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The better you are the less reliant you are on gear.

Mouthpieces matter a lot to us mere mortals.

There are a lot of pros who are mouthpiece fanatics...a lot.

Im pretty confident they dont just spend their hard earned cash just for giggles.

All that said..the best gear in the world wont make a bad player good..but he probably will sound less bad on good gear.
 

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The better you are the less reliant you are on gear.

Mouthpieces matter a lot to us mere mortals.

There are a lot of pros who are mouthpiece fanatics...a lot.

Im pretty confident they dont just spend their hard earned cash just for giggles.

All that said..the best gear in the world wont make a bad player good..but he probably will sound less bad on good gear.
100%!!
 

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I suppose you can take this with a grain of salt since Im a mouthpiece maker:

I would assert as long as its a decent horn the mouthpiece makes a bigger difference to mere mortals.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It seems to me, even at my level, that you have to work less to sound better on good equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It seems to me, even at my level, that you have to work less to sound better on good equipment.
 

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I don't know, he sounded pretty good on his old YAS23 and plastic MPC.
But that wasn't the question...at least not how you posed the question.

The question wasn't whether a good player can sound good on any horn with any mouthpiece setup.

The hypothesis/claim is, as I understood it from your OP: there's almost no difference in how one sounds regardless of what sax or mouthpiece they are using.

Those are two different arguments.

Toggle back-forth between 8:00 and 10:00 on that vid....are you telling me there is NO sonic difference ?

Because if anyone who is a musician, or just a person with a decent ear, says that....they might wanna have their ears cleaned.

To me, the vid simply illustrates that a good player can sound good on a cheapie horn or a high-end horn.

The guy sounds good on both, but that's not synonymous w/ claiming "they sound the same !" or "there's hardly any difference !".

I hear a significant difference in the tonality there.

It seems to me, even at my level, that you have to work less to sound better on good equipment.
Yes, that is a BIG quality about GOOD horns which people often overlook. Yes there's build, ergos, tone, intonation....but blowing response is as significant as any of these. Many of the 'grail' models excel in just this - their blowing response.
 

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If I take my Aristocrat with a Mindi Abair MPC vs, my Conn NW with a Tonalin MPC, there is no way in the world to make them sound even similar. They both sound great but the Buescher is extremely bright and the Conn is extremely dark (and only weight about 1/2)
Love them both.

And I think what the Pro really said to the OP was that the best setup wont help if you suck but he paraphrased it. We all are slaves of our own subjective perception.

Plus, every player has some kind of signature sound or phrases and they won't change regardless of the equipment.
 

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I say buy a horn from a reputable manufacturer that is easy for you to play. Good ergonomics, easy blowing. Then you can work on your sound and technique without the horn getting in the way. I started on a YTS-23 and am now playing a 62. Truth be told, you probably couldn't tell the difference in my sound from one to the other. I've gotten better with practice, not with equipment upgrades. For more advanced musicians, I'm sure the quality of the equipment makes a difference, but not so much as the quality of the experience.
 

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It was instructive when I got my $100 Mexi-Conn and threw a set of new pads in it. What did it sound like? Surprise, surprise! It sounded EXACTLY like my silver plated 1948 Conn 10M. Yeah, the action's not as slick, but sound and response wise it's the same horn.

Honestly I think "student vs pro" versions from a single manufacturer are more likely to have more refinement in the action, and more high quality finish detailing, than to be tonally different. Of course, from different manufacturers, now there'll be a difference, though to be honest all the Selmer copies sound pretty much the same to me coming from my background with Conns, Bueschers, and Martins (and even a tiny bit of playing, years ago, on a King Zephyr baritone).
 

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The perennial argument that gear doesn't matter, that's it's just about talent and the setup is inconsequential, is simple unreconstructed idealism, a way to privilege "spirit" and "the spiritual" over the material world. Musicians seem especially prone to this kind of thinking for some reason.

Such claims often take the form of anecdotes like, "One time Bird was hired for a gig but had hawked his horn, so had to play a lamp instead. But you know what, he sounded just like himself. And it wasn't even a sax-shaped lamp!"
 

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The perennial argument that gear doesn't matter, that's it's just about talent and the setup is inconsequential, is simple unreconstructed idealism, a way to privilege "spirit" and "the spiritual" over the material world. Musicians seem especially prone to this kind of thinking for some reason.

Such claims often take the form of anecdotes like, "One time Bird was hired for a gig but had hawked his horn, so had to play a lamp instead. But you know what, he sounded just like himself. And it wasn't even a sax-shaped lamp!"
It wasn't a lamp, it was a rusty muffler and tailpipe, actually.....and eyewitnesses claim he first poured a pitcher of beer down it....
 

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It wasn't a lamp, it was a rusty muffler and tailpipe, actually.....and eyewitnesses claim he first poured a pitcher of beer down it....
Yep, so I'm told. Then there was the time Bird showed up for a gig at a Chicago club without his horn. Luckily, there was a painting of a sax hanging on the wall, so he played that. And y'know what? He sounded just like Bird.
 

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Yep, so I'm told. Then there was the time Bird showed up for a gig at a Chicago club without his horn. Luckily, there was a painting of a sax hanging on the wall, so he played that. And y'know what? He sounded just like Bird.
I thought I'd heard all the Charlie Parker stories out there, but I never heard that one!

My two cents: OF COURSE your set up makes a difference. It's ridiculous to pretend otherwise. If horns and mouthpieces didn't make a significant difference, then everybody would be playing the cheapo Chinese horns and nobody would pay more than $50 for a mouthpiece. People aren't all idiots.

Yes, it's true that great players tend to sound like themselves no matter what they play. And yet most of them are very particular about their set ups. Even a duffer like me understands why: while it's possible to sound good on a Chinese horn, it's a hell of a lot easier on a Mark VI.

You can definitely get into a mind set where you're overemphasizing the importance of gear and spending too much money and constantly changing mouthpieces, and that's not good. There has to be a balance. But let's not pretend your horn and your mouthpiece don't make a difference.
 

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If I take my Aristocrat with a Mindi Abair MPC vs, my Conn NW with a Tonalin MPC, there is no way in the world to make them sound even similar. They both sound great but the Buescher is extremely bright and the Conn is extremely dark (and only weight about 1/2)
Love them both.

And I think what the Pro really said to the OP was that the best setup wont help if you suck but he paraphrased it. We all are slaves of our own subjective perception.

Plus, every player has some kind of signature sound or phrases and they won't change regardless of the equipment.
What happens when you put the Tonalin on the Buescher? The Aristocrat was my first horn, and with the Selmer Goldentone MP my sound was dark from the very beginning. Same with a Conn NW I used to own. Today I'm playing a YAS-62II and I still have a dark sound. I think that sound quality is more of a mouthpiece/player thing than a horn thing. I've always played a low baffle large chamber MP and the sound concept in my head is darker like a Johnny Hodges, Paul Desmond kind of sound. I'm playing on a Tonalin #5 right now.

I think the combination of what MP you're playing and the sound concept you're going for is the major factor in what your sound is like. This is not to say that all horns sound the same, because they don't. But I do think that you can achieve a dark or bright sound on whatever brand of horn you play on.
 

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Yep, so I'm told. Then there was the time Bird showed up for a gig at a Chicago club without his horn. Luckily, there was a painting of a sax hanging on the wall, so he played that. And y'know what? He sounded just like Bird.
In part because it was a velvet painting.....
 
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