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Discussion Starter #1
I've been trying for about a year to find a mouthpiece with a larger tip opening than my old(ish) 1990 Babbit Meyer 5SS. Both I tried created the weird dipping sound when pushed hard at middle e through g on my 1917 Buescher. The two I tried- A Meyer Custom opened by a reputable refacer to .080 and a stock Runyon Model 22 at about .077. I just got a custom New York jazz Drake Mouthpiece(.080) and it loves my old Buescher whereas the other ones didn't. Perhaps the length of the facing agrees with ME more and has nothing to do with the horn? any insight?
Cheers.
 

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Good question. I don't know the answer and am fascinated by this too. There was a time I thought this phenomenon was a 'bunch of baloney', but I've since experienced it first-hand.

I have an Saxscape Extra Dark that sounds great on my T990, and sounds like crap on my Z. In fact, any 'darkish' mpc sounds pretty bad on my Z, and the so-called 'bright' pieces (which I don't typically like at all) sound great on the Z and seem to have more core, warmth, and character than they should.
 

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The sax mpce has so many variables that it's usually hard to find any two even of the exact same model that play exactly alike. You seem to have found a good mpce for your horn. This happens when a well-made mpce agrees with you, your reeds and your horn all at the same time. When one side of this triangle is not satisfied, you have the perception of a 'bad' mpce. All the variables are what makes it possible to have what seems like an endless parade of new mouthpieces coming on the market, some of which represent attempts to recreate great/famous mpces of the past.
When it comes down to what makes the most difference to the player (given a certain horn), the rank would be mouthpiece, reed, then neck. You probably never will not use a mpce because it doesn't agree with the neck. You definitely will use certain reeds because they work with the mpce. You may use a different neck to get more out of your set-up but never to make a fundamental change in your sound - this is not possible by changing the sax or neck - you are what you are. The thing is to find the equipment that makes it easier for you to get back from any horn what you think you are putting into it. You have apparently done that, at least for now. The good/bad news is that your expectations change with time and set-ups therefore become temporary.
In my personal view, a good mouthpiece will play easily with the reeds you're used-to, will help you produce pretty much the sound in your head and will not produce any abberations on the horn such as 'dead' spots in the scale or unusual intonation concerns. Others might say that you can't evaluate a mpce without searching for the reed that works with it. My view is that the reed search introduces too many variables. While it can work that way, I view it as 'forcing' the mouthpiece to be acceptable rather than finding another one that 'clicks' right away. Why force yourself to use a piece that did not instantly make a good impression? There are so many mpces with so many variables that you have to eventually like one, as you found out.
 

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Everything about the sax comes down to acoustic principles, and once you understand some basics, things start making a lot of sense. First, everything about the way sound is produced comes down to the speed and shape of the air column. The reed and mouthpiece create the turbulence that becomes the wave form and it has certain properties that are set in that moment that are amplified through the shape of the tube. If you've ever played with one of those whirling tubes that whistles different pitches based on how fast you swing it, you already know the same principles at play in your sax. Now, the other variables where mouthpieces are concerned is in the squeezing down of the air column. A tighter, smaller channel for air is going to make the column faster, the pitch higher and the emphasis on higher overtones (creating a "brighter" sound), and a more open, straight-through setup will be focused on the lower partials and give you a "darker" sound. So, each horn is really an air column guide, or system. It is designed with certain expectations and tolerances as variables. Really old vintage horns were designed with large chamber/small tip opening mouthpieces as the endpoint of the system. As such, the air column was a relatively known variable. So, fast forward to the future where we are making mouthpieces with super aggressive baffles and small chambers, and spoilers, and all manner of alterations. These introduce countless new variables into the way the air column responds. If you have too fast an air speed, you can cause serious intonation issues if the horn was built to accommodate and older style piece. The additional turbulence of odd shaped beak and chamber profiles can also lead to aberrant wave shapes and tonal problems, especially with smaller tone holes -- like on high A when you get that airy buzz with some horns. You can imagine a stream of water pouring through the horn, and just like the garden hose, if you put a kink in it, the water pressure builds up quickly and if you let it out slowly, then it comes out very fast. Same principles.

I hope this helps some. I'm not at my best for clarity at the moment.
 

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Jason,
Your post was very clear. However, I'm using a 1925 Buescher True Tone and after trying a lot of mouthpieces I found only two mouthpieces which seems to be in love with my sax: RIA (metal) and Ponzol (M2, M1 and ML. All metal). These mouthpieces help me to produce an even tone and all notes play in tune. The ususal should be to use big chamber mouthpieces but I did it without any success. Maybe, IT'S ME.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's funny. I think the way that I play, I need a shorter facing lay. The Drake MPC although supposedly opened the same as My Meyer(.080)seems to have this and/or likes my Vandoren Classiques- meaning I can push it with out these Dead spots in the middle e and g poking through when attacked. Especially being that I'm pretty aggressive when it comes to articulation typically. I'll have to see if this piece likes my 1931 Conn tranny and '86 SA80 II...
 

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There are many general trends reported. But you should always use what works for you even if it defies what others say.
 

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Everything about the sax comes down to acoustic principles, and once you understand some basics, things start making a lot of sense. First, everything about the way sound is produced comes down to the speed and shape of the air column. The reed and mouthpiece create the turbulence that becomes the wave form and it has certain properties that are set in that moment that are amplified through the shape of the tube. If you've ever played with one of those whirling tubes that whistles different pitches based on how fast you swing it, you already know the same principles at play in your sax. Now, the other variables where mouthpieces are concerned is in the squeezing down of the air column. A tighter, smaller channel for air is going to make the column faster, the pitch higher and the emphasis on higher overtones (creating a "brighter" sound), and a more open, straight-through setup will be focused on the lower partials and give you a "darker" sound. So, each horn is really an air column guide, or system. It is designed with certain expectations and tolerances as variables. Really old vintage horns were designed with large chamber/small tip opening mouthpieces as the endpoint of the system. As such, the air column was a relatively known variable. So, fast forward to the future where we are making mouthpieces with super aggressive baffles and small chambers, and spoilers, and all manner of alterations. These introduce countless new variables into the way the air column responds. If you have too fast an air speed, you can cause serious intonation issues if the horn was built to accommodate and older style piece. The additional turbulence of odd shaped beak and chamber profiles can also lead to aberrant wave shapes and tonal problems, especially with smaller tone holes -- like on high A when you get that airy buzz with some horns. You can imagine a stream of water pouring through the horn, and just like the garden hose, if you put a kink in it, the water pressure builds up quickly and if you let it out slowly, then it comes out very fast. Same principles.

I hope this helps some. I'm not at my best for clarity at the moment.
Quite on the contrary, that was a very clear, illuminating explanation. Thank you!
 

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.....Maybe, IT'S ME.
ABSOLUTELY!!! As Jason so eloquently put it, as clearly as his magnificent engraving I might add, the sax is a system of related variables...and YOU are most definitely an important variable in the mix. That's why we would all sound different (for the most part) even if we were all to play exactly the same setup. So use what works for you.
 
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