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Distinguished SOTW Columnist TSGT(Ret)USAF
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Discussion Starter #1
I was playing the 2011 Beavercreek, Ohio Jazz Festival the other day with the USAF Nighthawk Jazz Combo. In the middle of my alto solo on one of the jazz tunes, my MOUTHPIECE PATCH on my alto mouthpiece came off and I threw it to the ground. Having lost about 2 or 3 beats I resumed my solo and all of a sudden I noticed the Mouthpiece was louder, more vibrant and less stuffy. I was using a MEYER 7MM with Vandoren Java 3 1/2 reeds on the Mark VI, and the mouthpiece patch was one of the Yamaha alto 0.5MM clear thick (almost White) Saxophone Mouthpiece Cushions Standard. This is what the ad said...
"Transparent, self-adhesive mouthpiece patches. 4 patches per card.
Helps keep your mouthpiece from wearing and enjoy a more comfortable feel that's easier on the teeth. Savers are waterproof to stay on. Package of 4."
I'm not mad that it came off, (It was on for a long time about 40 or so gig's) but I started thinking that these patches rob the mouthpiece of total vibrancy and sound, yet at the same time protect the beak from teeth scratches. If I don't use one I'll eventually wear a hole right through the beak of the mouthpiece. My Killer tenor piece needs rubber applied to the top of the Mouthpiece to fiil in the massive gouge before it's too late. Some of you will say , "Your Biting too hard", but I'm using firm but relaxed pressure. It's just my 2 front teeth are kid of sharp and I'm gigging night and day. I could use a back up, but after the Jazz festival, I looked at my new MEYER 7MM .081" tip opening mouthpiece and all I saw was this huge teeth scratch. I was bummed. What do you all think? Should I forget the Patches and get better tone, or use the patches in order to save the mouthpiece?
 

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I'm guessing the feedback was different, not your projecting tone. I'd rather get used to a patch and keep my mpc as long as possible, just like I'd rather wear earplugs when I need to and get used to how horrible it sounds playing with them on and emjoy a working set of ears for as long as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, the way the mouthpiece sounded to me and the way it felt was so much more responsive without the patch.
To the listener, I'll never know if it sounded different, but I want to keep the piece as long as possible. I just want the best of both worlds...
I just don't know what to do......
 

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I'm guessing that the cushion acts as a dampener only to the sound conducted through your teeth to your own ears. Certainly could be noticeable to you, but seems very unlikely that it would in turn be heard directly by the audience. That being said, if you dig the effect it gives you to the point where you are more inspired and creative, taking you up a notch further, then it surely could effect the audience... but I also suspect that that initial "WOW" will wear off after a bit and the benefits go away to you.... so in net I'd say you are better off with the patch, protecting your mouthpiece.... plus, I find them more comfortable than without....
 

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The only difference with and without the patch is the vibration of the mouthpiece. Without the patch the vibrations of the teeth on the bare mouthpiece vibrate in your head and you think it sounds louder, more resonant. Record yourself with and without the patch.
Recently, I've noticed most players are using patches.
 

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Yuch. I hate patches.
 

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I noticed this also a few months ago. Someone should come out with a patch that is as hard as the mouthpiece and can transfer the vibration while at the same time protecting the mouthpiece. I would buy those to try.........
I purchased some just like what you describe off eBay awhile back. They were almost as hard as the mouthpiece, very thin and clear. I will sift through my receipts and see if I can get the seller info.
 

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SactoPete +1... Inner cranial vibration is gonna be different without a cushion patch... The audience at OP's gig would hear no great tone difference in my opinion...
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I don't like any thick patch. If I'm playtesting a mouthpiece that needs to be kept mint I use electrical tape as it feels no different.

Many years back I had my top teeth filed as they were very sharp, any competent dentist can do this.
 

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I can't imagine a patch would really affect the outgoing sound that much but I'm certainly open to experimentation with a thinner, harder patch. I'm not willing to chew through my pieces and I like the more anchored feel I get from a patch.
 

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I vote keep the patch. It's a lot cheaper than fixing or replacing mouthpieces.
 

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I haven't noticed a difference in sound between patch and no patch, regardless of whether the mouthpiece is metal or HR/plastic. Don't mind the vibrations when not using a patch. Just don't like the thought of scratching the piece up or wearing through over time. Maybe, just maybe, I've gotten over my biting and have developed a very loose (Too loose? Is that even possible?) and relaxed embouchure! IDK!

I do like the thinner patches over the thicker ones. The thinner the patch, the better I like it actually.
 

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The glue on mouthpiece patches is that sort that needs to stay a bit soft and tacky in order for you to be able to peel the back off and stick it on the mouthpiece. Some of these glues can become even softer over time and the patch slides and the MP gets sticky.
There are various thicknesses you can get. Some are black rubbery things which I'm not keen on. I find they can break up under the pressure of the teeth. Usually if I see these when I get a sax in for repair they have a groove in them where the teach have been.
I don't like the ones that are really soft or too thick. I think, unless you have wonky teeth, you just need enough of a patch to locate your teeth and reduce the amount of vibration you feel that can be uncomfortable with some pieces. I use the harder clear patches that are a bit thicker than the very thin ones you get on new mouthpieces which are just to protect the piece. They last for ages so long as the glue doesn't fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you all for your great Ideas, opinions, suggestions and observations!
In reading all the responses, I realized that I hate the super thick fat patches,
My teeth makes a slit in the thick rubber, what I really need is the hard thin kind.
I really want to keep these mouthpieces for a long time...so I need to protect them...
Smokey, Thanks for the link of those thin but hard patches...
PeteThomas, If you use black electrical tape, be careful, The black tape contains a substance know to cause cancer...I used to use electrical tape all the time until I read the cancer warning on the tape container box...
If you use other colors , I'm not sure, but I think they are safe....
 

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Thank you all for your great Ideas, opinions, suggestions and observations!
In reading all the responses, I realized that I hate the super thick fat patches,
My teeth makes a slit in the thick rubber, what I really need is the hard thin kind.
I really want to keep these mouthpieces for a long time...so I need to protect them...
Smokey, Thanks for the link of those thin but hard patches...
PeteThomas, If you use black electrical tape, be careful, The black tape contains a substance know to cause cancer...I used to use electrical tape all the time until I read the cancer warning on the tape container box...
If you use other colors , I'm not sure, but I think they are safe....
In recent news, if you call Beechler's main line, they will sell you their version of mouthpiece guards which protect both the teeth AND the horn. It's not a patch either, and you can only purchase this from Beechler - via phone call. They do not have pictures of this material and you cannot buy it online anywhere and they don't sell them to retailers. I just called and ordered two for both of my Dukoff and Beechler mpcs.

What they call them are "tough bite"

Their number is 1-818-993-3710

-BSDarty
 

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+1 for thin patches vs soft, thick black rubber cushions.

Here's my fav':

 
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