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Hello everyone!

I have been playing alto sax for about 9 years now, and have expanded to playing bari for the symphony orchestra at my high school about a year ago, as we do not have a bassoon player. After being close to the cutoff for district band in a very competitive area, my director suggested I try out on both alto and bari this year, which I intend to do. The question I have is regarding setup.

On my alto (Yamaha 62-III), I use a Selmer c* and a Vandoren MO ligature with Vandoren red box Java 3 reeds. Currently on bari I play on a Yamaha 5C mouthpiece with blue box Vandoren 3 and it gets the job done sounding 'bassoon' like, but to obtain the bari sax sound I am looking for would I be able to use the same setup I do on alto, or does the experimental trial and error period come back into play on a different horn?

Thank you all!!
 

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On my alto (Yamaha 62-III), I use a Selmer c* and a Vandoren MO ligature with Vandoren red box Java 3 reeds. Currently on bari I play on a Yamaha 5C mouthpiece with blue box Vandoren 3 and it gets the job done sounding 'bassoon' like, but to obtain the bari sax sound I am looking for would I be able to use the same setup I do on alto, or does the experimental trial and error period come back into play on a different horn?

Thank you all!!
I would say "yes" you'll probably need to experiment some but I'm sure others can give you more specific suggestions. I'm a little biased since I don't really care for the sound I can get out of any of those close-tipped concert style bari pieces. I have a couple of them, the best of which is the Yani 5 that came with my B992, but they all pretty much sound the same to me.
 

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What bari are you playing? I would go to wherever has the most pieces to try for free and compare them to what I have. Like Sam Ash or something, but I wouldn't go crazy. School is a busy time, hard to find time for sifting and meticulously weaving through the sea of mouthpieces and Internet trials, so my time might be better spent practicing. A 5C sounds sufficient unless it's a gross mismatch with your horn and causes unnecessary struggle.
 

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Yamaha 5C is very similar in tone color to a Selmer C*. 5C doesn't sound 'bassoony' at all for me.
 

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I'd be careful of small chambered, dark mouthpieces in this situation. I'm thinking a brighter more open mouthpiece might help you find bassoon-like tone, or at least bassoon-like qualities. Imagine Ernie Watts' tone played on Bari, quietly. Compared with great bassoon tone, there are similarities, especially in the degree of openness of the tone.
 

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Thank you! The Bari I am playing on is an old King, I'll have to check out the serial number for an actual date. I will continue to experiment with setups...everything is so expensive though. Thank you all for your insight!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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On my alto (Yamaha 62-III), I use a Selmer c* and a Vandoren MO ligature with Vandoren red box Java 3 reeds. Currently on bari I play on a Yamaha 5C mouthpiece with blue box Vandoren 3 and it gets the job done sounding 'bassoon' like, but to obtain the bari sax sound I am looking for would I be able to use the same setup I do on alto, or does the experimental trial and error period come back into play on a different horn?
Sadly it's mostly down to trial and error. However it strikes me the first thing to think about is embouchure, as a 5C does need to sound bassoon-like - or are you saying that is what you want in that context, just looking for something more versatile?

So what other kind of baritone sound, other than bassoonish, are you looking for? Whatever it is, then work on tone control, breath support and embouchure exercises will be a big help, without changing from the 5C.

But still see if you can check out some mouthpieces, you can get some quite good inexpensive ones - e.g. Rico Graftonite.
 

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Interestingly enough I use a TW Durga on both bari and tenor, but not on alto. Too bright on alto. You will often find that people use different setups on different horns. I'd call it normal.
 

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I have 4 horns (SATB) and 4 set-ups. Depending on the gig I may use a different set-up on each horn for a total of 8 set-ups. On Bari I had an opportunity to play with our local symphony orchestra on "An American in Paris" and I used a Selmer S90 with a Rovner Light ligature and Rico Royal #3 reeds. Otherwise I use a Yanagisawa 7 Metal w/stock lig for Jazz & Rock. I have also used it with our local community concert band and nobody has noticed (or at least nobody has said anything). To each his own. I also agree that the best situation is to go to a store that has a variety to try and play for an hour or two. Happy hunting.
 

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You mention "the bari sax sound I am looking for" but you don't explain what that is. There's only going to be so much you can do in faking a bassoon with a bari sax; take the edge out of the sound and play quietly is about all I can recommend. See comments below, however, about being able to get a range of tonal qualities out of a single setup.

Both the Yamaha 5C mouthpiece and the Selmer C* are good middle of the road mouthpieces eminently suitable for concert band work which it appears is your current concern.

With a more or less standard setup as you describe, I would stop thinking the sound will come from the tools and start working to get the sound variations you want from yourself. (In other words, I would not do another minute of mouthpiece shopping.) Baritone is not an adjunct to alto, it is an entire instrument to itself. If you want to sound like a baritone sax player rather than an altoist doubling on bari, you need to put in some serious time especially on long tones and interval studies. Experiment with different voicing feels during your long tone studies and you will learn how to take out or put in the amount of edge or projection you need, at the full variety of levels from pp to ff.

Finally, you need to make sure that the horn is in good condition and not leaking. It sounds as if it is an older instrument, which is probably good if you want tonal flexibility, but it's probably got several decades of bumps and age on it. You should be able to play from low Bb to high F at all levels from pp to ff on an old King in good condition with the setup you describe.

I don't think the Rico Metallite would be a good choice for a relative newbie to baritone playing in concert band. That is a bright high baffle mouthpiece that would be helpful for someone who naturally produces a dark tubby sound and wants a lot of high frequency projection for a rock or funk band.
 

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I have four horns and seven setups (I don't play symphonic music on baritone)... :)
For section work in symphonic band/orchestra I would recommend the Vandoren V5 family, maybe a B27 or an Optimum. The Selmer C* and C** are also tried and true alternatives.
 

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With the amount of air that I'm putting behind a bari sax vs an alto sax, and for the different parts of the band that I'm trying to fill, the sound and style changes a bit. Thus my mouthpiece changes accordingly. I have tried to keep my alto and bari's setup similar but alas, I accomplish different things with them and from the sound alone, I end up playing soloing differently on both horns.
 
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