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Thread: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

  1. #1

    Default Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Hi,

    There must be a thread somewhere for this, but could not find, so I'll post a new one.

    I'am looking for a mouthpiece/reed combination, that would help me to produce a dark tone on sopranox sax (now my setup is straight Keilwerth st90 iii with Meyer 7 mthpc and Vandoren 2 1/2 reeds).

    And of course, I am more than pleased to have tone production advices that focus on the issue of tone darkness/brightness.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    MattiL: Once again, I'll emphasize that what plays dark and warm for me may not play dark and warm for you. There is just no way to know how you play soprano.

    However, I've found that those who play mouthpieces like mine can sometimes achieve similar results.

    I've never liked Meyer on soprano. Instead, I tend to the more open pieces like the Super Session J (listed at .069 but one of mine measured .070) which is VERY strong but a tad bright for me. Some time ago a fellow poster who played the SS-J recommended the Morgan Vintage mouthpieces (available at junkdude). I bought two, a number 6 (.065) and a number 7 (.070). For me, those pieces were dark and warm. I use adjusted Vandoren #2 reeds (either Java or ZZ) and they really sounded nice on my TT soprano. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    The metal RIA mouthpiece is very dark. The darkest metal piece I've played on soprano.

    The Ponzol M1 is fairly dark. Here's a demo:

    http://cierra.cc/PonzolM1DEMO-LowRange.mp3

    And here's another of the M1:

    http://cierra.cc/ponzol1.mp3

    But what plays dark and/or sounds dark to me may not be so for you. You got to try them for your self.

    PS: This is the piece I play now. This recording is from two days ago. This mpc is the one I modified myself. It's darker than the M1:

    http://cierra.cc/Blessed_Redeemer_Intro.mp3
    Good Luck,

    Enviroguy
    _____________________________________________
    Buescher 400 Tenor, Pre-War Big-B Aristocrat Tenor, True Tone Alto, Conn New Wonder Bari, Antigua 590 Soprano

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    I would suggest a "Missing Link" from Sopranoplanet with a Hemke reed. A winner combo. You might want to contact Joe G through his website, Sopranoplanet.com. He is very helpful & will go over your options depending on your needs & sound concept.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Thanks for your advices! Of course it's clear that I have to try out different mouthpieces to find out what works for me personally. But as there are so many possibilities available, its good to have some possible tips.

    Dave Dolson: What comes to personal aspect of tone perception - I am looking for a really dark sound, something that is dark by almost any person that is at least a little bit familiar with soprano sax.

    But as usually, a lot things in tone production are done already before mouthpiece comes into picture. I guess developing a better control of overtones might give possibilities for manipulating the darkness/brightness -aspect of the tone.

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    I am having great results with a Ponzol HR 70 Vintage ( have tried many reeds and the best results are, for me on rather soft reeds where I can subtone very easily, I have found that the type of reed isn’t crucial since I’ve had good results with Ponzo, Medir and Vandoren blue box) and its original ligature, I have never found anything else this dark

  7. #7

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    As Dave said: You will have to try on your own because everyone sounds different on a mpc. I got good results with an Aaron Drake Son of Slant large chamber mpc and a Link copy from Aizen.

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    MattiL: Personal tone production has to do with the player's own embouchure . . . how the mouth, throat, tongue, oral cavity, and teeth are designed in the player's genes at birth.

    No one can account for those factors until they put the mouthpiece on the horn and play. A secondary factor is the instrument itself. While all sopranos, curved and straight and tipped-bell (whatever) sound similar, especially to listeners out front, there are slight variations mostly heard (and felt) by the player. A third factor is the reed. One reed can make my pieces dark and warm - others not so much. And I tend toward dark and warm anyway.

    I now have five sopranos in my closet and have owned many more, ranging from 1920's to modern. Each one has its own very subtle tonal characteristics. While all of my favorite mouthpieces play on all of them (I am not one to believe that old horns require large chambers, etc.), certain mouthpieces sound better on certain sopranos just because of how the tonal characteristics of the particular mouthpiece blends with a particular instrument.

    An example of individual reactions to mouthpieces . . . florian reports he liked the Son of Slant. I've played those and got nothing out of them. I could probably dig up countless similar examples, but you should get the idea. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    I agree with all the comments about: each of us will sound our own way... in general.
    But gear will alter your sound, and also "your sound" is really a collection of tonal possibilities because sax is much like the human voice - very versatile - and the better you play, the more you can vary your collection of sounds.
    Anyway, I like the Missing Link, and Joe will work with you to define what sound you are trying to make.
    Each Missing Link will be different, I'm sure, as is the case with any model of mouthpiece, but I think much more so because these are all custom made.
    "Dark" and terms like that are practically useless. Everyone will have a different idea of what that means, unless you are talking about color or light level. Much better would be to name recorded examples of sounds that manifest something close to what you want - that's what I did with Joe.
    For reeds, I know Vandoren Blue Box often are mentioned whenever the "dark" discussion happens. And in fact Joe recommended I try them with my Missing Link. They do have a thick spine which I think is part of "dark" (fewer higher harmonics) but I feel these reeds may do better for shorter, French facings (e.g. Selmer) and for that sound that guys who play those are after (think M. Mule, Glazunov...). I am finding the new V12 soprano reeds to be more suited for this mouthpiece. They are thicker and have a longer vamp. They have been described as more suitable for American-type (longer) facings... so I am assuming that my Missing Link may have a facing on the longer side.
    I also like LaVoz reeds.
    And whatever model of reed you use, leaning toward a stronger reed will - I think - be more likely to give you what you think of as "dark" - you'll need a stronger air column of course...

