I own a Yahama 475-II Soprano Sax with the standard Yahama 4C mouthpiece. I just purchased a JJ HR* 6 mouthpiece. I do not hear a difference in sound. Should I? I'm thinking about returning the JJ HR*. What do you guys say...any advice?
If you don't hear the difference (or even if you do , go with the yamaha. I find it sounds quite good,
and I have played it for years (on alto) before spending trillions for new pieces (which didn't improve my playing, btw).
If it were me, I'd play which ever one I liked the best. What I would NOT do is return the one I'm not using. Over the 50+ years I've been playing soprano (and alto and clarinet), I've acquired a wonderful collection of mouthpieces and returned very few. I STILL enjoy going through my collection from time to time and re-acquainting myself with each piece.
Besides, who knows what fate awaits the one mouthpiece you chose to keep. Ever dropped one? Ever lost one? Ever had one stolen off your horn? Ever had the barrel crack? Keep the JJ. DAVE
LOL....thank you guys. That JJ HR* is going to be an expensive backup...lol, but i didn't think about having a back up. I was thinking about getting a Vintage Morgan MPC for $95, however, I think it may sound the same as the JJ and 4C MPC's. I've read alot about the dark and warm sounds vs the bright tones; however, my ears aren't picking it up when I play. They all sound the same. I must be doing something wrong.
How long have you played soprano? If you are a newcomer to soprano, maybe you aren't doing anything wrong - just inexperienced, that's all.
I have Morgan Vintage soprano pieces - #6 and #7 and they are my favorite soprano pieces. I suspect you will be able to tell the differences. For me those Morgans are very strong AND much darker than the companion Super Session J's I use. I favor more open tips, though. Strictly a personal choice, mind you - there are no rules.
I've had JJ soprano pieces (ordered three, returned two - one of the few times I've sent mouthpieces back), yet in the end I also got rid of the remaining JJ. They were (again for me - everyone is different) nothing special and I can understand how yours doesn't sound or feel all that different from the 4C (which I also have). This is from memory but I tend not to forget the pieces I've owned/played. DAVE
i recently bought both for alto. the yamaha 4c sure wins on price but i notice a significant sound difference. using adjectives for light to describe sound sort of bafles me but ill give this a try. the jj is a bit more penetrating but still has great sound. the tip looks a bit more open and the the 4c would be easier to overlook as background music or elevator music - like if all the sound came out the bell, someone stuck a sock in it. the face on the JJ is longer taper (the angle formed by the cord from tip opening to where it touches the table seems smaller - not exactly right because it looks like a conic - if you consider the face 2 cords with them touching at the point of the greatest rate of change of the tangent angle, that point is farther up the mouthpiece on the JJ ). this seems to require more control of your embouchure but also more control of the sound.
I started playing the soprano in February (7/8 months). I played the Alto for 6 yrs and stopped for 5yrs, but now I'm back playing again. Yes, I'm a newcomer to the soprano. Good thing I didn't purchase the Gaia - Theo Wanne MPC for $395. I think I will give the Morgan Vintage #6 a try. Dave, do you know where you purchased your Morgans from?
I recall it was junkdude. I made the contact over the Internet and bought both the 6 and the 7. The 6 is claimed to be a .065 tip and the 7 is claimed to be .070. I had to have both shortened (meaning a local repair-tech cut off the bottom of the barrels - to the same length as my Super Sessions) so they'd slip on far enough and NOT be stopped by the upper-octave's ribbing of my '28 Buescher TT.
I also need slightly different reed strengths for each tip. I prefer the 7 but with a slightly stronger reed, the 6 plays well, too.
One other thing - the Morgans' barrels' internal diameters were a bit larger than my Super Sessions, so I had to have my horns re-corked for them. Then, whenever I slid on a Super Session, that tended to compress the new corks. So, I carry a roll of plumber's tape with me to tighten up the Morgan's on the now compressed corks. Seems like a hassle, but it is worth it AND it works for me. DAVE
I'm glad you mentioned that about the barrel being bigger. i noticed that the JJ barrel was a little large than my 4C. The JJ fit but the 4C has a tighter fit. If i don't put cork grease on, i had to force my 4C on, but the JJ easly slid on without cork grease. I spoke to Jody E. not too long ago over the phone. Great guy. He gave me some tips to try over the weekend (different reeds etc) and also stated that the sound I'm looking for takes time to develop as I'm just started the soprano 6 months ago. He said I can always return it if i'm not seeing a difference this weekend and call him in 6 months and he will work with me on my next mpc. I have the following reeds, rico royal 2.5; Hemke 2.5; vandron 2.5. I love the Hemke reeds. the Vandrons are a little too hard, I can play okay with them. I think I have out grown the rico's.
I've met Jody Espina - yes, he IS a nice guy. Glad you used cork grease when forcing the piece - YEARS ago, I split the barrel on a good Selmer S-80-F mouthpiece trying to force it onto a cork. Learned a lesson that day!
As far as reeds go, I've always liked the softer strengths (#2 mainly in Vandoren ZZ, various Ricos). But I adjust every one of them - very few meet my needs right out of the box. So, I wet a few, then put them on and while affixed to the mouthpiece, scrape the vamps with a sharp pocket knife blade, rinse, test, scrape, rinse, re-test . . . and pretty soon the reeds come right into playing shape for me. Try to teach yourself to adjust your reeds and you will be surprised at how well your reeds play.
My thing is traditional jazz (meaning 1920's stuff out of New Orleans and early Chicago/NY jazz of that era; sop, alto and clarinet) and I shun microphones. I don't know what you are trying to achieve, though. But I think Jody was right when he told you to give it some time. DAVE
Thanks Dave. You provided some great insight. As far as the type of music I trying to learn....I'm trying to learn them all. Right now some classical and smooth jazz. As for "real" jazz, it's somewhat too complex for my skills right now, however, I will not shy away from it. It will just take a lot of time and practice.
If you are used to drive a Fiat 500 car and after a while you buy a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano I strongly doubt you will be able to drive it at its full potential in a short time. There are mouthpieces for beginners and mouthpieces for professional players. If you are a pros send both mouthpieces to Jody and tell him your problem, you know each mouthpiece is different and maybe there is some little problem in that one.
My two cents,
Read the extensive threads about ligatures . . . some think they make a difference, others think that as long as the reed is held tightly against the mouthpiece table that it doesn't matter. I'm one to think ligatures make a SMALL difference. It is easy enough to switch all of your equipment around so that you can evaluate each combination. I doubt if the different ligatures you described above would have made a significant difference in how easily each one played, unless you didn't have one of them affixed properly. DAVE
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