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I just came back from a wedding gig. I played the clarinet and alto sax. To me playing the clarinet is much easier when playing for long periods of time. I feel that the clarinet has lots of resistance when blowing so it's quite forgiving to a tired embouchure. For example when I play a long song with my clarinet even if my face is tired it doesn't affect the tone, intonation so much. But when I'm exhausted and playing my alto, I feel that it's more sensitive different kinds of mistakes.. Don't know how to put this, but that's the best I could explain with my english skills.. So, I kind of like the resistance when playing the clarinet. I'd like to get a same kind of feeling when playing my alto. On clarinet I play a Selmer mpc or a heavily modified Vandoren. On alto I use a Meyer 6M with Vandoren Java 2.5's.

Thanks!
Tuomas
 

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I'd like to add few things:

The clarinet mpc which I played today was the modified Vandoren (which is modified to a Zinner-like design, some chamber work etc.). It's more resistant than my Selmer. I like this extra resistance. I feel that this resistance allows me to play and phrase more "accurate" (ie. the tone is more controllable).

Ofcourse, it came into my mind that I could try some harder reeds on alto but I think that a harder reed would sound more "reedier" which I don't necessarily prefer.

Tuomas
 

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A smaller tip and harder reed may getyou closer to what you want. But there is a trade off. You will be able to play with as much expression and volume on the sax with a smaller tip.

A highly elliptical facing curve that is more curved at the tip may help too.
 

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I found that a Brilhart streamline ebolin can have that resistance and that clarinet feel. I have not tried the streamline tonalin. Although much more freeblowing than my meyer, Greg Weirs (gwindplayer) meyer copy in a 5 or 6 feels very comfortable to me because of the shape of the exterior of the mouthpiece. Its worked from a sumner blank. The gwindplayer meyer 7 is a differant blank (it may still be a sumner blank) and feels different in the mouth. I recently purchased a Bilger silver alto mouthpiece and it has increased resistance over a meyer. It feels more round in the mouth. You may want to try that if you see one for sale. I found mine on ebay for about $25.00.
 

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I'm almost certain the JAVA 2.5's are too soft for you. Try switching to 3's. If you don't like the sound, then it's time to try different mouthpieces. Those reeds are too soft for that mouthpiece, assuming you've been playing at least a few years. Of course, this is all assuming that your 6 has an accurate facing. On my Meyer 6M, I can play Vandoren Traditional 3's, though they're a bit hard. V16 3's are a bit softer than these. JAVA 3's are a bit softer still and about equal to Traditional 2.5's. I would definitely recommend trying the JAVA 3's.
 

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Thanks for your replys! Maybe a Meyer 5M with Java 3's or 3.5's is the next candidate to try..

Saxland: Aren't those Streamline Brilharts quite expensive? Sounds interesting though.

Mojo: I guess that a highly elliptical facing curve isn't a standard facing on any stock mouthpiece?

Gearaholic: Thanks for the tip! I'll first try some 3's and see what'll they do. I've been playing the sax for 12 years (clarinet for 24 years or something like that..) These wedding gigs are are just exhausting. 3 or 4 sets or music (á 45 minutes) just only with a piano player, so not enough pauses, I have to play almost all the time. On a "standard" big band gig, my Meyer 6M just works fine. Those gigs are much more easier.

Tuomas
 

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I find Javas to play pretty hard, even at a 2.5 strength. They have such a thick core, it makes you work.

There's an interesting balance between the resistance associated with the (a) tip opening, (b) design of the mouthpiece, especially the thickness of the rails, and (c) strength of the reed. For example, if you get a really free-blowing mpc like a JJ DV you will need to go up in reed strength to get a balanced response. This can tax your embouchre, however, especially if you play a lot of high notes.

Your Meyer has a reasonable amount of resistance built into the mouthpiece, but with a small tip and hard reed you will be working hard to make a big sound over the course of the night. I recommend you try a slightly larger tip and a reed with a slightly softer cut. Try a RJS 3S, Vandoren ZZ 2.5, or Hemke 2.5. You should be able to play longer and produce a bigger sound with less effort using that kind of setup. I currently use Hemke 2.5 reeds on my Morgan 8J on alto and I really like this combination. It plays big and doesn't wear me out.
 

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Tuomas the Brilhart streamline Tonalins are the expensive ones. I have seen one go for $800.00 on ebay one week and then go for $300.00 the next week. The two Brilhart streamline ebolins I have bought were very reasonable and both were bought here on SOTW.
 

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Some mouthpieces just don't have a good center, and the pitch and control will go out the window if you are tired or slipping. I like my current alto mouthpiece a lot, a Mojo meyer .80 with Java 3's, because it centers very well and the intonation is superb. The mouthpiece I was using before was very similar, a slightly smaller tip and with the same reeds, but did not have the easy pitch center and control even while tired that this Mojo meyer has. I did this on the advice of Dan Higgins: taking my old Meyer 5M and having it opened up to about .80. He said he uses that for everything, so I gave it a shot and am really enjoying the result.

It may also be important to get your clarinet setup more in line with what you are playing on alto. On clarinet I was having a lot of issues with tone and response while doubling with alto, until I switched to a Charles Bay Medium-open mouthpiece and got my Leblanc horn. Previously I was using a Vandorem M15, which has a much closer tip opening, and an Evette & Schaeffer clarinet. The switch made the resistance at the embouchure and in the throat much more on par with my saxophones so doubling comes more naturally now.
 

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I have seen a few Bergs with highly elliptical facing curves. But they were also uneven and had convex tables. So I can not recommend a stock mouthpiece for you to try.
 

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gearaholic said:
I'm almost certain the JAVA 2.5's are too soft for you.
I agree with this statement. I play a Lost Wax Meyer with around a 6m opening, and I use La Voz Medium Hard reeds. I think a Java 3 is close to that. I find this combination to be good for long playing periods. I have experimented with weaker reeds, and find myself working a lot harder, thus making my mouth become tired much faster.
 
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