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Thread: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

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    Default best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    I have a Yamaha YAS-52 intermediate alto sax. I play jazz and was wondering what could be the best mpc setup for the altissimo range. I currently use a Vandoren V16 A7 mpc with Vandoren V16 reeds and an Eddie Daniels Rovner Ligature. I also have some V12's but those are for classical music. I was thinking about getting a Dukoff metal mouthpiece and some Vandoren Java or Java Reds. What combination of these would help me the most with altissimo?

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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    1) how long have you been playing?
    2) Have you worked through Sigurd Rascher's book?

    Altissimo is not really a mouthpiece issue once you've learnt to play it properly.
    Sure, some players find some mouthpieces easier than others for what they want, but at the end of the day, its fundamentally about the way you use for throat/vocal chords/ larynx...whatever different people call it.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member EgilF.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    On alto small chamber mouthpieces, like Vandoren Jumbo Java, Beechler diamond "S", and Claude Lakey often makes altisimo easyer.

    Altisimo also sounds easy on a Meyer 6M and Rico Plasticover reeds :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lROEpVhZGJg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk9TFRmWCH0
    Julius Keilwerth SX90II soprano - Runyon Custom .067 - V16 2 / Cannonball Big Bell Stones Series alto - Beechler Custom Bellite .085 - V16 2.5 / JK SX90R Tenor - Sugal KW II .111" - V16 3 / Taishan baritone - Vandoren V16 B9 - Rico Royal 2.5

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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Quote Originally Posted by EgilF. View Post
    On alto small chamber mouthpieces, like Vandoren Jumbo Java, Beechler diamond "S", and Claude Lakey often makes altisimo easyer.
    yes, they are easy to play, brighter mouthpieces, but if you can't handle them, will wreak havoc on your intonation on the rest of the horn.
    thus, see my first two questions......

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    I think that if you approach altissimo with the expectation that a new mouthpiece will make it work, then you are going to compromise some other aspect of your playing.

    I believe it's best to work first on your embouchure and breath support to give the altissimo it's best shot with your existing set up and then maybe try the same mouth[piece but with a slightly wider tip.

    If all else fails then, and only then, look into a radically different mouthpiece. But you must try them out rather than purely basing it on what people advised (based on what works for them).

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    Distinguished SOTW Member jazzcat58's Avatar
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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Although you can get recommendations! from the guys here,this really depends on a few issues, as benny mentioned "how long have you been playing",what reed/mouthpiece combo do you currently use,.
    Its not fair for anyone to suggest this and that , because there are so many options!..your embouchure might not be ready yet to play altissimo notes!.
    Are you playing overtones?, thats a start in the right direction, as it will get your embouchure adjusting through pressure"..the right pressure that is.
    You may get guys saying use a wide tip! some a small tip!.
    The rascher book would be a good way forward first!..as you may get to many ideas here, that could confuse you.
    bs gunning

  7. #7

    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    thanks guys. to clarify some things. i've been playing sax for 8 years and jazz for 6. i do practice overtones and altissimo already. i use a V16 A7 mpc with V16 reeds and rovner eddie daniels lig. after a little over a year of practice, i can only play the altissimo G, A, Bb, and D. ive been trying to work the in between notes and was told by my band director and a fellow sax player that different reed, mpc, and lig, combos will make altissimos easier and sound more professional.

  8. #8

    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Get a dukoff X10, slap on a plasticover 4, scream from G3 to G4, and call it a day.
    Music is all we need!

