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Discussion Starter #1
Just wonderin'. How many alto players here use a tenor reed? I'm presently using an old Legere tenor on my alto and really enjoying it. I have several tenor reeds and can carry on for months. Guess I'm just your typical Scot and don't want to spend any more $ on reeds.
I'm curious, tho', to see if any other members do likewise.
 

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I do. Hemke 3s with the heel lopped off. I’m also playing on a piece refaced by Gunnar Mossblad based on Claude Humber’s specs for Hodges’ pieces. It has a widened table and tip, an opening of .080, and a lengthened facing curve (it also starts like a tenor curve, before transitioning to an alto-style curve near the top).

Absolutely LOVE the sound and response I get, and it can bend a pitch like Adam Wainwright’s curveball.
 

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Like a baritone reed for tenor, it is used most often with a large tip high-baffle mouthpiece. You get all the benefits of the mouthpiece plus the big reed adds richness and 'bottom' in the sound. I heard many years ago that Earl Bostic used a tenor reed on alto, and we know that Plas Johnson used a baritone reed on tenor to help get his totally huge sound. These things happen a lot more than you may know.
 

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I've tried it, and found a tenor reed responded well on alto, and had a thick satisfying tone. Someone here said the improved response was because you don't really play the heart of the tenor reed on an alto piece. Not sure if that matters, if it feels and sounds good.
 

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I do this from time-to-time with a Legere tenor reed. It seems to give a more lively tone on the alto than it did on the tenor. Nice to know I am not alone in doing this. :)
 

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I happen to have a great many tenor reeds. It works fine. Cannot see spending money on more reeds when I got ones that work. Just being a cheapskate.

I am shocked to hear that a tenor mpc can be made to play in tune on an alto. I would have thought the missing cone and the volumes would be so far off as to wreck the tuning.

Perhaps the tenor mpc is particularly short with a small chamber, so it is closer to an alto mpc to start with. He says it is an "10 tenor link" [STM?], but it might not be stock. It has to be pushed "all the way on" or words to that effect.

I have a tuner and will check results on this notion.
 

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Just curious, what (if any) is the advantage of doing such a thing?
As others have said, the tenor reeds add richness to the sound, especially in the bottom end. I think it also lends a bit of gusto. It does take more breath support to keep the upper register from thinning out, and you may need to go with a harder reed. A long facing also helps compensate.
 

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Been using tenor reeds on alto since Hector was a pup. Deep, powerful low notes. No prob hitting the highs. Every now & then I try an alto reed... naah, thin sound, can't stand it. Tenor reeds forever! Bass clarinet reeds seem to work well too. Lively response, & you can bend notes like crazy. Try it -- you know you want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
"I happen to have a great many tenor reeds. It works fine. Cannot see spending money on more reeds when I got ones that work. Just being a cheapskate."

This is the reason I started using them. I'm encouraged with the responses to my question and will continue using these tenor reeds.
 

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This is the reason I started using them. I'm encouraged with the responses to my question and will continue using these tenor reeds.
Why not, if it works for you. as others have said it' has been done before (I've seen mention that Earl Bostic did this, I'm not sure how true that is though)

The thing is it is just a reed, it vibrates. It will be different in the way it does that so it may be more difficult to get a "conventional" sound 9whatever that is, but is likely to give you a different sound. Whether that is good or bad is up to you and as long as it doesn't restrict the range 9especially high up)I can see no harm and possibly plenty of benefits.
 

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Re: post number 6

Tenor sax mpc on alto sax

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Sax = Chu with microtuner. Worst possible choice, as it restricts the degree to which the mpc can be pushed on the neck. Screwed the microtuner down tight at the beginning.

[Assumptions: Putting a tenor mpc further on the neck would tend to shorten the total length, bringing the complete instrument more in line with design intent. In addition, introducing the cork further into a mpc might make the chamber area smaller, making that more like an alto.]

Those potentially favorable factors are thrown out the window at jump.

1. Checked a dozen or so tenor mpcs for shortness of shank and small chamber. Only tried the short and small.

2. All tenor mpcs required paper wrapped around the cork, except for one old Woodwind Co piece [I never use b/c it is too tight and other mpcs that fit the cork do the same job].