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    Smile Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Dolson View Post
    MattiL: Personal tone production has to do with the player's own embouchure . . . how the mouth, throat, tongue, oral cavity, and teeth are designed in the player's genes at birth.

    No one can account for those factors until they put the mouthpiece on the horn and play. A secondary factor is the instrument itself. While all sopranos, curved and straight and tipped-bell (whatever) sound similar, especially to listeners out front, there are slight variations mostly heard (and felt) by the player. A third factor is the reed. One reed can make my pieces dark and warm - others not so much. And I tend toward dark and warm anyway.

    I now have five sopranos in my closet and have owned many more, ranging from 1920's to modern. Each one has its own very subtle tonal characteristics. While all of my favorite mouthpieces play on all of them (I am not one to believe that old horns require large chambers, etc.), certain mouthpieces sound better on certain sopranos just because of how the tonal characteristics of the particular mouthpiece blends with a particular instrument.

    An example of individual reactions to mouthpieces . . . florian reports he liked the Son of Slant. I've played those and got nothing out of them. I could probably dig up countless similar examples, but you should get the idea. DAVE
    Don't want to hi-jack this thread, but Dave if you ever have the time or inclination to share your views on each of your Sops, I think that would be a really worthwhile thread, and i am sure would interest lots of members.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Dave: Oh, I understood "what plays dark and warm for me may not play dark and warm for you", differently than what you meant. I thought that you meant that what sounds to you "dark" won't necessarrily sound "dark" to me - thats why I used the term "tone perception".

    I absolutely agree that the same setup migh give dark results when you are playing, but something, who knows what, when I am playing. I have played soprano for about a year and a half now - so it is clear that mouthpiece is not my biggest concern at this point-)

    There are already many good tips to try out and I think I start from testing different reeds.

    SchlockRod: What comes to the metaphor aspect of tone description and accuracy of metaphors, there would a biiiig philosophical discussion about what is the role of metaphors in thought and to what extent metaphors like "dark" or "bright" might be usefull or misleading in practical life. I would say that metaphors have both sides, thats part of their nature (yes, a metaphor here too :-)

    I am getting interested about that missing link, but at least for a while I might concentrate to tone production technique and reeds.

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    MattiL: I meant it both ways . . . the same mouthpiece/reed set up on the same horn will most likely produce different results because of different players; and folks will have differing perceptions about what is dark and warm and what isn't. DAVE
    Dave

  13. #13

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Milandro: Thanks, sifting to softer reeds gave me instantly flexibility to have more "subtonish" sound!

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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    A lot of people are perhaps afraid or have been told that they have to naturally progress to a harder reed as they get better.

    To me this has been exactly the opposite. As I got better at controlling my sound with embouchure and breath support, I found that my comfort zone laid in a combination of relatively open mouthpiece with a relatively soft reed.

    I admit that control isn’t always easy and it takes a bit longer during the warm up to get to the necessary confidence that allows you the necessary control among registers for example but I have not too many problems in controlling volume, subtones, and intonation with a soft reed. (2 or 2,5)

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Quote Originally Posted by MattiL View Post
    Hi,
    There must be a thread somewhere for this, but could not find, so I'll post a new one.
    Indeed there are many threads:

    http://www.saxontheweb.net/Resources...%3D8246773&ss=

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Dolson View Post
    MattiL: Once again, I'll emphasize that what plays dark and warm for me may not play dark and warm for you. There is just no way to know how you play soprano.
    This is very true.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattiL View Post

    But as usually, a lot things in tone production are done already before mouthpiece comes into picture. I guess developing a better control of overtones might give possibilities for manipulating the darkness/brightness -aspect of the tone.
    Yes exactly, I would look at learning control over your tone before getting a mouthpiece to do it. Tone Control Exercises

    Quote Originally Posted by milandro View Post
    A lot of people are perhaps afraid or have been told that they have to naturally progress to a harder reed as they get better.

    To me this has been exactly the opposite.
    Me too. I find that with softer reeds, and good diaphragm support plus the control exercises, I can get both dark and bright. Which, to me, is the best of both worlds. Dark or warm when I want and bright when I want.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Sounds familiar - for some reason I took many years for granted that "harder the reed, better thesound" -. And did probably shift too quickly to harder reeds.

    One revealing aspect of saxophone playing and "tone" for me, was hearing Chris Speed playing in the Endagered Blood. Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rHD1_kUC5E

    A lot of playing with the tone color there!

  17. #17
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    great stuff there the tone is very nice but the music is even nicer

  18. #18

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    Quote Originally Posted by MattiL View Post
    Sounds familiar - for some reason I took many years for granted that "harder the reed, better thesound" -. And did probably shift too quickly to harder reeds.

    One revealing aspect of saxophone playing and "tone" for me, was hearing Chris Speed playing in the Endagered Blood. Here is an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rHD1_kUC5E

    A lot of playing with the tone color there!
    Wow that's wonderful playing, thanks!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Soprano sax mouthpiece/reed setup for a dark tone

    I've searched for quite some time for a dark sounding soprano piece. After trying just under a dozen pieces, a Vandoren V16 (S8) was by very, very far, the darkest. Among the many I tried were Ponzl, Selmer Super Session, Otto Link (rubber & metal). Perhaps interestingly, the Otto Link metal (7*) was quite compelling. I wouldn't call it dark, but complex; one could achieve a very broad spectrum of tones with it, and super easy altissimo.

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