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Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks,
Here's a copy of a PM I sent to "Uncle Phil", asking for some guidance with a Barone Jazz mpc I have been struggling with for some time. It seems as if Uncle Phil hasn't been active on the forum for about a month (may be on vacation?), so I am having this an open request. I will appreciate any help I can get.
Thank you
OO


"I have a Barone Jazz #7 tenor sax mouthpiece that was made in 2002. I love everything about the mouthpiece ( tone , projection, easy and full altissimo) except that it is resistant, compared to my other mouthpieces ( a refaced modern Link STM NY, a JodyJazz ESP, and a Lebayle LR ) , all 7* openings. Its response is not as fast either, and I think it is probably due to the resistance.
I typically play with an Alexander DC #3 reed or a Vandoren Bluebox #2.5 reed on all my mouthpieces. I use the same Francois Louis Lig on all the mouthpieces except the Lebayle ( came with a ringlike lig)

I am very aware of the Barone Jazz when I play it, and find myself concentrating more on the mouthpiece. Can you help me out by making some recommendations as to what I should try? I am almost to the point of considering getting work done on the mouthpiece to make it less resistant.
Thank you for your time
OO"
 

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Phil will probably say use a softer reed on it until the resistance feels good. Or take in more mouthpiece so you can transcend past the equipment.
 

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Two links you might find interesting, especially some comments by Phil.
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=57401&highlight=barone
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=65223

You also wrote, "Can you help me out by making some recommendations as to what I should try? I am almost to the point of considering getting work done on the mouthpiece to make it less resistant." Here's how I settled the problem - I sold my Barones.

As you can read on one of those links, it seems to me that a certain amount of resistance (and I like this phrase, "... (I find) myself concentrating more on the mouthpiece") is inherent in these mpcs.
 

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Ditto the softer reed. I don't know how much mouthpiece you take in - certainly be aware that you need enough else it will play stuffy.

If you can get the facing checked, do it. Sometimes a mouthpiece will have extra resistance from a flat spot in the facing - either by design or ...

G'luck. I think the Jazz is one of his best designs. You may need to dial yours in to get the most out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gary, Doc..
Thanks for the response.
I read the links Gary provided, and I'll try out the RJS reeds, before considering modifying the mouthpiece. I really didn't like the way they sounded when I was using them on the JJ ESP (Jody recommended).

I tried playing the Barone on one occasion with 2.5 Alexander DCs, and the horn played horrendously flat. I switch back to the 3 DC, and started playing in tune again. I believe I take in a lot of mouthpiece, as the biteplate is usually not exposed when I am playing ( viewing myself in the mirror). However I don't know if this is a measure of "enough mouthpiece"

I had a really good vibe with this mouthpiece the very first time I played it, and I believe I will sorely regret it if I sold it. I think this is a keeper for me, as I surely did not get the same feeling when I acquired a Barone NY. That got sold almost instantaneously.

Thanks for the input.
OO
 

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I've been going through mouthpieces big time lately and to tell you the truth if your Jazz model isn't cutting it I wouldn't bother getting it worked on.

I say sell it if you've got other pieces that are working for you. Like my neck swapping obsession I came back to the original neck and realized it was the one that worked best. I've had my Mojo NY link for a long time and it's been my favorite for a long time, but I was foolish and tried out lots of different pieces and had them refaced and guess what, the Mojo NY is the one that still works the best. It looks like you have some solid pieces that you like playing and I detest mouthpieces that play resistant. No sense in working yourself to death just to play a particular piece. If it doesn't work, dump it, I don't care who made it or who worked on it.

A lot of this is head games that we play. Designer brands, esteemed mouthpiece techs, and the high prices people pay can affect your judgment on whether a piece plays. My solution. Find a really great piece. Have a tech duplicate it. Put the backup in a safety deposit box at the bank and one in your case. And your done.
 

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Rico Jazz Select 2H

I have a Barone Jazz and play Rico Jazz Select 2H reeds on it. I think Phil recommends the Jazz Selects and plays them himself.

I've found that on certain mouthpieces, moving a half strength in reeds can mean a huge difference in how the piece plays.

I'm not sure what the techical reason for it it, but some mouthpieces I've tried seem to play well for me (though differently) within a broader range of reed strengths. They obvioulsy sound an blow a bit different. Others seem to like one particular strenght better than others.

