Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

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    Default Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    I was messing around before our concert today and was playing the Creston Sonata. I got to the fourth page and played the altissimo G. Normally when I try to play this on my classical set-up, it's incredibly hard and typically just comes out as a squeek. That being said, I had my jazz setup before the concert as our jazz band started off the concert. I tried playing the high G and it just popped right out! I don't know whether it was the reed or the mouthpiece or what! But, here are my setups and please let me know what you think!

    Classical:
    Selmer S80 C*
    Rico Reserve 2.5
    Rovner Dark Ligature

    Jazz:
    Meyer 5
    Vandorean Java 3
    Rovner Dark Ligature

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! I have to play the Creston in just a few short weeks and I'm not sure if I should play it on my jazz setup or just keep working on getting it with the classical setup. Thanks in advance for all your help!

    Oh! And if it helps, I use the Front F RH1, Bb key fingering for the High G.
    "The key to harmony is to listen and compromise"


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    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Quote Originally Posted by cseavoy View Post
    I was messing around before our concert today and was playing the Creston Sonata. I got to the fourth page and played the altissimo G. Normally when I try to play this on my classical set-up, it's incredibly hard and typically just comes out as a squeek. That being said, I had my jazz setup before the concert as our jazz band started off the concert. I tried playing the high G and it just popped right out! I don't know whether it was the reed or the mouthpiece or what! But, here are my setups and please let me know what you think!

    Classical:
    Selmer S80 C*
    Rico Reserve 2.5
    Rovner Dark Ligature

    Jazz:
    Meyer 5
    Vandorean Java 3
    Rovner Dark Ligature

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! I have to play the Creston in just a few short weeks and I'm not sure if I should play it on my jazz setup or just keep working on getting it with the classical setup. Thanks in advance for all your help!

    Oh! And if it helps, I use the Front F RH1, Bb key fingering for the High G.
    A couple of suggestions. The C* is fine. Try Vandoren blue-box #3 reeds, and lose the Rovner. It deadens response, and particularly dampens high-frequency response. A stock Selmer 2-screw, Vandoren Masters, or Vandoren Optimum will improve that greatly.

    Finally, if you have a high F# key, try: 1oo/4oo with octave key, side Bb, and the high F# key, commonly known as the 'crunch' G fingering due to the slightly awkward RH finger combination. Basically, you're venting with the F# tonehole, rather than the F tonehole, and it is more stable on most saxophones.

    For that specific passage, be sure to use front F for the high F immediately preceding the G, as it's a much easier connection from the C before it.

    Most importantly, listen to some great recording: Bornkamp, Rousseau, Murphy would be a start.

    Good luck!

    JR
    I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass. - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
    jimromainmusic.com
    oasisquartet.com

    I am a Conn-Selmer and D'Addario artist, and Membership Director for the North American Saxophone Alliance.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member HeavyWeather77's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    It doesn't surprise me at all that you popped the G out on your jazz setup. You're playing a bigger tip opening with harder reeds and probably using more air support because, on that setup, you have to. Your 2.5s are probably giving out on your classical setup because they don't have enough backbone. The difference between jazz and classical reeds is a laugh, in my opinion, seeing as many good jazz players I know use hard reeds. Try some of your jazz reeds on your classical setup and see what happens.

    Try out some blue box Vandoren 3.5 reeds for classical-- move up to 4s when you're ready-- but don't be afraid of hard reeds, just learn to use enough air to make them sing. You'll never go back.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Jazz House's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyWeather77 View Post
    It doesn't surprise me at all that you popped the G out on your jazz setup. You're playing a bigger tip opening with harder reeds and probably using more air support because, on that setup, you have to. Your 2.5s are probably giving out on your classical setup because they don't have enough backbone. The difference between jazz and classical reeds is a laugh, in my opinion, seeing as many good jazz players I know use hard reeds. Try some of your jazz reeds on your classical setup and see what happens.

    Try out some blue box Vandoren 3.5 reeds for classical-- move up to 4s when you're ready-- but don't be afraid of hard reeds, just learn to use enough air to make them sing. You'll never go back.
    I agree about the hard reeds. Also try different fingerings for alti G because different saxes respond differently to different fingerings.
    Soprano: Yanagisawa S-880, Stock Yani #5,#3S | Tenor: Buescher Aristocrat Series 1, Mark Spencer, #2.5 Java Red
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz House View Post
    I agree about the hard reeds. Also try different fingerings for alti G because different saxes respond differently to different fingerings.
    G is perhaps the most problematic note of the altissimo. Spend some time finding the fingering for you, your equipment, the context, ect. There are plenty of choices.
    Swing hard Daddy-O

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    Forum Contributor 2013-2017 Kenneth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    You've probably seen these charts:

    http://www.wfg.woodwind.org/sax/sax_alt_4.html

    In these charts, for G6, I find the 2 easiest fingerings to be the ones marked TM, "Good for alto", easiest in that I find I don't have to make any significant changes in embouchure or air support to play the note in tune and with a full sound. I find that in general the "TM" marked fingerings work well for me, all the way to C#7 -- haven't bothered with higher, but they should probably work too.

