What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure? - Page 2

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  1. #21
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Great post indeed 1saxman.

    I find myself in the same position generally. Although I do play in softer settings a fair amount so it's good to have something you can dial back a little.

    But I've always found it harder to get bright and loud sound out of a mouthpiece that doesn't want to give that to you then it is to dial back and play delicately on a piece that is normally fairly aggressive sounding.

    Trying to get blood from a stone kind of deal.
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  3. #22
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    You're dealing with the 'first impressions' testing, which will help you sort out mpcs that you can be pretty sure you don't like and choose something that is comfortable and plays well for you. But the real test of a mpc happens after playing it for a period of time in a variety of settings. How it works for you on the bandstand is where you truly find out what works best for you.
    +1 here. Its another world when your "out there" playing with others in various rooms.

    I've come to the point where, short of outright "no way!", you can't tell much about a piece in a vacuum, in a short period of time. If you get a quality piece that fits a general design/concept your looking for, and if its decent for you in the beginning, keep it and see where it goes for a week or two or three. Oh, yeah, it helps to not pay much for them (used market) so you can break even if it doesnt work out ; )
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  4. #23
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlewailer View Post
    Great post indeed 1saxman.

    I find myself in the same position generally. Although I do play in softer settings a fair amount so it's good to have something you can dial back a little.

    But I've always found it harder to get bright and loud sound out of a mouthpiece that doesn't want to give that to you then it is to dial back and play delicately on a piece that is normally fairly aggressive sounding.

    Trying to get blood from a stone kind of deal.
    And this is the secret to versatile playing. A versatile mouthpiece to me is one that doesn't force you to take shortcuts to get a brighter/louder/bigger sound (e.g. putting too much mouthpiece in your mouth). I use embouchure a lot to get different tones or sounds and have always found with mouthpieces ( as with audio production) filtering and/or attenuation works better than trying to boost frequencies that don't exist.

    I can sometimes tell quite quickly when a mouthpiece isn't going to suit me, other times it needs perseverance and a lot of trial and error with reeds (old reeds, new reeds, different reeds) and mouthpiece position. Often there is an improvement quite quickly, but then later ends up sounding exactly the same. I like to use recording as the bets way to evaluate whether there is any improvement or not, although often the improvement is in response and control as opposed to the actual (recorded) sound.
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  5. #24
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    I can sometimes tell quite quickly when a mouthpiece isn't going to suit me, other times it needs perseverance and a lot of trial and error with reeds (old reeds, new reeds, different reeds) and mouthpiece position. Often there is an improvement quite quickly, but then later ends up sounding exactly the same. I like to use recording as the bets way to evaluate whether there is any improvement or not, although often the improvement is in response and control as opposed to the actual (recorded) sound.
    Exactly like my experiences with mouthpiece comparing.
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Dang OP, yours is even more meticulous than mine. I think you've got it covered.

    As for the 'first impression' discussion, do whatever works for you. I've learned from experience that 20 minutes or so is enough time for me to decide if I like a piece or not. The twelve or fourteen times I've tried to buck that trend and 'get used to' a mouthpiece were enough for me to learn my lesson.
    Pieces that I still want to play after 20 minutes get practice time and go to a jam or gig, and I decide later if I like them more than what I already have.
    YMMV
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  7. #26
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    I've learned that testing more mouthpieces can drive you insane. I have probably 50 mouthpieces and decided to test them against each other about two months ago to find out which to keep and which to sell. The problem is that the one you choose one day will not be the one you choose tomorrow. So much depends on the reeds and even the weather............

  8. #27
    Distinguished SOTW Member 1saxman's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    'can drive you insane'

    It sure can. You always run the risk of losing yourself in a bag of mouthpieces, and that is a scary thought. What happens is you are confusing your embouchure and everything else in you that works together to put out a sound from a sax. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to get it back. It is indeed 'playing with fire' which is why I tend to try one and determine instantly if I think I could possibly live with it, then not try another one for at least a month. When I tried the Barkley 'Killer 9', it played right out of the box, so I knew that I could play it as much as I wanted without jeopardizing my sound on the Guardala, and that has proven to be true. I might play one this time, the other next time. So far the DG is still king but both of them can be played on any kind of gig; that means not different kinds of music, but different conditions - inside, outside, quiet, loud, etc. At this point and probably for the rest of my playing years I'm doing all nostalgia; a '50s show, a '60s Motown/Beach Music show and kind of an 'everything' group doing pop tunes from all years up to the late '70s.
    The 'great' players did not change mouthpieces for different gigs - they had great mouthpieces that they could play different ways, and a great mouthpiece can do that if you can.

  9. #28
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Mouthpiece Guru MojoBari's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Often you have adjusted your embouchure to compensate for some response and/or tuning issues with your current mouthpiece. To get the most out of a new mouthpiece, you may need to unlearn your current embouchure muscle memory. The best strategy IMO is to adopt as neutral of an embouchure as you can before testing mouthpieces. Try not to overly compensate for sharp/flat high notes, etc. Some is needed for fine tuning and sculpting sound. But add that later.

  10. #29
    Distinguished SOTW Member CashSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's your mouthpiece comparison procedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
    'can drive you insane'

    It sure can. You always run the risk of losing yourself in a bag of mouthpieces, and that is a scary thought. What happens is you are confusing your embouchure and everything else in you that works together to put out a sound from a sax. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to get it back. It is indeed 'playing with fire' which is why I tend to try one and determine instantly if I think I could possibly live with it, then not try another one for at least a month. When I tried the Barkley 'Killer 9', it played right out of the box, so I knew that I could play it as much as I wanted without jeopardizing my sound on the Guardala, and that has proven to be true. I might play one this time, the other next time. So far the DG is still king but both of them can be played on any kind of gig; that means not different kinds of music, but different conditions - inside, outside, quiet, loud, etc. At this point and probably for the rest of my playing years I'm doing all nostalgia; a '50s show, a '60s Motown/Beach Music show and kind of an 'everything' group doing pop tunes from all years up to the late '70s.
    The 'great' players did not change mouthpieces for different gigs - they had great mouthpieces that they could play different ways, and a great mouthpiece can do that if you can.
    This is great advice..playing just one mpc keeps that muscle memory fresh. Wish I could, I play Alto Sop Bari plus tenor. I got no memory, just blow and go. When I'm playing Tenor and the band is honkin' I find a Guardala the best, but for the many ridiculous volume SOFT jobs I ordered a 7* link, no way to "compare" anything..

    Poor Steve his brain's gotta be fried from all the mpcs he's tested..Still I wanna know his favorites..???
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