Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

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    Default Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    I'm currently playing on a Peter Ponzol Tenor M2 #105 on a Selmer Super Series II tenor saxophone. I've had this mouthpiece for about 6 years. I love it but I'm looking for a new mouthpiece to play jazz and blues and I have no idea where to even start. I saw a Selmer Soloist review on YouTube and I loved the sound of it. I don't have a preference as to whether I'm playing on a metal or plastic mouthpiece but I'm overall looking for a mouthpiece that I can play both lows and highs with ease while still having a big and bright sound on stage. Does anyone have any advice as to where I should start?

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Well, if you love the mouthpiece you've been playing, the first question would be: why change? You definitely want to be wary of making a change for the sake of change, because it can lead you on a long and expensive journey through a lot of different mouthpieces that might only bring you right back to where you are now.

    That said, it sounds like it would be a good idea for you to go down to your local music store and ask to try out some of what they have in stock. Most good music shops will not mind at all. If your local shop won't let you do this, drive to the nearest one that will. Bring your horn and a few different reeds in different sizes, and just play a few different mps. Spend enough time with each to get an idea of what it's pros and cons are. (You want to be careful with them. The shop would justified in asking you to pay if you scratch or damage one. I usually bring some electrical tape to use as a kind of bite pad, so I don't scratch them with my teeth.)

    Playing a few different models will give you a better idea of what the variables are, and how they intersect with the particulars of your embouchure, oral cavity, and horn, and hopefully give you a sense of what might work best to get the sound you want. Beyond that, it's difficult to make any recommendation.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Quote Originally Posted by kyleschmidt View Post
    I'm currently playing on a Peter Ponzol Tenor M2 #105 on a Selmer Super Series II tenor saxophone. I've had this mouthpiece for about 6 years. I love it but I'm looking for a new mouthpiece to play jazz and blues and I have no idea where to even start. I saw a Selmer Soloist review on YouTube and I loved the sound of it. I don't have a preference as to whether I'm playing on a metal or plastic mouthpiece but I'm overall looking for a mouthpiece that I can play both lows and highs with ease while still having a big and bright sound on stage. Does anyone have any advice as to where I should start?
    Peter Ponzol says "M2: The M2 is a small chamber metal mouthpiece with a very free blowing response. A modern sounding mouthpiece with edge and warmth. Very popular with jazz, rock and fusion players. Available for alto and tenor in a variety of tip openings." http://www.peterponzol.com/mouthpiec...outhpieces.htm

    You are already there, Kyle. You might explore reeds, tho'. What are you using? What is your mouthpiece not delivering?

    There's every chance that the necessary changes in your sound are you (embouchure, air stream, air support), and that a change in mouthpiece will not net you the difference you seek.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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    At times this particular mouthpiece has trouble playing lows even when I change my embouchure and blow warmer air. I've tried using different reeds and I've found I play best while using Vandoren Java Red 3.5. I will have to call around to a few shops and see if they offer anything like that. I presumed that it would be difficult to make a recommendation without knowing my embouchure among other variables. But I knew it wouldn't hurt to ask.

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    You have a valid point. I suppose I could just stick with this mouthpiece as it was very expensive. as I stated in the post above I'm using Vandoren Java Red 3.5 and that seems to work the best. I suppose I'm just longing for something different.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    If you are having trouble playing low notes, then I'd posit that a 3.5 is too hard. A 2.5 might be a better choice, and perhaps a lesson to get your embouchure and air support dialed in. I'm guessing that you are playing way too tight. and working far too hard.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    You also might consider getting your horn checked out by your repair tech for any leaks and adjustments.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    In my experience mouthpieces with a higher baffle make the player work harder to play the lowest notes. I am currently having good success playing a Jody Jazz Jet 7 on tenor. It gives an edge when pushed and works well in all registers. Plus they are not that expensive.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Are you playing on a brass Ponzol or on a Stainless Steel one?

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Here is a list of threads from our forum's frequently asked questions section.
    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/conten...sked-Questions
    Lots of cool reading in here for suggestions.

    Mouthpiece Suggestions to replace current Tenor mouthpiece:

    Sound clips and comparisons: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=81124
    Bright sound: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=956
    For Jazz: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=3047
    Lead Tenor: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=6328
    For College: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=5801
    Big, dark , edgy: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=9703
    Classical: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=7294
    To Cut through: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=7483
    Great Metal pieces: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=8907
    Upgrade: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=110774
    Smooth Ballads: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=12109
    Big, round, good subtone: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=10708
    Big, Fat, wide sound: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=11471
    Darkest sounding: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=15320
    Edgy: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=17523
    Jody Jazz vs Phil Barone: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=20887
    Full Bottom, Easy Altissimo: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=30819
    Under .100 opening: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=28577
    Dark, Bright, Cutting, Warm and Funky: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=30098
    Versatility: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=41233
    Full Fat in the Palm Keys: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=58633
    All round Hard Rubber: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=51474
    Rock/Funk/Blues: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=47826
    Legit: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=52062
    Cutting and Great Altissimo: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=50285
    Great Metal Jazz: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=63111
    Controllable Power and Brightness: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=64600
    Like a Sugal: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=44528
    For Beginners: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=73253
    Fusion: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=89190
    Cheap Step-up jazz: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=104178
    Florida Links: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=102222
    Modern Sounding under $300: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=108022
    Caravan and Rascher: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=101784


    HOWEVER, MY VOTE IS WITH DR. G TO TRY OUT REEDS.
    I could play loud and high with most 3.5 reeds on a 105 tenor.
    But I would have to work hard to play low and soft.

    With 6 years in on this Ponzol, however, you probably know best.
    So, go out and scratch that itch.
    Do not know about the "upgrade" angle ...

