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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right now I am on a yamaha 4c mouthpiece, rovner lig, and Rico jazz select strength 3S reeds.


I want to switch to vandoren blue box. I also want to get rid of my rovner lig for a trad. metal lig. I feel like it dampens my sound. It does.

Will I have to step down a to a vandoren blue box strength 2.5 reeds if I switch from rico to Vandoren blue box traditional??

I have been working on my chops lately.
When I play my sax, I dont sound bad, but I sound thin, I should get rid of it by practicing overtones- but I am not comfortable with the way it sounds to me.

I think it sounds messy and honky. I dislike it.
How can I encourage myself to practice overtones while experimenting with sax reeds???

P.S- I dont plan on being misled into buying vandoren reeds just because most saxophone players use it and it is a "jazz reed" as known by marketers.

I just want to try it to see if I like it, if not, I'll try various cuts/brands/synthetic ones.

I'm looking for stability in my setup.
 

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Vandoren blue box aren't considered "jazz" reeds. Try the Vandoren Java reeds. I like them the best. The blue box are stiffer and you would probably have to come down a bit. I have noticed a big difference when my students switch from a Yamaha 4C to a round medium chambered Mouthpiece. You might want to consider that. It tends to thicken up the sound and makes it fuller sounding.


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Are we talking alto or tenor here?

I really don't consider the 4C to be much of a jazz piece, they don't respond well to jazz-marketed reeds very well in my experience. They sound thin. If you're going for simply a strong and full bodied tone, the Blue Box will only help you, start at strength 2.5.

How long have you been playing? If less than a year or two, don't worry about mouthpieces or even ligatures. Worry purely on practicing the fundamentals. I played on a 4C for five years on tenor with Blue Box reeds, gradually moving up reeds strengths and listening harder. It's a fine setup until you get picky.
 

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If you're really into sound - them the 4C will be extremely limited. For the price of 5 boxes of reed you could pick up a nice Phil-tone Link 5* or 6 HR piece would open your sound up nicely.
 

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After years of being a Vandoren fan, on my metal Berg on tenor I actually made the switch from Vandoren Java Red 3.5's to Rico Jazz Select filed 3M. I believe it might be a bit softer than the Java but for me on the Berg, it's the perfect reed. In fact, I switched from Vandoren blue box to Rico Reserve Classics on my classical alto setup. I may never buy another Vandoren reed. I really like what Rico is doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are we talking alto or tenor here?

I really don't consider the 4C to be much of a jazz piece, they don't respond well to jazz-marketed reeds very well in my experience. They sound thin. If you're going for simply a strong and full bodied tone, the Blue Box will only help you, start at strength 2.5.

How long have you been playing? If less than a year or two, don't worry about mouthpieces or even ligatures. Worry purely on practicing the fundamentals. I played on a 4C for five years on tenor with Blue Box reeds, gradually moving up reeds strengths and listening harder. It's a fine setup until you get picky.
I have been playing for 3 years man.

I started sax when I was in a school band in 2008.

Im talking about Alto Saxophone.
 

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1926 Buescher TT Alto, 1936 Holton Revelation Tenor, 1954 Holton 271 Bari
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Saxman-

I don't want to sound rude or anything of the sort, but what I'm gathering from the topics you've started recently is that you're dissatisfied with your tone, but you don't want to accept that perhaps you haven't been practicing enough. You're falling victim to what sax players call GAS (Gear acquisition syndrome) and hope that you can get gear that will fix your tone. My question to you is what happens if you get new equipment and still aren't satisfied? You will have wasted time and money on equipment instead of practicing on what you have.

I'm not trying to belittle the importance gear CAN have on the sound, but vastly more important is how YOU play the gear. As a fellow high school student, I've gone through the same thing (and still kind of am, hoping I can get my alto chops back after playing tenor so long). The key is to practice until you're pleased with what you can do on your own gear, and then work to develop your own sound. It sounds to me like you need to listen more for the sound you want, then work longer until you can play in a way you're happy with.

