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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
HI all,

My son who plays BB jazz needs a new hard rubber baritone sax mouthpiece. We've been calling around all the usual suspect local stores, and none seem to have appropriate MPC we're looking for (either $500 vintage, wrong size, or super-newbie plastic..). Given no local stores seem to carry decent variety of MPC for him to try, we have to do the online trial thing. I was hoping to get a guidance on how many, what variety, etc we should try.

He currently uses a borrowed Berg Larsen metal bari 110-0-M. he said that due to narrow metal MPC profile, he has trouble with his embouchure and it squeaks too much. his teacher recommended switching to HR (fits his mouth better, I guess) and look for Meyer 6M or 5M. Based on the Berg Larsen opening, we managed to get hold of a used 6M (.098), but as it turned out it's a bit too open for him (BL has "zero chamber" so perhaps that makes an impact on opening size effect?).

since we know Meyer 6M is too open, we will try Meyer 5M (.093). few other recommended while we called around were:
Rousseau JDX (he uses this on his tenor, used for both jazz and concert band)
Vandoren V16 (recommended as alternative to Meyer due to quality control issue of Meyer brands)

I looked up on the mouthpiece comparison chart,
https://jodyjazz.com/facing-page/baritone-saxophone-mouthpiece-facing-chart/

Based on Meyer 6M being too open, possible trial would be:
Rousseau JDX 5 (.100)
Vandoren V16 B5 (2.55mm = 0.100 this may still be too open, based on the comparison chart)
Meyer 5M (.092)

so the question is on the strategy on how to optimize this trial (return fee + shipping + cleaning fee, etc)

Should I get just meyer 5M and see if it works (since that is what was recommended by the teacher)? or get one set of three manufacturers and try a variety and then re-order different sizes once you narrow down your choice more? or should I order multiple sizes of the same make (e.g. JDX 5 or 7) and take a hit on fees up front?

want minimize wasteful spending, so...
 

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I know you felt the 6M was too open, but I would still take the V16 B7 into consideration, maybe compare with the B5. It sits right there on the sweet spot for bari IMO (.110 - .120), and Vandoren’s quality control seems to be pretty good, and they should be quite available.

Another common favorite is the RPC. These are available in a couple of baffle configurations and several facing sizes. If you buy from Ron directly he will figure out what he thinks you need. No idea what his return policy is, but I think it’s probably pretty sensible.
 

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Akita,

There is a good chance that what your son is interpreting as "too large" is due to a poor facing. 0.095 is getting pretty small for a bari mouthpiece, and variations on the order of .005 really don't make much difference.

I applaud your efforts. Be aware that Berg mouthpieces are notoriously not what they are marked, nor are they often good facings. FWIW, the 0 chamber of a Berg Larsen should make a tip of otherwise similar size play easier. If a 100-0 seems too open, it is again more likely due to a poor facing.

I think I mentioned it in your other thread, but here it is again. Ron Coelho (RPC at saxmpc.com) is a great guy to work with, has been making mouthpieces for at least 20 years (I bought my bari .105R from him last century), and is a bari player. He loves to talk while he's working, so give him a call with your son on the line.

Again, thank you for caring. It warms the cockles of this ol' heart to see parents investing time and energy in their children's musical future.

All the best,

George
 

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What the doctor said above. I also think the perception on the Meyer 6M being 'too open' is simply that it is harder to play than the Berg 110 with the same reed. This tells me several things; most importantly, the Berg is an easy-playing mouthpiece which is the first thing I would look for in any mouthpiece. Next, it tells me the Meyer is a stinker and cannot be used for any purpose - don't throw good money after bad - its hard to change the basic nature of a mouthpiece.
Squeaking can have many causes but its not the exterior shape of the mouthpiece. Knowing how to mount the reed on the mouthpiece is not rocket science but there's more to it than just sticking it on there. If it is not lined up perfectly with the tip, it could very well tend to chirp. The reed itself may not be right for the mouthpiece and player. He also may not be tonguing properly. Unless there is damage on the Berg on the tip rail or side rails, chances are its not the mouthpiece.
They do make rubber Bergs, you know, but you might have to try a few to get one that plays as easily as the metal one which I gather will have to be returned to its owner. The hard rubber Berg baritone piece is well known and widely used. I guess I would recommend a 110/2/M.
 