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    Distinguished SOTW Member jazzcat58's Avatar
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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Quote Originally Posted by ak4president View Post
    thanks guys. to clarify some things. i've been playing sax for 8 years and jazz for 6. i do practice overtones and altissimo already. i use a V16 A7 mpc with V16 reeds and rovner eddie daniels lig. after a little over a year of practice, i can only play the altissimo G, A, Bb, and D. ive been trying to work the in between notes and was told by my band director and a fellow sax player that different reed, mpc, and lig, combos will make altissimos easier and sound more professional.
    well based on that advice!...your expirience is good!, the advice from your BD and friend is ok,and has a lot of merit,as you know, we all have differing requirements based on personal issues, ie mouth shape/oral cavity, allsorts really,on and on.
    If you want a piece that will give you good altissimo! the one i recommend is a runyon bionix!, as i said in my earlier post you will get a lot of ideas!, but the bionix does work in this respect, i have one and although its not my main piece,it will excel in that department, other wise the sound is too thin for me.
    The custom also isn,t bad..
    bs gunning

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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Quote Originally Posted by ak4president View Post
    thanks guys. to clarify some things. i've been playing sax for 8 years and jazz for 6. i do practice overtones and altissimo already. i use a V16 A7 mpc with V16 reeds and rovner eddie daniels lig. after a little over a year of practice, i can only play the altissimo G, A, Bb, and D. ive been trying to work the in between notes and was told by my band director and a fellow sax player that different reed, mpc, and lig, combos will make altissimos easier and sound more professional.
    I would have to say that you've been given some 'not ideal' advice there.
    There's nothing wrong with your set-up and the only thing that will make you sound 'more professional' are more accumulated skills on the instrument. If anything, I would say that a V16 7 is too big for your time spent playing. There's nothing wrong with paying dues on a sensible, smaller tip opening.

    Professional players don't sound professional because of their set-up.

    In my own learning (a while ago now) it was after about 6-7 years that I started with altissimo and could get up to an A semi-regularly. I then went to college for 4 years, practiced a lot, and then my altissimo was fine and reliable- to the point where I performed the 2nd movement of the Ibert Concertino with the altissimo section up to high E and wasn't frowned upon.
    Altissimo development is not just about practicing altissimo. Your entire tone production system has to become integrated- embouchure, tone colour, dynamics, articulation, vibrato, breathing and breath control etc.
    Eventually it all becomes the one entity- then your altissimo will be comfortable.
    Chris Potter has the most amazing altissimo facility I've heard and its because of nothing but sheer hard work, not a 'more professional' mouthpiece.

    As Trevor Wye says, 'its a question of time, patience and intelligent work.'

    In fact, that makes me think.....if you were a flutist you wouldn't just buy another headjoint just to increase your 3rd and 4th octaves. A good headjoint or mouthpiece must present a balanced range of tone colours and dynamics right throughout the entire range. In most circumstances, the development of the top end of the flutes range is about sensible practice- not equipment change. (there are always exceptions of course). Same on saxophone.
    You should take equipment out of the equation.
    (see my signature)

  11. #11
    Distinguished SOTW Member bfoster64's Avatar
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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Quote Originally Posted by ak4president View Post
    thanks guys. to clarify some things. i've been playing sax for 8 years and jazz for 6. i do practice overtones and altissimo already. i use a V16 A7 mpc with V16 reeds and rovner eddie daniels lig. after a little over a year of practice, i can only play the altissimo G, A, Bb, and D. ive been trying to work the in between notes and was told by my band director and a fellow sax player that different reed, mpc, and lig, combos will make altissimos easier and sound more professional.
    It's funny to me that you've missed two opportunities to tell us what strength reeds you use, only "V16," which is a cut, not a strength. The strength of your reeds is one of the most important factors in practicing altissimo. If anything, your mouthpiece is a tad too big to facilitate your mastery; but you only need to change that if you are playing reeds below a #3. Try some #3 Hemke and ZZ reeds and, if necessary, a slightly smaller mouthpiece, and I bet you'll see an improvement. You really don't need a high baffle mouthpiece to learn altissimo so don't fall for that song.

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Member bfoster64's Avatar
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    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    Just to be clear, when I mention the "size" of your mouthpiece I'm talking about the tip opening, not the chamber.

  13. #13

    Default Re: best mouthpiece setup for altisimo

    i can't believe i forgot to mention strength haha sorry. i us 3's in the V16 and 3.5's in java reds.

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