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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What a revelation smaller tip openings have been for me in 2018.

I spent 25+ years playing on a 10* tip for tenor and always loved it. There’s something really great about a big fat spread sound that just fills the whole room.

I started this year moving down to an 9* tip opening and I enjoyed the difference from the bigger tip.
Now by the end of the year I am down to a 6 tip opening and loving life more than ever!
Over time, I have discovered that I am enjoying smaller tip openings even more. ALOT less work with the airstream, more focus, and more punch to the sound.
I am currently using my 10mfan Showtime mouthpiece in a 6 tip opening. Such a big difference for me.
I don’t think I could’ve made the switch from that huge tip to this smaller tip without baby steps in between. It would probably be too different otherwise.
Having made myself stay with the smaller tips, has really been a great experience for me. I see absolutely no need or reason to ever go back the other way. The sound is still huge and vibrant, and so much easier.

I know I am in a very fortunate position to be able to try all the tip openings in the model mouthpiece that I love playing on because of my business, but I hope you guys have the opportunities to try going a different way from where you are at to see what you think. It’s been a joyous year getting down to a 6 tip opening!

I was one of those guys who never found the need to change from the 10* that I always played on but I took this year as an experimental sax year to see what would happen.

Thank god I stuck with it!!!




Share your personal experiences...
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
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That is a very cool story.

And sax playing being what it is, bound to be just as cool of one reading

"My sound finally opened up when I got to 130. It made everything so much easier!"

Happy endings after a good search for what is right for you is a very cool thing.

Congrats!
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Absolutely!
I think the beauty of it is, what is right for us may be right for us at a certain time in our lives, and what’s right for us at a different time may be completely the opposite.
I remember when I was at Berklee in the mid-80s, and I used a seven star at that time. I remember going up in tip size then and how great it was for me because I had never been there before. It did feel like everything opened up for me as I went up. I finally settled on a 10 star Slant and a 10* Early Babbitt. (Actually, you all know about the 2 particular mouthpieces I had, because Jerry Bergonzi had bought them both from me and had Brian Powell and eventually Drake copy those exact pieces.) :)
Now it feels like everything is even more right as I’ve gone down.

You got to love the saxophone and all the fun we have with it.
 

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Good post, which I enjoyed reading.

I’m kind of going in the other direction, on tenor.

For 25 years I always felt I was an alto player and pretty much always played on something around lay 5 or 6.

I sometimes dabbled in tenor and always used a Florida 6 STM. It was a fairly easy to go to, and never felt like hard work. It was easy to just pick it up, and it worked quickly.

A couple of years ago I kind of dumped alto and went over to tenor.

The Link 6 worked great and the more worked on it, the better it sounded. As you say, the close lay has a centre/ focus to it.

But as I listened to more tenor players, my concept began to change. I was enjoying the spread of players on bigger tips.

I have a little collection of Florida links, so began to work up. Firstly 6*, then a 7, and latterly a 7*.

I’m loving it.

The sound isn’t louder on wider tips, for me. But there is more spread to the sound, which I’m enjoying. I’m aware I’ve lost some of that centre that I had, and possibly even some of the volume.

Ive also acquired a very nice Navarro Maestra in a 7*, and am enjoying that too. Oh no !!!!
I don’t like chopping and changing, and the idea of having contracted GAS fills me with horror.........
But Im afraid a can of worms has been opened.

Wish me luck
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I love it and good luck!!!
The bigger tips will give you more spread and take away some of that center but the beauty of it is, there is no right or wrong way to go.
I guess I spent so many years with that big huge fat spread sound, that I wanted something different. I was very good about it this year and as I went down in tip opening with my mouthpieces, I never went back up.
 

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What a revelation smaller tip openings have been for me on 2018.

I spent 25+ years playing on a 10* tip for tenor and always loved it. There’s something really great about a big fat spread sound that just fills the whole room.

I started this year moving down to an 8* tip opening and I enjoyed the difference from the bigger tip.
Now by the end of the year I am down to a 6 tip opening and loving life more than ever!
Over time, I have discovered that I am enjoying smaller tip openings even more. ALOT less work with the airstream, more focus, and more punch to the sound.
I am currently using my 10mfan Showtime mouthpiece in a 6 tip opening. Such a big difference for me.
I don’t think I could’ve made the switch from that huge tip to this smaller tip without baby steps in between. It would probably be too different otherwise.
Having made myself stay with the smaller tips, has really been a great experience for me. I see absolutely no need or reason to ever go back the other way. The sound is still huge and vibrant, and so much easier.

