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Okay, so I've had a chance to play the Phil-tone Link making the rounds. I enjoyed playing it, and have been listening back to a clip of it, and ... yeah, cool. Nice piece.

It's darker than my Berg SS, of course, and that appeals to me. But how do you go dark and still be heard? I think of guys like Joe Henderson or Rich Perry -- 2 guys playing waaaay dark on HR Selmers -- to go there, do they become lost without mics? (The one time I heard Joe H. live, I was sitting 5 feet away from him -- and yeah, he sounded great at that spot.... and he was, of course, using a mic for the more distant members of the audience.)

My Berg will cut through in loud conditions, but at a cost, especially on the top end of the horn, which can get shrill and blatty, especially if I'm pushing it too hard. My main gigging is with small groups in mic-free settings, but often in loud, talkative rooms.

If I go with a darker piece, will I be pushing it so hard that any possible sound benefit would be lost? I haven't really explored tenor pieces since getting my "Tenney-fied" Berg quite a while back -- it's a great piece, but, as I say, darker is appealing more and more to me these days. But I know zilch about real world gigging with these pieces.

I'd love to hear folks' takes on this....
 

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I know you know that you're louder and have more projection than you can get a sense of from behind the horn. Go for the quality of tone. If folks are interested in what your doing they'll quiet down and listen, or you could adopt my attitude-I always just play for me-if listeners want on the bus they're welcomed but my responsibility ends at the bottom of the horn. Goes for bandmates as well.
 

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We've taken amplified music to a ridiculous level (in terms and loudness and how often we use it).

I was at this jam the other day and it was one more example. The club's not that big. Could contain maybe 100 people in the largest room. EVERYONE was amplified : sax, trombone, drums and all. As a result the music was just too loud and knocked the audience down to a point it was unbearable. I certainly had to leave. Somehow I guess some people think amplifying a band gives it a certain status. Remember that if you amplify your sound, it will sound like an amplified saxophone.
The way amplification is used is what made me hate nig festivals so much. I like acoustic instruments played unamplified.

I once read an interview with Ron Carter where he talked about the acoustic bass and amplifying it. He said that back in the days of big band, the double bass player was NOT amplified but everyone could hear him anyway because of the way it was positioned and the way they played back then.

I kind of agree with Thomas. If people want to listen, they will. Have you ever noticed the best way to shut and audience up is to play the softest ballad ever? If your band mates actually play with you they will have to adjust their volume accordingly.

I also agree with the fact that the impression of volume (and sound) you get behind the horn can be misleading. I personally have experienced this numerous times. I don't have a particularly bright sound and I always have the impression no one's gonna hear me, but people often ask me if I can play softer in rehearsals or recording sessions.

I used to play on a Morgan 6C which is a VERY dark and closed mouthpiece. I was still living in France back then. Me and this pop band were doing a week's rehearsal in this club during the day when it was closed. I jumped on the occasion to test the projection of the Morgan. I played a play-along in the PA system as loud as possible (I had to wear earplugs), set up the recording device the furthest possible from my horn and just played at a sustained volume but not to the point it "*****d up" my sound. Guess what? When I listened to the recording back at home, my horn was too loud... It changed my perspective on the difference between what I hear and what comes out of my horn.

I would try to do a gig with a dark mouthpiece, set up your Zoom and listen to the result. It's the best way to know if you project or not.

Victor.
 

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Kelly, there are a lot of varying and contradictory views on this at SOTW. I try to keep it simple: I need brilliance, (not tinny brightness but resonance) and focus to match tones with the trumpets and bones, etc., (or electric guitars, keys and drums), that I play with, often acoustically. I want as much of the core sound, (the fat part of the tone), as I can get, too.
Having said all that, a hard rubber Link doesn't work for me on tenor, though it may be perfect for someone else. There are so many variations of players and horns, gigs, etc., that the solutions seem endless.......to me it's all about compromise........Daryl
 

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You shouldn't have any problem with a hard rubber link projecting enough. Ton of people use them and they aren't super dark if you learn how to blow them they can actually get very bright. Listen to Joshua Redman he doesn't have any trouble with is HR link. After you play the link for awhile and start to adjust to it you will find out it isn't a problem getting a fat, loud, projecting sound out of it.
 

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I guess it depends on who else is in the band and the room itself. There are drummers and bass players with whom I use a bright metal piece and lean into the microphone. With others I can use my Tenney slant sig link HR 7* and play acoustic.

Even so, I have been known to turn to a drummer and say, "Too loud." If he doesn't lighten up, I say, "Too f***ing loud," and I say it loudly. That usually works.
 

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Hey Kelly,

There's no doubt about the trade off you mentioned. In my (albeit very limited) experience, what really gets you is not your overall volume--which can be increased at the PA--but your ability to hear your own sound through/over the onstage volume. I'm often in the postion where I can't hear what I'm playing hardly at all, but the audience can hear me just fine.