Also, you have to realize that a 2.5 in one brand is not a 2.5 in another. Look at reed strength chart. If you don't like the Rico 2.5s or 2H, try something in another brand in en equivalent strength.

If my memory serves, Ricos tend to run on the softer side of the spectrum compared to some of the others.

Scott
 

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OOlufoks said:
I tried playing the Barone on one occasion with 2.5 Alexander DCs, and the horn played horrendously flat. I switch back to the 3 DC, and started playing in tune again.
Hmmm, is that a sign that you are playing with an overtight embouchure and the mouthpiece pulled out to compensate???

If the whole horn is flat with the DC 2.5, put the mouthpiece in the correct position and try again.

Relax...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Dr G said:
Hmmm, is that a sign that you are playing with an overtight embouchure and the mouthpiece pulled out to compensate???

If the whole horn is flat with the DC 2.5, put the mouthpiece in the correct position and try again.

Relax...
I always play with a tuner, because there is this guy who almost always complains about my intonation toward the higher end of the horn, never on the low end or the middle range ( stupid perfect pitch guy!!!!) .
I have a series of markings on the neck cork that gives me a range of where I should position the mouthpiece ( may not mean anything to some folks). In this particular instance with the 2.5 DCs, I shoved the mouthpiece all the way to the very end of the cork, I still played flat. and lost some fullness in the sound. When I returned to the 3 reeds and tuned up, I ended in the range of markings. My embouchure may be tight ( how do you define that?), but I think I adjust to it accordingly to play in tune.

I'll revisit the RJS; back when I used them, I was using the 2M to 3S range.
 

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Doesn't sound like an "overtight" embouchure at all, but like an "far too loose" embouchure to me. It should be firm without biting, otherwise you just blow the mouthpiece "open" with softer reeds. (the reed bends away from the mouthpiece due to the air pressure). Don't know if that's the right explenation, but that's exactly how it feels for me.
 

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OOlufoks said:
I always play with a tuner, because there is this guy who almost always complains about my intonation toward the higher end of the horn, never on the low end or the middle range ( stupid perfect pitch guy!!!!) .
I have a series of markings on the neck cork that gives me a range of where I should position the mouthpiece ( may not mean anything to some folks). In this particular instance with the 2.5 DCs, I shoved the mouthpiece all the way to the very end of the cork, I still played flat. and lost some fullness in the sound.
But where does the mouthpiece sit on the cork to make the horn in tune with itself? Have you checked your mouthpiece pitch with the mouthpiece off the horn? Sorry, but something sounds wrong to me in the way that you are chasing pitch.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dr G said:
But where does the mouthpiece sit on the cork to make the horn in tune with itself? Have you checked your mouthpiece pitch with the mouthpiece off the horn? Sorry, but something sounds wrong to me in the way that you are chasing pitch.
Doc...
There is no one place that the mouthpiece sits on the cork of the horn, and I think it is impractical to expect that, given the different variables that can cause the intonation differences. I really don't know what information I gave that leads to the conclusion that I am "chasing pitch"; I play different mouthpieces, and I would expect there to be difference in where each lie on the cork horn to play in tune, hence the different markings on the cork.

I stopped checking mouthpiece pitches off the horn, because by the time its put on the cork, I would still need to find the right position to make it play in tune. That activity seems unnecessary to me. The only time the Barone didn't play in tune for me was with the soft reed incident, and that incident looked like a reed/mouthpiece incompatibility issue.
Some folks have obviously run into this flat tuning issues on their horns, and gone to the extremes of cutting the shank of mouthpieces to make it play in tune for them. I guess folks do whatever it takes to play in tune, and so do I.

Anyway, the thread seem to be going off on a tangent, but Uncle Phil just contacted me. I'll report his recommendation (with his consent) after our discussion.
Thank you
OO
 

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OOlufoks said:
I stopped checking mouthpiece pitches off the horn, because by the time its put on the cork, I would still need to find the right position to make it play in tune. That activity seems unnecessary to me. The only time the Barone didn't play in tune for me was with the soft reed incident, and that incident looked like a reed/mouthpiece incompatibility issue.
I'm talking about finding the location for the mouthpiece where the horn plays in tune with itself. I am not among those that care how much cork is showing. As to the checking mouthpiece pitch being an unnecessary activity: It is a useful guide to learning whether a person's embouchure is set unreasonably tight.

