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I've been playing sax for 3 years and I have just been recognizing that my sound is too bright. I have even just upped my reed to a 3 1/2 vandoren traditional (good hard reed) but I still get brightness. This might be good if I'm going to the jazz section (which eventually I want to) but I also mainly only want to be a classical dark tone player. Is there anyway to get my tone to be darker and rounder like somehow with my embachure or something? ( I have tried the s80 mouthpiece, but I think I might've gotten it in a smaller facing than I could've, since I got a C* but STILL got a bright sound)

Btw, just to compare with my friend

What is a better tone(which I know is subjective, but in a general case) and please say why

A very very clear tone with a medium bright to bright sound

A sort of muffled tone with a nice warm sound

Thank you so much
 

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I've been playing sax for 3 years and I have just been recognizing that my sound is too bright. I have even just upped my reed to a 3 1/2 vandoren traditional (good hard reed) but I still get brightness. This might be good if I'm going to the jazz section (which eventually I want to) but I also mainly only want to be a classical dark tone player. Is there anyway to get my tone to be darker and rounder like somehow with my embachure or something? ( I have tried the s80 mouthpiece, but I think I might've gotten it in a smaller facing than I could've, since I got a C* but STILL got a bright sound)

Btw, just to compare with my friend

What is a better tone(which I know is subjective, but in a general case) and please say why

A very very clear tone with a medium bright to bright sound

A sort of muffled tone with a nice warm sound

Thank you so much
I am going through the same thing right now man. I've been playing for 11-2 years and am majoring in music education and performance in college. My classical AND jazz sound is WAY too bright. I am also using a Selmer C* for classical and a Jody Jazz HR* 8 for jazz along with Alexander reeds. I have found Alexander Classique reeds darkened the C* to an extent and it is much more defined sound wise, but still bright. So if a few weeks I am going to try out a Morgan 3C after some advice given to me on this fourm. Use the search function to check it out. There are also Caravan pieces you might want to look at, as well as Raschers but I'll let you read about that on here on your own.

Another thing is which horn do you play. I have a Cannonball "Raven" Big Bell Tenor that is naturally so freaking bright it is crazy. So that might have some effect as well.

As for which sound is better, I wouldn't even go there. You are correct, it is very subjective and there have been debates for this for years. Personally, I like a warm, defined but not clear dark tone with almost no edge. My advice is to listen to everyone you can get a hold of such as (in no particular order):

Eugene Rousseau
Sigurd Rascher
Claude Delangle
Lawrence Gwozdz
John-Edward Kelly
Marcel Mule
Harry White
Andreas Van Zoelen
Donald Sinta
Elliot Riley
Nobuya Sugawa
Timothy McAllister
Joseph Wytko
etc...

Then find your own voice and go from there :D
 

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Changing saxophones will only make a small bit of difference as 90% of your sound is controlled from the neck of the saxophone to the mouthpiece. Since getting a new neck is probably out of the question, look at mouthpieces that are going to give you a darker sound. The caravan's were mentioned and I would second this. I can still get a bright sound on these if I want, but in my opinion they are the ultimate classical piece.
 

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S80 C* is a bright mouthpiece, IMO. Classical, yes, but relatively bright. BTW, there are very good bright classical sounds. But that's a different thread altogether. If you want dark, try a different mpc.

There are definitely embouchure approaches to get a darker sound as well. Looser embouchure, open throat. Keep the tongue lower in the mouth (if you're using an arched tongue that pushes the air high and fast to the top of your mouth, it'll sound brighter). Experiment with taking a little less mouthpiece. Blow slower, warmer air (experiment, and you'll see what I mean). Work on long tones, and really concentrate on mouth and throat, and see if you can darken the sound.

As to which is better -- bright and clear or dark -- there is no right answer. If you like your sound, great. If not, work to change it.

Good luck.
 

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You've already gotten some good advice here.

My recommendation would also be changing mouthpieces if you want to go darker.

The easiest thing to get hold of would probably be a Vandoren Optimum (AL3 or AL4). This may or may not be sufficiently darker to meet your expectations, but I do find them considerably darker and warmer sounding than the S80, without losing the strong core focus. Available almost everywhere.

Caravan medium chamber is my best guess as to what you are looking for. Available at weinermusic.com. The large chamber version is even darker, but you may find it a bit too big of an increase in resistance from where you are now (i.e. it might feel like someone stuffed a pillow down your bell at first). The Caravan mouthpieces are great values.

Others to try would be the Rascher, Houlik and Morgan 'C' models, any of which would be darker than the S80.

Good luck!
 

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Did the OP specify alto or tenor? Hmmm. I'll assume alto as others evidently also have. (OP - in the future it's helpful to know. There can be a difference in the advice given if it's a tenor and not an alto.) Also, do we know what make/model sax it is? I don't want to get into any bloody arguments, but IMO it can also be a factor. The more info the better. Perhaps I just read past the specifics.

All things being equal, I would start with a Caravan mpc. Nice dark and sweet sound. If you can't get what you're looking for with that mpc and a Vandoren Trad or V12 reed, add a Rovner dark lig. If that doesn't work time to get a new neck.
 

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S80 C* is a bright mouthpiece, IMO. Classical, yes, but relatively bright. BTW, there are very good bright classical sounds. But that's a different thread altogether. If you want dark, try a different mpc.
I found I like a Conn Steelay, though I had to open it up to play it. However, mine had a 3 tip opening and is now about a 5*. If you started with something larger like this, you wouldn't have to modify it.
 

