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Not to turn this into another "I want to sound like ___________________________" thread but...

I want to put more "slice" into my sound. I'm a really big fan of Lenny Pickett's sound, I dig his cut. I want to incorporate more of that into my sound, but short of practicing to sound like that, which I know I will have to do, what should I be consciously doing to get more edge in my sound.

What is my tongue doing, my throat, my larynx etc.?? If anybody here has a clue, or has worked/achieved an edgy sound can you please help?

Thanks
 

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I think when you play edgy you have to think about the feel of the music rather than your tone. if you get the articulation right and the phrasing right, then the tone should follow.
 

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your Rousseau 6 and Link won't really allow you to get that sound. You maybe could squeeze it, but you're running really really stiff reeds for those tip openings and that certainly won't help for the edgy cut sound either.
He uses a HIGH baffle Berg Larsen with a big tip. 130/0 is a BIG mouthpiece. The edge and cut is built into that mouthpiece from the get go.
Nothing you can really do with a Link 6* will get you that sound. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the mouthpiece has a LOT to do with his sound. If you put him on a Link 6* he'd still sound like him, but his edge and cut would likely be gone.


edit: to actually answer your question. You can't really change much. Constricting your throat and raising your tongue will brighten your sound, but you'll lose the power and "cut". If you play something like said 130/0 Berg and play it with a wide open oral cavity then you'll roar. In this case, it is the mouthpiece
 

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The way to get edge and cut are as follows. Step one, use the EEEE sound in the throat, dont open to much using uuu or oooo. 2 find a bright buzzy reedd. 3 make sure you put the side of your tongue on your molars or inside of them touching your soft pallet and try to create a tight o shape. The fact that you are on a 6 will help a lot. I think you can get that kind of sound with your set up if you follow the steps.
 

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your Rousseau 6 and Link won't really allow you to get that sound. You maybe could squeeze it, but you're running really really stiff reeds for those tip openings and that certainly won't help for the edgy cut sound either.
He uses a HIGH baffle Berg Larsen with a big tip. 130/0 is a BIG mouthpiece. The edge and cut is built into that mouthpiece from the get go.
Nothing you can really do with a Link 6* will get you that sound. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the mouthpiece has a LOT to do with his sound. If you put him on a Link 6* he'd still sound like him, but his edge and cut would likely be gone.


edit: to actually answer your question. You can't really change much. Constricting your throat and raising your tongue will brighten your sound, but you'll lose the power and "cut". If you play something like said 130/0 Berg and play it with a wide open oral cavity then you'll roar. In this case, it is the mouthpiece
I agree that some mouthpieces give you this kind of sound I think you can get it on a link style piece. That is the beauty of them. They can do so much. I think you don't lose cut or power if you blow a focused powerful airstream and put more mouthpiece in your mouth. If it is how you want to sound all the time then switching pieces might be easier than learning how to blow a link like that.
 

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In the oral cavity what give you edge is the same thing that gives you focus and projection: a high, forward tongue position and relaxed embouchure. That's warm and brightish like Dexter, Nistico, etc. You're not gonna sound like Lenny Pickett on a versatile, moderate mouthpiece though. Get you a paint-peeler and you'll have edge no matter what you do! A Dukoff/Guardala-type high-baffle piece is what you're after.

Like on alto, if you wanna sound like Maceo, you can do it on a Meyer. But to chase Sanborn's sound, you need something with a higher baffle and larger tip opening.

I agree with stormott. Raising the tongue does not cut away power for me unless I simultaneously raise the jaw and bite a little. A lot of my students find it hard to break the habit of moving the jaw and tongue in the same direction all the time!
 

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I firmly believe that the "dimensions/volume" of a persons oral cavity is unique to that individual and this is the reason tone/sound is so individual---more so than mouthpiece/horn design.
Dental work, tooth loss, prosthetics etc. will change the "dimensions"--this is obvious.
Players need to realize these things --and we are all gullible!---before going through dozens of horns/m/p's in the attempt to achieve a particular 'sound'
Just think how many of us have tried to emulate our heroes whether it be the lush tones of Ben Webster, the light tone of Lester Young, the 'wail' of 'Bird and so forth. Another interesting observation--you see slightly built people --male or female, getting a tremendous tone from a Baritone or Bass and wonder how the heck they even manage to support the thing! then at the other extreme a big guy, Cannonball comes to mind, playing what looks like a toy in the hands and thinking why doesnt this guy play Tenor or Bari?
Yes, the oral cavity shapes the sound and more, it usually determines our "best voice" ie. Alto, Tenor, Bari, Soprano.
 

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" Yes, the oral cavity shapes the sound and more, it usually determines our " best voice" ie. Alto, Tenor, Bari, Soprano."

I agree with this. I rarely play Bari, but it is consistently my best sound of any of the horns I play. I have been complimented more on my Bari tone than any other sax. And I never play it except for a few tunes on any given gig. I can hear it too. The sound comes easy on a Bari for me. Full tone, easy to manipulate, just seems natural. On Tenor and Alto I had to work consciously for years on my embouchure, longtones and overtones to get a good quality sound.


If you want some edge get a high baffle piece to help you, then work on your overtones and longtones to add a solid core to the sound. Play against a wall. The big man, Clarence Clemmons, would work on longtones almost every day. He went for the sound and you can hear the result. He has the perfect edgy sound, IMHO, for Tenor. Keep listening for the sound you want as you manipulate your tongue and oral cavity. Imagine the sound in your head, hear it and your brain will figure it out by itself soon enough.



Or, just get a Rico Plasticover reed and slap it on a Dukoff D chamber and blow. :)
 

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Not to turn this into another "I want to sound like ___________________________" thread but...

