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It clearly wraps over the reed in that picture. Because of light/shadow, it appears dark as it crosses the reed. I'm forced to think that since it shows up in many pictures and videos, he did it all the time, and he must have done it for some reason, whether or not that reason was valid. The reason would have to be related to some effect on playing/tone.
 

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you must have a better screen than my 21"

by the way, he didn't seem to do this in all video, certainly, later on in life, he didn't, at least not in this video 2015


hiet, more or less the same time (from the hairstyle) he doesn't seem to have any tape (under or over)


6197
6198


same thing here (unless my eyes are betraying my trust)

6199
 

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The reason would have to be related to some effect on playing/tone.
I would doubt that.

If it covered the reed, I suspect it could be he had a mild allergy to cane. Later I believe he switched to playing Plasticover.
 

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Maybe the sides of the reed cut into his lower lip without the tape after hours of roof raising playing (y) Especially if the reed was just a tad wider than the m/p. It is interesting. I have never known or seen any other sax player using what appears to be tape on that area of the m/p.
 

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I would doubt that.

If it covered the reed, I suspect it could be he had a mild allergy to cane. Later I believe he switched to playing Plasticover.
In one of the pictures above it may be a plasticover but certainly not in the other, and in one the videos I've posted (where I got the still pictures)

However

@Bill Mecca (last seen in 2018 here, maybe someone knows how to ask him?

with plasticover 5's!

met him in AC years ago, nice guy.
 

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I think that people didn't really care much about the way their mouthpiece looked , in general terms, in the olden days although mouthpieces had teeth guards very early on

But simple tape would have offered very little in terms of " protection" from the teeth and to the teeth.

I am sure that if someone could find the family there may be some mouthpiece still showing this in possession of the Butera family but seen that in the last part of his life he was no longer using whatever it is that we are seeing , we may never know.

Bill Mecca , who met Mr. Butera, may have had the chance to ask

I think this is his site http://www.billmecca.com
 

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I am trying to contact the last sax player that was in his "Wildest" band if he is still around; Resorts International Casino in Atlantic City Sam Butera (Sax), Arnie Teich (Piano) ,Buck Monari (Trumpete), Jimmy James (Tromb) Bob Sachs (Bass) Billy Bower (Sax, Flute), Chuck Stevens Ingolia (Schlagzeug)
 

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I am trying to contact the last sax player that was in his "Wildest" band if he is still around; Resorts International Casino in Atlantic City Sam Butera (Sax), Arnie Teich (Piano) ,Buck Monari (Trumpete), Jimmy James (Tromb) Bob Sachs (Bass) Billy Bower (Sax, Flute), Chuck Stevens Ingolia (Schlagzeug)
If you play the Schlagzeug, do you play only German songs?
 

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Wrapping tape around a mouthpiece in that spot could potentially shorten the facing curve and reduce the tip opening as well depending upon how tightly it's wrapped. It wouldn't make much sense to me to wrap tape around the whole mouthpiece reed and all if you just wanted to add some cushion for your upper teeth. You would just put tape on the beak of the mouthpiece for that so you didn't have to constantly remove it when changing or adjusting reeds. My guess would be either; lower lip comfort, darken the tone, or to reduce the facing length or tip opening.
 

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I tend to agree with you on the lip comfort. He used #5 plasti's (hard coating) and he played with a lot of force and I don't mean overblowing. His style of roof raising was what many people and a lot of younger sax players enjoyed over the years. Could be that (as I mentioned before) the sides of the reed cut into his lip w/o the tape but that is only a guess. It is interesting.

If Billy Bower is still around I am sure that he will know.
 

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I tend to agree it is most likely lip comfort, whether a cane allergy as mentioned above or side edges of the reeds cutting a bit.

I seriously doubt it was a sound enhancing thing, SOTW wasn't around at the time of those early photos.
 

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You could be right however I am not entirely sure about the lip comfort. At least in the way I tried it the tape did not
add to the comfort at all. On the contrary the edge of the tape felt a little annoying sometimes. But then again my lips are not your lips and certainly not Sam's lips. I reckon one could get used to it.

The interesting thing is with the wrapped around tape the mouthpiece still plays. Maybe Sam did it to reduce the facing.
I find different opinions on his Berg's tip opening. Some say it was a .110. I have read somewhere (I do not recall where) he used a .130. But correct me if I am wrong. Combine that with #5 Plasticovers. Wow! The man had chops. I can imagine the tape would have brightened the tone a bit.
 

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I have also read many different tip opening for Sam Butera depending on the website. It appears from the following interview that whatever he started with he stayed with. Would the salesman try to push a wide opening tip to a young player.;

"SB: Well, you see . . . [chuckles] Let me tell ya something about that sound. When I was a kid and went to this music store for a mouthpiece, the salesman said, "This just came in from England." I said, "Let me try it." I went "Toot!" and said, "That's it!" I've played it ever since. That's the sound I wanted to hear. That completely changed my tone, and that's the truth."


But this seems to confirm the 130;

"admin says:
Vinny - Yes, Sam was a customer. He was one of my favorite guys to deal with and was always good for a joke each time he came in. If memory serves correct, Sam play on the FIRST Berg Larsen mouthpiece sold in the USA that he bought in New York. If I recall, it was a 130/1… yes, a .130鈥 tip. To top that off, he used a Plasticover 5 (again, not a typo) reed. To say that Sam had "chops" would be a gross understatement. He was a great player and a great guy. His passing marked huge loss to the world of music but his influence will last for generations."

 
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