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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have been casually been playing the tenor sax for about a year now. I played alto for 2 years way back in middle school and started slowly picking it back up again 2-3 years ago. My first step-up mouthpiece for alto was a Rousseau Studio Jazz 5 which I quite like, but I've been having a tougher time finding the right fit for me on tenor. Right now I currently have:

Rico Metalite M7: Plays okay but I'm wanting something with a mellower sound. It's a little too 'in your face' for my taste.
Selmer S80 D: Bleh. It feels and sounds restricted to me and I just really do not enjoy playing on it.
Berg Larsen 105/1 Metal (May have been refaced/worked on): I do like it, but I think it's a little bit too open for my skill level at this point.
Landreth Modern Vintage 7*: Super difficult to play. Definitely too open for my skill level and not great quality metal which I'm sure doesn't help either.

I'm looking for a hard rubber mouthpiece that has a moderate amount of edge, but not as cutting as the Metalite or the Berg.

Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
 

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The Vandoren Hard Rubber pieces are very reliable out of the box. They have really nice quality control.

They have a ton of models too - the V16, Java, etc.

You could also buy used (which is what I would recommend). I've bought a lot of pieces for alto and tenor from Dave over at JunkDude.

The Berg Larsen 105/1 should be the same/close to the same tip opening as the Landreth, so if that's too open for you try and find one that's maybe a 6, 6*, or 7 (.090, .095, .100 respectively, assuming we're talking about the Otto Link numbering system. The chamber size will also affect how it plays. A small chamber will sound brighter, large chamber darker comparatively. If there's a baffle in there though that will effect the sound and playing characteristics as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much for the reply, I appreciate your input! From the info I can gather online and from youtube, the Vandoren V16 seems like a good option for the sound I'm trying to achieve. Any opinions on T6 vs T7 sound and playability wise? (I'd try them both out if I could, but unfortunately neither of them are in stock at my local music stores.)


The Vandoren Hard Rubber pieces are very reliable out of the box. They have really nice quality control.

They have a ton of models too - the V16, Java, etc.

You could also buy used (which is what I would recommend). I've bought a lot of pieces for alto and tenor from Dave over at JunkDude.

The Berg Larsen 105/1 should be the same/close to the same tip opening as the Landreth, so if that's too open for you try and find one that's maybe a 6, 6*, or 7 (.090, .095, .100 respectively, assuming we're talking about the Otto Link numbering system. The chamber size will also affect how it plays. A small chamber will sound brighter, large chamber darker comparatively. If there's a baffle in there though that will effect the sound and playing characteristics as well.
 

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How about an orange box otto link vintage tenor sax mouthpiece with a similar facing that you use in alto. Like a 5 or 6? I played this 6 hard rubber mouthpiece for years.
 

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From reading the analysis of the mouthpieces you've already tried, I suggest thinking about a mouthpiece with a narrower tip in general. On tenor, I settled on the Vandoren V16 T6 and that's too open for classical playing (though perfect for jazz). Another option is to just pick one of the mouthpieces you have and keep playing on it. Eventually, it'll get easier to play and you'll forget about the equipment.
 

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You’ve started a nice tenor mouthpiece collection. Clearly, you aren’t having much luck buying the correct piece. May I recommend visiting a local instrument shop that has a few in inventory and trying them out.

Even 5 hours of driving (to a store) is going to take less time than ordering a mouthpiece, playing it for awhile, returning the mouthpiece, and ordering another.....the cycle can continue for a while, as clearly you already have 3 or 4 incorrect pieces.

The other recommendations are great...but I’d still recommend playing before purchasing.
 

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You’ve started a nice tenor mouthpiece collection. Clearly, you aren’t having much luck buying the correct piece. May I recommend visiting a local instrument shop that has a few in inventory and trying them out.

Even 5 hours of driving (to a store) is going to take less time than ordering a mouthpiece, playing it for awhile, returning the mouthpiece, and ordering another.....the cycle can continue for a while, as clearly you already have 3 or 4 incorrect pieces.

The other recommendations are great...but I’d still recommend playing before purchasing.
+1

If you can try before you buy that's the optimal choice. I spent took the two hours to drive to a music store to play test pieces when I was in the same boat as you a few years ago. It was a really valuable experience because you can gain insight as to what little idiosyncrasies you like and what you aren't a fan of.

I don't know where you're located or if you have access to transportation but that's hands down the best option.

OR what I did the last time I was looking for a piece is to buy from a boutique that has a trial period. I ordered 5 pieces from SaxQuest and spent the next few days just playing the hell out of them to figure out what I liked. Then I sent back the four I didn't want.

Good luck,
Nico
 

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Mouthpiece Suggestions to replace current Tenor mouthpiece:

Sound clips and comparisons: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=81124
Bright sound: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=956
For Jazz: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=3047
Lead Tenor: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=6328
For College: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=5801
Big, dark , edgy: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=9703
Classical: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=7294
To Cut through: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=7483
Great Metal pieces: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=8907
Upgrade: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=110774
Smooth Ballads: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=12109
Big, round, good subtone: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=10708
Big, Fat, wide sound: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=11471
Darkest sounding: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=15320
Edgy: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=17523
Jody Jazz vs Phil Barone: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=20887
Full Bottom, Easy Altissimo: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=30819
Under .100 opening: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=28577
Dark, Bright, Cutting, Warm and Funky: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=30098
Versatility: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=41233
Full Fat in the Palm Keys: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=58633
All round Hard Rubber: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=51474
Rock/Funk/Blues: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=47826
Legit: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=52062
Cutting and Great Altissimo: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=50285
Great Metal Jazz: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=63111
Controllable Power and Brightness: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=64600
Like a Sugal: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=44528
For Beginners: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=73253
Fusion: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=89190
Cheap Step-up jazz: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=104178
Florida Links: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=102222
Modern Sounding under $300: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=108022
Caravan and Rascher: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=101784

