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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thinking about buying an MBII from WWBW and noticed it has a tip opening of about .135. My current mouthpiece is a levelair 5 with a very small tip opening. Will this be too large of a jump for me? I know the levelair is too small as I have volume problems with altissimo.
 

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On a whim I went from a Beechler Bellite 6 to a .130+ custom link. I've no regrets.

Is not insane, but it is hard work, intonation takes a lot of concentration, and very soft reeds were the order of the day. The link I have plays really easily though for such a large tip, thanks to the custom attention it recieved. YMMV.

So, the jump can be made I suppose, but I wouldnt plan gigging on it for a while, and due to the slight intonation issues I have decided to back off to a .115 piece for a while to make it easier in the long run to build up my chops. If I played more tenor it would probably help too.
 

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I have to agree with Jolle--even going from a .110" tip opening to a .135" would be a pretty big change, but going from a 5 (which are usually in the .08" to .085" neighborhood depending on the maker) to a .135" would be just shy of doubling the tip opening.

My own personal experience has been that it's better to work up to the right tip opening in stages. Maybe start by stepping up to a 7* (there's a reason that's a very popular size) and see how that feels. Take a good long while and get comfortable with it and if you are still feeling like you want to try something bigger, then go for it (that's a lot of the fun is trying out different things) but you'll have a better idea about what you want at that point.

Going straight up to a .135 tip opening I think would be pretty difficult to adjust to and frustrating.....:banghead:
 

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Maybe its just cos I wasnt adjusting so much as starting from scratch, I hadnt played tenor for long so had no preconceptions, going from alto to tenor was perhaps more of an adjustment. Its wasnt frustrating in any way at all, but it was tiring on the chops after about half an hour.

Lots of people here seem to say "it can't be done"....but how many have actually tried making the jump for themselves?
 

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I actually tried to make a similar jump from a Beechler 6 to a Dukoff 9 and had a pretty hard time with it. My embouchure just wasn't ready for it. I kept at it for a few months and ended up trading with another tenor player for a 7* and found that it fit me better. Since then, as my embouchure and breath support have gotten a bit stronger, I've been feeling the urge to go a little bigger to see if I can get a larger warmer tone. I just think working up to it in steps would be easier and less discouraging....just my personal opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I play a Yani 7 on alto which has a .090 opening. If Mojobari is correct and the MBII has a .117 opening, thats not as big a difference as I first thought. Still big, but not quite as much. Thanks for the input.
 

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There is a lot of difference between playing a large opening Link and a large opening Guardala. The MBII has a very high baffle that makes it a lot easier to blow than a Link with a large tip opening (IMO too easy). If you play a Yani mouthpiece on alto, you are probably leaning to the "bright sound", so a MBII won't be a big change in your conception of sound from alto to tenor. I lean towards the Meyer on alto, Link on tenor, side of tone conception myself.
 

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Bigdyno - is there any particular reason that you want/need to go to a bigger tip opening? If it is just for bragging purposes, don't forget that after you're done bragging, people may be listening to your sound. If the 'piece is bigger than you can handle well, your tone will be weak and your pitch insecure. You really don't NEED a Guardala.

I agree that a LevelAir 5 is a little small - especially given the amount of baffle they have. As many others have cited, a tip opening of .100-.105" is plenty for most all occasions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dr G said:
Bigdyno - is there any particular reason that you want/need to go to a bigger tip opening? If it is just for bragging purposes, don't forget that after you're done bragging, people may be listening to your sound. If the 'piece is bigger than you can handle well, your tone will be weak and your pitch insecure. You really don't NEED a Guardala.

I agree that a LevelAir 5 is a little small - especially given the amount of baffle they have. As many others have cited, a tip opening of .100-.105" is plenty for most all occasions.
Not bragging rights. Do people really brag about such things? I've always heard people raving about these mouthpieces, thats all.
 

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For some folks there's a lot of testosterone involved in how big your tip opening is and how hard your reed is (innuendo anyone?).

I am playing an older handmade Guardala (among other pieces) with about a .110" opening and I have to say that I like the mouthpiece quite a bit. I haven't played any of the more recent ones so I don't have any kind of comparative insight there, but the piece that I am playing right now is pretty free-blowing (although many on this forum will consider that a crutch) and I can still get a pretty fat sound all the way through the lower and upper register with it. I'm sure that it doesn't suit a lot of people's taste, but it suits mine just fine and that's all that matters.
 

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To paraphrase Groucho, when love goes out the door, hard reeds and open tips come innuendo.:D
 

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Canadiain said:
Lots of people here seem to say "it can't be done"....but how many have actually tried making the jump for themselves?
I jumped from a Selmer D* to a BergLarsen 0.115. That was more than enough. In fact, I bought a BergLarsen 0.95 after that to make the transition go smoother. Worked well.

My Berg is high baffled, so blows easier than a Link of the same size too. I tried the Link, stayed with the Berg.

Now I would be able to jump higher, but I won't. I just play harder reeds, for the simple reason that intonation is less an issue, and the sound is just bigger. Each to his own off course.
 

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whaler said:
There is a lot of difference between playing a large opening Link and a large opening Guardala. The MBII has a very high baffle that makes it a lot easier to blow than a Link with a large tip opening (IMO too easy). If you play a Yani mouthpiece on alto, you are probably leaning to the "bright sound", so a MBII won't be a big change in your conception of sound from alto to tenor. I lean towards the Meyer on alto, Link on tenor, side of tone conception myself.
I played Super King R&B for awhile. That was supposed to be like a .145 or something. Sure didn't feel like it. I think I remember hearing that these Guardalas (at least the lazer trimmed ones) really aren't as big as they say they are.

I remember jumping from a Link 5* to a Berg 130/0 SMS (trying to be Lenny Pickett) when I had never played anything that large before. I probably struggled at first, but overall I don't remember too many problems.
 

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Bigdyno said:
My current mouthpiece is a levelair 5 with a very small tip opening.
I had been playing that very same model and size for over twenty years before starting to try out other choices a few years ago; and I too had also been playing a more open alto piece (7* Levelaire). That tenor piece had been given to me as a kid and as it was metal, it was cool (silly, I know). But as soon as I tried more open tenor mouthpieces a whole new world of sound presented itself. Now my main tenor piece measures about .134".
 

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Guardala Tenor pieces blow pretty easy. The tip, baffle, and chamber all work together and with the right reed you could probably make the jump.

My questions is why the Guardala? There's many other options without such and extreme in tip openings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, after much hand ringing, I bought it anyways. It plays great. I think it will take a little work to get used to it, but it's not as big a jump as one might expect. Altissimo stuff is already much clearer and in tune. I can even play an altissimo E. Figured it out by accident. I couldn't play that note no matter what I tried before. The mouthpiece cover is kind of cheap for a 380.00 mouthpiece but no big deal. Mouthpiece is EXTREMELY tight on the neck. Is there a trick to shaving the cork down? When I get used to this thing I'll try and post recordings of both mouthpieces for comparison. Thanks for all the input folks.
 
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