    I've tried this on various set-ups, and I've found, like drakesaxprof said, that the ligature plays a more important role than the mouthpiece, at least for me.

    With the Rovner Light, BG Tradition Gold-plated or FL Ultimate on an Otto Link TE 7, Berg Larsen 100/1 SMS or Vandoren Jumbo Java A45 (too easy with this one, sometimes), all with a Bari Star H synthetic reed, no problems.

    With the Rovner Dark, I really have to "think" about the overtone and adjust embouchure etc before I can hit the note cleanly.
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    I was messing around with different mouthpiece and reed combos and here's what I came up with.

    Using my classical mouthpiece and a jazz reed didn't work very well for me at all. The combination of the closed mouthpiece with the harder jazz reed didn't work at all. That being said, I got the best results once again from my jazz set-up. My second best results were from my Selmer C* mouthpiece with a Yamaha Stock ligature and a Blue Box Vandorean 3 reed. I'm highly considering purchasing a Vandorean Optimum ligature, but would this be a bad idea so close to auditions?? I would have to order this ligature as my local music store has a very limited selection. Thanks for all your tips! I had no clue about the ligature thing!
    "The key to harmony is to listen and compromise"


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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Quote Originally Posted by cseavoy View Post
    Using my classical mouthpiece and a jazz reed didn't work very well for me at all. The combination of the closed mouthpiece with the harder jazz reed didn't work at all.
    Not sure what a "jazz" reed is, but in general you want a harder reed with a more closed tip, and a softer reed with an open tip mouthpiece. So something is kind of strange here.

    Also, and again this is a generalization, I've always been under the impression that classical players tend to use smaller tip mpcs and harder reeds to get a darker sound and better control over intonation, while jazz musicians are all over the map, but do tend to go with more open mpcs.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Mouthpiece Guru MojoBari's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    It is also possible that the facing curve on your C* is too flat near the tip rail. Just a slight curve here significantly improves altissimo response. It also helps to have a responsive facing in general. This allows you to use a slightly harder reed without it feeling too stiff.

    But I would not advise altering your mouthpiece yourself.

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    You need harder reeds for something as tiny tipped as a C*, with 2.5s you won't get a good classical dark tone

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    My bass sax is keyed to high Eb

    With my "Woodwind company" B6 I can hit high F ; 1920's Beuscher I can hit high F#, And with my Zinner 64 high G# fairly easy. All using Legere reeds, 1.5-2.0 strength.

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    I'm assuming that we are talking about alto right? I'm guessing that because Selmer C*/Meyer pieces seem to be used mostly by alto players.

    In any event, I feel that this is completely a subjective matter. For instance, I love my tenor NY Link. Many on this board claim that this is a hard piece to use for altissimo, but for me, it's second nature. Most people feel that small chamber/high baffle pieces make altissimo pop out, but I can not even get a decent tone out of these pieces alone yet altissimo.

    If the Meyer works better for you, make it work for classical. The style is dictated by the player, not the type of mouthpiece that they use. I can blend in just fine in a Wind Ensemble or Orchestra using my alto STM 6*, and I used to use one in these settings because I really disliked my S80 C*. We all blow differently, and I do not work well with small chambers. It sounds like you may be in a similiar situation. Stick with the Meyer. Contrary to popular belief, there are no "Secret Mouthpiece Police" who will lock you up for playing a "jazz piece" in a classical setting.

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    Default Yes, and all the Setup counts. The Lig too.

    First of all, you have to be comfortable with all the "normal range of the horn". Comfortable and in absolute control of it.

    Then, you can experiment... The mouthpiece is, in my opinion, the most important such as the reed. Remember that a reed that has given all it has can make you think that even your Mark VI is not working.

    Always play with a good reed or at least a reed that you undeerstan how is responding. Experience is very important in this.

    The ligature has a lot to do with everything, but a lot to do with the extreme notes of the horn, this is, low notes and high notes, obviously, altissimo...

    For being able to attack altissimo, the ligature has to fit your expectatives... you will only know if you have the control at the normal range...