I know I am in a very fortunate position to be able to try all the tip openings in the model mouthpiece that I love playing on because of my business, but I hope you guys have the opportunities to try going a different way from where you are at to see what you think. It’s been a joyous year getting down to a 6 tip opening!

I was one of those guys who never found the need to change from the 10* that I always played on but I took this year as an experimental sax year to see what would happen.

Thank god I stuck with it!!!




Share your personal experiences...

Hi Mark I think many players will eventually experience the switch from a former huge tip. You know me pretty well, but for those who don't I'll be brief.


Starting in High School on tenor I played a Selmer C* for my first 10 yrs..after that my first real jump that I can recall was buying a .110/2 metal Berg. I was in that range for a long time, and then yrs later I went to DG Super Kings that were I presume over .120's

I had a metal Dukoff D10 I tried for yrs but couldn't play it..TOO BIG ..anyway That size range .125+ was my bread and butter in many shows..over the last couple yrs I have evolved to the smaller side as well.

well now it's 20 yrs later and now my work is mostly smaller venue stuff, so Mark I hear ya.

You know I play one of your 10mfan HR masterpieces at 8* (.115)..but my big-tip DG Super Kings are mostly retired these days, and my other small arsenal of big-tip working tenor 'pieces has shrunk too. My ancient 9*3 HR Lakey (a jewel at .121 btw) also is shelved in favor of a newer version 7*3 which hits at .113

My other workhorse is a BMD Jen Price, a guy at the sax show "measured" it to be another .113 ..although I've read claims her mpcs are .116 oh well who cares, it's comfortable as old slippers with a #2 Signature on it…..:whistle:
 

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I hear you 10mfan. I began on a 7 and ended up on an 8* tip opening, which was very comfortable, before I became interested in the history of some vintage pieces and acquired quite a few. They all have small tip openings and playing on them was/is a great experience. Like you said, a lot less work on airstream. However, many of the vintage pieces in my collection will take a lot of air and give lots of volume and projection without ever closing down using a reed strength no higher than 3 or 3.5. Most are a real pleasure to play and you CAN push them. Even though my main piece is a metal 7* right now, I can easily switch to my vintage Gale 5S or one of my M.C. Gregory's and get great results. Absolutely nothing wrong with downsizing. If I hadn't found a 7* that suited me I'd still be playing on my Gale. Maybe I'll go back in the future (phrasing is intentional). Who knows?
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cash-----I hear you! I bet that 7*3 rips when you need it to!
 

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I love it and good luck!!!
The bigger tips will give you more spread and take away some of that center but the beauty of it is, there is no right or wrong way to go.
I guess I spent so many years with that big huge fat spread sound, that I wanted something different. I was very good about it this year and as I went down in tip opening with my mouthpieces, I never went back up.
How is the staccato with openings that big?
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The articulation and response is faster with the smaller tip---no doubt.
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I hear you 10mfan. I began on a 7 and ended up on an 8* tip opening, which was very comfortable, before I became interested in the history of some vintage pieces and acquired quite a few. They all have small tip openings and playing on them was/is a great experience. Like you said, a lot less work on airstream. However, many of the vintage pieces in my collection will take a lot of air and give lots of volume and projection without ever closing down using a reed strength no higher than 3 or 3.5. Most are a real pleasure to play and you CAN push them. Even though my main piece is a metal 7* right now, I can easily switch to my vintage Gale 5S or one of my M.C. Gregory's and get great results. Absolutely nothing wrong with downsizing. If I hadn't found a 7* that suited me I'd still be playing on my Gale. Maybe I'll go back in the future (phrasing is intentional). Who knows?

Yes, I had the same experience with the reed size not needing to go above 3.5, and yes, you can push them. I remember years ago, I got in a 4* Slant that I loved, and that was only about a .075 tip! Big sound!
 

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Cash-----I hear you! I bet that 7*3 rips when you need it to!
It will Mark, Lakey knew his stuff..his classic design is (as you know) still a darn credible mpc. I keep mine in an old nauga-gig bag for the funky vegas jams when I leave the widow and bite-me-dave home.
 

