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If regiment the caravan, they are available at wiener music! The large chamber on soprano won’t cut as much as you want, but the control over tone and intonation that will be developed with the caravan will hold through to any other mouthpiece, and give you a much more respectable sound in the long run
 

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What style of music you'll be playing and in what setting makes a difference, but you may not know that until you get rolling.
 

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Interestingly enough, I have just completed a quest over the past 6-7 months for a new/replacement soprano mouthpiece, as my old "go to" mpc (Rovner HR Deep-V 6* facing) cracked (actually about 5 years ago now) and the crack finally made it's way from the bottom/end of the bore all the way up to the table, rendering it ... no longer playable. (sniff, sniff - I am so bummed, I LOVED that mouthpiece, it was the most free-blowing mouthpiece and had amazing intonation all the way from the bottom of the horn to the top...). The extra cut out of the table made it unique and really opened up the sound and "breathability"/blowing throughput (if that's a thing) of the mouthpiece - which Jody Espina totally ripped off and now calls it the Jody Jazz DV which runs $650!!!). The low range was so effortless I hardly had to push at all to get the low Bb, B, C or C# to play... (sigh). Anyway - Rovner stopped making mouthpieces about 10 years ago now, so ... I can't just go buy a new one, and I AIN'T gonna pay $650 for a Jody Jazz version of it!

Anyway, I digress. Here below is a list of what I've procured on this journey, and my critique of them. My criteria was simple: 1), had to be from a known brand/maker with a reputation of quality/excellence, and 2), had to be under $150.

1. Jody Jazz HR* 7 - $149 (eBay - used) - This mouthpiece is a beautiful piece of work. I believe it's modeled after the original old Meyer, but it's WAAAAYYY more flexible and open/free blowing, IMO. And I loved the tone I got out of this, it's a Meyer like tone but somehow richer, fuller and the intonation was outstanding all the way up and down. Altissimo was super easy - never been easier for me. I just can't stop playing this piece for some reason. I love the Tone Edge, and the STM, but this one... just something that resonates with me. This will be my "go to". Brand new they are $179, but it's hard to find a "deal" on these on eBay.... they hold there value extremely well, and mine has no gold etching/lettering or decorative rings left on it (although it's in great shape; just been played a lot). By the way - I loved this one so much I bought another used one on eBay for my tenor - a 7*, perfect for me! - for a screaming deal - $75!!! It plays like a dream. I love that piece, too. Jody Jazz DOES make great mouthpieces (even if most of them are highly over-priced)...
2. Otto Link Tone Edge (HR) 8 - only $65 on eBay (open box - never used)! It was an open box deal, but never been used. Pristine. Always reliable and dependable Tone Edge, always produces a great, beautiful tone, darker, rich, complex. The 8 opening is a little bit larger than I have played before (typically a 6* - 7*) but did I mention it was only $65!?!? I put on a 2 1/2 reed instead of my normal 3 and it played just great. A close 2nd, and will be my main jazz gig backup.
3. Otto Link Super Tone Master (metal) 6* - $128 (eBay - used). Great condition, plays great. Love this one. Not quite as free blowing as the Jody Jazz (just a tad bit of resistance), but it's not noticeable unless you play 'em back to back, and it doesn't impede sound at all - my goodness it projects extremely well! The 6* is a great "in-between" tip opening - it's free blowing and open enough to get a great tone and plenty of sound/volume out, while providing more flexibility to shape and bend your sound than smaller tip openings. A close 2nd to the Jody Jazz, and probably my "go to" piece for loud crowded gigs with a big band with lots of electric instruments...
4. Rico Metalite M7 - $26.98 (eBay - brand new) - Yes, it's cheap/inexpensive! But even so, it's really a very good mouthpiece, and worth checking out! It's bright, has a high baffle and a medium/small chamber, and it's loud, so plays like a metal piece, pretty open/free-blowing, it's loud! (definitely projects well), and intonation is good all the way up and down the horn. Found altissimo tough on this though, not sure why, but I don't play up there that much anyway on soprano, as I find it gets pretty shrill up there on soprano. Anyway, good as a back-up piece for me, but I've been playing for 40+ years and if it weren't good I'd ditch it without a 2nd thought.
5. Rovner Eagle 9 (gold medal version of the Deep-V) - I think it was like $90-100 new, maybe a bit more, but I couldn't believe I actually found this online (Wiener Music actually still had one in stock, after all these years, they stopped producing these like 10+ years ago...). Was OK, very free-blowing (as I've come to love on the HR version I've played all these years), good tone production, very strong but not overpoweringly loud, but I'm not used to playing that wide open a tip opening, and it was really hard to control, even with a soft reed. Still, tone and intonation was way ahead of the Guardala Studio. I think if I practiced on this enough, I'd wrestle it under control and it'd be a good piece for me. But then, with the first 3 on my list, why? Don't really need this one.
6. Guardala - Studio 6 - $400 (brand new, Nadir's web site). Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I broke my own "under $150" rule... And I do regret it. Super high baffle and plays super bright, and super tight (= not very free blowing). It was a bit disappointing to me, as I use one of Nadir's MB II's on my tenor and it's the best damned tenor mouthpiece I've ever blown, by a long shot. This one? is not that one. Small, squared off chamber from the bore side, bullet style chamber coming off the baffle. Meant to blow loud (with the small chamber, obviously) but I had a tough time with intonation, really had to adjust the embouchure to get the bottom end notes, and still struggle with the altissimo. Way over priced, IMO. I would not go this route again.

