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I just recently purchased a Yani. Soprano S991, I have a C* and A Selmer S90 Mouthpiece but I feel that the sound I am getting is harsh. I was wondering if anyone can recommend a set up the might be a little mellower. I know some of it is my ability I have only been playing tenor sax for a few years.
Thanks
 

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I find those mouthpieces to be fine but a few years ago I switched to a Yamaha 4C and it is the best I have found in 48 years of soprano playing.
 

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Welcome to SOTW.

We are all different and have different chops and tonal concepts. I have a Yamaha 4C and it is okay, like many other pieces in my collection.

Just so you have info about other choices, I much prefer other mouthpieces and among them, the Selmer Super Session J, the Morgan Vintage 6 and 7, and the Kessler Custom are those I like better than the 4C. I use these pieces on vintage and modern sops (straight Buescher TT's and Yanagisawas of three different models, plus others). This doesn't mean that any of my choices will work for you. DAVE
 

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Another possible way to go - forget buying a drawer full of mouthpieces. Contact Joe at Soprano Planet, tell him what you are looking for. I have the Via Coro on my S990. We went thru several iterations and Via Coro mouthpiece types until I was happy.

It cost more than a 4C, for sure, but I spent much more trying other options like a Morgan, JJ, Yani, Runyon, Vandoren, Otto Link, etc. than buying just one from Joe. My quest for a mouthpiece ended with the "customized" Via Coro. Now I can empty the drawer.
 

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the selmer metal classic D was the ONE for my soprano, together with a Rovner Mk III lig & VANDOREN blue box #3. I am doing range of stuff from gospel, fusion, jazz, pop to rock.
 

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I played a Yamaha 4C for awhile, and am now using a Yamaha 6C with Rico Royal #2 reeds. I am very happy with this combo.
 

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Hi Starsax, I have used the Yamaha 4C to start with, but cant get on with it anymore, can you tell me why you changed to the 6C please?
 

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Do remember, trying a new mouthpeice takes time. You can't evaluate fairly without spending some time doing long tones, intervals, overtones and thoroughly exploring the voicing. The mouthpiece to finally like might defy a quantitative response as to why you prefer it. And getting the best reed/mouthpiece takes some investigation too. I see so many people play piece for a few minutes and move on.
 

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Hi Starsax, I have used the Yamaha 4C to start with, but cant get on with it anymore, can you tell me why you changed to the 6C please?
As to tip openings, the Yamaha mouthpieces are all at the narrower end of the spectrum. I started with the 4C mouthpiece on each of my horns, soprano/alto/tenor, but I found that after about six months of playing on each, I started squeeking like I did when I first started. It seemed like I was closing off the mouthpiece. I experimented with stronger reeds (I play Rico Royal #2 or #2.5 on all my horns), but going to the slightly wider tip opening of the 6C and keeping the same reeds seemed to work better for me. That combo just blew free and easy, and the squeek disappeared. The stiffer reed on the 4C made me feel like I was really having to work.
Additionally, when I did switch, I found the 6C to be a little quieter and more mellow. I hadn't considered the 4C to be bright or harsh before, but it seems that way now by comparison.
I bought my tenor used, and it had a Selmer S80 C* mouthpiece with it. I alternated the 6C with it for about two weeks, and finally settled on the C*. It too seems just a little darker and mellow than the 6C, which I like.
I've tried a variety of the less expensive mouthpieces on my soprano and alto, and I always come back to the Yamahas. In sound, response, and ease of play, they just seem to fit me better. I have a Rico Graftonite A5 alto piece which does play well, but it is considerably louder than the Yamaha pieces, so I don't play it as often.

As to my beginning to close off the 4C after playing it for a few months, it has been suggested several times here that that indicates my embouchure isn't proper. Several much more experienced players have said they've been on the 4C for many years with no problems. I certainly wouldn't argue with that, but the wider tip opening seems to have been the cure for me, and all is well now. I don't know-maybe it's just my peculiarity.
 

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An update on my Yamaha 4C, as Gandalfe above says about giving a mp time, I now agree, I was quick to write mine off thinking as I played more, that a natural progression was to keep moving up a tip size! Eventually ending up on a 10 * or higher?
But I have found now,most of my problems (as a beginner on sop) was embouchure problems IE, clenching tightening on the higher registers and when comming down to the lower register finding that I was still playing the octave above! Or closing off the tip. After listening and taking advice, I am now keeping (or trying to keep) the same strength of embouchure from top to bottom and it seems to work. From what I can see on the question of 'off the shelf' mp choice, it seems the Yamaha 4C or Selmer C* will suffice for most players for most of their playing future.
BUT...... we are experimenters!!!!
 

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There may be another piece to the puzzle that may get overlooked (I certainly have) when trying different mouthpiece/reed combinations. I have a couple mouthpieces (my tenor, in particular) that, like the 4C seem to have no power, almost like too little a tip opening - the sound is small and constrained; not open, no power. But I have found that in addition to reed/mouthpiece/tip opening combinations, some mouthpieces require MUCH more diaphragm support before they start to sound good. I know pros who have no problem getting great sound out of a 4C - they gig with it. I could not. But if I put the soprano-level support on my tenor mp, I do get a nice powerful sound - something my tenor mp does not seem to have at more relaxed settings. And, for me anyway, more support allows my embouchure to relax a bit.
 

