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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, a bunch of notes stopped playing and I traced the problem to the neck/mpc. Then I checked the neck and that seemed OK. I did the suck-pop with the mpc and it totally failed. So now its got to be the reed, ligature or mpc. It's not the reed. The weird thing is that if I re-adjust the reed, the suck pop works and so does the sax. Could this be the ligature? The mpc is a hard rubber Selmer S80 C*. The lig is one of those leather ones with a brass screw (about $30).
 

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If by "readjust" the reed, you mean move it around on the mouthpiece, it sounds like the ligature isn't holding the reed securely enough and the reed is moving out of the ideal position. If this is the case then the ligature needs to be tighter. If it can't be made any tighter, then you need a different ligature.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
scrollshank,that's what I think. I thought ligatures lasted forever. Mine is about six years old. The only other ligs I have don't fit my mpc. They don't get tight enough. I guess I'll have shell out the money.
 

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Flatten the reed. The ligature should not be tightened to overcome a warped reed.


P.S. Ligatures can last “forever”. I have Selmer ligs that are decades old.
 

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Flatten the reed. The ligature should not be tightened to overcome a warped reed.


P.S. Ligatures can last “forever”. I have Selmer ligs that are decades old.
Yes, this is the correct answer. The combination of the back of the reed always being humidified by your breath while the front is exposed to air, plus the loads on the reed when bending as only the edges of the reed are supported where it bends, causes the back of the reed to become convex.

Scrape from the middle of the reed with a small penknife until it's flat again.

I have the first Rovner ligature I bought in 1978, still perfectly functional. The fabric ligatures last basically forever. The metal ones do too (I have a couple that are surely more than 50 years old) as long as they aren't bent and restraightened too many times.
 

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Not sure if it’ll help you at all, but generally if you lick the flat part of the mouthpiece (the table) before you put your reed on, your saliva will help to create a more positive/stronger seal between the reed and the mouthpiece.

Anyways though, its most likely a reed problem.
 

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Artists have been known to apply a little Vaseline to the table when mounting a reed. You probably can use cork grease just as well but I have never done either. If a reed acts up that way for me I just remove it and use another one. I've never had any luck messing with them.

'Licking the table'
Keeping the table clean will help the reed lay flat. Licking the table is no better, and probably not as good, as licking the reed. Either way, the wetting won't have lasting effect as the reed will soak up the moisture.


The concept of the 'sealing mouthpiece' is basically bull. Its just not going to happen on many mouthpiece/reed combinations. I don't see where it hurts anything if you can do it but generations of sax players never heard of it. Its mainly an 'internet sensation'.
 

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The concept of the 'sealing mouthpiece' is basically bull. Its just not going to happen on many mouthpiece/reed combinations. I don't see where it hurts anything if you can do it but generations of sax players never heard of it. Its mainly an 'internet sensation'.
Actually it predates the existence of the internet by some decades; I think I read about this in the Teal book. At any rate, I remember it being when I was still in my early 20s. I tested several excellent-playing tenor mouthpieces (in those days I pretty much only played tenor) and every one of them failed the test instantly; whereupon I decided the test was bull and have never since even tried it (although, to be honest, most of the mouthpieces I play on today at 55 are the same ones I was using at 25).
 

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Sometimes it is hard to tell how much pressure a Rovner lig is putting on the reed and where as the pressure is coming from all sides as you tighten. If it isn't tightening enough or or the pressure isn't mostly from the bottom pushing the reed up against the table then that could be an issue. I had this problem with a Rovner once and I found a small piece of metal that I placed between the Rovner and the reed. I tightened the ligature and now the reed sealed fine amazingly enough. I think putting the metal there caused all of the pressure to occur on the reed which helped.........
 

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Sometimes it is hard to tell how much pressure a Rovner lig is putting on the reed and where as the pressure is coming from all sides as you tighten. If it isn't tightening enough or or the pressure isn't mostly from the bottom pushing the reed up against the table then that could be an issue. I had this problem with a Rovner once and I found a small piece of metal that I placed between the Rovner and the reed. I tightened the ligature and now the reed sealed fine amazingly enough. I think putting the metal there caused all of the pressure to occur on the reed which helped.........
Well now you have to start selling "Neff Metal Plates!" (seriously, this something you fabricated yourself?) When I lived in Arizona, reeds would dry out and warp in seconds - metal was a must.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Definitely try changing out the reed - and keep a good reed rotation going! If it passes the "suck-pop" test, the ligature is doing its job. Break in some new reeds and see if the problem persists. Living in a climate with rapidly changing weather, I REALLY prefer metal ligatures to keep a good seal. Good luck!
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I do flatten the table of the reeds. For the last several years when I do the suck pop test, it seals so completely that it never pops unless I release it. I've never had this problem. Nothing is consistent. I'm wondering if the table of the mpc is screwed up. It is not flat, but has a very slight groove in the middle. I discovered this when I put a straight edge across the table and could see a bit of light.
 

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Get a decent ligature. A metal two-screw one. The one that came with your Selmer should be fine. If one didn't come with it, then get a Bonade inverted or a Rico H lig. Those one-screw leather or fabric ligatures usually are very bad at holding the reed against the mouthpiece.

Having said that, it's probably the reed :)
 

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The reason I swear off Rovner plain ligatures (no plate) is because I have actually remade mouthpieces due to those ligs. I recall once It took 3 times and there was nothing wrong with the first attempt. I was making several so I know this. As I recall the problem magically vanished when I slapped on a cheapo 2 screw on it.

...needless to say I cleared my shop of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK, the problem has disappeared for no particular reason. I'm going chalk it up to supernatural influences. It won't be the first time.
 

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OK, the problem has disappeared for no particular reason. I'm going chalk it up to supernatural influences. It won't be the first time.
Yeah, your reed dried out and the back became flat again, or you put on a different reed that's flatter.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Turf3, I normally rotate through 14 reeds. I tried several reeds before writing and nothing worked. Now everything works.
 
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