Hope this helps.
 

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I have two Selmer S80 D mouthpieces, one customized by Theo Wanne and a Yanagisawa 5 balanced by Joe G., these are my go-to mouthpieces. I also have about nine other soprano mouthpieces.

After trying a variety of mouthpieces just to see how different aspects affect the sound, I have concluded that the answer to the original inquiry is “a well faced, or refaced, mouthpiece.” This echoes what Dave Dolson was saying. The tolerances on a soprano and its mouthpieces affect the overall playing experience much more than the lower voices in the saxophone family. I have a Meyer 7 and a Yanagisawa 9 metal that were virtually unplayable. After just flatening the table and balancing the rails, they are phenomenal.

The mouthpiece geometry does influence how a piece feels and sounds, but general playability is determined primarily by the flatness of the table, evenness of the rails, and then by the balance of the many arcane concerns of mouthpiece designers and technicians.

There are a number of options, SopranoPlanet is one. Joe really understands the soprano sax and its mouthpieces, and he is a good listener and adviser to your needs. But there are other options, makers who hand face and if you are not satisfied will reface your mouthpiece. And there are also a number of talented and capable mouthpiece technicians (refacers). If you find one that you develop a rapport with or whose work and reputation on soprano you respect, those are good options too.
 

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Short answer:

Selmer S80 D
Jody Jazz DV 6*
Jody Jazz HR 6 (rarely; if I want a hard rubber sound, I usually go to my Selmer S80-D, but I’m impressed with the JJ HR6)

Long answer, for those who wonder why:

In 1982, after performing at Dale Underwood’s sax symposium at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard, I listened to my tapes and realized that my best on soprano was nowhere near my best on alto; I had played both in the concert. So, I specialized in soprano sax for the next 35 years or so. This led me to perform some very difficult works not written for the soprano. They may not mean anything to you, but someday you may hear them on their native instruments while reading the music, and you’ll realize what I had to go through to play them. Just as a sampler, they included the Prokofiev Flute Sonata (also transcribed by the composer for violin) in D, Poulenc Oboe Sonata , Richard Strauss Oboe Concerto, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brazileiras No. 5: Aria, J.S. Bach: the Violin Partitas & Sonatas for Solo Violin, except for the fugues and the Chaconne, as well as his Suites for solo cello which work nicely on soprano, but better on tenor or bari. I tell you this, because in order to play these works, I had to have a mouthpiece that could do literally anything. Everything. What special mouthpiece did I use? A Selmer Super Action 80 D, which was practically a stock mouthpiece. Well, that’s partly untrue; I STARTED with that, and then I got a real woodwinds pro, Les Nicholas, to adjust my mouthpiece to handle the highest altissimo and smoothest mid-range. A couple bottles of wine and an all nighter later, Les and I had created my mouthpiece. I’ve used it ever since. With this mouthpiece, and tons of practice with the mouthpiece exercise, and overtone studies I was able to play all movements of the Prokofiev as written, and performed it many times, including at Dale’s 1985 Navy Sax Symposium again.

