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Discussion Starter #1
I believe this is my second post here so please bear with me if I say anything ignorant. and be kind as I respect everyone's opinion here but I know that some forums, (not this one however) can be quite nasty to such newbies. Anyways I digress.
so, I have purchased a few cheap Amazon metal mouthpieces for $30-$40 obviously from China. The soprano piece, plays absolutely great as it is. However the tenor oneNeeded some work. I'm pretty handy as I used to polish aluminum for a living so I have plenty of tools and was an automotive mechanic after that. Anyways I started with flattening the table which helped allow the reed to Then seal properly. It played better but being the DIY type I then decided to smooth out the baffle as it was left very rough with machine marks everywhere. Again it played better. But nothing to write home about. My question is, simply what are your thoughts on buying such pieces and then sending them off to a professional refacer Who can work much more magic than I myself? Is this something that refacing professionals do often? Do you guys recommend this as a low-cost way of getting a very well sounding piece? Just curious to say the least. What are All your thoughts whether you're a mouthpiece refacer yourself or just An avid saxophonist?
I really am looking for a high Baffle screamer Like a Berg Larson, Guardala, or maybe even a Dukoff
for my tenor but don't fancy paying $200-$300 Especially when some work might need to be done there after. All opinions are appreciated so long as they're polite and on topic.

thank you all Sincerely ,
Sean
 

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The high baffle screamers aren’t my thing, but quite a few members have said good things about the Eastern Music Guardala copy. There’s an eBay store. $300 could get you two and some reeds.
 

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Welcome to this forum Sean! You are right, some forums, including SOTW, can get a bit nasty some times. But most people here are very friendly and helpful.

A good refacer can get a terrible mouthpiece to work wonderfully. You are most likely going to end up paying more to the refacer though, comparing to if you had bought a real mouthpiece from a reputable mouthpiece maker who would've done everything right from the beginning.
A better option to keep a low budget would be to buy a used mouthpiece of good reputation. There are many good used mouthpieces that costs a lot less than a good reface costs.

You can always buy a used piece and have it refaced if it isn't 100% perfect for you... this may still be cheaper for you than to reface a China mouthpiece that wasn't done correctly in the factory.
 

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Well... as politely as I can put it... garbage in, garbage out. A great way to pick up quality mouthpieces for less money, would be to seek them out on the second hand market and trade boards. So long as you avoid altered mouthpieces, should they not work for you, you pass them on for the value paid. Otherwise... and again I have to be politely trite here, your plan for picking up bottom of the barrel mouthpieces from unknown and unaccountable manufacturers, then taking the time and/or expense to alter them, is spending good money for bad.
 

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It depends on how curious you are and what the answer is worth to you. A refacer can make the mouthpiece respond better. You may love it. But there is a good chance that you will want to try other mouthpieces and find something you like better. Then you can keep your project mouthpiece as a backup or try to sell/swap it.

I think the most you will recover will be half the reface cost. Probably less. Maybe nothing or $10 for the the original blank.
 

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We dont usually agree but Im with Grumps on this one.
Also, its been talked about before....what the heck is being used in this metal from China?
There is concern about lead in traditional mpcs this week on the forum.
Some of the stuff that can possibly be in these metals is much more concerning than a small percent of lead.
I am not anti China but I am still wary of putting things made there in my mouth. Too much concern for making a buck amidst nonexistent regulation is not a great formula for safety.
 

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We dont usually agree but Im with Grumps on this one.
Also, its been talked about before....what the heck is being used in this metal from China?
There is concern about lead in traditional mpcs this week on the forum.
Some of the stuff that can possibly be in these metals is much more concerning than a small percent of lead.
I am not anti China but I am still wary of putting things made there in my mouth. Too much concern for making a buck amidst nonexistent regulation is not a great formula for safety.
I guess I'm dead already because I have played 100+ mainland China manufactured mouthpieces, necks, horns and reeds. While I have the chance I want to say goodbye and hope my death wasn't in vain :)
 

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I guess I'm dead already because I have played 100+ mainland China manufactured mouthpieces, necks, horns and reeds. While I have the chance I want to say goodbye and hope my death wasn't in vain :)
I just hope that your tone doesn't suck. o_O
 
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There have been a few threads on this forum about a guy (Meven?) who refaces these Guardala-based pieces, and can actually just sell one direct.

There's a guy on YouTube (Adrienne Spencer, AKA SirValorSax) who bought a few cheap Chinese mouthpieces on Amazon and liked a couple enough that he sent them off to be plated, which hopefully solves the issue of lead and other metals leaching into your body. I'm not offering an opinion on whether that's a real issue or not... but if it were a problem, then the best place to find it is a cheap mouthpiece on EBay or Amazon.

