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Discussion Starter #1
I've been playing since February on a Yamaha 4c and decided I need a new mouthpiece. I've made significant progress,started moving towards jazz, and have around $80. Any suggestions? I also use 2/2.5 vandoren reeds (if that matters) eventually I plan to bring up my reed size.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What opening size is recommended? I believe the one with the medium chamber would be best, but A6, A7 or A8? I can't try it here there aren't any dealers around here.
 

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The used V16 is an excellent suggestion, and you will want the rubber one for your price range. Don't worry at all about not having the metal version. A rubber Meyer would be another fine, popular choice

As for tip opening, if you can possibly check with a teacher who knows you, then you should do so. That said, have a glance at the table below. Your current 4C is 0.063", and I would look for a Meyer 5M or maybe V16 A5. A6 and 6M are certainly in the mainstream, but they might be a bit of a stretch for you right now. If the tip is too wide, you will be prone to developing the bad habit of biting. Also, you may need to play on the softer #2 reeds at first - especially if you get an A6 or 6M!



Tip mm inches
V16 A5 188 0.074
V16 A6 196 0.077
V16 A7 204 0.080
V16 A8 210 0.083

Tip inches
Meyer 5M 0.071
Meyer 6M 0.076
Yamaha 4C 0.063
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've found a V16 in my price range, but it is an A7. I haven't had a teacher in a few months, I'm a student, since I was out of town for the summer break. Taking into account that much of my playing has changed in the past months I don't believe asking him will be reliable. Should I go ahead and purchase the A7? I do watch myself very carefully, so I don't think the biting habit will develop. One of the things I'm really concerned is the airy tone from a bigger opening, it'll basically annoy the crap out of me until fix it with enough playing. Does anyone know how long does it take to adjust?

Thanks LampLight your post was extremely helpful along with PowerSax911's post. If I get a huge opening I may even go lower like 1 1/2 if I need to.

So, should I get the larger opening?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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If money is tight, then I would wait a bit. That V16 is good, but it may not be the best one for you so you could find a few months down the line that you want something else. I would advise you try as many mouthpieces as possible, when you find what suits you then get that one, even if it means saving up for a while.

What I also think is that you obviously think something is wrong with the Yamaha, before asking advice on what to get it would be best to say what it is that is lacking with the 4C for you, that way you're likely to get more accurate answers as to what might be a good mouthpiece, though you are still going to get recommendations for the mouthpieces that work best for those recommending them. It's such a personal issue.

Having said all that, if you at least buy the V16 second hand, you shouldn't really lose out when you come to sell it again. Also worth looking at (especially on a budget) is the Vandoren Java.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the 4C but I really feel like I need a new piece because I can't get the tone I want. I want a more rounded tone with a little bite. I practice long tones about 20-30min a day and still can't get the sound I desire and I've tried my best to follow the advice given here : http://www.saxophonevideolessons.com/?page_id=151. I also feel I need a larger opening since I find that sometimes I'm blowing too much air into the horn ( and I have a relatively low lung capacity, I know I couldn't believe it myself either).

EDIT: The closest professional to the tone I'm thinking of is probably Paul Desmond in Nancy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTAKslY_jIQ&feature=fvst. The tone I want to hear is kind of similar.
 

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with the 4C but I really feel like I need a new piece because I can't get the tone I want.
Getting the tone you want, also a tone like Desmond's, comes with time and practice. You've only been playing for 6 or 7 months. There no way you have reached the limit of the 4C's possibilities yet. In fact, I'd say a 4C, besides being a very good piece, is a fine choice if you want to approach Desmond's tone.
To me it sounds like you've got GAS (Gear acquisition Syndrome).
 

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Getting the tone you want, also a tone like Desmond's, comes with time and practice. You've only been playing for 6 or 7 months. There no way you have reached the limit of the 4C's possibilities yet. In fact, I'd say a 4C, besides being a very good piece, is a fine choice if you want to approach Desmond's tone.
To me it sounds like you've got GAS (Gear acquisition Syndrome).
GAS all the way. Better tools don't make an artist. Do yourself a favor and don't think about a new mouthpiece before you've played al least 3 years. Changing your gear will only mess with your playing, trust me I've been there far too often. It really takes your focus off the music and before you know it you'll sound much less than Desmond than ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Then how do I try to get that tone? I've tried experimenting with my embouchure but a I can't comfortably get close to that tone.
 

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No mouthpiece will get you a good tone only a slightly different one. Serious study of your instrument, strong imagination of your desired sound but most of all PATIENCE will make a difference.

You want to sound like Paul Desmond. How much have you been listening to him. Much of a players particular sound comes from his articulation. Do you know how Paul articulates? Can you match it on your horn? Best start of with a short phrase he plays and get as close as possible.
 

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... I haven't had a teacher in a few months

... Thanks LampLight your post was extremely helpful along with PowerSax911's post. If I get a huge opening I may even go lower like 1 1/2 if I need to.

So, should I get the larger opening?
No, don't get the larger tip opening.

Some of the others members have made very important points and I'm going to back-peddle a bit here in deference to their good advice. It may be that you will have to learn for yourself what GAS is - namely the common belief that another piece of gear will make things better, when only time and practice will do that. The red flag for me is that you haven't seen a teacher in a while and haven't been playing that long.



Then how do I try to get that tone? I've tried experimenting with my embouchure but a I can't comfortably get close to that tone.
You can get some good advice here about tone production, but it won't eliminate the need for time and practice. It is sounding more like you need to get back to taking lessons too.