Rico Metalite 7 sawed off for C melody
Claude Lakey 5*3 (blueprinted)
Saxscape Hudson sawed off for C melody
Woodwind co./Riffault small chamber, short shank, skinny shank opening, “R4”

Conclusions:

a.
The saxscape Hudson worked, kind of, although the upper and lower ranges went out of tune more compared to the middle. A better fist could make this tool do the job.

b.
The Woodwind Co. piece was impossible.

c.
The Lakey and Metalite were about the same: very bad. With a lot of work, pushed all the way on, I could get the electric tuner to stay in the green zone most of the time in the middle range.

d.
This notion is not one I intend to explore any further.
 

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I once made a go of tenor reeds on alto. Although I found the sound to be different, I found the necessary changes to keep intonation under control were not worth the effort.

But if it works for you, do it.
 

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Works just fine for me. I use Legere Sig and Classic tenor reeds once they're too soft for tenor and use them on my Jody Jazz DV alto. I find they have a slightly meatier, richer sound, and work well in all registers including altissimo. Surprising since they're quite worn from hard rock n soul tenor playing. They last for months on alto. And yes, they save me ton of money.
 

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In the past I never found a combination I liked when tinkering on alto, but recently I used my Zinner c-melody (5) piece on an alto, and it blew me away. It had good intonation for what I checked, and the bottom end just had a rich fullness. That was with a 2.5 Legere sig reed. I definitely plan to play this combination a bit more to make sure intonation is good.
 

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I once made a go of tenor reeds on alto and mouthpiece. Although I found the sound to be different, I found the necessary changes to keep intonation under control were not worth the effort.
That is interesting, and it has me wondering about the brand and vintage of your alto. I have a 1936 6M, and like many 6m's from that vintage, it plays in tune with my older Brilhart mouthpieces, but tends to have a sharp E2 (8 - 15 cents) with more modern, brighter mouthpieces. Although I have been using tenor reeds on my alto for awhile, after reading this thread, it just dawned on me that E2 sounds much better now. So I got out my tuner and played my modern mouthpieces with both alto and tenor reeds. The results were sharp E2 with all the alto reeds I tried, and very nicely in tune E2 with all of the tenor reeds. I then checked each note on my horn against the tuner, and the tenor reed results were very good. I do not know why this is happening (maybe fewer high partials with the tenor reed???), but now I can play all of my mouthpieces in tune, and don't have to adjust my embouchure to do it. Very satisfying!
 

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That is interesting, and it has me wondering about the brand and vintage of your alto. I have a 1936 6M, and like many 6m's from that vintage, it plays in tune with my older Brilhart mouthpieces, but tends to have a sharp E2 (8 - 15 cents) with more modern, brighter mouthpieces. Although I have been using tenor reeds on my alto for awhile, after reading this thread, it just dawned on me that E2 sounds much better now. So I got out my tuner and played my modern mouthpieces with both alto and tenor reeds. The results were sharp E2 with all the alto reeds I tried, and very nicely in tune E2 with all of the tenor reeds. I then checked each note on my horn against the tuner, and the tenor reed results were very good. I do not know why this is happening (maybe fewer high partials with the tenor reed???), but now I can play all of my mouthpieces in tune, and don't have to adjust my embouchure to do it. Very satisfying!
Yamaha Custom 875 alto, so modern horn. I just found that it was squirrely all over the range and that I couldn't push in the mpc far enough to get the thing to 1. be in tune and 2. keep it in tune without slurrrrrping all over the place.

It's been a decade at least since I've tried it last, so I'll give it another shot. I'll try everything on everything, why not? Bari reed on sop, what could go wrong? Okay, but seriously I'll give it another go, but I think I'll find the same issues this time as I did the first.
 

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About 30 years ago, when I was playing in a rock n roll club band, I would use my metal tenor mouthpiece on an alto BECAUSE it changed the pitch. If the mpc was pushed on just enough to be stable, it would drop the tone by an entire half step. Why was that handy? Because I was playing material that often had me in tougher keys such as F#, C# and B, and I was a bit lazy. I'd now be playing the horn in G, D or C, which was much easier to deal with.
 
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