But you could end up spending a fair amount of money this way, what with refacing charges and plating charges, and I'm not sure it's worth it. Why not just buy a decent mouthpiece to begin with?

If you want to learn about refacing, you are better off working on hard rubber mouthpieces, they are easier to work and are cheaper to begin with, and avoid the issue of dodgy metal altogether. You can buy a used mouthpiece on EBay for $20-$40. You can buy a new plastic one on Amazon for under $10.
 

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Welcome to this forum Sean! You are right, some forums, including SOTW, can get a bit nasty some times. But most people here are very friendly and helpful.

A good refacer can get a terrible mouthpiece to work wonderfully. You are most likely going to end up paying more to the refacer though, comparing to if you had bought a real mouthpiece from a reputable mouthpiece maker who would've done everything right from the beginning.
A better option to keep a low budget would be to buy a used mouthpiece of good reputation. There are many good used mouthpieces that costs a lot less than a good reface costs.

You can always buy a used piece and have it refaced if it isn't 100% perfect for you... this may still be cheaper for you than to reface a China mouthpiece that wasn't done correctly in the factory.
This response was somewhat questionable to me. I haven't tried a Chinese tenor piece but I am playing a Chinese soprano piece as it came. I have no reason to think that the tenor pieces would not be playable as they are, and some of these are only $35. The good ones from Eastern Music are about $120 or so and a number of guys on here are using them without being re-faced. Even with those, you could see paying a re-facer to improve them for $100 to $150 or so. With the really cheap ones, you at least get a usable ligature and cap cheaper than any others and you can throw the mouthpiece away! But I wouldn't - off to the re-facer to make it great, and/or to experiment on in the throat area - I do not attack tables or facings.
 

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If I were to experiment with modifying pieces I would definitely start with cheapies. Probably start with plastic or hard rubber and wait to try metal when I had more of skill set and the right tools. I could think of a lot more expensive hobbies than that.

But for a piece to play I would definitely go used, unmodified that I could sell for approximately the same price if I didn't like it. I've tried a bunch with that method quite painlessly. If I were to have something modified I would risk not liking it and losing whatever cash I threw into it. Buying something really cheap and having it modified would only save me money if I liked the result so much I would never want to sell it or stop using it. As soon as it goes in a drawer forever or I get rid of it, that money is gone.
 

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A lot of great responses here thank you I appreciate everyone’s honest opinion even grumps LOL. So with what’s going on in the world today what harm is a little lead gonna do right. I’m 38 years old I’ve been smoking since 17, im a former heroin addict. But by the grace of god was spared, and am Very gratefully to say that I now have 15 years of sobriety under my belt. But isn’t the world going to end in nine years now.... lmao. So they say LOL why not just inhale a little bit of lead keep things interesting in the meantime right. 🤔

OK kidding aside, you are correct in stating that who knows what may be used in making these mouthpieces just to save a dollar or two.

Skeller you brought up a very interesting point. Sirvalor is one of my go to YouTube channels as he has taught me a great deal of technique and what to look for in mouthpieces etc. And it wasn’t until he showed how versatile some of his Amazon/Chinese made mouthpieces were that I decided to buy a few.
to be fair, i gotta respect the hell out of him for deciding to take down his videos until he was able to Rectify the concerns by spending the money to have each one plated. Now I agree with buying a good well-known used mouthpiece for a cheaper price and not having to spend extra on a reface job, however I’m constantly scouring eBay and other classifieds such as Facebook marketplace, and Reverb for well-known pieces at a cheaper price being that they are used. However the cheapest I’ve ever come across isn’t really cheap. for instanc, Bergs are still roughly $200 Or more used. Let alone a Gaurdala which can be upwards of $300 used. Am I looking in the wrong place? There’s no classifieds on this website is there? And does anyone know of any other good secondhand places where I can find such mouthpieces at a decent price used.? I apologize I always try and keep things short and then I end up rambling. But anyways I’m looking for a new black tenor to match my black series 2 alto and black soprano, So unless I decide to build an igloo and sleep outside, I think it be best to limit myself to a well-known mouthpiece around the $150 mark because if the old lady finds out… I don’t think I need to say anything else I’m sure you all understand.

Again thank you all so much for being kind and representing this forum with class as I was nervous to post as a newbie Who lacks more information than you all have most likely already forgotten.

Stay safe everyone and sax away.
 

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Getasax in the US, secondhandsaxes in Australia, Saxofonverkstaden in Sweden ;) - we are some of the dealers who are more or less active on SOTW but there are many other dealers as well who sell secondhand mouthpieces around the world. Junkdude has a nice website. I have around 300 used pieces currently - none listed on my webpage due to the time it takes to upload... Many are priced below the $150 mark so I can say for sure that it is a reasonable price. You will find something nice in that price-range and even cheaper.
eBay is often the cheapest way to go but I have no first hand experience with eBay mouthpieces.
 