I also highly recommend the Jody Jazz DV-6*, if memory serves. The altissimo is a little harder, but the range of sound is enormous. Yes, it plays loud, but also it plays soft. THAT is what is important. Nobody needs to make a saxophone louder. You’ve heard the old saying that a gentleman (or lady) is someone who can play the saxophone, but doesn’t. Well, that’s certainly the case with playing LOUD. Sax is the most cutting of all woodwinds, and belongs in a brass section. What you want to look for is control, ease of playing altissimo, ease of circular breathing, low notes, articulation, etc., etc. at any volume, and the ability to get a wide range of timbre by merely voicing the instrument a little differently. All of this is also in the reed, but it starts with the mouthpiece. Once you get a mouthpiece that does it all fairly well, STOP THERE! Don’t keep looking. You have to spend years with a mouthpiece to learn its subtle details and to be able to nail them perfectly, cold or warm, fresh or tired, good reed or bad. It’s not something you want to be switching a lot. I suggest no more than two or three MPs, one for legit, one for jazz/rock, and one to replace either of those if one gets broken. (That’s never happened to me in 50 years of playing)

One more time: Selmer SA80 D, and Jody Jazz DV 5, 6 or 6*, depending on your taste in reeds and musical styles.

Listen to me on this: people talk about sound all the time, but your sound is your sound. It’s due in large part to things you can’t change: shape of your mouth, your airstream, your lips. You can change your voicing, reed pressure, and mouthpiece facings enough that you can get a wide range of sounds, but that are YOUR sounds. Nobody else can make your sound. Just you.

So don’t go off trying to sound like someone else! That’s just ridiculous. If you want to sound like Brecker, you’ll chase horns, mouthpieces and reeds for half your life, but you won’t ever get there. It’s HIS sound. But if you PLAY at a professional level, putting your full body into your expression, then you’ll have a unique and wonderful sound that others will want to emulate. They’ll be saying they want to sound like YOU! Hahaha... see how that works? It’s about your playing, not your sound. People hear your playing and love it, so naturally they think that yours is the sound to emulate. Focus on your playing and control.

When you’re doing everything else right, sound just happens. Go for control. If you get to a point where you need something different, you’ll know, so don’t spend all your money on mouthpieces and all the gadgets that woodwind accessories manufacturers make to get all your money. Wait until you know exactly what changes you need to make, then talk to someone who knows what they’re doing and see if they can adjust a stock mouthpiece like the one you play to get you there. (Never never never never never let someone work on your best mouthpiece. Get one just like it, and let them work on THAT.) If that doesn’t get you there, you can then go shopping by listening to your favorite players, learning what equipment they use, and trying one like it.

That said, if it just tickles you to try to sound like someone else, or to spend a lot of money and try a lot of famous name mouthpieces, who am I to stop you. Just please, understand that it’s not necessary.

Remember this throughout your career: 90% of mouthpiece adjusters are wannabes. Fakes. Frauds. Don’t go by price. Some of the highest priced adjusters are the worst. They just got lucky on a few well-known player’s pieces, and that made them famous among saxophonists. I’m telling you the experiences of many, many players, not just my own. Talk to any fine performer who has chased the perfect mouthpiece, and they’ll tell you pretty much what I’ve told you. It’s about control and learning to create the sound you want, not getting a piece of gear that just does it for you. And I recommend staying simple, such as stock Selmer mouthpieces, but do try Jody Jazz DV and HR mouthpieces. The extended window of his DV mouthpiece alone is reason enough to try it. That allows for reed warpage without breaking the seal on the rails (edges) of the reed/mouthpiece. I talked to Jody Espina about his inspiration for that, and I was impressed. I tried his mouthpiece and was blown away. But that’s for another discussion. Still, when I need perfect control of altissimo, circular breathing, and everything else, I put on my Selmer D.

Shooshie
 

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Thanks Skeeterman and Shooshie! I was thinking about buying a Selmer S80-D to fill the gap between my 4C and Jody HR 6. After your words, I think I’ll stick with the Jody and let it some time to show itself. I started with my soprano only two months ago and during that period I find myself increasingly drawn to the Jody. As mentioned by you above, it has a kind of magic. On top of the excellent control of the low end, I love the sound, which, in lack of a better (?) word, I would describe as sexy. Sure, the mouthpiece selection depends also very much on the kind of music you want to play, but I’m looking at soft and ballad like (jazz or jazzy) music for the soprano and I think the Jody can fit that category really well.
 

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Vandoren Optimum SL-3. When I tried one from a friend...it blew me away. Projection..intonation..spot on. He let me use it for a run of a pit orchestra.....and during intermission of the first night, I sent a text to my music store to order me one. LOVE the thing.
 

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I recently picked up a Selmer S80 D and I'm 100% convinced that this is the standard. I must have picked up a good one because the response is great from low Bb to alt. This mpc can cover a huge range from classical to pop/funk/R&B. If I want super power then I do have a Rico Metalite M5 that I pull out for a loud R&B gig but moving forward the S80 D is my grail..... now to spend hours and hours of practice!!
 

