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View Full Version : Who's on closed tips and hard reeds on tenor? For jazz i.e.



Carl H2O
09-10-2010, 11:19 AM
...absolutely not meant to be another "what's your setup thread" - just curios to know the current situation among fellow SOTWers (and recording artists - could of course include SOTWers as well).

My definition of closed tips (might not be correct) 5-ish and below (.85-)
Hard reeds (might not be correct) 3.5 and up (yes, I know that strength varies among brands)

Carl

shotgun
09-10-2010, 11:42 AM
I think you'll find that classically-trained sax players are most likely to use that sort of setup. There's nothing that says you can't play jazz on a close tip and a hard reed but it's a lot more difficult to get effects like smears, drop-offs, and growls — which aren't technically necessary but have become an important part of the jazz vocabulary. I've read statements by musicians who use the same mpc/reed combination for classical and jazz — I'd be interested to hear some clips of jazz players using those sorts of setups.

LateNiteSax
09-10-2010, 11:48 AM
I often play my old Otto Link Tone Master 5* set up by Marin Spivack at .087 with nice mid 1980's Rico 3.5 reeds. Great setup.

Nefertiti
09-10-2010, 11:51 AM
This is an interesting thread. I'm also curious about who plays on these small tips.

marcusb
09-10-2010, 12:35 PM
Coltrane did

-TH
09-10-2010, 12:41 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nTqxYvQ8HU

Walt Weiskopf (5* Link if I recall correctly)

Nefertiti
09-10-2010, 12:47 PM
Coltrane did
I think the other person wanted current players........

Stretch
09-10-2010, 01:10 PM
From what I've read Weiskoff only uses a 3 reed which isn't that hard.

Tissot
09-10-2010, 01:43 PM
Ben Webster did.
Joe Henderson also used a small tip of soloist if I remember correctly.

SoLongEric
09-10-2010, 02:05 PM
Warne Marsh did. Both on HR Links and Metal links.

If I remember Mark Turner plays hard reeds on a rather closed tip.

saxphil
09-10-2010, 03:39 PM
From what I've read Weiskoff only uses a 3 reed which isn't that hard.

He told me in an email, STM 5*, RJS 3S reeds, about a year ago.

rsclosson
09-10-2010, 03:40 PM
I don't remember what number my New York Link is, but it is pretty closed and I am afraid to change it.

Atonal
09-10-2010, 03:51 PM
Rick Margitza and Joel Frahm

jazzznbluezzz
09-10-2010, 04:13 PM
When I started on sax I was on a Link STM 5.
I upgraded to a 6 and landed on a 7*. Anything more open
did and still does not seem to suit me.
Then several years back i discovered that i like
Brilhart pieces a lot. Yet they originally come in smaller
tip openings like .80 or .85. Or even smaller.
Now I am back on smaller tips with harder reeds like 3, 3.5 up to even 5 (Plasticovers)
I noticed I get an equally powerful tone but with much more core and room to
shape my tone. Much more character. In some cases ( I play different mouthpieces) I get great results
with Baritone reeds.
As always there is an exception to the rule. A fantastic playing Brilhart Tonalin Great Neck
with a .85 tip sounds amazing with a 2 Vandoren Red Java. And still having enough
resistance to lean into. It still puzzles me why but it does.
Long story short I am back on smaller tips.

That said, I think in some cases the larger tip pieces have a richer sound.

ken gamble
09-10-2010, 04:26 PM
Getz reportedly used a 6*. I got this second hand from someone who spoke to him about his setup.For what it is worth, I have two Link STM's. One is a five opened up to a 6 and one is a 7 opened up to an 8*. They are both equally loud and "big" sounding. By comparison, the 6 is a little on the shrill side and much easier in the altissimo range.

jrsopsax
09-10-2010, 05:16 PM
I think Greg Fishman plays a 5* HR Link on Tenor

pitsen3
09-10-2010, 05:36 PM
A few years ago I heard Bob Rockwell at the Artist Quarter in St. Paul MN. He was getting a real big sound with a brilhart 4* and a Hard Bari Plastic reed.

Peterogping
09-11-2010, 07:44 PM
Ben Webster did.
Joe Henderson also used a small tip of soloist if I remember correctly.