Of course this was only from my own experience, and I by no means try to be an expert. But I could only justify getting new gear when I was sure that I could DO something with it. Consider what you would have to do with your new gear in order to achieve what you want. There are no magic fixes. If you have a more open mouthpiece, or a different reed, or anything else, it can be even harder to control if you aren't certain what you want.

Just my $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Saxman-

I don't want to sound rude or anything of the sort, but what I'm gathering from the topics you've started recently is that you're dissatisfied with your tone, but you don't want to accept that perhaps you haven't been practicing enough. You're falling victim to what sax players call GAS (Gear acquisition syndrome) and hope that you can get gear that will fix your tone. My question to you is what happens if you get new equipment and still aren't satisfied? You will have wasted time and money on equipment instead of practicing on what you have.

I'm not trying to belittle the importance gear CAN have on the sound, but vastly more important is how YOU play the gear. As a fellow high school student, I've gone through the same thing (and still kind of am, hoping I can get my alto chops back after playing tenor so long). The key is to practice until you're pleased with what you can do on your own gear, and then work to develop your own sound. It sounds to me like you need to listen more for the sound you want, then work longer until you can play in a way you're happy with.

Of course this was only from my own experience, and I by no means try to be an expert. But I could only justify getting new gear when I was sure that I could DO something with it. Consider what you would have to do with your new gear in order to achieve what you want. There are no magic fixes. If you have a more open mouthpiece, or a different reed, or anything else, it can be even harder to control if you aren't certain what you want.

Just my $.02
I did not know that. Thanks for the advice.

How often should I practice?

I only practice once a day, for an hour or 2. Should I practice more?
I do it every day. Sometimes I practice about 3 to 4 times a day.

I am looking for a dark fat tone.
 

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How often should I practice?
That depends on what you want to achieve. Someone who wants to be a great player or a professional player should practise as often and as much as they can, but most important is being able to make it quality rather than quantity. Quality practise is when you r mind is focussed and not wandering off, you learn more. Some people practise a lot , but don't concentrate so less actually sinks in.

I am looking for a dark fat tone.
Do you mean you just want a fat dark tone or do you want to be able to get that as well as a thin light (or bright) tone?

My ideal is to be able to get many different tone colours, it enables me to get moew work and to express myself artistically in the way I want to, however I appreciate that some people only want a very narrow range of tone. that can still be fine for artistic expression, but may narrow down your chances of getting more professional work.

As an analogy:

A photographer might only do black and white photography. As an artist, if they are a great, then he or she will do well.

On the other hand a photographer who does all types of photography may get a lot more work, with or without being such a great artist.

It all depends on what you aspire to and how you want to approach your goals.
 

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What model horn are you paying? (why haven't we asked this?)

What kind of practice do you partake in? Is it structured? Could you outline your general routine?

As far as reeds go, I still insist you should use Vandoren Blue Boxes on the 4C. You could also try JAVA's on it too, in half a harder strength. Start with a Blue Box 2.5 or 3, I GUARANTEE it'll make your tone darker. The setup is popular for a reason, it works well! Eugene Rousseau, previous sax professor at Indiana University for many years and an excellent player, worked in collaboration with Yamaha to design the 4C. It was based off his own classial designed mouthpieces and optimized to work with Yamaha horns, he plays them exclusively. This mouthpiece is designed to work best with Blue Box 3's, being flexible and stable as the man intended.

For mouthpieces, the Vandoren Optimum AL3 lends itself a very nice rich tone and is easy to play, you could start there for a first mouthpiece upgrade. This is provided you wanted a more classical sound. If you are more towards jazz, the Vandoren V16 5m will play nicely, but will require somewhat softer reeds than I earlier suggested due to the larger tip.

The journey to finding your sound is very long and frustrating, and for some players ends up being an expensive endeavor due to GAS. Something that will help more than any product is a private teacher, do you have one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What model horn are you paying? (why haven't we asked this?)

What kind of practice do you partake in? Is it structured? Could you outline your general routine?

