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I've got a couple of altos....a Silvertone and a Buescher 1922 True Tone.... The mouthpieces are a Buffet Crampon and a Vito.... I don't know if they are limiting me. My Martin Indiana tenor sports a Meyer 6M and I can play up and down and all around with Rico Royal 2 1/2 reeds. My beloved Jean Baptiste curved sop with a Berg Larsen or unknown mouthpiece with a Legere 2 1/2 synthetic reel allow me to play all of the notes.

I am asking you fine fellow forum folks for suggestions for alto mouthpieces that will be a step up from the training wheels I now have. I don't want to rob a bank, so I'll buy used. Suggestions?

For reference, I am in my 19th year of playing harmonica (you know, the instrument that many musicians don't classify as a musical instrument)...We (accomplished harmonica players) use a lot of tongue action in addition to drawing (sucking) on our instruments, which affects how we play sax. I'm one who went from harmonica to sax, so I have those tongue instincts that I don't intend to lose.

I am writing this because I find it more difficult to play as well on my alto as I do on my other two brass axes. Because of that, I suspect that the mouthpieces I have for my alto are too basic. Reminds me of when I started skiing....I listened to the doubters and bought beginner skis only to find that I should have bought advanced skis, not because I was a freak, but because I'd done a lot of other athletic things at a high level that required similar physical and mental tools as skiing.

I have tons of respect for you sax pros that actually get paid for playing, can site read and sit down and play a tune they've never heard just by reading the chart. That's not me and that humbles me.

I look forward to suggestions.

Oh, yeah, I'll play rock, blues, jazz...

Thanks
 

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Powerharp.

I understand that you want your thread on upgrading mouthpieces, but frankly there must be a several hundred already on the matter. They will mention all the mouthpieces brands in the world and you will learn all the names, but still won’t know what they do for you.

Moreover, you give indications for several horns, not a specific one.

The mouthpieces that you use on alto are certainly of a more “ undefined” nature since they are stencilled mouthpieces which came with probably stencilled horns, while you play known makers’ mouthpieces on tenor and soprano.

Why do you ask us if they are limiting you? Do you feel they limit you?

You seem to have the experience to play tenor and soprano, if you feel there is any limit in your alto playing, why don’t you go to a shop and try two opposite mouthpieces (a bright one and a dark one) and see if any of the two takes you in a direction that you feel is better for you?
 

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Some Bb Tenor and Soprano players take awhile to hear and play Eb alto in the beginning. I always suggest to fully play alto separately long enough to hear and play Eb alto comfortably. The switch between Tenor and Soprano mouthpieces might be interfering with establishing comfort on an alto mouthpiece. Of course you should continue to play the other horns...but fully focus on alto for awhile. Just long enough to feel comfortable.
 

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"I find it more difficult to play as well on my alto" is so vague as to be meaningless. I don't doubt that's the case, but have no idea what to recommend here. It could very well be what Jaazoetry is suggesting, though that's a bigger problem for some than others, and it could easily be a great many things, including the wrong mouthpiece choice. Post a video of your playing, preferably where we can see your chops, or at least try to tell us what specifically is hard to do and we'll be able to give better advice.
 

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Usually basic mouthpieces are easy to play, so if a horn is difficult to play, it may not be the mouthpiece. You need to pin down the source of your problem/dislike. It could be the mouthpiece, or the mouthpiece/reed combination, or maybe your altos have leaks that make them hard to play.

Maybe go to a music store and try some other horns using your current mouthpieces (the Sam Ash near Hollywood used to have a bunch of horns), or try some other mouthpieces on your current horns. (Try a Meyer or two.) You can do those things without dropping a dime, and then you will have a better idea where the problem is before you start buying mouthpieces.

If you haven't had your horns to a good tech recently, you could have one check for leaks. (Which is a common problem, even with horns that look great.) That might resolve the issue.
 

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All suggestions above are wise.

We dunno what kind of condition your Alto mouthpieces are in, so it may well be the mouthpieces.

But they may be in decent shape, in which case if you cannot get the Alto to speak with either, yet you get the Tenor and Sop to speak just fine...

...then as Art says...it's likely the horn. So if a visit to a shop to try different mouthpieces.....or a playtest by another Alto player.....still results in the Altos not speaking well....they should get looked at by a tech.
 

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Agree with above comments. Go to a store, get a bunch of mouthpieces and start trying them till you find "the one." But, while testing pieces, if you find it still difficult making your axe speak. Might need to get a tune up first before investing in a new piece.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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You could buy a Selmer Soloist on E Bay - try it and sell it if it doesn't work for you. There are always some for sale on E Bay - long and short shank - many Alto and almost as many Tenor & some Bari.


I know that there is a "everyone has a favorite mouthpiece thing" but hear me out - It's hard not to like a soloist. There's a reason Selmer included them with their new saxes in the 60' & 70's.

AND - If you watch the auctions, and don't overpay, you will likely be able to get your money back (or make a profit) if you don't like it. I have 2 long shank tenors, because I put a bid in that was very low on a 2nd one - and won!

I like the short shank on Alto very well. I actually like the long shank better on Tenor (I have a short shank also). I have a long shank on Bari that I also like (I've never seen a short shank Bari, but I've heard that they exist)
 

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In the "articles" section there is a "Frequently Asked Questions" tab, which contains the following offerings of threads on replacing your current alto mouthpiece. Perhaps one of the suggestions in this list would suit.

Mouthpiece Suggestions to replace current alto mouthpiece:

Mouthpiece Suggestions :https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=107059
Rock Mouthpiece: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=109770
For the Blues: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=105212
From Jazz to Classical: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=109152
For Classical: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=103247
Long rollover baffle: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=101398
For lead alto playing: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=100708
Versatile Jazz piece: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=100573
Loudest: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=51192
Hard Rubber or Metal for Jazz: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=76806
Bright sound: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=712
For Easy Altissimo: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=14994
Edgy and Mellow: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=5394
Rich and Complex sounding under $150: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=115446
 
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