From what I have heard, Ben Webster had opened up his Link dramatically, at least when he lived here in Copenhagen.

Honeyboy
09-12-2010, 12:58 AM
From what I have heard, Ben Webster had opened up his Link dramatically, at least when he lived here in Copenhagen.

I also read another big name player tried to blow on his set-up and could barely get a sound out of it. Unfortunately, I can't remember who it was.

Jazz House
09-12-2010, 01:21 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ntqxyvq8hu

walt weiskopf (5* link if i recall correctly)

:@ what a sound too!!!!!!

Sigmund451
09-12-2010, 05:49 AM
Im not famous but I have gone up in mouthpiece tips and back down. I love hard rubber links in the 5* range but I still use only a 3 reed. I think they have a quality that is lost once larger tip openings occur. They still sound good but loose that real intimate, warm buzz. They are not loud but I figure thats what mics and speakers are for.

As for volume and tip openings. I recently acquired and posted about a Lelandais Super Jazz. I opened it to a .080 (thats all the material there was). It is by far the loudest mouthpiece I have ever owned in any tip. Id love to have that piece scanned, programed and CNC made with a few alterations. I can only imagine its power at a .105! First time I played it for a friend I asked what they thought and they said "Its loud!". They also liked its quality as well.

LateNiteSax
09-12-2010, 07:05 AM
Ben Webster's Selmer tenor and mouthpiece are at the Rutgers institute for Jazz Studies. A friend of mine measured his Tone Master and it was an ".085 tip on the nose. Here it is:

http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/IJS/instrumentsB/ben-webster.html

mascio
09-12-2010, 07:11 AM
That is really interesting LateNiteSax, by his tone i had always imagined he used a more open piece. i learn something new everyday. Thanks for the information.

Atonal
09-12-2010, 12:17 PM
:@ what a sound too!!!!!!

Yup, Walt plays a Mark VI and a Link 5* as mentioned here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV-eaT3KDws&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV-eaT3KDws&feature=related)about 20 seconds into the video.

Peterogping
09-14-2010, 04:09 PM
Ben Webster's Selmer tenor and mouthpiece are at the Rutgers institute for Jazz Studies. A friend of mine measured his Tone Master and it was an ".085 tip on the nose. Here it is:

http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/IJS/instrumentsB/ben-webster.html

Is the mouthpiece at Rutgers a Tone Master or a Super Tone Master ? If it is a Tone master, it could have been an old piece he played in his younger days.

soundlink7
09-15-2010, 06:04 AM
Nice thread and good information being shared all around. I agree with Sigmund451 regarding a certain quality of sound found in the moderate tip range and lost in the more open tips. I find that the 5* - 6* range on a link is truly something special. These can have a characteristic resonating focus, yet retains a dark core sound with a nice delicate spread of overtones. After playing some much more open tips, I feel that on a large chambered mouthpieces with a low baffles; like many of the otto link designs, the tone can often become tubby and have too much spread and even sound diffuse. Actually, I have discovered that the more moderate tips can project better and offer more control as I don't need to use so much energy to get compression and make that reed vibrate.

As mentioned, it seems these moderate (closed) tips were good enough for Trane, Getz, Warne, Joe Henderson, and Ben Webster and many modern day players too. Not sure why so many players think they need at least an 8 link and even bigger to get a big sound? It might surprise a good percentage of these players that this is unecessary and they would play and sound much better if they used something more moderate in tip. I'm not discrediting more open tips, these can be nice too, but it seems that so many players automatically discredit moderate tips. A bit off topic, but it's sad to see so many of the original vintage links being opened up just because of the unfortunate common belief that a 5* or 6 is too small to play in modern situations. I had the good fortune to play besides Walt, and he is a perfect example of a modern player that has a beautiful distinct sound that is resonant and can fill up a room, he uses a moderate tip. What a monster player and a great guy too.

Albey
09-15-2010, 02:19 PM
Ben Webster's Selmer tenor and mouthpiece are at the Rutgers institute for Jazz Studies. A friend of mine measured his Tone Master and it was an ".085 tip on the nose. Here it is:

http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/IJS/instrumentsB/ben-webster.html


Is the mouthpiece at Rutgers a Tone Master or a Super Tone Master ? If it is a Tone master, it could have been an old piece he played in his younger days.

