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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Until yesterday I had not played a sax in over 4 years. When I moved to the Us from Belgium, my alto, two tenors and baritone got damaged in shipping. The baritone is likely a lost cause, the others have dents and minor issues. For whatever reason I decided to take out one of the tenors yesterday, an old Kohlert that had damaged upper register side keys and some more issues. I was able to bend everything back into shape so at least it is now fully functional. (although it does need new pads so if anyone can recommend a good brand please let me know)

I tried out my old mouthpieces but they are just no longer working for me, in fact I'm not sure they ever did.

When I started playing years ago, I wanted to run before I could walk. Instead of playing scales and long notes, I tried playing the cool stuff. Wrong!

I have a metal Berg Larsen 105 and a rubber or plastic Vandoren T55. The few reeds I have left are Alexander Superial 3 1/2, some Rico Royal 3 1/2 and 4 and one or two LaVoz medium soft. Obviously trying to play these now results in a lot of air with a bit of tone hidden behind it.

I want to start over and start over right with a playable mpc and reed combo so I can actually learn to play instead of trying to kill myself.

Oh and yes I bite the living daylights out of the mouthpieces.....

So out of all the things out there, what should I start out with?

Dirk
 

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I would start with some softer reeds. 2.5s on these mouthpieces. Try to relax and play some long tones on them to work your embouchure back into shape. Take in a little more mouthpiece than you used to and enjoy that more of the reed is vibrating now.
 

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I would start with some softer reeds. 2.5s on these mouthpieces. Try to relax and play some long tones on them to work your embouchure back into shape. Take in a little more mouthpiece than you used to and enjoy that more of the reed is vibrating now.
This sounds like good advice to me. The softer reeds will be easier to play, given that you are rusty, and they will also force you to loosen up your embouchure.
 

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When I picked up a sax again around 4 years ago after a 30 year lay off due to work commitments, I thought I could come straight back in with the big open mouthpieces and jazzy reeds..........WRONG..........it just didn't work like that. So when my ego got slapped down by the reality that I couldn't play like that right off the bat after such a long layoff I started from scratch again with a Meyer 5M and Rico 2 reed on my tenor. Long notes, scales, overtones exercises, you know the routines. It took months before I felt I could go to a more open mouthpiece and maybe up a half in reed strength. So my best advice is be patient. It'll come back for sure, but you need to coax it back poco a poco and not try to beat it back with a big stick. If you're anything like me you'll get huge enjoyment over the ensuing months as you work at it feeling that it's all coming back gradually and that pretty soon you'll be justified in putting that metal Berg Larsen 105 back on.

Good luck!
 

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had damaged upper register side keys and some more issues. I was able to bend everything back into shape so at least it is now fully functional. (although it does need new pads so if anyone can recommend a good brand please let me know)
I would start with getting the sax into a repairman. I'm sure there are several leaks, and, depending on how bad, these could prevent even the best player from sounding good.

And, definitely some softer reeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the comments so far. I will definitely go with the softer reeds, even thinking about synthetic reeds right now, might be worth a try. I will sacrifice some tone over consistency now I start from scratch. I think I will have to get a different mouthpiece as well, the Berg Larsen is a no go right now, it is just too large. The Vandoren is not bad but still on the large side. I had a Meyer on the baritone which I really liked. I may go with one for the tenor or get an Otto Link tone edge or something. If I recall, the tone edge 6* is more like a 5 in other brands, I can be wrong though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would start with getting the sax into a repairman. I'm sure there are several leaks, and, depending on how bad, these could prevent even the best player from sounding good.

And, definitely some softer reeds.
Oh yeah, it does need some work to be sure, some pads are in need of replacement as well. A full repad would be nice but I don't think there's a drop in set for these old Kohlerts available.

I'll get it fixed though, it's really no biggie for a good tech. With all the damage done to it, it still plays remarkably well!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here's my plan...

First of all fix the sax, make sure all pads seal and adjust the spring tension here and there. A good cleaning wouldn't hurt either.... I do have an E. Beaugnier tenor in very nice shape, but for whatever reason the low b pad fell out! I'll have to stick that puppy back in once I research what to use for this. Now I'll have two tenors to play around with and see what works best. I used to play this one years ago and apart from not having the front F# key, it's a decent sax.

I am buying a J&D Hite tenor mouthpiece. I hear nothing but good things about it and I need something that plays easily. Right now I'm not too concerned about finding my tone.

I will also order some plasticover reeds, I have never tried synthetic reeds and thought I would give these a shot.

Question: What strength should I go with for that mpc? 2 ? 2.5 ? other ?

Edit: Also getting a fibracell to test. Probably a premier #2 or a medium-soft regular fibracell.
 

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Plasticover reeds are very bright. So are Bari brand plastic reeds. Legere's are dark and Fibracells are more in the middle. Softer synthetic reeds sound buzzy-er than softer cane reeds. I mostly use Fibracells and find a 2.5 a good strength on sax that sounds vibrant without sounding too buzzy or too dull and dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Although I would prefer a dark, smooth tone, I think it would be best for me to focus on embouchure and correct technique. I always disliked messing around with cane so I will probably go with the plasticover 2.5 and a fibracell premier #2 as both are somewhat in line with a regular Rico 2.5. It seems the fibracell 2.5 might be a bit too much after a 4+ year break in playing. Oh and those reeds would go on a J&D hite with .90 tip opening. I am pretty much guessing the reed strength right now. The easiest reed I have right now is a MS Lavoz (which is like a Rico Royal 2.5) on a Vandoren T55 (still too large). I used to play 3.5 - 4 RR which was a dumb move. And this was on a Berg Larsen 105/2 and the Vandoren T55.
 
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