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Today I got my order from Kessler, an Antigua 586LQ soprano sax. I have never played soprano sax but two years alto (long time ago). I have not touched sax for almost 10 years. This sax looks very beautiful. I am sure the sound is also nice (I am still struggling to play basic tunes). I am going to learn it by myself.

You will not believe that I almost spend 2 hours putting Mouthpiece on the neck. I am using a Kessler custom soprano MP instead of the original one. The new cork is so strict that I was kind of stuck at the middle way (cannot push in or pull out). You know that soprano neck is so small that you cannot find a good location to hold it strictly. Finally my roommate helped me. I guess I need to go to gym. Now I end up of red thumb. And I still cannot push the MP to the line that dave suggests.

At first no matter how hard I blow, no sound. Then I tried Kenny G's way (make an angle instead of straight), then sound came out! Then I tried straight later it worked. Now I can play half of the notes but still cannot reach high register. I know practice make perfect.
 

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I strongly suggest you use the piece that originally came with it. That is the equivalent of a Yamaha 4C (.048). It is good to start with because it plays more easily and plays in tune better than a more open piece (probably about .060). Use plenty of cork grease to make the piece slide along the cork without damaging it. Dave supplied you with at least one tube of it. Use it liberally. But be advised that the corks that come with Antiguas only work well with certain mouthpieces like the Yamaha 4C. if you persist in jamming the other mouthpiece on, you will probably damage the cork very soon and need to have a technician fix it. Dave Kessler means well but he also talked me into a larger mouthpiece to start with than the 4C. I tried it but could not get a good consistent sound. The 4C was the answer. With that I improved considerably over a month. Then I bought a slight more open piece (Selmer S-80 E, .053). Don't think that if you play a closed "beginner's" mouthpiece, you can't play jazz. You can play any style of music you want with practice. It will take many hours of practice. After playing now over 5 years and trying mouthpieces from .048 to .066, I play a Yamaha 5C (.050).
 

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A few things to think about now:
reed may be too hard
ligature in wrong place
reed too far on
blowing too hard

If you know any other sax players, why not ask them?

To think about next time you want to buy a sax:
try it in the shop first. (Never been to Vegas?)
 

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Having to wrestle a mouthpiece on and off of a soprano neck is not uncommon. With brand new horns/mouthpieces, I schedule an appointment with my tech and have him setup the neck for the mouthpiece that I want to use. He may need to re-cork the neck or polish the mouthpiece bore to make it a better and easier fit. It’s important that the right tools be used to do this. Sometimes, cork grease just isn’t enough.

Twisting a soprano mouthpiece on and off can easily damage the neck octave key. If you misalign that key even slightly and it isn’t properly seated on the pip, it can make the horn very difficult to play—which may be part of the problem you’re having with your airstream. Even the slightest gap between that octave key pad and the pip can make it feel like somebody stuffed cotton in your horn. You may want to do a quick check by playing middle-register B, A, and G while lightly holding the neck octave down with your right hand (to ensure it’s seated). If you suddenly find it more free-blowing, then you’ve found the problem. (My brand new Yani soprano needed adjustment for this—and it’s a really well-made horn.)

The soprano won’t be as “free-blowing” as the alto you were used to, so don’t be afraid to try thinner reeds—especially while you’re developing your embrasure for soprano.
 

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There are many things you can do to make progress other than flying to Vegas! I forgot to mention the reed, the lig and the position of each on the reed. They are all of some importance. Starting with a cane reed of 2.5 strength (like a Rico) is a good idea. Either hard reeds of very soft reeds may make learning more difficult. The brass lig is not too bad but a Rovner Dark lig can b e better both in sound and for ease in positioning the reed on the mouthpiece. I set the reed tip on the very edge of the mouthpiece as I can feel with my tongue. Having only a single screw to tighten on the lig makes this easy to do. Where ever you put the edge of the reed, do it the same each time. The Rovner lig costs about $20. It is not absolutely needed but it makes life easier. Once you get a decent sound, keep doing the same thing for at least a month before trying anything new. Once you can make a sound you like to hear, you will start having fun with the horn.
 

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Finding someone like Bruce is the way to go. I can't count the number of frustrated alto and tenor sax players who couldn't play their shiny new soprano sax! The voicing of the soprano is much more difficult than the more usual saxes (alto, tenor, and bari). But mastering the intonation, vibrato, and and overtones on the soprano will make any other sax seem easy by comparison.

So when you sit down with a musician who plays the instrument the way you'd like to, you will go through a lot of "oh, now I get it" moments.

AND, if your instrument has any peculiarities, Bruce will find them tout de suite! One hour with a pro can advance you months into your trip to learn a new instrument. Be careful though, you may soon find that you prefer the soprano so much that playing alto in a concert or big band just isn't enough! :shock:
 
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