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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now all this time, I've mostly been frustrated by the inflexibility. In my younger days I had a cheap horn that I could slide up and down a fourth or a fifth on some notes. I could go anywhere.

This darn horn just wants to play the note you finger.

So at the advice generously provided here and from a real nice guy at Rico, I went out and got a Rico mouthpiece that was supposed to be a little more open--a Rico Graftonite C7 (save the precious pieces for the people who can use them properly). I was told that a more open opening would let me move the notes around more.

Holy Expletive again! All the remaining shortcomings disappeared. The horn was loud but not too obnoxiously centered. Highs and lows were clear and easy. It blew like crazy. It was a freakin' weapon.

Except that flexibility problem. In fact, it was a little worse.

Does anybody know anybody who can take one of these mouthpieces and make it bend more?

PB
 

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First, what kind of sax are you playing now? And what kind of reed? What sax, mpc and reed did you use back in your younger fully-bent-note days?
 

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3rd, why did you break up the thread into 2 separate threads?

4th, how much (often) did you play in your younger days?
 

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Carl H. said:
3rd, why did you break up the thread into 2 separate threads?

4th, how much (often) did you play in your younger days?
I don't know about you, Carl, but I kind of enjoyed the suspense.
 

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If you are playing an open mouthpiece, and can't get it to bend, you need to practice more, you are playing more mouthpiece than you can handle if the horn plays more precisely (oddly enough). I can bend notes like crazy on a Selmer C*, or a wide open Dukoff. If you like the ability to bend notes, you must practice it. The equipment will not do it for you.
 

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I'm not a mpc expert, but in my experience the facing length is a key factor in the flexibilty of your setup. The wider tip opening is also important. I checked the facing length of your Rico (21.5mm). That's pretty standard, perhaps see if you can find something longer to try.

PM MojoBari or EZ (mpc refacers and members of SOTW) and ask him directly what his advice would be.

Also, it may benefit you to have a teacher look at your technique in this area, it could be something you are doing that is stopping you from achieving the flexibilty you are after.
 

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A softer reed will help with pitch flexibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Let me do a batch reply here...

"First, what kind of sax are you playing now? And what kind of reed? What sax, mpc and reed did you use back in your younger fully-bent-note days?"

Now, a 10M from 1949, not pretty but lovable. Then, a 10M from the relatively unrespected later period which I don't really remember exactly when. Same Brilhart 5* Ebolin mouthpiece and Rico 2 reeds; I mean the actual same ones.

"3rd, why did you break up the thread into 2 separate threads?"

Because I really had two separate issues: I wanted to say nice things about broccoli rubber bands, and then I wanted to explore the bending idea, each of which would go off into different discussion streams.

"4th, how much (often) did you play in your younger days?"
"If you are playing an open mouthpiece, and can't get it to bend, you need to practice more..."

You're right, I do need to practice more, and I intend to. I just want to check your experiences to make sure that I'm not trying to do something that my equipment doesn't want me to do. I've been dormant for quite a few years but I have been called upon to contribute to some friends' project. It's nice to be back in the saddle even for this little thing.

"I'm not a mpc expert, but in my experience the facing length is a key factor in the flexibilty of your setup..."

Funny you should mention that....I have another Brilhart here that some previous owner kinda butchered and the curve is way too long for any of my reeds to come close to following. I could grind the heck out of it to flatten it out but maybe I might try getting a couple baritone reeds and curving it to match them? This might be a crazy idea but not as crazy as taking off as much material as I would have to take off to get the curve down to the length of the vibrating portion of a tenor reed.

The mouthpiece is pretty worthless now; so heck, why not be a little creative?

Do any of you guys happen to know, generally, how much longer a medium-soft baritone reed's flexible portion is, compared with the flexible portion of a tenor reed? Just so I can look at what I have and conceptualize a little bit....

Thanks to all for the kind efforts....

PB
 

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I "refaced" a Dukoff D7 once and ended up with a real long facing.(afraid I can't help you on how long). I use baritone size medium Bari brand reeds on it and it sounds pretty cool.It has a husky early R&B tone to it.
 

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Permanent Beginner said:
Same Brilhart 5* Ebolin mouthpiece and Rico 2 reeds; I mean the actual same ones.
Okay, first of all, you need to get some new reeds. And while you're at it, get BETTER reeds. Ricos are seriously the bottom of the barrel. They are made by blind, retarded, one armed monkeys, without the aid of modern machinery, in much the same fashion as our cave dwelling ancestors made obsidian and flint knives. Go grab a box of Vandorens, or even La Voz.

Second, you really should think about a harder reed. I don't think I EVER played on a reed that soft. Even with my current Lawton setup, I play on 3 1/2. I would suggest bumping up to a 3. You will be amazed at the difference that a new reed of the proper strength will make.

Third, you really aught to look up a local saxophone teacher and take a few lessons, five or six at least should get you back on track, and if you like the teacher keep going, you'll only get better!

Fourth, don't try to be bending and liping notes around until you have practiced enough to get your emboucher back in shape. You have to reform those muscles and get them used to doing what they are supposed to be doing correctly before you go trying to do lip trills and shakes, and all the fun stuff. Doing so earlier will only damage your emboucher and keep you from being able to get a solid centered, in tune sound.

Lastly, I would suggest that you get and read The Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal. It will start you out on a good foot in your return to saxophone playing.
 

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JCBigler said:
Okay, first of all, you need to get some new reeds. And while you're at it, get BETTER reeds. Ricos are seriously the bottom of the barrel.
Don't agree completely. I love the Rico Jazz select, but indeed, I do prefer the Jazz select over the normal ones. The normal Ricos just don't do the job.

Second, you really should think about a harder reed.
Might be, but that doesn't make it easier to bend in general.

Other comments I agree on, and I want to add a little tip.

Permanent Beginner, if you really want to bend notes again, this is what helped me :
- play long tones
- while doing so, pull the underlip down to bend the note until the point where you loose the sound
- go back to the original pitch
- repeat slow on every note, and when full control is reach, speed up the process.

Great for learning vibrato too by the way

Don't know how much of a beginner you are, but I made the mistake to bend the notes by tightening my embouchure. Doesn't work, and with your setup, you're likely to close off your opening by doing so.
 

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JCBigler said:
Ricos are seriously the bottom of the barrel. They are made by blind, retarded, one armed monkeys, without the aid of modern machinery, in much the same fashion as our cave dwelling ancestors made obsidian and flint knives.
Sometimes you demonstrate a real gift for expressing something in a truly ignorant fashion.
 

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Dr G said:
Sometimes you demonstrate a real gift for expressing something in a truly ignorant fashion.
All I got out of his post was that he didn't have a clue that maybe different things work for different people.
 
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