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I was and am having trouble getting altissimo to speak so I went back to my original Yamaha 4C that I got when I started on tenor a few years back. After playing with my RPC .105 rollover for all these years I found the 4C closed up when I tried to push even a little air through it. I have a RPC .115 high baffle piece I play sometimes but I find the moderate .105 tip is plenty for me. Both RPC pieces will take all the air I can give them without a hint of closing up even with the soft reeds I play.

Good insight from you 10MFan. It must be nice having a shelf full of different MPs sitting there for you to experiment with.
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It is great having a bunch of mouthpieces to try in all the sizes. The better thing for me, is that I love my designs more than anything out there, so I’m really lucky BEYOND words, to be able to try the models I love to play in any size.
I play through every mouthpiece that comes through here before I send them out, but I promised myself I would spend this entire past year spending ALOT of time with the smaller tip openings.

Never thought I would get down to a 6 tip opening and be completely satisfied. Actually a better way to put it, would be that I am more satisfied than I thought I would ever be. I am having Eric make me a 5* after New Year’s, and we will see how that is. Right now the 6 feels absolutely perfect but I’m trying them all! The good news is, I know where to get one of these mouthpieces. LOL

I hope you all get to enjoy trying different sizes for yourselves, as it could be a real eye opener.
 

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It is great having a bunch of mouthpieces to try in all the sizes. The better thing for me, is that I love my designs more than anything out there, so I’m really lucky BEYOND words, to be able to try the models I love to play in any size.
I play through every mouthpiece that comes through here before I send them out, but I promised myself I would spend this entire past year spending ALOT of time with the smaller tip openings.

Never thought I would get down to a 6 tip opening and be completely satisfied. Actually a better way to put it, would be that I am more satisfied than I thought I would ever be. I am having Eric make me a 5* after New Year’s, and we will see how that is. Right now the 6 feels absolutely perfect but I’m trying them all! The good news is, I know where to get one of these mouthpieces. LOL

I hope you all get to enjoy trying different sizes for yourselves, as it could be a real eye opener.
Mark this is interesting stuff, I dig how you worked down slowly. I tried a smaller tip concept myself couple yrs back, my pre-widow days, but the leap was too much. I was going for the classic Link type concept vs my normal DGSK stuff (as I was playing these smaller rooms).

I picked up a couple of Links I got a STM (ny) 8* and a 7* TE. The results weren't great. Tried a lot of different reed/lig stuff but anything over a 2.75 was too hard and both mpcs felt tubby and stuffy too me. My concept of the smaller tip was the 7* TE.. I maybe should have gone Trane style and tried a 5*-6* with a harder reed than I currently use..more resistance and edge with less air. Nice concept..!

I understand the physics of high baffle more open is OK etc..Back in the day that's how I got bigger, I was playing up to 4's on my high baffle Berg .110's ..so when I went up to .120+ open tips my reeds became softer.
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Cash, I understand. It’s hard to make the leap dramatically without taking baby steps. Sure, you can play a piece right away in a different tip opening but to really be comfortable on it it’s hard to take those huge leaps and be instantly happy without spending the time and making the effort to explore the possibilities.
I’m going down to a 5* and then a 5 after New Year’s to see how those are. Right now the 6 tip opening feels absolutely perfect but I’m not stopping till I go lower and finish this out.
I put on a 10 tip opening today and while it played easy for a 10 tip opening, I will never be going back up in tip openings. There is just no need whatsoever. It is counterproductive now. Too much great stuff going on with the lower tips!
 

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I've done the same as you Mark, although not from 10* to a 6 like you did on tenor...that's a big change. I've rediscovered my tenor sweet spot at .105" - .108"; .110" is my max and even with that, I find I like a smaller tip opening. On alto, I've moved down from 0.081"- 0.085" to 0.076" - 0.078". As you said, the airstream is easier to control, stabilizing the tone more and I can use the resistance from the smaller tip to shape my tone more flexibly. And I haven't lost any volume, plus I like my subtoning more.
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It’s not just that she doesn’t understand now, it’s that she will NEVER understand.
Don’t make the mistake that many of us have made in thinking that she might come around. LOL


Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do, and keep it to yourself. 😀
 
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