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I have never heard a C* and a Selmer S90 described as "harsh" before. That indicates to me severe problems with technique. A good tone at least on the C* should be obtained before trying anything else. BTW there is no correlation between tenor and soprano techniques.
 

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Hey blues, don't be too quick to switch mouthpieces. You appear to be a tenor player with no previous soprano experience: Soprano is not quite the same beast as tenor, especially in the upper register. Take some time and experiment with how you voice notes. Do long tones as gandalfe suggested. You might even want to take a lesson or two with a soprano player. In any case, the more you do your homework, the better you will be better able to judge what works for you when you do shop.

All that said and FWIW, I have tried a number of soprano mouthpieces and my favorites are a Selmer C**, a Selmer metal, and a $95 stock Ralph Morgan "Vintage" 6. (Both the Selmers were refinished.)
 

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One of the better mouthpieces I have for my Yanagisawa is - a Yanagisawa. If you come from a 4C, you might try a Yanagisawa in 5 or 6.
 

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One of the better mouthpieces I have for my Yanagisawa is - a Yanagisawa. If you come from a 4C, you might try a Yanagisawa in 5 or 6.
My Yani came with a Yani MPC (Yani 5) and I have found it to be too closed off for my taste. Of course, I realize that a real player could pick up my horn with that MPC and scream with it but for me it seems too restrictive. Ive gone from a vandorin 2.5 reed to a 3 and it still feels that way. My instructor recommended I stick with it a while (a few months ago) as it was "A good MPC."

I also have a Super Session I and with the 2.5 vandorin I can only play it for about 10 minutes before I get tired, but it sounds much better than the Yani and I can get the horn to speak from top to bottom where as with the Yani MPC I have a little trouble with the left palm keys (high F).

So Im not sure what to do. If the Yani 5 is similar to the Yamaha 4C I might not bother switching to it. Or maybe I just need to get a softer reed to use with the Super Session I if I go with the better MPC/softer reed philosophy.

So softer reed with the SS vs harder reed (4 or 5) with the Yani 5.


Or, go to a good sax store and see if theyll let me try some others out. Not sure if Im good enough to really pull that off just yet but I do know Im not satisfied with the Yani MPC at this time though Id like to be-
 

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I have never heard a C* and a Selmer S90 described as "harsh" before. That indicates to me severe problems with technique. A good tone at least on the C* should be obtained before trying anything else. BTW there is no correlation between tenor and soprano techniques.
Tom hit the nail on the head. These are some of the darker and more mellow sounds that can be produced on Soprano. Theres a clear technical or most likely lack of Soprano experience issue in this case.
 

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I'm with Tom Goodrick on this one, too: I think I'd first get used to how a soprano feels and works before judging the sound. Soundwise - or conceptually -, the switch from tenor to soprano is just about the biggest - including the one from bari in my personal experience; this may depend on your sound concept, of course! A "harsh" sound from a S80 C* means that something isn't right with embouchure or general approach - possibly air control (too much pressure, too little shaping). Learning to handle the soprano should come first, and a C* is as good as any other small tipped piece for that purpose. And this needs time - a couple of months regular practice at least. I'm still astonished by how much there is to learn after several years - and I'm talking about the basics here!

blues: You haven't told us what S90 opening you have. The S90 does sound a bit reedier than the S80, but especially on soprano, the difference isn't huge. All in all, I think for starters and considering your goal you'll be happier with the C* (or any of the mentioned narrower pieces like a Yamaha 4C which is amazingly good for the price or a Yanagisawa 5). To sum it up: I don't think there's a reason to switch pieces yet - but I'd have them checked (tip, rails, facing and table) to make sure they're in playable condition. I've had amazing results with corrections that seemed minor. One of the more interesting pieces I witnessed that effect with is an S80 C* for alto...

The next thing I'd do is get some softer reeds and try again. Don't be afraid to use soft reeds - machismo in this field doesn't help at all.

Finally, for a mellower sound, I had and have good success with a (good!) Otto Link Tone Edge - but I'd not recommend using a 7 at this stage (I did, that was pretty stupid), rather get a 5. But with the Tone Edge, YMMV - have a good look at any of them to see if it's in decent condition; not all of them are. But as I said, you can leave that for later.

M.
 

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My Yani came with a Yani MPC (Yani 5) and I have found it to be too closed off for my taste. Of course, I realize that a real player could pick up my horn with that MPC and scream with it but for me it seems too restrictive. Ive gone from a vandorin 2.5 reed to a 3 and it still feels that way. My instructor recommended I stick with it a while (a few months ago) as it was "A good MPC."

I also have a Super Session I and with the 2.5 vandorin I can only play it for about 10 minutes before I get tired, but it sounds much better than the Yani and I can get the horn to speak from top to bottom where as with the Yani MPC I have a little trouble with the left palm keys (high F).

So Im not sure what to do. If the Yani 5 is similar to the Yamaha 4C I might not bother switching to it. Or maybe I just need to get a softer reed to use with the Super Session I if I go with the better MPC/softer reed philosophy.

So softer reed with the SS vs harder reed (4 or 5) with the Yani 5.
Hm. I do not recommend going to a 4 or 5 with the Yanagisawa mouthpiece. In my experience, the tone on the soprano is very dependent on the reed strength. With a Yanagisawa 7 and LaVoz Medium my sound is like a Cor Anglais. Going to a La Voz Medium Hard (and a deader ligature) changes the sound to something between a clarinet and a flute.
 
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