As far as reeds go, I still insist you should use Vandoren Blue Boxes on the 4C. You could also try JAVA's on it too, in half a harder strength. Start with a Blue Box 2.5 or 3, I GUARANTEE it'll make your tone darker. The setup is popular for a reason, it works well! Eugene Rousseau, previous sax professor at Indiana University for many years and an excellent player, worked in collaboration with Yamaha to design the 4C. It was based off his own classial designed mouthpieces and optimized to work with Yamaha horns, he plays them exclusively. This mouthpiece is designed to work best with Blue Box 3's, being flexible and stable as the man intended.

For mouthpieces, the Vandoren Optimum AL3 lends itself a very nice rich tone and is easy to play, you could start there for a first mouthpiece upgrade. This is provided you wanted a more classical sound. If you are more towards jazz, the Vandoren V16 5m will play nicely, but will require somewhat softer reeds than I earlier suggested due to the larger tip.

The journey to finding your sound is very long and frustrating, and for some players ends up being an expensive endeavor due to GAS. Something that will help more than any product is a private teacher, do you have one?
I will have one in this upcoming fall.
I'll try the blue boxes!!

On my alto sax- I want to imitate Jay Beckenstein! I love his sound on alto saxophone!!!

I don't want to end up having GAS.

So that is why I open my throat when I play sax.

First is technique, then the gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you're really into sound - them the 4C will be extremely limited. For the price of 5 boxes of reed you could pick up a nice Phil-tone Link 5* or 6 HR piece would open your sound up nicely.
Not if I apply my technique to it. Thank you very much.

My plan is to sound good on any alto saxophone that I grab and play, whether it's at ANY music store or when I try/ attempt to get a record deal and if I do, I'll endorse saxes, mouthpieces and reeds and sound great on them.
 

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I will have one in this upcoming fall.
I'll try the blue boxes!!

On my alto sax- I want to imitate Jay Beckenstein! I love his sound on alto saxophone!!!

I don't want to end up having GAS.

So that is why I open my throat when I play sax.

First is technique, then the gear.
Haha even better by answering your sound concept. Actually I meant sax make and model, like Yanaha 23 or whatnot.

Regardless, you're doing the right things on your own at this point, and a teacher will only exponentially improve your technique as time goes on.
 

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Vandoren blue box aren't considered "jazz" reeds. Try the Vandoren Java reeds. I like them the best. The blue box are stiffer and you would probably have to come down a bit. I have noticed a big difference when my students switch from a Yamaha 4C to a round medium chambered Mouthpiece. You might want to consider that. It tends to thicken up the sound and makes it fuller sounding.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
+1 on that.

If a tenor, try a Vandoren Java mpc; if an alto, maybe a Meyer mpc. In my experience, I find these to be both good step up mouthpiece from the 4C. I agree about the Java reeds too.

Ron M
 

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I will have one in this upcoming fall.
I'll try the blue boxes!!

On my alto sax- I want to imitate Jay Beckenstein! I love his sound on alto saxophone!!!

I don't want to end up having GAS.

So that is why I open my throat when I play sax.

First is technique, then the gear.
Well I'm younger than you, but I'm coming up fast on my 3rd year on the Alto. Most of the advice I got outta here when I asked your question was to focus on the mouthpiece instead of a reed/lig combo, especially if you're still doing the 4C thing. I ended up doing a Meyer 5M and boy did I notice a difference,... no matter reed I used. While a reed adjustment will make a difference, it won't be as obvious to changing your sound as a mouthpiece will make. It's funny, when I got my new horn, it came with a Phil Barone NY6M and I couldn't make a decent sound come outta that thing for nothing in the world. It made my horn sound like a duck with me blowing through it. Three/four months on the Meyer and the Barone 6 feels and sounds great,... no more duck sqaukin' and I'm able to get a pretty mellow tone from it and at different volumes. Now I spend more time on the the Barone NY6M than I do on the Meyer. I use the Meyer a lot in school now, mainly because I get a lot of complaints about my volume with the Barone.
 

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I use the Meyer a lot in school now, mainly because I get a lot of complaints about my volume with the Barone.
I'm going to hijack this thread briefly.
What kind of playing do you do? I have yet to hear a Meyer-playing alto in a classical setting that I found acceptable... Call me a snob. Anyways, send me a PM Eric, I'd love to converse about sax and chit chat. :) Especially if you're still considering music for a career.

