The Saxophonists best friend...
What's Your "Set up"? I often get asked
that question, meaning what kind of mouthpiece and reeds do you
use. Fortunately I found my perfect set up over 15 years ago and
have no need or desire to try anything else because like I said,
it's the perfect set up... for me.
I will tell you what I use but I 'm not here to recommend anything
in particular, everyone should try several kinds of shapes and sizes
in a saxophone mouthpiece. Since we're all shaped differently what's
right for one person won't feel right for another.
There are numerous parts and dimensions to a sax mouthpiece;
baffle, tip, lay, rails, chamber, shank, etc. Best thing is to try
as many different brands as you have access to then when you find
a brand that feels somewhat better than the rest start zeroing in
on the particulars such as chamber size, lay opening, etc.
When you're an experienced player no one needs to tell you what's
right for you but as a beginner your instructor will make helpful
suggestions; for example, if your tone is thin he might suggest
a more opened tip mouthpiece.
For many years I tried every kind of mouthpiece I could
get my hands on. Whatever people were suggesting and whatever
I saw advertised. I've got a box full of em; Otto Link, Berg Larsen,
Bari, Yamaha, hard rubber ones and metal ones. I can't even remember
I borrowed a friends baritone sax once so I went mouthpiece shopping.
After about an hour in the practice cubicle I had it narrowed down
to a couple nice ones, then the guy working at the store asks me
if I've tried the Rico's yet, I told him that I was looking for
a mouthpiece not reeds. He said that Rico is making mouthpieces
now and he hands me one to try. This bari Rico ended up being my
favorite one and so when I took it to the counter they told me it
costs 12 bucks, yes $12! I was so impressed with it I had to try
one on my tenor but it just didn't feel right. You never know till
Finally I had the chance to try a Dave Guardala mouthpiece and fell
in love instantly. It was a Michael Brecker model. This
was around 1990 and it's what I am using today. I later also got
a King Curtis model and have it as a back up. I hope I never loose
the Brecker model cause I like it the best.
"Reeds" My Mind
I don't know if Mr Guardala still takes phone orders but
in those days he did cause he took my order and tried talking me
into using Vandoren Jazz Cut reeds. I didn't go for it cause I had
tried Vandoren reeds before and hated them. He persisted on these
and I finally said just send the mouthpiece, I'll worry about the
When the mouthpiece came in the mail and I opened the box I had
to laugh because there was a Vandoren Jazz Cut reed set
up on the mouthpiece by Dave. I though, man, this guy sure is persistant
about these reeds on his mouthpiece. Well, of coarse I gave it a
try and since that day haven't used anything else. This is the best
combination I've ever tried. I have tried those same reeds with
other mouthpieces but they just didn't work the same.Thanks Dave
Yes that's right, your mouthpiece and reed combination will
make a bigger difference in your sound than your saxophone.
Of coarse we all look for a good horn that's well made and is working
properly but the mouthpiece is were the air hits the road. This
is where first contact is made so your reed and mouthpiece combination
play the most important part in the tone you will produce through
the other end of your horn.
The Dukoff X7 and Otto Link 7 are the 2 mouthpieces I had the most luck with next to the Dave Guardala which is no longer being made. Although I've heard some good things about the Yanagisawa I have actually tried one, and they're new on the market.
Yanagisawa Y2705-7 Tenor Sax Mouthpiece
Decades of experience and craftmanship go into every Yanagisawa saxophone mouthpiece. The silver-plated brass mouthpieces produce a true saxophone...
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Dukoff Tenor Sax Metal Mouthpiece X7
Dukoff's Tenor Saxophone mouthpieces feature construction from Dukoff's custom Silverite metal. This contributes to a bright "edgy" tone with depth...
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Otto Link 7 Tenor Sax Metal Mouthpiece
A long-standing choice of top professionals. Otto Link makes both hard rubber and metal mouthpieces, and all feature advanced design and great...
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