I think one reason the Link STM has been so popular is that it combines dark with cut pretty well: not as good, IMHO, as the Ponzol M1 though.

BTW: this is where those plexiglass soundback reflectors are so fantastic. They allow you to hear yourself better, so you don't end up blowing your brains out for no reason.

Rory
 

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The problems with sound reinforcement are easily answered.

1st- get rid of all of the monitors. That's right--don't use them. Only the vocalist should need a monitor, and that's mainly for them to hear their mic technique.

If a sax player needs a monitor to hear himself, the band is already too loud, or they're playing a large distance from each other (more than 10 feet), and need the monitoring system because they're on a big stage. Adding more mikes and monitors compounds the problem, because mikes pick up any sound near them--INCLUDING the monitor.

I remember hearing Wynton at a jazz festival a few years ago. It was a 5000 seat venue, and Wynton refused to use monitors. In fact, he and the sax player used the same microphone. During the set, the Wynton's sound guy had the guys on stage (that would be me) have the musicians move into the optimum positions, or adjust the mic position, for the mikes to reinforce their sound.

It sounded fantastic once they had it right--even in the back row. This was because they took the acoustic sound, and instead of amplifying (making it louder) the sound, merely distributed the natural sound around the room. Now THAT's sound reinforcement.
 

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I have found my 7* NY STM Link , with a correct reed choice ( either a 3s Jazz select or 2.5 Vandoren ZZ) I can get a very loud volume especially with a looser embouchure and open throat. I also have a hand finished
Keilworth 6* rubber mouthpiece which is also quite loud but not harsh. I think the problem with certain mouthpieces is not so much the volume being produced, but the frequencies which seem to be emphasized with that particular mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece has more midranged partials, it will blend too well with the rhythm guitar, bass, keys, even drums and will appear to get lost in the mix. A certain amount of higher partials needs to be included in the tone so the sax can find its own space in the mix of other instruments. I have noticed this, especially with ear monitoring devices during a gig. My 130/2 Berg is really midrangy and has a nice darkish tone to it-perfect for traditional jazz- and it does not SEEM to project as well as my NY Link which had a brighter, higher partial feel, even though it still had the nice, full Link tone. The Berg is not a quiet mouthpiece- it is loud but lacks certain frequencies that would help it stand out in the mix.
As a bass player, the same issues come about. I have some basses that sit in the mix really well because they emphasize certain midrange frequencies that allow it to be not only bassy but also able to be heard. Too low frequencies get lost , even though the volume may be quite high.
I second the idea of the Soundback plexiglass refletor. It is an invaluable aid when the monitoring system is poor or non- existant.
 

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For me its a function of air pressure. I bought a Barone Trad/contemp that was modified by a guy in Berkeley that has both a better core and alot more control/response compared to my Ponzol M2 120. I think that loud overblown is loud overblown on whatever piece I play but lately (last few months) I'm going for 'easy" and then opening up to get the best tone. I think that just like horns, some pieces get better the more you play them and some give you whatever you're gonna get right away. The P M2 was like that for me. I got the immediate fat, martin like tone that I had been missing on my Mk 6. Only thing is that I'm getting tired of dealing with the 120 tip. So, I noticed when I tryed this Barone a few days ago that I immedately had a better core to the tone but it requires a different air stream and emb pressure than my M2. I think in general its alot better to take a bright piece and open up to darken it rather than fool with reeds/emb to try to hear yourself on a dark piece. I had a good Ponzol M1 115 years ago that sounded good at home but was so dark I never heard myself at a gig and thats no fun. So, for me this is the latest/greatest. Check back with me in a week to see if I still feel that way. I'll do a gig with the Barone tomorrow and it feels easy to control and I can push air through it if needed for loud/bright and alt. Good luck, K
 

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One last thing is that I'm gonna go in ear and clip on mic some time this year. I've done the plexiglass shure 58 route for years and It bad at best. Like blowing loud into a wall for 3 hours. I want to hear myself better at all volumes. I gave up fighting the band about overall volume 5 years ago. Good luck> K
 

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The problems with sound reinforcement are easily answered.

1st- get rid of all of the monitors. That's right--don't use them. Only the vocalist should need a monitor, and that's mainly for them to hear their mic technique.

If a sax player needs a monitor to hear himself, the band is already too loud, or they're playing a large distance from each other (more than 10 feet), and need the monitoring system because they're on a big stage. Adding more mikes and monitors compounds the problem, because mikes pick up any sound near them--INCLUDING the monitor.

