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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working on some stuff which I thought might benefit from a nasally soprano voice, so I contacted Joe. I ended up with an Open Sky 2. Here's the feedback I sent him:

Joe,

Thank you for the piece. All of my saxophone hours have gone into it over the last couple of weeks, and this is all I've got for you: nuanced and flexible.

It's a more focused Missing Link if I want, it's nasally and focused if I want, it's a ducky noise machine if I want, and I'm sure I've only begun to scratch the surface. Your pieces are ridiculously easy to play, but this thing just keeps taking all the air I can put into it without backing up. It feels like I'm playing tenor. In 20 or so years of playing music, including non-woodwind instruments, I don't think I've come across a mechanical device which can produce so many sounds. I haven't even put it on my curvy yet, but I'm in no hurry, since it'll probably take another couple of months to more fully explore its tonal possibilities on my S901. In short, it's probably the last soprano mouthpiece I'll ever buy.​

Workmanship is superb, again. It's narrower than the pieces I've been playing for the past several years, but still very comfortable to play. The ligature is interesting, but I've been sticking with the one I received with my Missing Link. Didn't have much success with my Rovners, which is unusual for me. I think the tip opening ended up at 0.64, and I've made it sing and wail with Alexanders, Vandorens, Hemkes, and Ricos, ranging from 2 1/2 - 3 1/2.

Best,

Mark
 

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It's a more focused Missing Link if I want, it's nasally and focused if I want, it's a ducky noise machine if I want, and I'm sure I've only begun to scratch the surface. Your pieces are ridiculously easy to play, but this thing just keeps taking all the air I can put into it without backing up. I

Thanks for the very nice description, Mark. I think at the core of it, the most meaningful part is "if I want". That was really the goal of the new design: to allow players to really experience the amazing control you can get on soprano in terms of tone, edge, brilliance, warmth and all the rest.

We all know about getting tonal variation on alto and tenor. It's actually easier on soprano, once you can "feel" the control point in the piece. The OS2 was made with that in mind. You can really play with it, pushing into that point a little, coming off it a little, each affects the tone without sacrificing the sound or intonation.

The narrow physical profile, quite like a metal Selmer classic, actually facilitates the creation of the most effective oral cavity for delivering the air to this piece. I know a lot of players want chunkier pieces because they are more like their tenor or alto pieces, but this one needed to have that profile. After all, the soprano isn't an alto or tenor. They are different.


I've put away my other pieces and am playing a personal version of the OS2 which I'm calling the ARTIST version. I love what I'm getting on all my horns. I've made subtle changes in the chamber to takes away some of the Grover influence, and that yields something more like Jane Ira Bloom meets early Steve Lacy, with a touch of Branford and Roberto Ottaviano thrown in.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to post your assessment. Play on !
 

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I never thought of "nasally" and "ducky noise machine" to be positive adjectives describing sound..............
I know what you mean ! But we all love Coltrane's sound (even if we don't want to have that sound; same with Lacy) and maybe a player wants ACCESS to that sound, along with access to lots of other variations on timbre.

The "nasal" quality on the OS2 comes from leaning into a narrow air stream. Broaden it just a bit and the "nasal" quality disappears. The "duckiness" comes from the very quick response (it's pretty amazing in this regard) and overblowing the horn. Don't overblow, no duckiness.


It's really all about almost a kind natural control for the player.
 

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I know what you mean ! But we all love Coltrane's sound (even if we don't want to have that sound; same with Lacy) and maybe a player wants ACCESS to that sound, along with access to lots of other variations on timbre.

The "nasal" quality on the OS2 comes from leaning into a narrow air stream. Broaden it just a bit and the "nasal" quality disappears. The "duckiness" comes from the very quick response (it's pretty amazing in this regard) and overblowing the horn. Don't overblow, no duckiness.


It's really all about almost a kind natural control for the player.
Very clear description thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I never thought of "nasally" and "ducky noise machine" to be positive adjectives describing sound...............I know Joe makes great soprano pieces though so I'll trust your endorsement...........
I went through multiple drafts before discarding them all and sending what you've read to Joe. I'm usually verbose, and I've done lots of technical writing, but I caught myself writing more of a comprehensive guide than a review. Simply put, there was too much to describe. It's such a flexible, responsive, easy, and big playing piece that, and I don't say this lightly, my tenor playing has suffered as a result. I've got some okay tenor pieces, which seemed, overall, easy to play, and which produced the tonal qualities I was after, but, in comparison with the OS2, I seem to have lost control over them, e.g., inconsistent embouchure, airstream focus, you name it. I've spoken with Mark (10mfan) and will probably pick up one of his pieces down the road.

As for the nasally and ducky noise thing, a bit more context might help. I'm working on some solo stuff and making liberal use of both analog and digital hardware. I'm getting a variety of sonic textures, from exotic to noisy. The soprano was working, but seemed a bit out of place, like a polite shy kid at his first punk show. I've always loved Coltrane's nasally tone and power, particularly what he did in Japan, but what sealed the deal was both Grossman's and Liebman's work with Miles Davis in the early 70's. Sounds that make me kinda excited, kinda scared.

What are words worth, though? I've got a few rough drafts and recordings, and I'm closing in on having a live set put together. If I capture anything worth keeping I'll post it here.

Love your reviews, by the way.

Best,

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the very nice description, Mark. I think at the core of it, the most meaningful part is "if I want". That was really the goal of the new design: to allow players to really experience the amazing control you can get on soprano in terms of tone, edge, brilliance, warmth and all the rest.

We all know about getting tonal variation on alto and tenor. It's actually easier on soprano, once you can "feel" the control point in the piece. The OS2 was made with that in mind. You can really play with it, pushing into that point a little, coming off it a little, each affects the tone without sacrificing the sound or intonation.

The narrow physical profile, quite like a metal Selmer classic, actually facilitates the creation of the most effective oral cavity for delivering the air to this piece. I know a lot of players want chunkier pieces because they are more like their tenor or alto pieces, but this one needed to have that profile. After all, the soprano isn't an alto or tenor. They are different.


I've put away my other pieces and am playing a personal version of the OS2 which I'm calling the ARTIST version. I love what I'm getting on all my horns. I've made subtle changes in the chamber to takes away some of the Grover influence, and that yields something more like Jane Ira Bloom meets early Steve Lacy, with a touch of Branford and Roberto Ottaviano thrown in.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to post your assessment. Play on !
You are most welcome. I continue to experiment with, e.g, the shape of my oral cavity, different reeds, I'm running through a few synthetics right now, and I'm revisiting the ligature you sent with the piece. I'm seriously considering selling my Missing Link to a friend due to redundancy and lack of use. Thanks again for the amazing piece of work.

Best,

Mark
 

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I have Joe's Missing Link piece..love it!!
 

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I have an OS-2, and it took me a while to understand how good it is, because it’s so neutral. Maybe balanced is a better description? I don’t know, but it is good. I have others that i like for some characteristic, but they have all been put away now. It’s Easy to play top to bottom, soft to loud, bright to dark...
 

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The OS2 from Joe is my favorite soprano piece ever. Asked him for a vintage jazz / tarogato vibe, & he nailed it. More than that, it's tonally responsive to subtle changes in embouchure & air flow -- seems willing to go wherever I want to take it.

Lately it has been feeling a bit narrow in the mouth compared to other HR or polycarbonate mouthpieces. Am gonna try adding a second rubber patch, see if that feels comfy.
 
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