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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello. After several years of not playing, I'm returning to practicing saxophone and learning jazz music. Currently I'm playing a Selmer Reference 54 tenor, with an Otto Link hard rubber (6 opening). It's a sweet mouthpiece if I want to play Paul Desmond/Stan Getz-sounding tunes, and it's one I'll definitely keep.

However, I'd like to have another mouthpiece that will allow me to get something a teed bit brighter. If I had to pick a song that displays the tone I'm going after, it'd be George Coleman's "Autumn in New York," which you could listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhhUn9Ipix0 . Something between that and the Michael Brecker sound on his album Tales from the Hudson.

I know both artists play(ed) on Selmer Mark VIs; unfortunately, I don't have the dough to buy one (as of now). I know the Selmer Ref 54 is darker than the Mk VI, so I might have to go for a brighter mouthpiece; this was evident when I tried the Otto Link STM 7 today- it was too mellow.

I tried a Dukoff with a baffle; that was way too bright and unstable for me. I also tried a Theo Wanne and got similar results. I tried a Vandoren V16 (with a slight baffle) and it was alright, but the middle E/D were a bit too mellow.

So, to recap:

Otto Link rubber: too mellow
Otto Link STM: mellow
Vandoren V16: almost there
Dukoff: way too bright
Theo Wanne: way too crazy

So I guess I'm looking for something in the middle. There's a person in my general area who put up his (slightly used) Berg Larsen 105/3M up for sale. I think his price is reasonable, and he agreed to let me try it out at a local music shop before I purchase it. Do you think that the mouthpiece is worth checking out? Would it be a viable option for the sound I'm trying to pursue?

Thank you in advance for any input, advice, or suggestions.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Also, you could easily sell your Reference 54 and buy a used VI. I got my VI (In alright condition, but I planned on getting it overhauled anyway, and I did, and now it sounds and plays miraculously well) for a little over four grand four years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

How much are you willing to pay for a mouthpiece?

Also, you could easily sell your Reference 54 and buy a used VI. I got my VI (In alright condition, but I planned on getting it overhauled anyway, and I did, and now it sounds and plays miraculously well) for a little over four grand four years ago.
I'm not really interested in selling my Ref 54; beside having some sentimental value, I do appreciate its consistency and its ability to have a clean, dark sound when I'd like it to. As for the mouthpiece- right now, I'd like to keep it around $300 or less, as that's what I can afford. If I have to spend $1000 to get a Guardala piece, I eventually will, but I'd rather spend a bit less in the meantime. I wouldn't mind saving up for a Phil Barone piece, actually.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Definitely try it out. The /3 is the darkest (lowest baffle) of the Bergs. Per your description, a /2 or /1 would probably be a better fit.
But again, just try it out and see what you think. Bergs are notorious to vary a lot from one to the next.
I've been rediscovering the Bergs too, myself, after years playing Otto Links. My sweet spot seems to be around 105~110/2 M.
Good luck !
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

I think you should keep an eye out for a CE Winds MB I. I say this because I have tried all the pieces that you list. In fact I did played a Theo Gaia(Link Mellow), Theo Mantra and Sakshama Dukoff tonight. Then I took out the CE Winds piece and it was just right. Right now I play a Robusto, but when I want a little more core and brightness I play the CE Winds piece. I'm sure there are other makers out there that have a similar piece.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

I think you should keep an eye out for a CE Winds MB I. I say this because I have tried all the pieces that you list. In fact I did played a Theo Gaia(Link Mellow), Theo Mantra and Sakshama Dukoff tonight. Then I took out the CE Winds piece and it was just right. Right now I play a Robusto, but when I want a little more core and brightness I play the CE Winds piece. I'm sure there are other makers out there that have a similar piece.
I can chime in here.

You should be a little leery buying a second hand CE piece. They themselves have addressed some quality control issues so I will not be the first person bringing this to light.

I play a CE Winds Legend (MB) I but the piece I received was not up to snuff. I, being industrious know enough about mouthpieces and baffles and what not was able to make the piece a player. But I did not receive it that way.

The baffle was crooked and there was a significant ding (pitting) in the shank.

If you want an idea of what one of these can sound like you can listen to this..... http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12939031 although it is very subjective. There's many other clips you can listen to.