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Aside from the very pricey vintage Selmers, I found the less Vintage Selmer Super Session J is just amazing for what i was looking for.
It made me stop looking for sop mpcs.
 

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The soprano player in our quartet is very happy with his Vandoren V5 S27. I haven't seen any mention of Vandoren, does anyone have any experience with them?
 

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The soprano player in our quartet is very happy with his Vandoren V5 S27. I haven't seen any mention of Vandoren, does anyone have any experience with them?
There have been a few mentions in this thread already about Vandoren mouthpieces . . . the V16, the SL3. DAVE
 

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I really like the Selmer Concept, but based on the discussions on this thread I just purchased a used S80 D and a used S80 E. The one thing I've found about the Concept is that I have to really/significantly back off from my normal air stream (for example, what I use when I play the Open Sky 2) or else the notes start warbling (particularly true from G1 and down the register on my Yany SCWO20). I'm curious to see if the bigger tip openings will address that.

Having said that, as Dave noted, the Concept plays a lot bigger than its tip opening would suggest.
 

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This thread is becoming what all mouthpiece threads become - a popularity contest. There are a lot of soprano mouthpieces out there that any one of us favor, but many of them are not "standard, default" soprano mouthpieces. I'll repeat what I posted earlier in this thread - mouthpiece selection comes down as, for those who are asking what to buy, there is no other way to make a selection than by going out there and testing them all. That's what I did (and still do) and I have a shoe box filled with soprano mouthpieces to prove it. I don't regret it, though - I enjoy re-visiting them from time to time.

As far as "standard-default" goes, that would be the Yamaha 4c and the Selmer S-80 C* (and obviously the Yanagisawa 5, which is included with all new Yanagisawa sopranos). All of the others - the high-end Selmers and Selmers bigger than C*, Morgans, Phil-Tones, SopranoPlanet, and STM Links, etc. (all of which I have), they are all good. What matters is how you, the player like them - and that may not be consistently positive across all of them.

For jman's problem with the Concept . . . my experience with it shows that the individual reed I'm using at the time is critical to how well it plays. I just went through that within the last few days. I'd been using a Legere 2 on it and when I put on a cane reed, my results changed. So I dug out another reed and immediately the Concept took on a new strength and depth of tone missing with the Legere and the other cane reed I was using.

But my horn (a five-digit MKVI) played well, top to bottom with my Concept. My Concept is very much like my S-80 D - i switch back and forth between the two and can hardly tell the difference. If I had to decide on one, I'd pick the Concept - maybe just a tad smoother in response, top to bottom. DAVE
 

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I bought a Missing Link from Joe at sopranoplanet and it’s all I need, and probably will ever need. I’ve got a selmer concept as well which I bought out of curiosity but the Missing Link gives me so much more. I play it with the reeds recommended by joe, marca superior 2.5 or 3, and it's just great.
 

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https://forum.saxontheweb.net/conte...or-New-Members-and-Frequently-Asked-Questions

Mouthpiece Suggestions to replace current soprano mouthpiece:

For a complex rich sound: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=109656
For ballads: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=101776
Classical: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=95241
Most Free-blowing: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=86852
General: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=58682
Dark sound: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=34673
Great intonation and projection: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=27903
Otto Link Soprano mouthpieces: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=7182
Edgy tone: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=872
For Beginner: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=106754

NOTE- Mouthpiece choice should not be influenced by horn shape, brand or colour, unless there are intonation problems (possibly due to a really modern mouthpiece on a really old horn).
 

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The soprano player in our quartet is very happy with his Vandoren V5 S27. I haven't seen any mention of Vandoren, does anyone have any experience with them?
For my tastes, the Vandoren mouthpieces are too bright and edgy. Not in a jazzy way, but in a shrill way. That is probably variable such that you could make it less shrill with a different kind of reed, and with voicing and padding the reed. But generally speaking, I am not a fan of the Vandoren mouthpieces. I use their reeds for a starting point, altering them to play for my set-up, and I love their reeds, but they do require a lot of work, at least where I live (dry, warping reeds boat-like, which breaks the seal). I find that the Jody Jazz DV series work well with dry climates. Because the table of the reed can warp a little, boat-like, and it won't break the seal, because of the giant window that leaves nothing for the table to push against.

Short answer, no; I don't find the Vandoren mouthpieces good enough for virtuosic work. I know a lot of people who say they like them, however, so they must be good for some folks.

--Shooshie
 

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I always come back to my Link 5* 'tone edge', Yamaha 5c is also a nice choice. You need a bit of resistance on soprano and with a stiffish reed these pieces really work, with stable intonation and good response in all registers.
 
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