Back to topic!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Haha even better by answering your sound concept. Actually I meant sax make and model, like Yanaha 23 or whatnot.

Regardless, you're doing the right things on your own at this point, and a teacher will only exponentially improve your technique as time goes on.
I have a USA Made Selmer Bundy II. It's a good horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Saxman-

I don't want to sound rude or anything of the sort, but what I'm gathering from the topics you've started recently is that you're dissatisfied with your tone, but you don't want to accept that perhaps you haven't been practicing enough. You're falling victim to what sax players call GAS (Gear acquisition syndrome) and hope that you can get gear that will fix your tone. My question to you is what happens if you get new equipment and still aren't satisfied? You will have wasted time and money on equipment instead of practicing on what you have.

I'm not trying to belittle the importance gear CAN have on the sound, but vastly more important is how YOU play the gear. As a fellow high school student, I've gone through the same thing (and still kind of am, hoping I can get my alto chops back after playing tenor so long). The key is to practice until you're pleased with what you can do on your own gear, and then work to develop your own sound. It sounds to me like you need to listen more for the sound you want, then work longer until you can play in a way you're happy with.

Of course this was only from my own experience, and I by no means try to be an expert. But I could only justify getting new gear when I was sure that I could DO something with it. Consider what you would have to do with your new gear in order to achieve what you want. There are no magic fixes. If you have a more open mouthpiece, or a different reed, or anything else, it can be even harder to control if you aren't certain what you want.

Just my $.02
I learned how to open my throat properly! Yay!!!!

I get a much bigger sound out of my horn!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What model horn are you paying? (why haven't we asked this?)

What kind of practice do you partake in? Is it structured? Could you outline your general routine?

As far as reeds go, I still insist you should use Vandoren Blue Boxes on the 4C. You could also try JAVA's on it too, in half a harder strength. Start with a Blue Box 2.5 or 3, I GUARANTEE it'll make your tone darker. The setup is popular for a reason, it works well! Eugene Rousseau, previous sax professor at Indiana University for many years and an excellent player, worked in collaboration with Yamaha to design the 4C. It was based off his own classial designed mouthpieces and optimized to work with Yamaha horns, he plays them exclusively. This mouthpiece is designed to work best with Blue Box 3's, being flexible and stable as the man intended.

For mouthpieces, the Vandoren Optimum AL3 lends itself a very nice rich tone and is easy to play, you could start there for a first mouthpiece upgrade. This is provided you wanted a more classical sound. If you are more towards jazz, the Vandoren V16 5m will play nicely, but will require somewhat softer reeds than I earlier suggested due to the larger tip.

The journey to finding your sound is very long and frustrating, and for some players ends up being an expensive endeavor due to GAS. Something that will help more than any product is a private teacher, do you have one?
WOW!!! I didn't know Rosseau designed the 4C!!!!! That is an EPIC WIN!!!!

I just learned that The 4C is not like a no-name mouthpiece, it's the mouthpiece designed for saxophonists and students in mind!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well I'm younger than you, but I'm coming up fast on my 3rd year on the Alto. Most of the advice I got outta here when I asked your question was to focus on the mouthpiece instead of a reed/lig combo, especially if you're still doing the 4C thing. I ended up doing a Meyer 5M and boy did I notice a difference,... no matter reed I used. While a reed adjustment will make a difference, it won't be as obvious to changing your sound as a mouthpiece will make. It's funny, when I got my new horn, it came with a Phil Barone NY6M and I couldn't make a decent sound come outta that thing for nothing in the world. It made my horn sound like a duck with me blowing through it. Three/four months on the Meyer and the Barone 6 feels and sounds great,... no more duck sqaukin' and I'm able to get a pretty mellow tone from it and at different volumes. Now I spend more time on the the Barone NY6M than I do on the Meyer. I use the Meyer a lot in school now, mainly because I get a lot of complaints about my volume with the Barone.
I've been playing for 3 years also. I plan to switch to a Meyer 5M, and probably a Barone or a Phil Tone Mouthpiece.
 
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