    Rovner Light is a good all around lig, but for my Jumbo Java nothing has worked better for altissimo than Optimum with palet No. 1.

    Altissimo G is complicated? Somehow G's are... G3 is, but in its own right, G4 is harder than Ab4...

    All the best,

    JI

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperAction80 View Post
    I'm assuming that we are talking about alto right? I'm guessing that because Selmer C*/Meyer pieces seem to be used mostly by alto players.
    Yeah, and because he's playing the Creston Sonata...
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Quote Originally Posted by Spongebob Saxpants View Post
    Yeah, and because he's playing the Creston Sonata...
    Not all of us are brushed up on our classical...as we should be.

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Know this is an old thread, but can't help reply to high G being a difficult note. For as long as I can remember, I have used LH{1-3} RH{1-- +F#triller} on alto. It has worked with about any setup I've used, and is an easy change from F# just below it: LH{1-3} RH[1--}. It doesn't work on tenor, but about a year ago I discovered a new, very simple G that works on tenor and alto: LH{123} RH{-23} And the "undertones" - that pitch that's produced when you relax the embouchure and return the tongue to the normal position - is better than the other fingering. It is also simple to change from it to the G# or A above it, which are, respectively: LH{123} RH{1-- + B/C triller}; LH{-23} RH{12.-}.

    Current setup: Yanagisawa A992 (bronze) alto
    Selmer Soloist C* with Optima ligature (medium plate) for classical work
    Guy Hawkins 6 hard rubber (1967 vintage) with Selmer-Paris 2-screw siver ligature for jazz work
    Last edited by TDinDC; 10-22-2010 at 11:28 PM. Reason: omitted text

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Thank you for the tip. I thought more curvature close to the tip means harder to bend the reed (or vibration domain reaches the tip). Can you please share your knowledge a bit? Basically is this the proof that perfect circle radius is not the best curve and it needs to be polynomial (bigger exponent role in the longer distance from where the flat table departs toward the tip)? I mean if we do the measurement by feeler and it proves that the curvature is following the circle formula: I_facing1/SIN(2*ATAN(h_tip1/I_facing1)) and I_facing2/SIN(2*ATAN(h_tip2/I_facing2)) gives the same radius result (let's say for tip vs. 5 mm before the tip or whatever combination of distance that is not inherently prone to error) would that still not be sufficient amount of curvature? In Rousseau's saxophone high tones he mentions to slightly project the lower jaw which means to play with the farther back of the reed rather than closer to the tip (is that right?). If so can we conclude that the facing curve closer to the tip is not as crucial as closer to the table? I was reading that Steve Neff pointed out that shorter facing curve is easier for altissimo which again is pointing to the fact that the area where the lip contacts the reed i.e. the facing curve in the farthest point from the tip is playing the role in this issue. Can you please clarify? Thanks a lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by MojoBari View Post
    It is also possible that the facing curve on your C* is too flat near the tip rail. Just a slight curve here significantly improves altissimo response. It also helps to have a responsive facing in general. This allows you to use a slightly harder reed without it feeling too stiff.

    But I would not advise altering your mouthpiece yourself.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Mouthpiece Guru MojoBari's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    I was trying to say (9 years ago) the more responsive facing allows you to use a harder reed. More curve near the tip will add a touch of resistance. If done too much, it will require you to use a softer reed. But that would be more than 10X as much tip flip is needed to help with altissimo.

    A perfect radial curve is not necessarily the best facing curve. It is a low resistant easy blowing curve if implemented well. You can add resistance to a radial curve by making the facing length short and using a shorter radius to get to your desired tip opening.

    I use a radial curve for some of my clients needs. But more often I use a family of elliptical curves. These curves are slightly flatter near the table and gradually curve more towards the tip than a radial curve. The aspect ratio of the ellipse can be chosen to dial in the resistance you want without changing the facing length or tip opening. An aspect ratio of 1 gives a radial curve for the lowest resistance.

    Using an ellipse with an aspect ratio of 4 gives a medium amount of resistance. I like to use that with a medium to long facing length. A pure ellipse all the way to the tip will have very good altissimo if implemented well. Like an octave on tenor sax and a little more on alto, easy.

    By going off ellipse and flipping the curve shape a little more in the tip rail area, the altissimo range can be extended some. It depends on your abilities. Paul Perez can get up to C6 using this type of adjustment (Lenny Pickett range). The adjustment it typically small enough it can not be measured. I can see it by eye in the way light reflects off the tip rail.

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    Default Re: Different Mouthpieces making altissimo easier??

    Great explanation 👍🏼 Thank you!

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