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Hey guys,
So i play alto and tenor, seldomly as i just... well its not my favorite ill say that, anyways thats not my topic. I like mouthpieces and have about 6 that ive just collected and my largest is my claude or my STM(.76) . Ive been little by little moved up from my C* to a larger tip opening and i love my STM on my King, it gives a great Cannonball Adderly sound. But my question is What does actually opening the tip do? because ive seen all the way up to a 1.53 tip opening on a alto mouthpiece. I just havent tried to really move up so its a question to arise whether i should try to? what the effects would be say of playing a .93 to a .63(my c*), not the actual charateristics of the mouthpiece but the tip opening moving up.

Best wishes,
-Dylan
 

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Hi Dylan,

in my personal experience,
a bigger tip can give you more power, a bigger tone and more flexibility to shape the sound. It can add a lush end and more bottom. Therefore it's harder to play exactly in tune as with a clover tip.

I try actually with a Link Doublering 10
to get wonderful subtones. It work
but therefore some notes in upper Stack
are not in tune if I am not full concentrated.

Pat
 

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In my experience, a wider tip will... well, open up your range. When I hopped off my C* pieces for wider tips, my highs stopped closing up on me and the entire range stopped feeling stuffy. Wider tips also make the altissimo easier for me, playing loudly is much easier, and your tone is more flexible. The drawbacks are that they take more air to play and are harder to play in tune.

If you do get a wider tip, be prepared to practice more. Wider tips are harder to play, so they require additional practice to get used to and also to maintain your ability. If you don't play often, go no farther than an E.

You'll also probably want to use softer reeds as you get larger tips - if you don't, the mouthpiece will likely be too difficult to play and your lows will be impossible. Once you find a good strength, you may also want to try other reeds in a similar strength (Rico's website has a chart that compares their own and Vandoren reeds). This may sound difficult to do, but many stores (around here, anyway) will let you buy singles of the more popular reeds and strengths to try.
If you stick to Rico, consistency shouldn't be a problem. I prefer their Jazz Select reeds myself, but I also liked La Voz a lot, and Hemkes are good for classical.
As for Vandoren, I only know that the blue boxes are about as consistent as extra chunky vegetable soup, but I've heard that their other reeds are much better in that area. I liked their ZZ reeds about as much as La Voz, and if I were a classical and jazz player, the V12s would undoubtedly have been my pick.

Lastly, unless you plan to keep several types of reeds on hand, you should probably consolidate your collection for each separate voice (alto, tenor, etc.) to mouthpieces that are within ~.010" of each other. I find that with my current reeds, I can play tenor tips ranging from ~.083" to ~.093" (Selmer E to F, respectively), and on alto I can do ~.075" to ~.085" (Selmer E being ~.078") without any adverse effects. If I go any smaller than those ranges, I either have to use harder reeds or sacrifice my highs and altissimo; if I go wider without softer reeds, my lows are impossible and my endurance drops. I don't want to keep more than my existing eight reeds (2 each of the same reed for SATB), so I try to stay within those windows. I personally know two pros that would tell you something very similar.
The only exception to this rule I've found so far is the Jody Jazz DV family. I tried .105" DV and .108" DVCHI tenor pieces, and they felt disturbingly similar to my Rovner Deep V, which is ~.090".
 

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Increases resistance, perhaps darkens sound somewhat.
But in the case of having a mouthpiece opened up it can brighten that piece, in my experience.
 
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