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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Versatile mouthpiece recommendations

I know this is a subject done almost to death - I've read the threads here and elsewhere over the last couple of months :drunken: :? , and those are largely where my shortlist has come from - but I haven't been able to find a thread that deals specifically with my desire for versatility. If I've missed it, please let me know.

I want a new mouthpiece. I have a 60s HR Berg Larsen which I like, but it's quite mannered and cool and I'd like something which will rasp rather more as well as do the smooth sound. If it can do the modern Breckerish sound, so much the better, but I'm not desperately worried about that. And I'd like it to be easy to control and with good intonation, of course.

I'm not committed to metal or HR, though I fancy a metal piece.

I'm looking on it as an investment, so I don't really have an upper limit: I'm prepared to save up for a good 'un.

I know most of my tone comes from me. I also know that a good instrument can help me improve and give me the freedom to develop, and that's what I'm after.

Having done lots of research when I should have been practising, I've been considering LeBayle Metal, Vandoren V16, JodyJazz ESP, Guardala Studio, RPC, Ponzol M1, various Morgans, SR Technologies. That's not a definitive shortlist, and I'm open to any other reasonable suggestion.

I'm trying to take a shortcut by relying on your good advice. If you were recommending a mouthpiece for me to try, based on the three criteria above (versatile tone, easy to control, good intonation) what would you plump for?
 

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Groovy Mucker's mouthpiece...

Hi Groovy Mucker,

You're gonna find a zillion preferences here. I have recently found that metal Phil Barone's are pretty amazing. I have a Jazz 9 and an early Hollywood 8. They play like old Links only better (some people will shoot me down in flames for that...go ahead, make my day). The Hollywood has a bit more focus and projection, and I find the Jazz a bit "louder", both are versatile and open up beautifully when pushed.

If you're really looking for the Brecker sound then you might want to chat with him, he might recommend his Contemporary. I've emailed him a few times and he's really helpful and forthcoming with info, seems like a really nice guy who cares about his craft.

If you can find one you better get it quick, because Phil is stopping production of his metal pieces....look around see what's available on ebay or here perhaps. There is a Hollywood 7 out there on ebay...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Phil-Barone-Ten...ryZ38112QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

and a New York 8 here...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Phil-Barone-cus...ryZ16234QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

good luck....

Merlin
 

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Here is a thought if you are interested in checking out more than just the big names. If you have plenty of cash ($750), there is an instrument maker in Copenhagen (Denmark) by the name of Peter Jessen in a woodwind/brasswind store named i.k.Gottfried Musical Instruments. Peter makes handmade alto and tenor mouthpieces in solid silver. They are played by some of the best jazz musicians in Denmark and have been tested and appreciated by giants like Michael Brecker and James Carter. Peter's standard piece, with long sloping baffle and 0.115 opening is surely the best I have ever tried, mainly for jazz I guezz but it is very versatile. BTW, yes, I can put you in touch with Peter (I am Danish living in the US), and NO, I don't receive anything in return from Peter/i.k.Gottfried whatsoever.
 

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This is another recommendation for Phil Barone mouthpieces. I also have two of his metal tenor pieces and love both. I favor his Traditional/Contemporary 7*. It's allowed me to play sax quartet and R&B gigs with everything in between. I think his mouthpieces are very versatile and very well made, plus he responds to you right away and will work with you. Being a devoted alto player (with a hard rubber Barone piece), his mouthpieces have actually made me WANT to play tenor! Which is another story....
Good Luck with your search.
 

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I find that this is one of those problems that actually IS an equipment thing. Also, I dont recall having a thread like this before, so you're safe...for now.;)

What reed do you currently use? Your issue could be solved by having a different reed for that "raspy" sound.
 

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Groovy Mucker said:
If you were recommending a mouthpiece for me to try, based on the three criteria above (versatile tone, easy to control, good intonation) what would you plump for?
For those three criteria, I'd highly recommend an RPC. Of course, there are other mpcs out there that might meet those criteria, but in my experience the only one that would is the RPC. Admittedly, there are plenty of posters on here who have played a lot more mpcs than I have (I don't like changing mpcs much).
 

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In my past quest, I tried every brand on your list, but for the Lebayle, and numerous others not mentioned. Said quest ended with RPC for alto, tenor and bari. If you have a few months to wait (and time to spend on the phone), call Ron. Tell him what you're looking for. With what other hand finished pieces are going for these days, his are a bargain.
 

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Two thoughts, since you like your Berg, try out a stainless high baffle like a #1. Maybe with a tip openning or .100 or larger. Alot of the rock and soul legands have and still do play them for there edge ability. Also the Runyon Quantum is a pretty amaizing edgy mpc, you can even get the spoiler to make it extra radical.
 

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A Runyon Quantum Spoiler in delrin would be a piece you should try....more open facings (10-12).
I found this to be the most versatile piece I have ever played and it is very horn friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gentlemen

Thank you for your suggestions. In the end, I bought a Lebayle Metal Studio via eBay. I am amazed at how easy it is to play - it's a 7, but it took only a few minutes for me to feel comfortable with it - and the zizziness seems tameable, too (I hadn't expected that - but that's me being dim).

But ... I think I prefer the sound of HR. It's closer to the sound in my head. I suspect I may go the RPC route after all.

But I would still, I think, like the possibility of something cutting and shrill, even though it would be for only occasional use.

I'm glad I got the Lebayle, though (but I don't like the lig!).

Thanks again.
 

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Groovy Mucker said:
But I would still, I think, like the possibility of something cutting and shrill, even though it would be for only occasional use.
Don't know about shrill, but a high baffle RPC will certainly cut. It will also give you enough versatility to tone it down when needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Does Ron do consultations by email? I think I'd feel guilty about wasting his time. I'm really not very good (though I am a very enthusiastic amateur).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
saxymanzach said:
I dont recall having a thread like this before, so you're safe...for now.;)
*swallows nervously*

Sorry for the late reply.

saxymanzach said:
What reed do you currently use? Your issue could be solved by having a different reed for that "raspy" sound.
1995 Vintage La Voz (just because they were in the case when I started playing again), Hemke, Vandoren Java and Vandoren Bass clarinet reeds. The Javas give me most buzz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And I did fancy Mr Barone's, and had a very helpful conversation with him (what a nice chap!), but I realised I was seeking more immediate gratification!
 

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I'd say don't worry, as Ron seems more than willing to talk to even the rankest beginner (me!), and to give good advice, which doesn't necessarily involve buying from him.

In my case he said, get an 'intermediate', more open, piece(he suggested a couple) on which to 'develop' a bit more and to call him again in a few months.

A 'cool guy', as I'd been advised :)

A lot of people prefer a phone call to mail, as it can be dealt with promptly, questions can be asked/answered and there is no need for a protracted correspondence.
 

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He prefers to talk on the phone...if theres a problem calling him you can send him an e-mail asking to call you and he will. I did and he called me like 1-2 minutes later :shock: He'll ask you what your looking for and tell you what he thinks will work for you and all that stuff :D I'm only a junior in high school and he made me a great mouthpiece...and a $35 dollar discount for being a student hahaha (Which was spent on gas :( )

Btw I ordered my mouthpiece in the middle of may and got it about a week ago :p So it might be a bit less than a few months...
 
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