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The Berg is probably .005” smaller than marked. I have measure some even smaller and a few larger. Some are even on size.

I don’t think you mentioned reed strength. It is common for developed students to play hard reeds since they feel this separates them from beginners. But they will often sound better if they drop down to a 2.5 to make a more open mouthpiece play easier.

For on line trials, I would recommend a Vandoren V16 B5 (.100”) and B7 (.108”). Amazon has them for $230.
 

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I would try the Rico Metalite and also the (maligned) Graftonite, definite in a 7 and perhaps a 5. These pieces don't get the respect they deserve because they are inexpensive.

Agree that the Berg squeaking is likely due to a bad facing. I would say not to go up to a .120" tip. My feeling is that would have your son working too hard. Stay around .095 to .110.

Another option is to have the Meyer 6M refaced by a good tech if the Meyer is available at a low price. Fred Rast does work in San Jose; there probably are some good techs in SF or Berkeley. A tech likely would have an example of his work that your son could try. Then he could say, "make it like this" or "make it blow easier on the low (or high) notes." Likely the refacing would cost about $100. After the refacing, usually a tech will tweak the facing a second time if the client desires.
 

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I agree with the doctor on this. I’m an amateur bari player and I have just recently checked a number of mouthpieces. I had a Selmer S80-D, and Otto Link TM 6 and a Mayer HR 7 from the 70’s. During the last year I picked up playing for real again. The Selmer had a beautiful tone, but was kind of stuffed. The Link, to my taste, lacked “sparkle”. I was relatively happy with the Mayer, which has a higher baffle compared to the two others. I didn't have any problems to blow the Mayer (I believe something like 0.106 opening). I was actually relatively happy with the Mayer, but it is somewhat quiet. Then I decided to try the Rico Metalite M7 (0.110 opening), because it is so cheap, and it was surprisingly easy to blow. That encouraged me to buy an Otto Link STM 7, which I’m playing now for a week and I’m very pleased.
Your sons taste of sound may be totally different, but what I’m trying to say is that I’ve now played low, medium and high baffle mouthpieces with 0.110 tip opening with no problems. Therefore, I agree with Dr G that don’t go for too small tip opening for bari. If you have problems with bigger tip opening, start with softer reeds and work your way up from there.
 

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Well...

1) First of all, a Meyer can blow the doors off the building, if you learn how to blow through it. So it's not inherently "quiet".

2) If the fairly closed Meyer 6 feels "too open", use a softer reed. Get over the "hard reeds are better" thing. How long has your son been playing baritone sax, 4, 5, 7 years? I've been playing baritone as my primary sax for 35 years now and I am playing a Meyer 8 with #2 or 2.5 reeds. I'd pair a Meyer 6 with #2 or 2.5 reeds for a young player. This plus airstream development will teach you how to get a big sound without resorting to that buzzy raspy sound.

3) A Berg Larsen 0 chamber will appear to have lots of projection but for most players it'll be all reed buzz and shrillness. It seems like it's real loud, but actually a more balanced sound from a more balanced type of mouthpiece will get better results and you'll actually be able to hear it better.

4) Personally I'd probably look and see if Morgan has a baritone "jazz" type piece; quality control won't be an issue, and it'll be based on the Meyer/Link type design that yields the best tonal results for the big band IN MY OPINION.

I think every baritone player needs to watch the videos called "The Music of Joe Temperley", especially the last couple of sections where he goes over his concept of tone development and sound. You can see the 80 year old Mr. Temperley getting a far bigger and better sound on a Selmer C* mouthpiece, than the other guy who looks about 40 years old with one of the Metalite paint stripper mouthpieces.
 

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4) Personally I'd probably look and see if Morgan has a baritone "jazz" type piece; quality control won't be an issue, and it'll be based on the Meyer/Link type design that yields the best tonal results for the big band IN MY OPINION.
They do still make a baritone mouthpiece - only in a "jazz" style.

https://www.morganmouthpieces.com/products/morgan-florida-model-baritone-saxophone-mouthpiece

Here also is the info for RPC baritone mouthpieces: https://saxmpc.com/baritone.html
 

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The expression “quiet” came to mind after I played the Rico Metalite, which was truly loud even when I was playing it. I was playing the Mayer with Legere Signature 2.25 reed. But, yes, I was talking from the perspective of an inexperienced player.
 

