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After more than 30 years playing on the Meyer 6M my high school band teacher gave me, I'm looking into moving to a mouthpiece with a larger tip opening.

I've ordered a few mouthpieces to try out, in 7 and 7*. I've been recording myself with different mouthpiece and reed combinations, and I like the sounds I'm able to get out of the larger sizes. (At the recommendation of the mouthpiece makers, I'm using a harder reed, too--moving from a 3 soft to 3.5 hard or 4 medium.)

But: I'm struggling to have the embouchure/chops to play these things. Right now, there's no way I could make it through a gig on either of the two mouthpieces I've tried so far.

And: on higher notes, esp. palm keys, I'm getting upper partials instead of the notes I want. I've tried 8 different reeds, and tried adjusting the position of the reed tip, and these help, but I'm still getting overtones when I don't want them.

My questions:

  • Chops/ability to play this sort of setup will come with practice and building up the embouchure muscles, right? I've been playing a few hours a day for three days and I think there's already some improvement, but I'm definitely not playing my best on these pieces because I'm working so hard to control them.
  • Are the squeaks/partials I'm getting a normal effect of making such a large jump in opening/mouthpiece? I'll admit that I've traditionally used too much jaw pressure when playing. I've been working on easing up and shaping my sound with my throat muscles for the past few years. I think I'm slipping back into old bad habits trying to control the larger pieces--so maybe it's just a matter of practice?

Any other advice about making this leap is welcome, too!

If it helps, the two pieces I'm trying right now are a JodyJazz Giant 7* and JodyJazz DV Chi 7. I'm eagerly awaiting delivery of a Phil-Tone Mosaic to try out, too.
 

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It does not look like changing from 6M to 7 or 7* be a great jump in mouthpiece size. Harder reeds are recommended for closed mouthpieces, and softer reeds for open mouthpieces... Try changing the reeds...
 

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I’d avoid going up in tip opening and reed strength at the same time.
Start with one or the other and work from there.
An increase in tip opening may require that you go down a little in reed stiffness at least to begin with.
I’d start with the 3 soft as you were using.
 

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I've ordered a few mouthpieces to try out, in 7 and 7*. I've been recording myself with different mouthpiece and reed combinations, and I like the sounds I'm able to get out of the larger sizes. (At the recommendation of the mouthpiece makers, I'm using a harder reed, too--moving from a 3 soft to 3.5 hard or 4 medium.)

I’m curious to learn what mouthpiece makers are telling you to go to that hard a reed on a 7/7*. Try a 2 1/2.

Playing tenor should not be such a physical endeavor.
 

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If anything, most people go down a reed size (or two) while getting used to a larger tip opening. It's normal for there to be a bit of a learning curve, but it sounds like you're wearing yourself out more than necessary. I'd work with a 2 1/2 for a while till I got used to the larger tip, and then start experimenting with thicker reeds.
 

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I moved to a larger tip a few years ago. A 5* to a 6. I still use a 3 medium Rigotti.
The usual progression seems to be a closed tip as a beginner, an 8 or so with 4 reed when you know just enough to be dangerous and then back to a medium tip with a medium reed when you’ve learned how to play.
Then there’s the others who keep going until they play a 10* or a 150/1 Berg.
 

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I've ordered a few mouthpieces to try out, in 7 and 7*. I've been recording myself with different mouthpiece and reed combinations, and I like the sounds I'm able to get out of the larger sizes. (At the recommendation of the mouthpiece makers, I'm using a harder reed, too--moving from a 3 soft to 3.5 hard or 4 medium.)

But: I'm struggling to have the embouchure/chops to play these things. Right now, there's no way I could make it through a gig on either of the two mouthpieces I've tried so far.
If you've moved up to a 3.5 or 4 reed, I would say it's not the mpc, it's the reed that's causing you problems, and no wonder. Move down to a medium strength reed like a 2.5 to 3 (depending on brand; some brands run harder than others) and you should be fine on a 7 or 7* tip.

And yeah, the Phil tone Mosaic is a great piece. It's a probably a different animal than those Jody Jazz pieces.
 
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