The CE pieces have garnered a much better rep since they've been out but you need to know what you're getting. And not everyone will be able to make a bad situation good like I did.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

The number 3 chamber is the darkest of the Berg chambers, so it may not give you the brightness/edge you want. That said, Bergs play a bit differently, so it might work, so I think you might as well try it if it is convenient for you to do so. I am about to post a refaced Berg with a 2 chamber for sale here, which would be a bit brighter than the 3.

I have played the V16HR, and I would put it somewhere around a 2, so with a Berg, you might want a number 1 chamber if you want it a little bit brighter.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Definitely try it out. The /3 is the darkest (lowest baffle) of the Bergs. Per your description, a /2 or /1 would probably be a better fit.
But again, just try it out and see what you think. Bergs are notorious to vary a lot from one to the next.
Oh, just saw this post - yes, I agree with this.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Regarding your experience with the STM 7
STM's will differ.
So will most mouthpieces. Whether this difference that you hear is audible in front of the horn is another matter.
The good news is, theres a ton of mouthpieces in the ball park and your berg hunch which has already been remarked on is up the right alley.
Off the cuff, the piece I would go to in my current line up of pieces is an ultra cheap and under rated saxscape Namia or my Metal Berg 105/2/M.
But I actually believe i can push an STM that way so horses for courses.
Your perception will change a bit as your chops get match fit.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Vandoren V16: almost there
Dukoff: way too bright
Theo Wanne: way too crazy

So I guess I'm looking for something in the middle.
It looks to me like you are finding any high baffle mpc 'way too bright' (or 'crazy'). Given that, in a Berg you may want to go with the darkest #3 chamber. I don't play Bergs, but have heard a lot of players on them and they can get pretty bright; Bergs have med to high baffles. Having said that, you have to learn to play a high baffle mpc and learn how to darken it a bit, kind of the opposite of what you've been doing with a Link.

Under $300. You might give Ron Cuelho (RPC mpcs) a call and tell him what you're looking for. He makes them to order and is very good at dialing in the right amount of baffle/tip size to suit your needs. An RPC will pretty much be guaranteed to play well, at any rate.

If you're willing to spend more, I'd recommend a 10MFan metal Robusto mpc, which I'd say is very close to what you seem to be looking for. I think the metal Robusto falls somewhere between a Link and a Berg, in terms of tone, edge, brightness, etc. Certainly has a bigger, bolder sound than a Link but w/o sacrificing tone quality, imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Having said that, you have to learn to play a high baffle mpc and learn how to darken it a bit, kind of the opposite of what you've been doing with a Link.
You're absolutely correct- I know that part of the "craziness" stems from my inexperience with them. Thank you (and everyone else) for your suggestions, by the way- they're much appreciated. I will definitely give the Berg Larsen 105/3M a shot.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Having said that, you have to learn to play a high baffle mpc and learn how to darken it a bit, kind of the opposite of what you've been doing with a Link.
John, that is just so true! I feel that if a few more people realised that, there might be a better understanding and sympathy, from some, towards those who play a different sort of mouthpiece.

I'm thinking of people who seem to think that a Link style mpc (and learning to play bright on it, when required) is the only proper way to do things, although I'm sure the prejudice works the other way as well!
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

I'm thinking of people who seem to think that a Link style mpc (and learning to play bright on it, when required) is the only proper way to do things, although I'm sure the prejudice works the other way as well!
I've done both....my preference?
I have an easier time getting bright enough on a link, as opposed to getting a darker / fatter tone with a baffle though.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

I've done both....my preference?
I have an easier time getting bright enough on a link, as opposed to getting a darker / fatter tone with a baffle though.
That's where I am too (at the moment!). TW Ambika - fat, and plenty bright enough when pushed. Having said that, I did a session the other day on my old Guardala Studio because the style of music demanded it. Horses for courses.

daOnlyBG, Bergs can be great mpcs. Nothing quite has the vibe of a good Berg IMO! Finding a good one is the problem............!
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

I play on a Berg Slimline Metal 105/0 M w/Rico Jazz Select 3 Soft Unfiled
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

Thanks to everyone for their responses- I think I'll go ahead and try the mouthpiece out. The owner has it listed for "$120 OBO"- perhaps I should offer $100, since it's a used modern? I'm not quite sure what's a good price to pay- most eBay listings show a higher sale price, but there are a couple under $100 as well.
 

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Re: Hunting for the Sound: Potential Berg Larsen Mouthpiece

offer $100, worst they can say is no. even so, $120 isn't exactly a rip-off imo
 
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