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I have been playing alto saxophone on and off again for about 30 years and would consider my skill level as intermediate. I like to play straight ahead jazz and smooth jazz and am looking to upgrade my mouthpiece. Currently I have the stock plastic mouthpiece that came with my saxophone. I am trying to keep my mouthpiece budget to $150 or less and have looked at Meyer 6MM,
Otto Link Tone Edge 6*, Vandoren V16 6M, Vandoren V16 6 S+, D'addario Select Jazz 6M, and the Vandoren Jumbo Java A45. I believe I have narrowed my choices down to:


Vandoren Jumbo Java A45
Optimum Ligature
Vandoren Java Reeds #3(red box, green box, or V16) or


OR

Otto Link Tone Edge 6*
Optimum Ligature
D'addario Select Jazz Reeds 3M


I am looking to produce a nice pleasant sound with some volume, but not crazy loud where it sounds awful. I wanted to see which option of the two might be best? or should I consider one of the other options on my list?


Damian
 

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Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
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Your description of the sound you are seeking is rather vague. Describing it in terms of brightness, darkness and projection might help, as well as listing players whose sound you like. I am also confused by the options you list, as they are very different mouthpieces that normally would not be in competition against each other when searching for a certain sound. The best way to decide on what mouthpiece to use is to play test pieces. Buying without play testing can be very disappointing and expensive.

Having stated this, here is a link to a mouthpiece from a few days ago:
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?344646-FS-Phil-Tone-%93JZ%94-6-Alto-Mouthpiece
You can hear how this piece sounds on Steve Neff's website:
http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2017/01/phil-tone-jz-alto-saxophone-mouthpiece-review/

Good luck with your search.
 

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What do you mean by "have looked at?" Have you played these mouthpieces? If not, do so. Either buy used ones to minimize your investment, or find a dealer that will allow you to test them and then return what you don't want. If you've really narrowed the search to two pieces, there's no excuse for not testing them.

However, I have to say that I agree that your final setup options seem to be going in two different directions. Maybe you should figure out your preferred sound concept first.
 

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"Pleasant" is in the ear of the beholder. Is there a particular artist you want to sound like, as mijderf suggested? There's a big difference between say, a Paul Desmond sound and Cannonball and Sanborn.

For me, the Java is a paint peeler, not at all pleasant. But it's possible I didn't play it long enough to get it under control. The Link and the recommended Meyer are very flexible, middle of the road mpc's. I don't think you could go wrong with either.

As for reeds, I always come back to orange box Rico. Vandoren are usually too dark for my taste but consistent. Friends of mine swear by D'addario and sound great on them. But I've never tried them myself.
 

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I've been playing both a Meyer 5M and an Otto Link 6. Based on your description, I believe the Otto Link lends itself more to a cleaner (more pleasant) tone. I usually play Vandoren ZZ 2.5 but recently picked up a box of D'Addario Select Jazz 2 Medium Filed. The few D'Addario I've tried are nice and consistent but the 2 Medium are soft compared to the Vandoren 2.5 and therefore - at least for me - extremely loud. That said, I'm definitely going to try the D'Addario 3s.
 

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The Jumbo Java and Link Tone Edge are essentially polar opposites. JJ's have a high baffle that emphasizes the upper mids to help them project and would be a good choice for a situation where getting as much volume as possible is your top priority. TE's have a rollover baffle and a large chamber that emphasizes the lows and helps you to get a "fatter" tone that works well for jazz, but also for other styles, though you might want a mic to help project over a loud ensemble.

Meyer is the industry standard for jazz alto, though there are mouthpiece craftsmen who make hand-finished copies nowadays that are superior to the mass-produced pieces currently being churned out under the Meyer label. If I were you, I would look for one of these "boutique" copies. They might be a bit above your budget new, but you may be able to find a used one in good condition. IMHO, you shouldn't skimp on your mouthpiece as it's arguably the most important link in the chain as far as your sound is concerned.
 

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Call me crazy, but I have tried a Meyer 5M recently and prefer my C star to it any day. Seems to require a lot of effort to play and upper register such as palm keys are almost impossible to keep from squeaking.
 

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It appears the issue with my Meyer has been mostly reed placement. I am going to have Phil rebuild it and test play it.
 
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