I don't think the roof will fall in if you do get a new mouthpiece, but it is sounding more and more like 1) you you may be disappointed with your results, and 2) the smaller A5 or M5 will be a better bet for you.

If it makes you feel any better, developing as an artist really sucks sometimes, and it is normal to feel frustrated - even the pros get frustrated!
 

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I started playing in 4th grade and didn't get a new mouthpiece until 6th grade and it was another 4C. I moved up to a 5* in 9th grade and a .095 in 10th. I will be a senior in the upcoming year and just started using true large tips (.120+) a month ago. My point is, it takes years, not months to really define your sound enough to choose a mouthpiece that suits you. Try a 5C and then a 6C. When you are comfortable with the 6C you are probably ready to move on. This thread gave me GAS...
 

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I started playing in 4th grade and didn't get a new mouthpiece until 6th grade and it was another 4C. I moved up to a 5* in 9th grade and a .095 in 10th. I will be a senior in the upcoming year and just started using true large tips (.120+) a month ago. My point is, it takes years, not months to really define your sound enough to choose a mouthpiece that suits you. Try a 5C and then a 6C. When you are comfortable with the 6C you are probably ready to move on. This thread gave me GAS...
Are you implying that the better you get, the more open tips you will play?
 

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with the 4C but I really feel like I need a new piece because I can't get the tone I want. I want a more rounded tone with a little bite. I practice long tones about 20-30min a day and still can't get the sound I desire and I've tried my best to follow the advice given here : http://www.saxophonevideolessons.com/?page_id=151. I also feel I need a larger opening since I find that sometimes I'm blowing too much air into the horn ( and I have a relatively low lung capacity, I know I couldn't believe it myself either).

EDIT: The closest professional to the tone I'm thinking of is probably Paul Desmond in Nancy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTAKslY_jIQ&feature=fvst. The tone I want to hear is kind of similar.
Meyer 5. Desmond used a closed mouthpiece like the 4C you are using.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
No mouthpiece will get you a good tone only a slightly different one. Serious study of your instrument, strong imagination of your desired sound but most of all PATIENCE will make a difference.

You want to sound like Paul Desmond. How much have you been listening to him. Much of a players particular sound comes from his articulation. Do you know how Paul articulates? Can you match it on your horn? Best start of with a short phrase he plays and get as close as possible.
I already have decent tone, but it isn't the tone I desire. I have been listening to alto players like Cannonball Adderly, Paul Demond, Art Pepper, Parker and so on.. before I practice to try and engrave their sounds into my head before I play. I can't say I've actually practiced or even attempted Desmond's phrasing, articulation. Should I transcribe some stuff?

I started playing in 4th grade and didn't get a new mouthpiece until 6th grade and it was another 4C. I moved up to a 5* in 9th grade and a .095 in 10th. I will be a senior in the upcoming year and just started using true large tips (.120+) a month ago. My point is, it takes years, not months to really define your sound enough to choose a mouthpiece that suits you. Try a 5C and then a 6C. When you are comfortable with the 6C you are probably ready to move on. This thread gave me GAS...
I understand what you're saying but I don't consider myself on the same level as a regular upcoming music student who starts at a young age mainly because I've played another instrument at a young age and have been through similar experiences. I started Guitar in 5th grade and actually learned with a more theoretical approach compared to just playing ACDC or Metallica, ect. I really started practicing during the beginning of my high school years and this is where I believe most start to really improve. I've been working really hard for 6 or 7 months in an attempt to push myself in front of all the other kids who have been playing since elementary school. And I can honestly say, it least from the my perspective from my schools band camp that I'm better than everybody except for three or four kids who have been playing since elementary school and carry the band in all the different ensembles. I proved myself to the band director and received a 1st part, the only thing I'm having a little trouble with is actually memorizing all the music I've never had to do something like this before. I thought that for the amount of effort I've put in that maybe I would not have to wait the same amount of time as a middle school student who rarely practices outside of class. I'm sorry if I come across as haughty or arrogant in this post I do not intend to.
No, don't get the larger tip opening.

Some of the others members have made very important points and I'm going to back-peddle a bit here in deference to their good advice. It may be that you will have to learn for yourself what GAS is - namely the common belief that another piece of gear will make things better, when only time and practice will do that. The red flag for me is that you haven't seen a teacher in a while and haven't been playing that long.




You can get some good advice here about tone production, but it won't eliminate the need for time and practice. It is sounding more like you need to get back to taking lessons too.

I don't think the roof will fall in if you do get a new mouthpiece, but it is sounding more and more like 1) you you may be disappointed with your results, and 2) the smaller A5 or M5 will be a better bet for you.

If it makes you feel any better, developing as an artist really sucks sometimes, and it is normal to feel frustrated - even the pros get frustrated!
Thanks I planned to start continuing lessons as soon as the school year starts. I was out of town and experienced difficulties finding a teacher.
Thanks your comment does make me feel a little better.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Then how do I try to get that tone? I've tried experimenting with my embouchure but a I can't comfortably get close to that tone.
Long note exercises will be the best way. Also work on overtones and mouthpiece exercises. (there are lots of tone exercises on my site)

It would be worth experimenting with mouthpiece position, try taking in less (or maybe more, but probably less if you are like most beginners)

However I would recommend a teacher to help supervise all of that.
 
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