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OP mentioned increasing reed strength. Reed strength doesn't darken tone, it will only make your tone stuffier which can be confused with dark. My best advice to you would be to find a good reed of medium strength (medium strength for you), and then keep experimenting with the mouthpieces people have been suggesting (Large chamber Caravans are great pieces to switch to off of a C-Star). Different styles of mouthpiece need different reed strengths, so have a few ready to go. Look for a mouthpiece/reed combo that gives you a lot of flexibility in tone color.

Also, about your tone quality question, nobody should ever sound "muffled," even if working on a darker tone. We need to find the right balance of clarity and darkness.
 

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OP mentioned increasing reed strength. Reed strength doesn't darken tone, it will only make your tone stuffier which can be confused with dark. My best advice to you would be to find a good reed of medium strength (medium strength for you), and then keep experimenting with the mouthpieces people have been suggesting (Large chamber Caravans are great pieces to switch to off of a C-Star). Different styles of mouthpiece need different reed strengths, so have a few ready to go. Look for a mouthpiece/reed combo that gives you a lot of flexibility in tone color.

Also, about your tone quality question, nobody should ever sound "muffled," even if working on a darker tone. We need to find the right balance of clarity and darkness.
Agreed. Good Post. Experiment with different reeds and mouthpieces and find a setup that is comfortable for you and work with it. Voicing is always important.

There are many great mouthpieces out there. I have had success with the following:

Caravan (large and medium chamber)
Houlik
Vandoren V5 A27

Other good ones are the Selmer s-80's, s-90's, and Larry Teal mouthpieces, Vandoren Optimum mouthieces, Rascher mouthpieces, and old Beuscher pieces.

Also, if you can get one, the old Selmer Air Flow mouthpieces are really great for classical. But you will probably have to get it refaced.

As for reeds I like Vandorens; blue box and V-12's. both are good. but again, there are many others to try out.

It all depends on what is comfortable for you, and what works best with your horn.

Good luck

Chris
 

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Personally I'd rather hear a clear, slightly bright tone than a muffled dark tone.
Look up Jean-Yves Fourmeau. His tone isn't what most people would call dark, but it is truely amazing.
He isn't asking personal opinions on what he should sound like, just suggestions for equipment to darken his sound.
 

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Personally I'd rather hear a clear, slightly bright tone than a muffled dark tone.
Look up Jean-Yves Fourmeau. His tone isn't what most people would call dark, but it is truely amazing.
He isn't asking personal opinions on what he should sound like, just suggestions for equipment to darken his sound.
I was kindly suggesting to him that dark tone isn't the end-all be-all of classical saxophone.
And he actually did pose the question of "which is better, bright clear tone or dark muffled tone."
 

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Ideally a good classical tone would be very clear and dark. "Fuzziness" or "muffled" sounds generally are a sign of reed imperfections, not so much the mouthpiece. I personally would recommend the Caravan or Rascher mouthpieces. The dimensions of those mouthpieces are best suited for a warm, dark, yet clear and vibrant sound; however many find it difficult to adjust to the amount of resistance that they encounter with them. Their large chamber, concave baffle, large round bore design makes them work well with reeds around a strength 3- no harder- so that the tone is dark, but you do not lose vibrancy or flexibility. Other mouthpieces tend to require harder reeds to get them to sound dark, but then you lose vibrancy because harder reeds won't vibrate as well and you get a "muffled" or "stuffy" sort of tone that comes mostly from reed stiffness. Also, playing in the lower register becomes very difficult and the upper register will sound hard and cold because of reed stiffness.

Also factor in your embochure and breathing habits. Most tone production issues can be solved by checking that breathing and embochure are correct. It is important to breathe from the diaphragm and keep an open throat to keep your sound from becoming thin and weak, especially in the upper register. Be sure when you form your embochure that your lower lip stays firm - when you place the reed on your lower lip there should be no "hugging" of the reed by your lower lip (check this in a mirror). Keep your chin flat and do not bite up and choke the reed. Be sure you have the right amount of mouthpiece in the mouth (up to the "break point"). Done correctly, you should be able to play all notes in the range without changing your embochure. If you find yourself shifting your embochure between the highest and lowest notes, you aren't doing it correctly. Best of luck!
 

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I've been playing sax for 3 years and I have just been recognizing that my sound is too bright. I have even just upped my reed to a 3 1/2 vandoren traditional (good hard reed) but I still get brightness. This might be good if I'm going to the jazz section (which eventually I want to) but I also mainly only want to be a classical dark tone player. Is there anyway to get my tone to be darker and rounder like somehow with my embachure or something? ( I have tried the s80 mouthpiece, but I think I might've gotten it in a smaller facing than I could've, since I got a C* but STILL got a bright sound)

Btw, just to compare with my friend

What is a better tone(which I know is subjective, but in a general case) and please say why

A very very clear tone with a medium bright to bright sound

A sort of muffled tone with a nice warm sound

Thank you so much
I don't think you can say "too bright" or "too dark". Your sound is your sound. Vandoren makes very bright classical pieces and I think they know what they're doing. Try a different mouthpiece and try different things. I find that I sound more like the people I listen to. Also you should be able to alter your sound with embouchure to sound darker or brighter. Darker would probably involve a slower air stream (I would guess)
 

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Again, misinformation spewing forth.
There is such a thing as too bright for classical.
You have to be able to BLEND your sound with those playing around you.
Too bright and you stick out like a sore thumb.
Too dark and you have a tendency to sound dull.
In a classical setting there needs to be a bit more 'uniformity' in the sound.
 

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. . . and I also question the statement that "ideally a good classical tone would be very clear and dark." Really? I could swear that any number of classical saxophonists do not play with a dark sound.
 
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