would could compare a Lakey sound to Paul Desmond. Hhhmmmmm.

I would suggest any of the following, based on your budget:
on the higher end price wise, Lamberson FMaj7 (hard to get right now), Jody Jazz DV or the new Guardala Cresent.

Mid range price: Sr Tech Pro, Jody Jazz ESP, (I'll let others finish this one for you)

Lesser price: Vandoren Jumbo java, Dukoff, Berg Larson.

There are a zillion more possibilities for each price point. This is just a start as you will see from the replies that follow.

I am currently using the FMaj7 for the same type of gigs you are playing. I also use the Jody Jazz HR, which is suppose to be a little darker for straight ahead jazz but can produce some nice edge when needed.

Good luck finding the right piece.
 

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You could try some of Jody Espinas mps´. After 20 years with a Claude Lakey 7*3 I switched to a JodyJazz Classic 8. I used it on a dance gig yesterday, playing lead alto in a local big band http://www.sintefstorbandet.no. It feels and sounds perfect for this purpose.
 

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I also have the Lakey 5*3. Two mouthpieces I like which are darker but still project nicely and are fairly inexpensive are the Bari brand Richie Cole 5 and the Runyon metal Smoothbore in a 9 (Runyon #'s look higher than they play) I thought the Smoothbore would be really bright but it sounds nice and thick on the alto. I got both from the WoodwindBrasswind company on a trial basis.
 

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I currently play on a Lakey 4*4 for alto. Actually, with a slightly harder reed, I find I sound a lot like Desmond if I back off the volume. It's not a far stretch...Desmond had a soft, but fairly bright sound. Lakeys are definitely bright, so back of the volume and...poof!

Anyway, I have a Meyer 6MM for backup and for the softer gigs (2nd alto, pit work, etc.). It's slightly darker and slightly quieter. You could search for a good one or just call up Ralph Morgan and see what he recommends, although his are going to be more pricey. Basically, what you probably don't like about the Lakey is the chamber size. Lakeys have small chambers, so you'd likely enjoy something with the more common medium chamber or even a large chamber.

You mentioned you like to work with what you've got toward your ideal sound. Along that line, if you haven't already, experiment with different reeds and see if any darken the Lakey up for you (specifically harder reeds). Also, I found that using a Rovner Dark on my Lakey works the best. Normally I don't like Rovners, but since the Lakey's already pretty bright, it darkens the sound just right. Good luck with your search!
 

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Try a Morgan. Darker than a Lakey, and very flexible, with a huge dynamic range that is easy to control. If you want more depth, get one with a large chamber; but I've tried both and I recommend the medium chamber on alto. After playing tons of alto pieces, my current favorite is the Morgan 8J.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great! Thanks for your suggestions... I'll see what I can find locally from what you guys recommended and go from there...
 
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