I think we need to take Ben Webster out of the “closed tip” discussion. First off Ben Webster never used a Tone Master mouthpiece so it is quite possible the museum has the wrong mouthpiece with the right horn. I have read many instances of other musicians talking about how open Ben’s mouthpiece was and how different players couldn’t even get a note out of it. The following is a quote from Ben Webster’s Biography - Someone To Watch Over Me, The Life and Music of Ben Webster, on page 50.

“The brand of his old Saxophone is unknown but in 1938 he purchases a slightly used French Selmer “Balanced Action” of which he was extremely fond and later named “Ol’ Betsy”. Ben’s saxophone has the serial number 25418, which indicates that it was built in late 1936, the same year Selmer introduced the model. Ben used the same mouthpiece all of his life, a metal Otto Link (Master Link) with a fairly large opening, size 8 (the largest is 10) and he used hard reeds often Rico no. 5, the heaviest. The large opening in the mouthpiece, combined with the reed, the quality of the horn, and his embouchure, contributed to his rich tone. While many saxophonists continue to experiment with different combinations of mouthpieces and horns throughout their careers, it is remarkable how conservative Ben was in that respect. Apparently he felt he had found the ideal combination from the start.”

davetjazz
09-15-2010, 02:48 PM
Wow great info about Ben.

Yeah my dream Tenor setup is one of those old closed 5* links and Rico Royal 5 reeds. Always wanted to try it.

Sigmund451
09-16-2010, 05:32 AM
One of the favorite mouthpieces I ever made was a Custom Link in a .080. I thought the guy who ordered it was pushing it on the small side. He was more than capable of playing large tips but wanted it. Once I made it I really didnt want to send it out it had a marvelous warm link buzz. He is still playing it to this day. Once of these days if I ever have time to make my own piece I plan to make one of those.

JL
09-16-2010, 05:00 PM
I find that the 5* - 6* range on a link is truly something special. These can have a characteristic resonating focus, yet retains a dark core sound with a nice delicate spread of overtones. After playing some much more open tips, I feel that on a large chambered mouthpieces with a low baffles; like many of the otto link designs, the tone can often become tubby and have too much spread and even sound diffuse. Actually, I have discovered that the more moderate tips can project better and offer more control as I don't need to use so much energy to get compression and make that reed vibrate..

I'm sure there's a lot of truth to this. I suspect it has to do with a balance between tip opening and size of the baffle/chamber (in this case a low rollover baffle & large chamber). This is probably overly-simplistic, but as a general rule, higher baffles require more open tips to maintain some warmth and body to the sound. And a large chamber with low rollover baffle probably works better with a moderate to closed tip.

So it's really a matter of choice. Those who want to use a mpc with higher baffle would do well to go to a more open tip. And probably the opposite is also true.

Dr G
09-16-2010, 05:16 PM
I'm back to my Morgan/Zentera "C" opened to .088" with Alexander DC 3 reeds or V16s. It does everything I need - or should I say, it let's me do everything I need.

Played back-to-back against my Vandoren/Caino V16 .122" and Mouthpiece Cafe "Slant" 7** (.108"), it seems just as loud and has great color.

(Borg' Jubilee tenor)

LateNiteSax
09-16-2010, 05:51 PM
I think we need to take Ben Webster out of the “closed tip” discussion. First off Ben Webster never used a Tone Master mouthpiece so it is quite possible the museum has the wrong mouthpiece with the right horn. I have read many instances of other musicians talking about how open Ben’s mouthpiece was and how different players couldn’t even get a note out of it. The following is a quote from Ben Webster’s Biography - Someone To Watch Over Me, The Life and Music of Ben Webster, on page 50.

“The brand of his old Saxophone is unknown but in 1938 he purchases a slightly used French Selmer “Balanced Action” of which he was extremely fond and later named “Ol’ Betsy”. Ben’s saxophone has the serial number 25418, which indicates that it was built in late 1936, the same year Selmer introduced the model. Ben used the same mouthpiece all of his life, a metal Otto Link (Master Link) with a fairly large opening, size 8 (the largest is 10) and he used hard reeds often Rico no. 5, the heaviest. The large opening in the mouthpiece, combined with the reed, the quality of the horn, and his embouchure, contributed to his rich tone. While many saxophonists continue to experiment with different combinations of mouthpieces and horns throughout their careers, it is remarkable how conservative Ben was in that respect. Apparently he felt he had found the ideal combination from the start.”

