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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess one of the reasons I'm getting a lot of shrieks with my new MPC is the bad state of the cork.

Teflon tape reduces the shrieking. So I'm thinking of replacing the neck cork.

When looking through older messages I see people who swear with the Valentino synthetic which should be more flexible to adapt to different moutpieces, claim it is more durable. While others are not really happy with it and consider it only OK for an emergency repair.

So what is it? Is the traditional cork better? Or is the Valentino synthetic cork the better choice?

While natural cork is a lot cheaper, both are so cheap it is not really an important factor.
 

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The Valentino synthetic neck cork is especially useful when using mouthpieces that have different shank openings. I have installed them on several saxes belonging to regular customers and they are still like new when I see them a few years later. Traditional good quality cork when properly fit and installed can last a long time as well.
 

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I guess one of the reasons I'm getting a lot of shrieks with my new MPC is the bad state of the cork.

Teflon tape reduces the shrieking. So I'm thinking of replacing the neck cork.

When looking through older messages I see people who swear with the Valentino synthetic which should be more flexible to adapt to different moutpieces, claim it is more durable. While others are not really happy with it and consider it only OK for an emergency repair.

So what is it? Is the traditional cork better? Or is the Valentino synthetic cork the better choice?

While natural cork is a lot cheaper, both are so cheap it is not really an important factor.
Use real cork - get it adjusted to your mouthpiece so you don't have to force it to adjust intonation.

Commit to one mouthpiece. Don't get caught up in swapping mouthpieces - it will only delay your progress.
 

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Use real cork - get it adjusted to your mouthpiece so you don't have to force it to adjust intonation.

Commit to one mouthpiece. Don't get caught up in swapping mouthpieces - it will only delay your progress.
Wise advice !
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Commit to one mouthpiece. Don't get caught up in swapping mouthpieces - it will only delay your progress.
This triggers another question: is changing the mouthpiece once a year too much?

I started with a selmer C** which I did not like at all.
Changed to Graftonite B5 after 1 year to B7 and again after a year to A5
And now I'm trying (fighting) a Berg Larsen.

So a good estimate would be I change once a year my mouthpiece.

It this too often?
 

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Many players swap mouthpieces depending on the literature they are playing. I use Otto Link for daily playing and all gigs except classical, sax quartet and symphonic band where I use a Rosseau. No problem switching back and forth but always practice with the Rosseau in advance of a gig. No problem getting good sound, solid intonation and flexibility for bottom end to extended range on either MP after initial adjustment
 

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The Valentino synthetic neck cork is especially useful when using mouthpieces that have different shank openings. I have installed them on several saxes belonging to regular customers and they are still like new when I see them a few years later. Traditional good quality cork when properly fit and installed can last a long time as well.
Excellent synthetic cork. It does not take a set like regular cork, so it does make using mouthpieces with different diameters an easier task!
 

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Many players swap mouthpieces depending on the literature they are playing. I use Otto Link for daily playing and all gigs except classical, sax quartet and symphonic band where I use a Rosseau. No problem switching back and forth but always practice with the Rosseau in advance of a gig. No problem getting good sound, solid intonation and flexibility for bottom end to extended range on either MP after initial adjustment
+1
 

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Many players swap mouthpieces depending on the literature they are playing. I use Otto Link for daily playing and all gigs except classical, sax quartet and symphonic band where I use a Rosseau. No problem switching back and forth but always practice with the Rosseau in advance of a gig. No problem getting good sound, solid intonation and flexibility for bottom end to extended range on either MP after initial adjustment
Do you teach beginners? What advice to you have to share in that context?
 

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Synthetic cork is prone to slipping when used on the neck. Avoid it for such purposes.
That is interesting. Maybe that depends upon the brand? I have used the Valentino cork on 3 necks and found it fairly easy to sand and witnessed no slipping. The cork had adhesive on the back, but I still used a good grade of contact cement over the neck brass, and I am very happy with the results.
 

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Maybe that depends upon the brand?
It might. So is Valentino cheaper than real cork? Do you have to keep sanding it to rough it up? Had a tech one time try to sell me on synthetic neck cork and put it on my soprano. Just got more slippery over time and I had him remove it. These days I do my own neck corks when needed, and just go with regular cork. But I suppose if I were a tech in the business, I might go with what's cheaper to buy.
 

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My experience with the Valentino synthetic neck cork sold by JL Smith has been that they have not required sanding after installation on either alto or tenor. The compressibility of the material provides a tight fit regardless of the opening of the mouthpiece. I have had no issues using just the self adhesive. As you can see by the link provided, they cost more than traditional 1/16" cork, but I feel the cost is justified by the fact that the player can use different diameter mouthpieces on the same neck. I am not aware of any other synthetic "neck cork" on the market.
 

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Do you teach beginners? What advice to you have to share in that context?
Not sure of your point and was not really addressing beginners in my response. Have not taught in many years but play all the time and know first class excellent players who switch mouthpieces depending on the music. But I am referring to players to play both legit, big band and combo jazz.

Obviously one can overdue this and waste time playing musical mouthpieces forever seeking the holy grail which drives MP and ligature sales.
When I played bassoon I adjusted reeds and switched off just for particular pieces or passages or depending on quintet or orchestra ensemble. This is not a direct analogy but similar in concept. Anyway these comments are not to the point of which cork material to use. Do enjoy your many sage comments however.
 

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My experience with the Valentino synthetic neck cork sold by JL Smith has been that they have not required sanding after installation on either alto or tenor.
So you would say they are soft enough to not be a problem when they are "too thick" but still work fine when they are not?
I'm guessing you don't sand before gluing either, so their elasticity also compensates for them being more conical instead of parallel (which is the better shape for regular cork)?
All of this without being too difficult to put the mouthpiece on or too easy/thin, without sanding, with the available thicknesses?

With regular cork, depending on the neck and mouthpiece, it can vary from needing to sand 1.2mm (3/64") quite a bit, to 1.6mm (1/16") barely being thick enough.

Is there any disadvantage to the synthetic cork then? It's actually not more expensive, costing a fraction less than real cork on J.L. Smith's website.
I don't remember if I've tried that specific synthetic cork so can't say for sure. I've tried several (black from Smith, the black one from Kraus, and have seen a few "cork" like ones on some necks). At least on all the ones I've seen or tried, they didn't act like that, and did have issues for the reasons described above (i.e. not feel great if not more parallel, more correct thickness ,etc.). Some of them (like the Kraus black, actually didn't check others) also had a problem with gluing, where some substances made them lose their ability to glue).
 
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