I want to put more "slice" into my sound. I'm a really big fan of Lenny Pickett's sound, I dig his cut. I want to incorporate more of that into my sound, but short of practicing to sound like that, which I know I will have to do, what should I be consciously doing to get more edge in my sound.

What is my tongue doing, my throat, my larynx etc.?? If anybody here has a clue, or has worked/achieved an edgy sound can you please help?

Thanks
I think you are approaching it in the wrong way. You don't consciously think about how to shape your mouth when you're talking right? I found out myself then when i try to sound like someone, I automatically sound a bit like that person.
 

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I know everyone says equipment doesn't matter...............But getting a Lenny Pickett sound out of a link is pretty hard to do. That's my personal opinion. Everything everyone has said will get you closer to that sound but it would be hard to get all the way there. I think you can do it on certain links that have a brighter sound and a higher baffle. I have played some of those. Most of the links I have played have been darker than that though. In my experience, I have sounded killer on a link at home and it sounded great but then when I brought it to a gig where it was live and realized it was too dark. Something a bit brighter will get you closer to that ball park and then you can refine it with the tips above. I've told this story before, but when I was younger I was trying to sound like Sanborn with a Caravan alto mouthpiece and it drove me crazy (the good thing was it drove me to practice a ton to try to get there. I never did get there on that Caravan though)
 

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Vanessa Hasbrook's Thesis investigates the effect of "mouthpiece pitch" on the harmonic spectrum of the tone produced. Essentially pushing the mouthpiece farther onto the cork, and playing on a mouthpiece pitch lower than the A=440 prescribed by many for the "classical" tone generates more and stronger upper harmonics which give more "edge" and "bite" to the sound.

A companion study from more of a scientific perspective is Reverse Engineering the Sound of the Jazz Saxophone. The harmonic spectrum charts show visually the effect of the lower input pitch on the resultant sound of the instrument.

I think it would be safe to conclude that there are a variety of factors that create the Lenny Pickett/Tom Scott/David Sanborn type sound on the saxophone.
 

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I know everyone says equipment doesn't matter...............But getting a Lenny Pickett sound out of a link is pretty hard to do. That's my personal opinion. Everything everyone has said will get you closer to that sound but it would be hard to get all the way there. I think you can do it on certain links that have a brighter sound and a higher baffle. I have played some of those. Most of the links I have played have been darker than that though. In my experience, I have sounded killer on a link at home and it sounded great but then when I brought it to a gig where it was live and realized it was too dark. Something a bit brighter will get you closer to that ball park and then you can refine it with the tips above. I've told this story before, but when I was younger I was trying to sound like Sanborn with a Caravan alto mouthpiece and it drove me crazy (the good thing was it drove me to practice a ton to try to get there. I never did get there on that Caravan though)
I totally agree that a brighter link would be best in the world of links. As many have said though it would be easier to get a mouthpiece that more naturally lends itself to this kind of sound. I would keep the link for practice and jazz gigs though.
 

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I was going to say bourbon?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well my Rousseau is used exclusively for classical, so it's not really a tool in my quest for an edgier sound.

As far as the link, it's my stand-by for all my big-band work, and I made the conscious decision to wait, do a little research, then make an educated purchase of a mouthpiece that will help me realize my sound.

Soooooo it looks like I'm in search of a Dukoff or Big ol' Berg. I've tried both mouthpieces before, and I really liked the sound, I'm just worried about cutting too much...not too mention the stereotypes...

- John
 

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Well my Rousseau is used exclusively for classical, so it's not really a tool in my quest for an edgier sound.

As far as the link, it's my stand-by for all my big-band work, and I made the conscious decision to wait, do a little research, then make an educated purchase of a mouthpiece that will help me realize my sound.

Soooooo it looks like I'm in search of a Dukoff or Big ol' Berg. I've tried both mouthpieces before, and I really liked the sound, I'm just worried about cutting too much...not too mention the stereotypes...

- John
You might want to consider a lebayle as well. I have a LR model. If I put a fibracell on it a get a lot of buzz and edge. It is also a pretty well rounded piece. If you can get Phil Barone to make you something special that would always be good but you will probably have to wait a while. I would stay away from dukoffs. The metal is so soft that it is way to easy to do major damage to them. I saw a guy playing one outside and he pushed it on the cork and it completely split in half. I also had one that got so warped from extreme cold that it stopped playing all together. If you do get a berg it will most likely need to get refaced and the chamber worked on a little. They are not that consistant at all.
 

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RPC 115B. Seriously.
 

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RPC 115B. Seriously.
Hak!! Coming through BIG TIME!! I totally forgot about the RPC's. I've heard great things about them. You have one, si?

- John
 

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Soooooo it looks like I'm in search of a Dukoff or Big ol' Berg. I've tried both mouthpieces before, and I really liked the sound, I'm just worried about cutting too much...not too mention the stereotypes...
Well, hak beat me to it, but if you want that cut without losing body to the sound, an RPC would certainly be a good choice. I prefer the 120 RPC (and have two of them). I also have a 115B that I'd consider selling. PM me if you're interested. Having said that your best bet is to call Ron Cuelho and expain exactly what you're after. He'll make what you're looking for. But it will take some time.
 

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Well, hak beat me to it, but if you want that cut without losing body to the sound, an RPC would certainly be a good choice. I prefer the 120 RPC (and have two of them). I also have a 115B that I'd consider selling. PM me if you're interested. Having said that your best bet is to call Ron Cuelho and expain exactly what you're after. He'll make what you're looking for. But it will take some time.
'ppreciate the offer JL, but I think at this point, the pennies will be saved (with the exception of some music from Eric Alexander I intend to purchase today) and I'll talk to Ron about going custom. How much do you think that would cost??

- J
 
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