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General Question as I search for better mouthpieces for getting back into playing Alto and Tenor ( been playing and practicing daily for 18 months now, after not playing for 38 years)

The problem I have is playing high E, F, and F# on some mouthpieces - have to "slur" up and slide into the notes from a lower note to get them to play....can't just start ON that note, all I get is sound of rushing air.

but on other mouthpieces I have no issue starting and consistently hitting those highest notes.

What causes this, and what is the cure ?
 

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General Question as I search for better mouthpieces for getting back into playing Alto and Tenor ( been playing and practicing daily for 18 months now, after not playing for 38 years)

The problem I have is playing high E, F, and F# on some mouthpieces - have to "slur" up and slide into the notes from a lower note to get them to play....can't just start ON that note, all I get is sound of rushing air.

but on other mouthpieces I have no issue starting and consistently hitting those highest notes.

What causes this, and what is the cure ?
Lack of practice. Sorry. With practice you will develop the feeling for how to voice the start of those notes.
 

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Practice is always a good tip but do all these mouthpieces have similar resistances / tip openings? Are you using the same reeds on all of them?
 

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more info needed

which models and sizes work well for you
which dont?

What reed?


If I were to guess I would say the problem pieces are too big of a tip for you at this juncture.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I agree on more practice needed, I try to do an hour every day

I'm using Vandoren ZZ #2 reed

As an example - I have a Selmer Brilhart metal mouthpiece #5 - plays excellent, this is one I'm using now when practicing and playing.
but when trying a real genuine Brilhart Level Air metal #5* - using the same reed, have the high note problem.

Thanks for the advice about the tip size maybe being too big.
 

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Seems to be kind of a soft reed for a .081 tip opening you are playing - though I am not familiar with Brilhart You might want to try bumping up your stiffness to a 2.5 or 3. I have had your problem, stiffening up the reed has helped a lot.
 

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The key to getting high notes to play well is good air support and a loose-ish embouchure. Everyone has a tendency to tighten up for the upper range, but that's the opposite of what you should do. I don't know if you have been playing long enough to have a concept of "voicing", but in general, raising the tongue (think saying "eeee" rather than "aahhh") also helps here.

And I agree with Bj, a ZZ #2 is likely too soft. I also recommend not screwing around with mouthpieces (I know it's tempting!) until you have a more solid tonal approach :)
 

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I totally agree with "good air support and a loose-ish embouchure". Just as a test try raising the horn higher than usual with the neck strap. The embouchure should become looser and throat more open.
 

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I have experimented with many mouthpieces on my MKVI Tenor and I have some that really play well with no issues with the palm keys.

A few months ago, I decided to pick up my Tenor (same MKVI that I bought in HS), and put the same mouthpiece on it that I used in High School, and guess what - I still have trouble producing those palm key notes. The only difference is that I used a 2.5 Fibracell, in the 70's I used a 2.5 Rico or Rico Royal.
 

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The problem I have is playing high E, F, and F# on some mouthpieces - have to "slur" up and slide into the notes from a lower note to get them to play....can't just start ON that note, all I get is sound of rushing air.

but on other mouthpieces I have no issue starting and consistently hitting those highest notes.
Assuming that you learn to apply all the useful tips in this thread about embouchure pressure, air support, and reed strength, be aware that noticeable differences among mouthpieces' responsiveness will still exist. Probably all facets of mp design (incl. tip opening, baffle height, chamber size, etc.) contribute to performance in this area, but upper-register response seems to be particularly sensitive to facing length. A longer facing will tend to improve low-note response, but perhaps impede high-note response. A shorter facing will tend to do the opposite. It can be annoying to fight against an undesired level of resistance in your mouthpiece, no matter how experienced a player you are. The mouthpiece should follow your commands, not issue them to you ("You'll have to voice me differently if you want that note to come out!").

Ultimately, you want a mouthpiece that matches well with the horn and with you (shape of oral cavity, blowing style, etc.) in terms of both tone and responsiveness. Sound is not all that matters. "Playability" is crucial too.
 
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