OOlufoks said:
Some folks have obviously run into this flat tuning issues on their horns, and gone to the extremes of cutting the shank of mouthpieces to make it play in tune for them. I guess folks do whatever it takes to play in tune, and so do I.
Some folks strip the lacquer and add braces to the necks too. Try that as well. ;)

The only time I have seen a good reason to cut a shank was a Selmer Soloist that Dave Guardala modified to play on an older horn. The octave pip hit the shank before it was in far enough on the cork.

Looking forward to hearing what Uncle Philsey has to say - and whether it gets you in tune.

G'luck!
 

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I believe Phil made a few good ones once upon a time. These days, he makes an awfully good $500 blank!!

Just my opinion. (Donning my Nomex!)

The only way I'd touch one would be if EZ or MOJO refaced it and the piece cost like $200... Otherwise it'd be a re-done Link or Morgan, Lamberson, RPC or some such...
 

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saxualhealing said:
The problem is that Barone mouthpieces really aren't very good! Ask the top guys like Bergonzi and Garzone or Lovano. That is what they will tell you.

No i can't agree with that. Ive tried quite a few Barones and think they are slightly inconsistent but the good ones are great.
 

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Chalk that up as an opinion. Thanks for that.

Given your recent posts, I guess one could state that you're a piece of work too, eh?

If all of Phil's pieces were as bad as you say, he would have gone out of business a long time ago. I, too, have owned and played a great number of his 'pieces and I have different results and opinions from your experiences.

"Wrongly opinionated" - that's a fresh one. I'll have to meditate on that. ;)

I wish you well, saxualhealing.
 

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And...Steve Grossman would certainly not agree with you (saxualhealing). He sounds absolutely awesome on a Barone. And let me stress again that i have played some great pieces of his.
 

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gary said:
Two links you might find interesting, especially some comments by Phil.
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=57401&highlight=barone
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=65223

You also wrote, "Can you help me out by making some recommendations as to what I should try? I am almost to the point of considering getting work done on the mouthpiece to make it less resistant." Here's how I settled the problem - I sold my Barones.

As you can read on one of those links, it seems to me that a certain amount of resistance (and I like this phrase, "... (I find) myself concentrating more on the mouthpiece") is inherent in these mpcs.
This is a common mistake players make. When I work with someone they or we choose something that is as appropriate for them as possible but usually what happens is that if there is one thing that someone doesn't like they just sell it and start over. What I always recommend is to contact me so we could do custom work.

If we isolate the problem to one specific area, I can just fix that one thing. This is preferable as opposed to changing the whole mouthpiece and starting from scratch. Mouthpieces are not a mystery, they are mechanical objects and if you can tell a good mouthpiece maker what's wrong then he can just fix that one thing. Of course players generally don't take my advice but if you could play my personal mouthpieces then you'd understand. If you want the ultimate piece then you have to be patient. I worked on my mouthpieces for a long time. They evolved more than they were made. Phil
 

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I've known Phil for better than 18 years and currently play his hollywood 7* that I bought from him in 2000. I can tell you first hand that he is a very sincere person and only wants to do to best for people that he works with.

Over the years I called him for advice and he always told me what he thinks is best for me, whether I like hearing it or not. Some people may take this the wrong way, but in my personal experience over time, he's been right the vast majority of the time.

I'm also convinced that Phil believes in what he does way beyond the financial benefit. If he does not want to work on a particular mouthpiece believe me there is a reason. He could just do it and charge for it if he wanted to.

I've tried other mouthpieces over the years, looking for the magic, but I've always come back to the Hollywood.

Phil has done more good for the sax community in the interest in helping people be better players than most.
 

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Phil Barone said:
This is a common mistake players make. When I work with someone they or we choose something that is as appropriate for them as possible but usually what happens is that if there is one thing that someone doesn't like they just sell it and start over.
Phil, this is not meant to embarrass you because you might have had something on your mind that didn't work it's way into print, but when I asked you if I could send you my NY and have you take a look at it, you told me to get a Hollywood.

So I sold my NY and got a Hollywood. ;)


saxualhealing: "you wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with him."
You've made your point a number of times now. He pi**ed you off. We get it.
 
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