Ok I'm going on a conversation I had like 12 years ago, so don't quote me, but with those old Otto Links, you could not depend on tip openings directly corresponding with the facing #, and I do definitely recall my friend saying the tip of the mouthpiece was in fact ".085 on his gague.

Carl H2O
09-17-2010, 06:30 AM
One of the favorite mouthpieces I ever made was a Custom Link in a .080. I thought the guy who ordered it was pushing it on the small side. He was more than capable of playing large tips but wanted it. Once I made it I really didnt want to send it out it had a marvelous warm link buzz. He is still playing it to this day. Once of these days if I ever have time to make my own piece I plan to make one of those.

I also find that my closed Link (vintage #5 Tonemaster) produces a really warm buzz together with all different kinds of reeds but the flipside is that one need pretty hard ones (I use RJS 4S) to be sure that the reed doesn't close up on you. Well, on second thoughts I really don't know what is bad about hard reeds - if one matches those with the right mpc.
There's not a big difference between my 7* Fl Link and softer reeds soundwise but the buzz can definitely be heard when I record myself.
Dave Liebman said in one of his videos that he was on a #10 for a while but Joe Allard asked him why he was working so hard when he could achieve the same with a much softer setup. A # 10 opening is an extreme of course, and personally I find when it comes to playing my Links that it is pretty much the same thing to use a #5 and 4S reeds as a 7* and 2s or 2 1/2s. Perhaps is the first setup a tad easier.

I'm not famous either, these are just my own pretty amateurish observations.

Carl

bjornblomberg
09-27-2010, 02:41 PM
Very interesting thread, I am also amazed that Webster used such a small tip opening, I would have guessed he used an open piece to get that incredibly fat sound. I am used to playing Vandoreen ZZ # 3 on a Otto Link STM 8*, but thinking of going to 3,5 to get a bit more fullness and loud sound (I like playing non-mic'ed in noisy environment). I got a deal for a Selmer Jazz D jazz metal piece, I have been interested in Selmer mouthpieces since I know Joe Henderson used a Selmer "D" although possibly a quite different shape, but from the comparisons I've seen that one would be very narrow tip compared to my STM8*, might feel very stuffy when I am used to open pieces? Or would getting a really hard read make it comparable?

ranma503
09-27-2010, 04:36 PM
I also find that my closed Link (vintage #5 Tonemaster) produces a really warm buzz together with all different kinds of reeds but the flipside is that one need pretty hard ones (I use RJS 4S) to be sure that the reed doesn't close up on you. Well, on second thoughts I really don't know what is bad about hard reeds - if one matches those with the right mpc.

My personal experience with closed mouthpieces is, the reeds I use don't need to be that hard. I'll grant that when I was playing on a 9 tip opening a few years ago, I was using reeds that were pretty soft, but I'm now using an Otto Link NY STM 5 and RJS 2H reeds, and I'm pretty happy with the tone I'm getting and don't have issues with the reed closing up. I'm also not trying to blast when I blow.

I should add... it probably also depends on more variables than your mouthpiece... i.e., your horn, your neck, etc.

chknbon
09-28-2010, 04:05 AM
Does a 10E B.P. T.E. 7 w/Rico Royal #4 qualify?

Sigmund451
09-28-2010, 04:54 AM
My personal experience with closed mouthpieces is, the reeds I use don't need to be that hard. I'll grant that when I was playing on a 9 tip opening a few years ago, I was using reeds that were pretty soft, but I'm now using an Otto Link NY STM 5 and RJS 2H reeds, and I'm pretty happy with the tone I'm getting and don't have issues with the reed closing up. I'm also not trying to blast when I blow.

I should add... it probably also depends on more variables than your mouthpiece... i.e., your horn, your neck, etc.

