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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I've been playing with my super awesome Martin Committee I alto sax I got from Bruce Bailey (thanks Bruce!) and I love it. I've also been trying various mouthpieces like Yamaha 4C, Morgan 3C, Vandoren v16S 8C and Selmer Super Session E. Out of those I like the Morgan and Selmer the most but with the Selmer it's hard for me to play long, low notes. Probably because it requires a stronger emboushure and more expierience (and I'm still very new to the saxophone). The Morgan seems easier to play and sounds very nice, even and full. The surprising thing is that it sounds the best when I use it with a bass clarinet reed (Vandoren Traditional #3). I tried it with that reed because it was the hardes reed I had and I like it much better than oter reeds I used with this mouth piece. Those other reeds were Vandoren V16 #2.5 and Vandoren ZZ #2.
What I'm wondering is this: Is there anything wrong with using the bass clarinet reed for the Alto sax? Why could it be that it sounds better? Would an alto sax reed with the same model/strenght likely sound / feel even better?

I know it's hard to comment without hearing the combination but I was hoping you could give me a few opinions before I go out and spend more money on reeds.

Thanks!

Rafal
 

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A bass clarinet reed is almost the same size as a tenor sax reed. It's not recommended for use on an alto mouthpiece. A good
choice for the Morgan would be a Vandoren V12 #3 or Vandoren blue box #3 or 2-1/2 or Hemke 3 or 3-1/2.
 

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I wouldn't use the BC reed. I think the Selmer problem is that it is too open. Compared to the 4C it is about .011" more open. I have been playing over 50 years and even my SS D is about as open as I can handle. For that horn I sold you, my favorite mouthpiece would be a Selmer S-80 D or possibly a meyer 5M.
 

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maybe you meant an alto clarinet reed for alto saxophone? they are about the same width (not length)
 

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maybe you meant an alto clarinet reed for alto saxophone? they are about the same width (not length)
They are the same width and lenght. And tenor sax / bass clarinet are the same width and lenght.

To the OP, the fact that you're using a bass clarinet reed on an alto sax MPC tells pretty much the story that Bruce says. You're playing too open a tip for your developing embochure. Due to the lenght of the BC reed cut, the effect is you're playing a #1.5 reed (comparatively)

I also think that a beginer should use a "proper" setup in the developing stages. I've played big tip openings all my life mainly because that's what works for me, but I never encouraged a student or a beginer to do so. A #5 meyer piece is what good players like Cannonball Adderley used... there's no need for bigger tips for power. Listen to Cannonbal, his tone is so fat, full, powerfull, sizzling!
 

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I always thought that clarinet reeds were a little shorter
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi All,

Thank you so much for your responses. They help me a lot. I was under the impression that if I use the MP with a large opening like Selmer Super Session E than all I have to do is compensate for it by using a relatively soft reed (like Vandoren ZZ#2). On the other side if I use a relatively closed MP like Morgan 3C than a harder reed is required (which is why tried the #3 BC reed).

From what you told me, I gather that I'd be better off with a more closed MP (perhaps my Morgan 3c)? If that's the case, should I go with the #3 Vandoren reed (v12 or traditional) or something much softer like #1.5?

Perhaps I should try to find a Soloist D or Mayer 5?

Cheers,

Rafal
 

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Just came to my mind, Rafal, would you be a bass clarinet player by any chance? If this is the case then the MPC selection and everything takes another dimention. If not, I suggest you try using proper alto sax reeds first to find out what strenght you can play on the MPC's you have now.
 

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Slightly off topic. I'm using an alto piece with a bass clarinet reed on my C Melody. The reed is slightly shorter than a tenor.
 

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If anything, Clarinet reeds should be LONGER. Of course, comparing same maker! VD's are the same lenght, some batches of hand selects bass clarinet are longer. Gonzalez are the same lenght, longer cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Everyone,

I used to play a bass clarinet a little but I played a Bb clarinet a lot more. I just tried something which improved things. I tried my bonade inverted clarinet ligature on the Morgan 3C MP with the Vandoren ZZ#2 reed (which is pretty soft) and it improved things considerably. I still think that the bass clarinet reed gave me a more centred, deeper sound, but the ZZ#2 with the bonade lig. and Morgan 3C is now pretty comfortable to play. Maybe once I use up the ZZ reeds, I'll try some v12 reeds. I really like them on my clarinet.
 

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Rafal, you are correct on the softer/open mouthpiece, harder/closed mouthpiece. I find that Alto clarinet vs. Alto sax and bass clarinet vs tenor sax to be different. The B Cl reeds are shorter than tenor and have a steeper vamp and the same for A Cl that it has a steeper vamp and a bit shorter than an alto sax. This will vary with brands. For C Melody sax, the Bass clarinet reeds are VERY close to the actual old C Mel reeds.
I say stick with the correct reeds for the correct mouthpiece with the exception of the B Cl to C Melody due to the lack of good sources for C mel reeds.
 

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if you think the bass clarinet reeds sound better then there is no reason not to use that. ive got a meyer 6m and use vandoren java tenor reeds on it. i know the javas are my favorite reed so i compared all the sizes of both tenor and alto and settled on the java 3 tenor. i probably wont ever go back to alto reeds after comparing.i find i have much more control with the bigger reed. i cant find an explanation on why it wouldnt be recommended. i HIGHLY recommend it. if your a beginner so what. if you sound better on a bass clarinet or tenor reed then the only thing your doing by using alto reeds is wasting time you could be using getting better on YOUR prefered set-up.:mrgreen:
 
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