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Alto has been my main for many years but I've always wanted to get into tenor. So, I went to my local shop and took out a brand new Z on trial. I could tell that it's never been played as it was still bagged and corked. The t hing that kind of shocks me is that this shop doesn't seem to believe in setting up horns when they come in. Anyways, I got home and eagerly put it together and put on a metal link 7 I also got on trial along with a single ZZ 2.5 reed he gave me for the trial. The horn is VERY stuffy. Anything below around a low E doesn't want to come out at all G2-B2 are very resisant and stuffy. I figure the odds are not good that I got a good reed but I at least expected to be able to play the horn. Is there anything I can adjust on my own to try and get the horn playable for a trial? I love my Z alto so I do have faith in Yamaha's.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well my teacher said the horn is great. He tried it with the Link I have on trial and he sounded awful. So, I guess get the horn and find a better mouthpiece.
 

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Pat - a tip. Don't add new equipment all at the same time. Play the mpc you're most familiar with and use a reed you've already tested on your usual sax to make sure how that particular reed blows. Using a new reed, mpc and horn simultaneously is not the way to find out if they all three work well.

For example, test the mpc on your usual horn, not on the new one. Since you know how your usual horn plays you can compare the differences between the new mpc and your usual setup.
 

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They don't believe in setting up horns??? Believing has nothing to do with it! It plays well or it doesn't, and if it doesn't what are they going to do, pray that it suddenly will?

But I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.... If alto is your main instrument maybe I'd find a good tenor player who can tell for sure if there is a problem with the instrument (as a clarinet player I think tenor is the hardest of all saxophones, especially the low notes, but maybe not to everyone). If you know there is a problem with the instrument take it back to the store and see they are going to do about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
gary said:
Pat - a tip. Don't add new equipment all at the same time. Play the mpc you're most familiar with and use a reed you've already tested on your usual sax to make sure how that particular reed blows. Using a new reed, mpc and horn simultaneously is not the way to find out if they all three work well.

For example, test the mpc on your usual horn, not on the new one. Since you know how your usual horn plays you can compare the differences between the new mpc and your usual setup.
Well, this is my first tenor so I don't have a usual horn. My teacher put his Guardala Studio on it and he sounded great and he said the horn played great. I asked him to play it with the Link I got and he sounded stuffy. We both agreed that the issue was probably a bad mouthpiece.

Yeah, the dealer says that horns come in pretty much set up from the factory. I believe Yamaha's are usually pretty good but I'll make them go over this horn if/when I decide to go for it. Next decision is whether or not I want to order an unlacquered horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update - I took the horn in to have the tech check it over and he found a few minor leaks. I brought it home and put the metal Link on and played it and it was a little better. Still kind of stuffy and low notes a little difficult. I had the store owner give me a Berg Larsen 105/1 so I slapped that on, and oh my God! The horn just came alive with a nice buzz and absolutely no trouble getting any notes out. I literally couldn't put the horn down, that's how good it was with a good mouthpiece. Are the modern Links really that bad or did I just maybe get a real bad one?

Anyhow, today I'll be the proud new owner of an 82z tenor. My Guardala Studio should be arriving from WWBW today and can't wait to try that.
 

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Thanks for the advice Saxy. At this point, I don't see much of a reason to experiment with the Link. The Berg plays and sounds so much better, plus I have high hopes for the Guardala. My teacher played my horn with the Link and he sounded not so great either. I'm glad to know that it's not the horn at least.
 

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patseguin said:
Are the modern Links really that bad or did I just maybe get a real bad one?
Yes, and yes. Take a look inside the Link; under the table just beneath the end of the opening for the reed. See any chinks and/or gashes in the metal?
 

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I had the same problem w my YAS62-II

SaxyAcoustician said:
It takes weeks, if not months, to get accustomed to a new voice.

My suggestion would be to get a bunch of different reeds (brand, cut, strength) to experiment on your Link. The problem is NOT the horn nor the mouthpiece at this point.
I have a new YAS62-II and happened to get some new reeds that were spongy and closing off and deadening the tone. Another batch of reeds and a 5c mpc instead of a 4c and its like night and day.
 
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Ive come to learn that over time nearly everything is in the reed! Id say about 80% at least.
 

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SaxyAcoustician said:
I've come to believe that any mouthpiece can sound at least decent with the right reed. pat, I think your teacher simply didn't have the right reed for your Link. Give it more time.
But if he's new to tenor and has an alternative, what's the point of fighting a setup that doesn't play well? Why not start with something that works well enough to make practicing enjoyable?
 

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I wonder if there might be something in - "plays alto, moves to tenor, berg is better/easier". I play mainly alto at the moment and definitely find that moving from my alto setup to a tenor setup with a Berg is much easier than moving to a link. Could this be to do with the fact that the chamber of the berg is smaller?
 

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gear buying

I have to agree with Gary. You want to make a sax decision from the set up you know and love. You can't make a good decision changing to many factors at the same time. You always want to start from the stuff that works for you, and check out a new piece of the puzzle with as many pieces that worked for you before. If the horn does not work with your set up, I would pass.

The idea is to move your sound and playing 'more in the direction' you want to go. It is a process and a direction thing.

One other point - just cuz it works for your teacher, or doesn't for that matter, means less than many think. I could sound great on a XYZ sax and it could not work well for you at all. One size does not fit all or we would only have 2 companies making saxes in the world - the best and the cheapest.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You guys keep mentioning not to change my setup too much. The thing is I don't have an existing setup because I am new to tenor. That being said, I went to my lesson last night and played both the Berg and the Guardala for my teacher and he said I sound better on the Guardala. I gave the Link back to the store and probably won't bother with that again.
 

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bari_sax_diva said:
But if he's new to tenor and has an alternative, what's the point of fighting a setup that doesn't play well? Why not start with something that works well enough to make practicing enjoyable?
When moving to a new voice, the biggest unknown is what reed works well with the setup you have. The reed is what provides the comfort, much more so than what mouthpiece it's on, and much more so than what horn that mouthpiece is on.

I'd much rather try to match reeds to a particular mouthpiece than mouthpieces to a particular reed. As gary implies, change one variable at a time.
 
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