Ranma, if your done with that Tone Edge 5 I want it back :bluewink:

ranma503
09-28-2010, 05:11 AM
Ranma, if your done with that Tone Edge 5 I want it back :bluewink:

Man... somehow I feel guilty now. You did this other one too you know. =)

I tell you what: come to one of my gigs and you can borrow the TE or buy it back from me. It's my backup piece. I get it out once in a while, but the STM NY just seems like it's clearly a better fit for the 30m and my chops.

In saying that, the TE is better than anything else by a mile.

Baltimore B
12-02-2010, 08:47 PM
Nice thread and good information being shared all around. I agree with Sigmund451 regarding a certain quality of sound found in the moderate tip range and lost in the more open tips. I find that the 5* - 6* range on a link is truly something special. These can have a characteristic resonating focus, yet retains a dark core sound with a nice delicate spread of overtones. After playing some much more open tips, I feel that on a large chambered mouthpieces with a low baffles; like many of the otto link designs, the tone can often become tubby and have too much spread and even sound diffuse. Actually, I have discovered that the more moderate tips can project better and offer more control as I don't need to use so much energy to get compression and make that reed vibrate.

Been experiencing this exactly. I have boxes of old harder reeds at home that are too much for me on my 7* Link. So I've been experimenting with a smaller tip and getting glorious results. Still have a huge low end but a more clear and focused top end. Can't say I'm working harder or not, just working differently and really diggin' it. I feel it's a myth that you lack volume or it's harder to express yourself (something I've read here often!).

Rennie
12-02-2010, 09:23 PM
I've been playing a Brilhart 3* lately with 3.5 rigotti classic cut - pretty stiff reeds. On a '53 King Zephyr, which seems to be a bright horn, it gives the right balance for me - a dry, yet cutting tone, very clear, sings in the high register. Plenty loud too. Small tip and hard reeds works for me.

Reine

Rennie
12-02-2010, 09:25 PM
Oh shoot, just saw that Tenor was specified in the thread title - apologies from an alto player.

Reine

whaler
12-03-2010, 03:02 PM
Yup, Walt plays a Mark VI and a Link 5* as mentioned here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV-eaT3KDws&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV-eaT3KDws&feature=related)about 20 seconds into the video.

I'll leave the triads to the rock guitar players. Why do players continue to make books about stupid patterns that have nothing to do with playing music.
I knew Walt when he had hair and played alto. Great player and nice guy, but you should have heard his roommate.

Kini
12-05-2010, 12:49 PM
This discussion is interesting relative to an experience and post I made here last spring. After a joint concert with my "pro" wind ensemble and a high school band - the HS director asked me about jazz mouthpieces for his tenor player. I recommened trying serveral models in the .090 tip range since this would be the first jazz piece for these students who played C*'s - and my thought being that a larger jump in a completely different mouthpiece design might cause problems. I started a thread asking what other's would have recommended - and 75% or so recommended going straight to a .100-.105 tip opening. I do some subbing on 2nd tenor with a Vandoren Java T45 (.092) and it has plenty of volume.

Also - after reading this - pulled out a Sumner Acousticut 4 (.075) with Rico 3. Really nice tone, good volume - prob not enough for big band though.

Bob M
12-05-2010, 04:24 PM
After spending the past year playing high baffled pieces in .120" tip opening range (RPC 120B, PPT 8* and a Brian Powell Custom Jumbo Java with a .118" tip) I have begun gravitating back to smaller tip openings with less baffle. Among the reasons for this is that I am no longer playing in the (loud) R&B/Blues band that I have been in for the past year, but only in the SOS Big Band.

I recently got a Phil-tone Custom New Vintage Slant 7* (a terrific piece, BTW) which is sort of middle of the road, rather than small, which I have been playing lately with an RJS 2M. After reading this thread, I pulled out an Adam Neiwood Custom HR 6 which I haven't played in a while. For anyone interested, it appears to be made from a Woodwind Co or Riffault blank (the only marking on it is "Steelite Ebonite") and it looks remarkably similar to a Ted Klum custom HR piece that 10MFan currently has listed on eBay. It works great with a RJS 3S.

What I'm finding is that I can get plenty of volume (although not as much as with my RPC, but enough) with the smaller tip opening and the pitch is much easier for me to control. Needless to say, the second point is critical for section playing. I'm going to see where this takes me, but so far I have to say that I'm pleased.