I remember hearing Wynton at a jazz festival a few years ago. It was a 5000 seat venue, and Wynton refused to use monitors. In fact, he and the sax player used the same microphone. During the set, the Wynton's sound guy had the guys on stage (that would be me) have the musicians move into the optimum positions, or adjust the mic position, for the mikes to reinforce their sound.

It sounded fantastic once they had it right--even in the back row. This was because they took the acoustic sound, and instead of amplifying (making it louder) the sound, merely distributed the natural sound around the room. Now THAT's sound reinforcement.
Man this is so true! Better sound through subtraction......
 

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I guess it depends on who else is in the band and the room itself. There are drummers and bass players with whom I use a bright metal piece and lean into the microphone. With others I can use my Tenney slant sig link HR 7* and play acoustic.

Even so, I have been known to turn to a drummer and say, "Too loud." If he doesn't lighten up, I say, "Too f***ing loud," and I say it loudly. That usually works.
:twisted::twisted::twisted:
 

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Hey Kelly,


I hear what you are saying, I have struggled with this as well--for rock gigs I don't worry as much, with monitors and a shield I can hear fine with my plugs in, although the mix is sometimes sketchy. But the posts in this thread talking about that environment are different than acoustic jazz settings, which I think is what you are getting at. I have done gigs with a quartet and feel the same way, like a darker piece I wouldn't get the feedback to my ears of what I am playing, and would feel uncomfortable as a result. Everyone has a different solution to this, I think some of it depends on the horn. On my later Mark VI I just wouldn't be able to get the presence with a dark HR piece like a link. But I think I could make that work fine with my Buescher, which has its own bright resonance that seems to make up the difference. For me, I found a pretty good compromise with a Morgan 9M or 9E piece. These still retain the darkness I am after but have a lot of power and feel like I can really put a bunch of air through them. If they don't exactly have the traditional link sound, I don't really care--they have proven themselves in a real world gig setting, thats good enough for me...
 

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I like projection while still a interesting tone. My current choice is 7* STM
Here's a recording of me playing Autumn Leaves. Click here.

I went to an otto link after hearing Steve Neff on the Link on his mpc web page. I was looking for a piece with a little more projection. I used to play on a Jumbo Java, but it was too boomy for my new tenor.
 

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Kelly,
I know exactly what you are asking. It's funny because many times the mouthpieces I really like the sound of are darker lusher pieces but then I get to a gig and I blowing as hard as I can and can't hear my self. About a month ago I did a straight jazz 4 hour no mic gig and when I got there I played my EB HR link which can be pretty loud when pushed. It was huge in the room. As the room filled up and had 100.....200......300......people all talking laughing yelling. Pretty soon I couldn't hear myself and I was blowing way too hard. It wasn't that the mouthpiece isn't loud as much as I think the frequencies of the sound are within many of the same frequencies that were being heard so the sound gets swallowed up in a tidal wave of the other sounds. The last set I couldn't take any more so I put on my JVW link which is my go to piece for R&B and loud stuff. I normally wouldn't play it on that type of gig but I had it and couldn't take any more. The link cut right through. i don't think it was any louder but it had those higher frequencies in the sound that weren't being eaten up by the other instruments and voices and it just cut through. It's funny because I think many times the pieces that sound too bright or that you might dislike in the practice room might be the pieces that sound killer in that big hall or at the jazz club with everyone talking.
 

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I had the same experience, so now I alternate mpc's to fit the acoustics of the situation, when it's an "easy" situation I use a 7l morgan ( .95) which is very controlable and still has a little bright edge to it. when the room is bigger I use my slant link 7 (in 80 %) of the situations, my favourite piece) and when it gets real loud I use a recently aquired GW slant 8 (.110) (brighter and LOUDER)
I have to make sure I have reeds which work with every piece so I carry a zipper plastic pouch with marked reeds in reed guards along. This way I can adjust to almost every situation and still be able to play acousticly without monitors.

Getting drummers and guitarists to adjust to the acoustic situations and play softer seems to be very hard, there have been several occasions where I asked politley (and less politely) to play softer but the that abillity to play softer seems to get lost...regrettingly
 

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Here's an article which expresses my feelings about the volume of most drummers. Got it from a drummer ( !) I worked with.