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I tend to think that there is only so much that can be done by refacing alone.
If a piece needs to have the chamber dug our or scooping of side walls etc, then you may as well have found a piece with those attributes to begin with.
Better to hold out for a second hand piece with the qualities you like and then consider refacing to fine tune it.
No point dumping a wad of cash to put a nice even facing on a crap piece.
 

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A lot of great responses here thank you I appreciate everyone’s honest opinion even grumps LOL. So with what’s going on in the world today what harm is a little lead gonna do right. I’m 38 years old I’ve been smoking since 17, im a former heroin addict. But by the grace of god was spared, and am Very gratefully to say that I now have 15 years of sobriety under my belt. But isn’t the world going to end in nine years now.... lmao. So they say LOL why not just inhale a little bit of lead keep things interesting in the meantime right. 🤔

OK kidding aside, you are correct in stating that who knows what may be used in making these mouthpieces just to save a dollar or two.

Skeller you brought up a very interesting point. Sirvalor is one of my go to YouTube channels as he has taught me a great deal of technique and what to look for in mouthpieces etc. And it wasn’t until he showed how versatile some of his Amazon/Chinese made mouthpieces were that I decided to buy a few.
to be fair, i gotta respect the hell out of him for deciding to take down his videos until he was able to Rectify the concerns by spending the money to have each one plated. Now I agree with buying a good well-known used mouthpiece for a cheaper price and not having to spend extra on a reface job, however I’m constantly scouring eBay and other classifieds such as Facebook marketplace, and Reverb for well-known pieces at a cheaper price being that they are used. However the cheapest I’ve ever come across isn’t really cheap. for instanc, Bergs are still roughly $200 Or more used. Let alone a Gaurdala which can be upwards of $300 used. Am I looking in the wrong place? There’s no classifieds on this website is there? And does anyone know of any other good secondhand places where I can find such mouthpieces at a decent price used.? I apologize I always try and keep things short and then I end up rambling. But anyways I’m looking for a new black tenor to match my black series 2 alto and black soprano, So unless I decide to build an igloo and sleep outside, I think it be best to limit myself to a well-known mouthpiece around the $150 mark because if the old lady finds out… I don’t think I need to say anything else I’m sure you all understand.

Again thank you all so much for being kind and representing this forum with class as I was nervous to post as a newbie Who lacks more information than you all have most likely already forgotten.
Stay safe everyone and sax away.
There is an active Marketplace/Classifieds section here at SOTW but the qualifications to have access are 6 months of membership and 50 forum posts so you'll need to continue to participate more. In general I'd rather do business with the folks here than places like ebay or the internet at-large.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That’s great to know Keith thank you. does that mean posts, or 50 seperate threads? im assuming just posts.
 

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That’s great to know Keith thank you. does that mean posts, or 50 seperate threads? im assuming just posts.
Yes - just posts, though there is some sort of language that stipulates the posts must be of substance so you can't just pick any bunch of threads and start posting " Yeah, +1 me too." and have that count as a post. The idea was to make the Marketplace area available to members who have invested in sharing their skills, knowledge, observations, experiences, and other tips that have to do with teaching, learning, playing with groups, maintaining your horn, etc. without turning it into a clearing house for horn flippers and gear sellers.
 

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I'm not a fan of metal mouthpieces, in part because they are harder to work on. But I have modified a few inexpensive Chinese mouthpieces and found that it isn't difficult to improve them to match the "big name" mouthpieces. The problem that most players have with inexpensive pieces (though never admitted) is that there's no name on it. If you can't call it a "Selmer Airflow" or "Rico Gregory," how do you know if it sounds good? Don't try to tell anybody that a $15 mouthpiece can play as good as a $300 mouthpiece. That's heresy. How could it play great without the secret "Otto Link Tone Chamber" or some other advertising hype that player's swallowed over the years?

But there is a catch. Most $15 Chinese mouthpieces are going to take some time to flatten the table, improve the lay, and clean up the chamber after the new facing is put on. And your first try might not do it. So by the time you get it right, you will likely have botched a couple and have 8 hours total time involved (plus some materials). More time if working with metal. Now a $300 mouthpiece doesn't sound so unreasonable, especially since you get a brand name to drop (personally, I tell people that I play a rare Louis Vuitton mouthpiece).

I found it to be a fun hobby. I doubt it improved my playing since it eats into one's practice time, which is far more important. But it did give me a more "discerning palate" when deciding what I like and don't like in a mouthpiece. Here is an unfinished blog on one of my projects. Other blogs on the site go into more details on making a silk purse from a sow's ear.

Mark
 
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