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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Hi all,

I have been casually been playing the tenor sax for about a year now. I played alto for 2 years way back in middle school and started slowly picking it back up again 2-3 years ago. My first step-up mouthpiece for alto was a Rousseau Studio Jazz 5 which I quite like, but I've been having a tougher time finding the right fit for me on tenor. Right now I currently have:

Rico Metalite M7: Plays okay but I'm wanting something with a mellower sound. It's a little too 'in your face' for my taste.
Selmer S80 D: Bleh. It feels and sounds restricted to me and I just really do not enjoy playing on it.
Berg Larsen 105/1 Metal (May have been refaced/worked on): I do like it, but I think it's a little bit too open for my skill level at this point.
Landreth Modern Vintage 7*: Super difficult to play. Definitely too open for my skill level and not great quality metal which I'm sure doesn't help either.

I'm looking for a hard rubber mouthpiece that has a moderate amount of edge, but not as cutting as the Metalite or the Berg.

Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
I would consider Brilhart Personaline. (The plastic Eboline was used by Lester Young and Gene Ammons.)
 

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A 10Mfan Robusto comes to mind when you ask for a "moderate amount of edge, but is not cutting." As a less expensive option V16 HR in 6 would also be a good choice, but (perhaps counterintuitively) I found the T8 to be easier to play.

Gotta ask though- what reeds reeds are you using? Do have a variety of strengths and a couple of different brands to try? Often the difference in a mouthpiece being a good one not is finding the right reed to match with it. When I first started experimenting with more open tips, I found that having a soft reed was important to get a feel for it before moving to a bit firmer reed as I got a handle on it. I believe I started with a Vandoren Java Red 2.0 when getting acclimated to the T8. As far as reeds, the ones I have found to be most playable are the Rigotti Jazz Gold- (maybe a 2.5 M would be a good strength for you to have on hand if you had to pick one) and Vandoren Java Red (see if you can get a couple in a 2.0 and a few in a 2.5 firmness). Of course preferences in reeds are all over the place- if I tried to some folks' favorite, the Vandoren ZZ for instance, I don't think I could have ever found a mouthpiece I liked. But it works great for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for your suggestions! Right now I'm using Vandoren ZZ 2.5 reeds, and I've also been trying the D'addario Select Jazz reeds, mainly the 2Ms. (So far I prefer the Vandoren) I never thought about the reeds being the reason why the mouthpieces aren't working, maybe I will try to give a couple more types of reeds a try on the metal mouthpieces in my collection before giving up on them. Going down to a strength to 2 is a good idea, I'll see what I can find at the store tomorrow! Regardless, I am wanting to buy a hard rubber mouthpiece and it seems like the V16 T6 is the most popular recommendation here, plus the one I like the sound of the best in video/audio recordings.

A 10Mfan Robusto comes to mind when you ask for a "moderate amount of edge, but is not cutting." As a less expensive option V16 HR in 6 would also be a good choice, but (perhaps counterintuitively) I found the T8 to be easier to play.

Gotta ask though- what reeds reeds are you using? Do have a variety of strengths and a couple of different brands to try? Often the difference in a mouthpiece being a good one not is finding the right reed to match with it. When I first started experimenting with more open tips, I found that having a soft reed was important to get a feel for it before moving to a bit firmer reed as I got a handle on it. I believe I started with a Vandoren Java Red 2.0 when getting acclimated to the T8. As far as reeds, the ones I have found to be most playable are the Rigotti Jazz Gold- (maybe a 2.5 M would be a good strength for you to have on hand if you had to pick one) and Vandoren Java Red (see if you can get a couple in a 2.0 and a few in a 2.5 firmness). Of course preferences in reeds are all over the place- if I tried to some folks' favorite, the Vandoren ZZ for instance, I don't think I could have ever found a mouthpiece I liked. But it works great for them.
 

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I typically point students towards Vandoren mouthpieces because they are incredibly consistent and inexpensive considering how great they play. Especially for someone less experienced, it can be difficult to tell whether the particular mouthpiece you are playing is a "dud". I don't think you'll ever have to worry about that on a Vandoren piece- every one I've ever played has been excellent.

People tend to sleep on the normal Vandoren Java mouthpieces. A T45 or T55 would be a great versatile option if you want a bit more edge and pop than what the V16 gives you. The Javas definitely feel more centered and lively to me, which you may or may not like. I play them with Java green reeds.
 

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You've got quite a few mouthpieces to work with already...why not try different reeds instead and see if that gets you closer to your goal? I bring this up because of what you mentioned about some of your mouthpieces being too open. It sounds like you may need a softer reed to compensate for the larger tips you are playing.
 

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I second the recommendation to go to a brick and mortar location. Try before you buy.

My second suggestion comes with a question. If your Berg Was more closed do you think you'd enjoy it more? My suggestion would be to try some smaller tipped Bergs. You may very well get along with the external shape of the mouthpiece a lot better. I personally can't play regular sized HR tenor mouthpieces or even so called "Slim profile" HR mouthpieces. The beak is always off for the way I play.

Try some HR bergs while you're at it. We're all different. And those 2 Chambered bergs can play nice and dark if you lay back.
 
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