This week's little rant is about how the modern PA system (public address system) has
changed the way drummers play.
Back in Louis Belson's day, drummers had to have sonic responsibility. In other words,
they had to control how much volume they were putting out at all times. PA systems
weren't nearly as powerful as they are today. Back then, drummers were often fired for
playing too loudly. With one weak microphone, the singers still had to be heard. So, if
the drummer played over the singer or soloing instruments, they could really make the
band leader mad. But, bandleaders didn't fret too much about the issue. They just fired
the guy and gave the charts (back then, most bands had charts) to the new drummer
who would be worked into the band the day after the previous drummer was axed.
Tough luck, huh! So, putting mics on drums was out of the question. Public address
systems were invented for the voice, not the drums - drums were loud enough already!
Now, fortunately (or un-fortunately in my humble opinion), we have huge PA systems
that have so much power, there's not only ample power for the singer's microphone,
but, they even put microphones on the drums! So nowadays, drummers don't really
"mix" themselves - the sound man does. Each drum and cymbal has it's own
microphone. The sound man turns up the kick drum microphone really loud. The kick
drum is the lowest volume of all of the drum set. The sound man turns up the tomtoms.
Tom-toms are not as loud as the snare drum which is the loudest of the drums.
Anyway, the sound man gets the drums and cymbals balanced, so that, when the
drummer hits the kick at full-tilt, it is roughly the same volume (loudness) as the snare
and all of the other drums.
Then, the sound man, "mixes" in the rest of the band until he thinks that there's a good
balance (usually the drums are still the loudest in my humble opinion). Anyway, with
this being the situation, the drummer can hit the snare drum really loudly on every
back-beat without the worry of some old-timey band-leader firing him.
Here's one problem. After decades of the mega-PA, drummers have lost all sonic
responsibility. Louis Belson, as well as all of the great drummers from the swing and
early rock and roll era had great sonic responsibility. They couldn't just whack the
snare drum as loud as they wanted on every back-beat because you wouldn't hear the
down-beat on the kick drum (the kick drum being naturally lower in volume than the
snare). They couldn't just smash all of the cymbals all at once because it would drown
out all of their own drums (except for maybe a loud snare drum). They couldn't just
bash and smash all or the time because you wouldn't hear the singers and soloists.
Now, just about all drummers, save a very few, smash and bash the drums all they want
because they know that the sound man will balance their drum set as well as the whole
band. This, however, leads to some other problems as well.
Another problem is that on stage, behind the PA, drummers over-take the band.
Whenever I set up a recorder with microphones aimed at the stage only, it's all drums.
They're about twice as loud as even those loud-*** guitar amps! When drummers hear
the recording, they all say, "Recordings just make the drums sound louder than they
really are." Wrong again, little drummer boy.
The main problem, in my opinion, is not just the volume issue. It's the artistic issue. It's
something called dynamics. Louis Belson, Gene Krupa and the great swing drummers
(some rock and country guys too), really milked their snare drum for all it was worth.
When the singer was singing, or when the trombone solo was going, they would
sometimes barely touch the snare drum on each back-beat. Guess what, without
microphones on each drum, they had to artfully mix themselves. You could hear the
down-beat of the kick drum. You could hear the shimmer of the ride-cymbal. The snare
drum might have several different volumes in the same measure. Same with the kick.
There was room to breathe. Then, when they really wanted to add some zip, "Whap!"
Babies cried, women were startled, and grown men blinked when Louis Belson hit a
dramatically loud snare drum note. Then, suddenly, he's back swinging - using all of
the sounds and volumes of the snare as well as all of the drums and cymbals.
By the way, when, all of the sudden, Louis, or any of those guys, hits a loud kick-drum
note, it's called "dropping a bomb."
Anyhow, here's what's happening today. Now, it's all boom, whap, boom, whap, boom,
whap. As loud as they can play it. Every drummer. All of the time. And, the crowd gets
used to the boom-whap that the sound man has so graciously "mixed" louder than
even the singer. The boom-whap is so loud, and so "all of the time" that the crowd is
now de-sensitized to the loudness of the drums. Babies don't cry, women aren't startled
and grown-men don't have to feel the embarrassment of blinking and wincing. The
drummer is dropping bombs on every single down-beat. The drummer is using all of
his volume on every back-beat. If he wants to play a loud accent on the kick or snare,
he can't - there's no where else to go but lower.
This is not just a drummer problem. Sound men of today almost always demand that
every snare hit on every back-beat is the same volume. They even have limiters and
compressors to help them do the job. This way, sound men don't lose a single note of
their precious "drum sound". Even if you can't understand the lyrics and the chainsaw
guitars are reduced to background humming.
You could say, "It's just a different style of drumming."
I would say, "It's not as good a style of drumming as Louis Belson." Not as artful, not
as musical and kind of dumb.
Please...sound men of today. Let's lose some of the drums so we can hear the singers
and other instruments (besides the bass - you guys are turning that up too much as
well).
We all know where the back beat is. You drummers don't have to hit them so loudly.
Save that loud WHAP!! for the one note that needs to make the babies cry …..
 

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Great post toughtenor; well worth the read.........:D
 

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Great post toughtenor; well worth the read.........:D
+1

Art Blakey, Elvin Jones as well as of course Bellson were masters at what you describe. there are still a few jazz drummers who are able to actually "play" their instrument(s) too-Gary Novack(sp) comes to mind
 
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