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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a serial mouthpiece user. I freely admit that I've bought and sold more mouthpieces in the last 10 years than I had a right to, based on the fact that I should've saved my money and just hit the shed harder. I also freely admit that I can be a sucker for the new shiny "thing" especially if the marketing is convincing. Part of that convincing marketing is having someone, and it really helps if they can play their butt off, write a review or post a video review about the new shiny mouthpiece.

I've had some pieces over the years that I didn't like immediately and gave up on, some that I got and I thought were just ok, some that I got and thought were AMAZING but I ended up not sticking with it a few months later and was on to something else.

I almost wonder what someone who gets a mouthpiece to review, plays it for a few days, and writes a review is really hitting or missing. I've had pieces I've loved for a few weeks then after getting settled in, not so much.

I'd love to hear from people who were like me, trying a 3-5 pieces every year, then ended up finding the ONE. What did it end up being and why?

I bought a metal Gaia 3 in August and I think I may have finally found it myself. One can hope at least.
 

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Yes! The wow factor for most players does not include an assessment of the possibility of a piece being a one trick pony. Ive had guys buy my pieces, sell them and turn around and buy another on many occasions. It takes time and patience to really explore a piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes! The wow factor for most players does not include an assessment of the possibility of a piece being a one trick pony. Ive had guys buy my pieces, sell them and turn around and buy another on many occasions. It takes time and patience to really explore a piece.
And dammit Phil if your new "ballsier" Tribute is one that is intriguing me so much, along with Matt Marantz new Double Ring copy. I'm sure they both play really well too. Ugh....
 

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Sympatico--have an original Tribute, patiently waiting for Double Ring Legacy. Daily piece right now is HR Sapphire; like Tribute tone but haven't found the right reed, yet.
 

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I'm a serial mouthpiece user. I freely admit that I've bought and sold more mouthpieces in the last 10 years than I had a right to, based on the fact that I should've saved my money and just hit the shed harder. I also freely admit that I can be a sucker for the new shiny "thing" especially if the marketing is convincing. Part of that convincing marketing is having someone, and it really helps if they can play their butt off, write a review or post a video review about the new shiny mouthpiece.

I've had some pieces over the years that I didn't like immediately and gave up on, some that I got and I thought were just ok, some that I got and thought were AMAZING but I ended up not sticking with it a few months later and was on to something else.

I almost wonder what someone who gets a mouthpiece to review, plays it for a few days, and writes a review is really hitting or missing. I've had pieces I've loved for a few weeks then after getting settled in, not so much.

I'd love to hear from people who were like me, trying a 3-5 pieces every year, then ended up finding the ONE. What did it end up being and why?

I bought a metal Gaia 3 in August and I think I may have finally found it myself. One can hope at least.

Man, it takes about a year before I really figure out whether I like a mpc. In my youth (oh the days) I've fallen for the trap of the 1-trick. In the shop, spending hours between mpc A and B. A felt so good! Purchased. Then find over the following months that it feels good...in 1 way. A year later, I go back and buy mpc B and voila, it's the one I'd been looking for.

I imagine if I had to review a mpc in a few days, I'd need obviously practice time and several gigs of various settings to see how it interacted with others.
 

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For me that piece has been the JJ DV CHi 7* which I've now been playing pretty much exclusively for almost 10 years. I still own about 35 tenor pieces and occasionally I like to try something new if it looks like it might be interesting but not so much with the intent to switch to another piece.

In my case it was just a matter of finding something that I feel comfortable with. I naturally blow a little dark so a piece that has some baffle helps brighten my sound without me having to do as much of the work to get it there. I also found I prefer metal (or metal like) pieces on tenor and bari that have smaller profiles and lower beak angles.

Likewise I reached that milestone about 15 years ago where I sound pretty much like myself on anything in a relatively short time so switching pieces a lot just meant I had a bunch of reeds laying around that didn't seal well except on whatever piece I was playing when they were new.

Until about 10 years ago most of my playing was in big bands and jazz combos so I was playing pieces with rollover baffles and larger chambers (Links and pieces that are Link-ish). When I started playing with funk and rock bands I went through the whole " bigger tip, high baffle need more volume and edge" thing and tried a bunch of pieces that fit that description. Some of these I liked better than others but overall I wasn't happy with my sound on them and I found them hard to control in terms of intonation and focus, especially over 3-4 hour gigs. I play about 10-12 hours a week which for me is not enough time to be able to manage a .115 - .120 tip for more than about an hour before I start to struggle. (IMO smaller tipped (anything under around a .110) high baffle pieces are just nasty sounding so those really weren't an option.) So, I started using softer reeds but that gave me a buzzy sound that lacked the focus I like.

Eventually I realized you get volume from playing into a microphone not blowing your brains out because there's no FFFing way you are ever going to compete with drums, amplified guitars, or trumpets no matter how big a baffle and tip opening you have.

In the end it just wasn't worth all that work to try and play a darker sounding piece of one design for jazz and a brighter piece of a different design for rock & funk. The DV Chi isn't perfect for either but it's the best compromise for me at the moment.

