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Discussion Starter #1
I started using an S80 C* when they first came out with their radical square chamber design in 1974. I played on that piece for years, even though in the meantime I had encountered the LT and Rousseu mouthpieces. I continued to use the S80 not because of the square chamber, but because of the gentle slope of the beak.

Does anyone know the rationale behind the square chamber design, as opposed to the round or horseshow-shaped chambers?
 

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My extremely uninformed, shooting from the hip theory is that it was derived from existing clarinet square chambers.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay, then why square chambers on clarinet mouthpieces?
 

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I remember a story Ralph Morgan told me several years ago. When he worked for Selmer and the S80 mouthpiece was being developed he didn't think much of the concept and asked why they didn't also make square saxophone bores.
 

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I don't know if you're looking for an advanced mechanical or sonic explanation (because I don't have one), but I've heard the square chamber phenomenon came about when the sax started to become popular in dance and jazz bands in the early 1900s. The chamber offers a bit more resistance, like vivace said, and thus a brighter, slightly louder, and more projectile tone. Perfect for playing dance music, and perfect for playing it to a large crowd. French classical players then picked it up (to the dismay of Germans and others who preferred the darker, rounder, more subtle tone of a round chamber) and the rest is history.
 

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Sounds like a great thesis topic if it hasn't already been covered. I actually was just having this conversation with another former FSU sax player. I personally can't get a decent sound on one, I can't get over the buzz. When was the first square chamber introduced? Was it definitely a Selmer "innovation"?
 

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hakukani said:
I started using an S80 C* when they first came out with their radical square chamber design in 1974. I played on that piece for years, even though in the meantime I had encountered the LT and Rousseu mouthpieces. I continued to use the S80 not because of the square chamber, but because of the gentle slope of the beak.

Does anyone know the rationale behind the square chamber design, as opposed to the round or horseshow-shaped chambers?

1974?
So the early French players were getting all that buzz on round chambered pieces?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've never seen a square chambered piece other than the S80. Not even clarinet mouthpieces. Doesn't mean they don't exist....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
vivace1 said:
1974?
So the early French players were getting all that buzz on round chambered pieces?
Yeah, I was studying with John Sampen at the time (I started with him while a senior in high school in fall '73). He had just gotten one...I was a student...Soooo, I got one, too.

I don't know what 'buzz' you're talking about. Sampen has a very dark sound.

When I was in school the 'legit' majors played on soloists(or soloist style) with the horseshoe chamber, Larry Teals with a round chamber, or S80s.
 

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hakukani said:
I've never seen a square chambered piece other than the S80. Not even clarinet mouthpieces. Doesn't mean they don't exist....
Yanagisawa makes square chambered mpcs. My sop Jody Jazz is kind of a square with rounded corners.
 

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Easy. Not all sax players are hepcats, Daddy-o.
 

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If you own The Devil's Horn, Hak, you can read Segell's banter with Ralph Morgan. He discusses square chambers (and how he hates them) on pp. 160-62 and 171-4, citing that dance bands in the 20s used them to achieve a brighter sound.

In addition to the S80, the S90 has a square chamber, and gosh I think the Vandoren Optimum and maybe some older Rousseau's do too. I just can't remember from my recent play testing, but I was under the impression that the square has become quite common.

Edit: Don't take my word on all the square pieces though - after research at length it seems most companies want to label their chambers as "normal" or just "classical" and "jazz."
 

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Discussion Starter #15
saintsday said:
Easy. Not all sax players are hepcats, Daddy-o.
I was waiting for this one.:D:D:D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
thejoyofsax said:
If you own The Devil's Horn, Hak, you can read Segell's banter with Ralph Morgan. He discusses square chambers (and how he hates them) on pp. 160-62 and 171-4, citing that dance bands in the 20s used them to achieve a brighter sound.

In addition to the S80, the S90 has a square chamber, and gosh I think the Vandoren Optimum and maybe some older Rousseau's do too. I just can't remember from my recent play testing, but I was under the impression that the square has become quite common.
You'd think if the dance bands in the 20s used a square chambered piece, there would be examples extant.
 

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It prevents rotation while the piece is mounted in the machine that applies the facing.

Ok - I just made that up, but if I were to guess...

Something interesting - play a mpc with a BARI plastic reed and watch the pattern of condensation. The streaks created show what the air in the mouthpiece is doing. No - I have no data, but it's a way to watch what's going on in there.
 

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Roger Aldridge said:
I remember a story Ralph Morgan told me several years ago. When he worked for Selmer and the S80 mouthpiece was being developed he didn't think much of the concept and asked why they didn't also make square saxophone bores.
And why they make high baffles on mouthpieces.
 
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