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Discussion Starter #1
Is it possible to close a tip without otherwise altering or modifying other aspects of the mouthpiece? I have one I'd like reduced, but I want the design, baffle, etc. untouched and original. I want the same mouthpiece with a smaller tip, in other words. It is 110 now and I want it down to 100 or 105
 

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Yes, you can take the tip down without messing with the baffle and internals, but you will shorten the facing a lot and then have to lengthen the facing back out. So, yes, but it’s a bit more nuanced than just closing the tip.


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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I do not want a higher baffle.
But this raises another question: let's suppose we have two mouthpieces same make and manufacturer, etc.
One has a tip of say 110
The other a tip of 100
Is the baffle the same on both, or does the smaller tip have a higher baffle?
 

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I'd imagine if you tell him you want exactly what you posted here that he can make that happen. Something akin to "I'd like you to close the tip to .100, but keeping all of the current tonal qualities it has now. If that requires you to lower the baffle (etc), please do so."
 

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"I have one I'd like reduced, but I want the design, baffle, etc. untouched and original. I want the same mouthpiece with a smaller tip, in other words."
I would interpret that to mean the same playing characteristics as the original. Being ignorant about mouthpiece refinishing, is that something that would be accomplished with the modifications required as discussed above, or would those changes alter the playability and sound?
 

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Is it possible to close a tip without otherwise altering or modifying other aspects of the mouthpiece? I have one I'd like reduced, but I want the design, baffle, etc. untouched and original. I want the same mouthpiece with a smaller tip, in other words. It is 110 now and I want it down to 100 or 105
If the piece is from a current maker, I’d send it back to them for modification. For example, I have never played a Lamberson that was refaced by someone else (Brian Powell, for instance), that still played like a Lamberson.

G’luck with your Quest.
 

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Is it possible to close a tip without otherwise altering or modifying other aspects of the mouthpiece? I have one I'd like reduced, but I want the design, baffle, etc. untouched and original. I want the same mouthpiece with a smaller tip, in other words. It is 110 now and I want it down to 100 or 105
Yes, you can close a tip opening off by lowering the table but don’t kid yourself, you’re not going to feel the difference with just a five or ten thousandths change, it’s practically nothing and it’s not going to make it brighter at all because it’s not significant enough. Back when I used to see people in my shop I’d ask them what tip opening they’d like to try. If they’d ask for a 7 I’d hand them an 8 or even an 8* and nobody EVER knew and I did it all the time in an effort to overcome myths about facings. The difference between reeds is a much greater variable than five or ten or fifteen thousandths. Think you can tell? Well you can’t. If you have two mouthpieces with different tips and juggle them back and forth, you’re experiencing back pressure from the chambers, even between two mouthpieces of the same model unless you’re talking about the difference between a 5* and a 9.

Players obsess way too much on tip openings and facings when in fact the chamber is a much bigger contributor to how a mouthpiece feels. Furthermore, unless it’s a CNC machined piece or carefully hand-made, there’s tremendous differences between mouthpieces even of the same type so you’re actually experiencing the different internal dimensions, not the tip opening and it’s largely psychological too. LARGELY psychological.

The system by which sax mouthpiece makers came about was handed down from clarinet mouthpiece makers where you actually can feel a slight change in tip opening. You can feel five thousands on a clarinet or soprano but no way on tenor or bari because the reed is much longer thus there’s more leverage thus it’s easier to play. My opinion, take it or leave it. I’ve been around a while. Phil Barone
 

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Great insight, thanks Phil for sharing your years of experience. My limited experience has been the same, the reed on tenor or alto makes the most noticeable difference when you’re in that limited range difference on tip openings.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mr. Barone, are you saying that it takes no more air to blow a 110 tip than a 100?
Just asking.
At 76 years old, whether in my mind or not, it feels different to me.
And I seem to recall you selling a Florida STM for your friend and helper, who was getting advanced in years and wanted a smaller tip.
I'm not debating - just asking.
 

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Mr. Barone, are you saying that it takes no more air to blow a 110 tip than a 100?
Just asking.
At 76 years old, whether in my mind or not, it feels different to me.
And I seem to recall you selling a Florida STM for your friend and helper, who was getting advanced in years and wanted a smaller tip.
I'm not debating - just asking.
That’s right, ten thousandths isn’t enough to feel a difference especially when you start factoring in a variety of reeds. Different reeds, even from the same box will cancel out a few thousandths of an inch. If you’re trying two different pieces with different openings you’re experiencing the other variables, not that minuscule ten thousandths. And my friend Frank Vicari never went down in opening. He played a 7* until the end of his life. Phil Barone
 

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That’s right, ten thousandths isn’t enough to feel a difference especially when you start factoring in a variety of reeds. Different reeds, even from the same box will cancel out a few thousandths of an inch. If you’re trying two different pieces with different openings you’re experiencing the other variables, not that minuscule ten thousandths. And my friend Frank Vicari never went down in opening. He played a 7* until the end of his life. Phil Barone
Wow, Frank Vicari.
He was responsible for me returning to playing sax again, 20 odd years after leaving high School.
I heard just one of his solos on a Tom Waits tune and I was hooked again.
Man could he play.
 

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Wow, Frank Vicari.
He was responsible for me returning to playing sax again, 20 odd years after leaving high School.
I heard just one of his solos on a Tom Waits tune and I was hooked again.
Man could he play.
Yeah, Frank was my best friend, a fantastic guy and was an amazing player. He also played with Maynard and Woody Herman. Unfortunately, he was always broke and never giged for many years. He worked for me part time making mouthpieces. Phil
 

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Hypothetically on two mouthpieces exactly alike except one is .100 and the other is .110, you will find the .110 'harder' with the same reed. But mouthpieces really aren't exactly alike, and a certain .110 could play as easily as a certain .100. You have to find the mouthpiece that works for you. Mouthpieces of the same make/model typically will have different resistance which you interpret as 'stuffiness' or 'free-blowing', and the causes can be very small changes - good mouthpieces are always hand-finished and there are always minor differences. One guy is going to like one and another guy is going to like the other.

BTW, if you have a very good .110 mouthpiece, you should think twice about trying to make it a .100 - this doesn't always work out and the resulting Frankenstein won't be worth anything. At least the .110 is worth something if its a good mouthpiece. Typically if you think you need a closer facing, you might just need to try another mouthpiece of the same type because what you may really be looking for is less resistance. But like said many times, maybe you just need a different reed. :)
 

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Reeds break in to even out the difference. The mouthpiece I play is an 8. The reeds I play are 3.5's. But I play this set up because I know I can get a longer amount of time that my reeds feel like a good bright, vibrant playing 3 than if I had started out with a 3 in the first place.

Consequentially if I played 3's after a few days or a week they would feel like 2.5's and be too soft for me. Or rather they would close up on my mouthpiece making the mouthpiece feel smaller. Same difference.

The distance the reed has to cover I think can exacerbate this effect. Also some people just wear out reeds faster than others. But as a reed breaks in you can literally see it get closer to the tip of the mouthpiece, making the opening seem smaller.
 
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