I don't think of this as if I found "the ONE". I feel more like my playing reached a level of maturity where I realized that fooling around with a lot of mouthpieces wasn't accomplishing much and was, in fact, largely counter productive so I stopped doing it.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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I've had pieces I loved initially and then weeks later my back hurts from whatever when I play it on a gig. Or pieces I loved but I was always so sharp in the palms I got tired of fighting it all the time. I do tend to know quickly if I like a piece or not but like you say, theres value if someone has played it for at least a month everyday and can speak with knowledge of how it plays versis I tryed this yesterday and this is how I feel. I agree with you. Also sometimes reviewers sound very good on many pieces or styles of a piece so you know its all the work to be a great player that you are hearing and not necessarily the piece. I"ve bought a few pieces that so and so loved and then for me there are problems. So resold. Your point it good K
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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I am usually long-term on a mouthpiece once I settle on it. I played a Level Air from '66 to '89 and a 'King Curtis' since then (hmmm, 30 years on that one):yikes!: BUT, I have probably tested a dozen tenor pieces in that 30 years - whiz-bangs, bling, latest thing, whatever. At no time was there any danger of me switching but I wrote up my thoughts on them on SOTW starting probably around 2000. There have been several re-starts of the forum since then and a lot of stuff was lost. I have had several 'handles' including my real name but settled on the current one on the last re-start which I think was '03.
Anyway, you simply can't put any stock in anybody's mouthpiece review. The reason is, most players will sound different on the same mouthpiece and we are all looking for something different anyway. OTOH, if you find several different-style players gushing over the same things, or maybe all panning the same things, I think you can pretty much go with that.
If you could take a great and famous player's mouthpiece, a player whose sound you would die for, and try it yourself, 9 out of 10 players would hate it. A player develops his sound. Certain mouthpieces seem to aid and abet that sound but no mouthpiece gives you a sound - particularly during a 3-day trial period, when it might take you a month to get used to a new mouthpiece. So it looks to me like many reviews really don't have any credibility.
 

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Eventually I realized you get volume from playing into a microphone not blowing your brains out because there's no FFFing way you are ever going to compete with drums, amplified guitars, or trumpets no matter how big a baffle and tip opening you have.
I completely agree with you about that. I’ve never understood why some people think they need a mouthpiece that ‘cuts above’ amplified instruments.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I am very sceptical about mouthpiece reviews. It's almost like wife or girlfrined reviews, the whole thing is so subjective as to be not worth bothering with.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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Yes! The wow factor for most players does not include an assessment of the possibility of a piece being a one trick pony. Ive had guys buy my pieces, sell them and turn around and buy another on many occasions. It takes time and patience to really explore a piece.
Indeed. and if you substitute 'horn' for mouthpiece in your statement, same can be true.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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I completely agree with you about that. I’ve never understood why some people think they need a mouthpiece that ‘cuts above’ amplified instruments.
Because to some ...'cuts' doesn't refer to volume ....but rather to the 'edginess' and focus of tone.

I do agree, volume as a desired attribute, when it comes to mouthpieces is a bit of a specious one....
 

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Unless you regularily play with a loud stage sound band and can't hear yourself without edge/cut and volume
Because to some ...'cuts' doesn't refer to volume ....but rather to the 'edginess' and focus of tone.

I do agree, volume as a desired attribute, when it comes to mouthpieces is a bit of a specious one....
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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12,797 Posts
I'm a serial mouthpiece user. I freely admit that I've bought and sold more mouthpieces in the last 10 years than I had a right to, based on the fact that I should've saved my money and just hit the shed harder. I also freely admit that I can be a sucker for the new shiny "thing" especially if the marketing is convincing. Part of that convincing marketing is having someone, and it really helps if they can play their butt off, write a review or post a video review about the new shiny mouthpiece.

I've had some pieces over the years that I didn't like immediately and gave up on, some that I got and I thought were just ok, some that I got and thought were AMAZING but I ended up not sticking with it a few months later and was on to something else.

I almost wonder what someone who gets a mouthpiece to review, plays it for a few days, and writes a review is really hitting or missing. I've had pieces I've loved for a few weeks then after getting settled in, not so much.

I'd love to hear from people who were like me, trying a 3-5 pieces every year, then ended up finding the ONE. What did it end up being and why?

I bought a metal Gaia 3 in August and I think I may have finally found it myself. One can hope at least.
I'm confused what your question is? You just want to know if we have found the one? How does that relate to reviews?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Because to some ...'cuts' doesn't refer to volume ....but rather to the 'edginess' and focus of tone.

I do agree, volume as a desired attribute, when it comes to mouthpieces is a bit of a specious one....
I think volume is a great asset ina mouthpiece, as is loudness. But as long as it doesn't compromise on tonal quality.

I agree "cut" cannot refer to volume and often does refer to loudness due to edginess or brightness. But I'm not sure about what focus of tone means.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm confused what your question is? You just want to know if we have found the one? How does that relate to reviews?
I really only asked one question lol based on question mark usage ;)

And don’t take this post as a slight on what you do Steve, I feel like your reviews are the best database out there.
 

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I think volume is a great asset ina mouthpiece, as is loudness. But as long as it doesn't compromise on tonal quality.

I agree "cut" cannot refer to volume and often does refer to loudness due to edginess or brightness. But I'm not sure about what focus of tone means.
I guess I look at it as a narrowness in the tone as opposed to a spread-ness. Some mouthpieces allow the intrinsic natural overtones of a horn to be 'up front', others seem to diminish 'em or cut them out....at least to mine ears.

So just like some horns tonalities are focused and some are spread, I have played mouthpieces which either 'boost' or 'narrow' the 'fatness' of the tone. When it narrows, it is as if one is hearing just the pure pitch of the single note. When it spreads, one hears the pitch of the note but also overtones.

Best I can describe it (and granted, not one of the better semantical efforts I have made).
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I really only asked one question lol based on question mark usage ;)

And don’t take this post as a slight on what you do Steve, I feel like your reviews are the best database out there.
No, not at all. I just clicked on the thread thinking I could add something because of the title but wasn’t sure what the question was...........


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