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Thanks for adding that. That's a pretty steep price compared to many other HR pieces on the market.

I see that MouthpieceCafe.com (same people that currently make the Morgan mouthpieces, AFAIK) still lists their take on the Link-based baritone mouthpiece for $275: http://www.mouthpieceguys.com/

"Based on the classic slant signature link, the Supreme Grande baritone features a large round chamber with a prodigious baffle, to combine a FAT, full, thick sound with tons of power, projection and edge. Hand faced and finished for optimal performance." SKU: bari-s
 

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Thanks for adding that. That's a pretty steep price compared to many other HR pieces on the market.
Agreed and the extended shank if you want to use it on a vintage bass adds a bit extra but it is one hell of a MPC. Buy it right or buy it over... When I bought it, I was still employed and could afford it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi all,

Thanks for all your messages. I'm learning a lot :) (and passing on the information to my son)

I thought I had posted earlier, but I must have closed the browser before I actually submitted my post... So here's the update on the situation..

So after I robocalled all the "within reasonable driving distance" stores that may possibly have bari mouthpiece to try (most had either the beginner plastic ones, or super high end ones that were totally out of our price range, "Yeah we have a Theo Wanne at $800, but you probably don't want that.." uh.. no.. And not much in the middle), I found one place that had few Meyer and Rousseau JDX that my son can try. so we went shopping just now...

first he tried his own Meyer 6M. Still didn't like it much. tried the 5M the store had and it was an immediate "Ugh, definitely not." Then tried the 7M and said he liked the 6M better. He tried different strength reeds but none of the Meyers worked for him (he said among the three sizes, the 6M worked the best, but was still unhappy). So then he tried the Rousseau JDX7. He said he likes that better than any of the Meyer 5M, 6M or 7M. the store also had a JDX5. and he kept going back and forth between JDx5 and JDX7 (since the store didn't have a size 6!). he tried different strength reeds... and then went back to Meyers and the conclusion was:

1. he doesn't like any of the Meyers
2. he felt more comfortable with Rousseau.. and commented "may be that's because my tenor is a JDX and it feels familiar..." I did notice that the beak profile is thinner on the JDX than the Meyer.
3. he likes the JDX7 little better than the JDX5.. and if he were pressed to choose he'd choose the JDX7 and be okay with it, but since there's no 6 to try, he wasn't willing to settle on a 7.

So, we asked if the store would consider special ordering JDX6 and then let him compare between JDX7 and JDX6 and choose either one, and they said yes (as long as we buy one, they're willing to special order for us. he said bari mouthpieces are harder to sell locally, and if it were tenor or alto, he'd be willing to just order with no trial strings attached. but not for bari).. My son said he's pretty certain 6 or 7 will work, so we just placed a trial order for JDX6.

so it seems like we won't have to do the online purchase afterall :)

man, if we had done all the MPC trials online, we'd gone through 4 returns!

so.. fingers crossed that he'll settle for JDX6.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
out of curiosity, just looked up Rousseau opening measurements:
JDX5 = .100
JDX6 = .110
JDX7 = .115

so my son saying he likes JDX7 better than JDX5 and probably will be okay with the 7 but "not quite right" sort of points to JDX6 probably is a right size.. Interesting...

and him not liking the Meyer with comparable opening points to either poor facing quality (as many of you pointed out) or "just not the right design" for him.
 

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out of curiosity, just looked up Rousseau opening measurements:
JDX5 = .100
JDX6 = .110
JDX7 = .115

so my son saying he likes JDX7 better than JDX5 and probably will be okay with the 7 but "not quite right" sort of points to JDX6 probably is a right size.. Interesting...

and him not liking the Meyer with comparable opening points to either poor facing quality (as many of you pointed out) or "just not the right design" for him.
Very well done, congrats! I just checked the Mayer 7M tip opening on Jody’s site and it seem to be 0.103. I just bought an Otto Link STM 7, which has a 0.110 tip opening. As an amateur player I find the 0.110 tip opening easy to play on 2.5 Rico or 3.0 Vandorens, so that tip opening seems to give a lot of space to play around with reeds. I never played a Rousseau, but what I’ve read, they should be quality mouthpieces with good QC. Therefore, your chances to enjoy your purchase are good indeed.
 
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