    If it were me, I would grab a saxscape slant 7*
    https://reverb.com/item/8812050-saxs...one-mouthpiece
    or Uptown
    https://reverb.com/item/4607427-saxs...one-mouthpiece

    These are quite different from the Ponzol and could cure the desire to try out something new for little money.
    (I love these slant 7s)
    $100 is pretty cheap.

    Moreover, if you just want to get a mpc change out of your system, why not grab a Metalite?
    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...-Metalite-Fans!
    https://www.wwbw.com/Rico-Metalite-T...SABEgLaUfD_BwE

    Using these, maybe the fit of a mpc with a different feel or profile would come into focus better, giving you a better idea about what you really want in the long run.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Quote Originally Posted by empressdiver View Post
    You also might consider getting your horn checked out by your repair tech for any leaks and adjustments.
    This might be worthwhile. For years I had trouble getting low notes on my Mauriat. I could never detect any leaks in the pads but when my tech re-fit the neck tenon suddenly everything worked and low Bb will speak softly and loudly.
    Yamaha TS62; P. Mauriat 66R; Warburton LA; Legeres
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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Quote Originally Posted by Isle of Jazz View Post
    This might be worthwhile. For years I had trouble getting low notes on my Mauriat. I could never detect any leaks in the pads but when my tech re-fit the neck tenon suddenly everything worked and low Bb will speak softly and loudly.

    RIGHT ON!

    This did the trick for my Chu alto motorboat. Now it is one of my best bottom end horns.

    With a good solid mechanical horn and a $500 mpc being used for 6 yrs?

    It would be a tech check, ligature fitting, and reed hunt for me.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    I say this to a lot of people here:

    Your reed is too stiff. A 0.105" mouthpiece, while not the most open there is, is a pretty open MP. As a point of reference, I have been playing tenor for about 40 years, so I have some embouchure development. I am also known as someone who can play very loudly. I play on a Meyer #8 usually, which is about 0.090"; or occasionally on a Dukoff D7 which is around .105", and is probably pretty similar in basic design to your piece. I would never try to get a #3.5 reed to work on either of those mouthpieces. With your MP I would probably go to about a 2 1/2 reed. Why do you think you need to work so hard?

    I assure you that once you learn how to blow through the horn rather than at it, you can play wicked loud with the MP you have and a #2 1/2 reed, plus you will have greatly improved tonal flexibility and the ability to play soft low notes, subtone, and once you get used to it you will also find altissimo is actually easier because the reed is more flexible. With a stiff reed you have just one thing. With a softer reed you can make many different things out of your sound.

    Minor leaks can be a problem; but in the real world, all horns have some minor leaks once they leave the shop for a few weeks. If you have a reasonable MP/reed setup, and you know how to use your air, you can blow through these minor leaks, but if you have a stiff unresponsive setup it may require the horn to be perfect. Well, I know my horns aren't perfect once they leave the shop; so I would rather play a rig that doesn't require that.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Kyle: You've received a lot of good responses - I agree with all of it.

    I'd like to add that in MY opinion, whatever musical style (jazz, classical, R&B, CW, etc.) one wants to push through his saxophone, it comes from the player and not the brand of horn or the mouthpiece. Good saxophone tone is good saxophone tone regardless of what style of music is being played or even what brand of horn is being played. We all like to parse these things but the bottom line is that if your saxophone is well-made and well set up, it is capable of playing any style.

    Take a great classical player (that usually comes with superb tone and intonation) and have that player switch to 1920's jazz or bebop or rock and you are likely to simply hear a change in the way the notes are played - the phrasing, but with the same good tone, power, and control.

    Also, like was said above, the reed is critical to how a mouthpiece is played. In my years of playing, I've found that once a decently made mouthpiece is put on the horn, what really matters is the reed. I play mostly soprano, but the same principles apply regardless of the size of the saxophone. I used to prefer open mouthpieces but came to realize that with the right reed, the closer tips work better for me at my age and weakening embouchure. A slight reed-strength change works wonders on those closer tip-openings. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Quote Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
    I say this to a lot of people here:

    Your reed is too stiff. A 0.105" mouthpiece, while not the most open there is, is a pretty open MP. As a point of reference, I have been playing tenor for about 40 years, so I have some embouchure development. I am also known as someone who can play very loudly. I play on a Meyer #8 usually, which is about 0.090"; or occasionally on a Dukoff D7 which is around .105", and is probably pretty similar in basic design to your piece. I would never try to get a #3.5 reed to work on either of those mouthpieces. With your MP I would probably go to about a 2 1/2 reed. Why do you think you need to work so hard?

    I assure you that once you learn how to blow through the horn rather than at it, you can play wicked loud with the MP you have and a #2 1/2 reed, plus you will have greatly improved tonal flexibility and the ability to play soft low notes, subtone, and once you get used to it you will also find altissimo is actually easier because the reed is more flexible. With a stiff reed you have just one thing. With a softer reed you can make many different things out of your sound.

    Minor leaks can be a problem; but in the real world, all horns have some minor leaks once they leave the shop for a few weeks. If you have a reasonable MP/reed setup, and you know how to use your air, you can blow through these minor leaks, but if you have a stiff unresponsive setup it may require the horn to be perfect. Well, I know my horns aren't perfect once they leave the shop; so I would rather play a rig that doesn't require that.
    Conversely, I play 3.5 Java Reds on my Warburton .110 and feel like I could even go to 4's. But haven't yet.
    Don't do drugs. Do Overtones.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    6 years is a long time to have "trouble playing lows even when I change my embouchure and blow warmer air" (post #4).

    "I've tried using different reeds and I've found I play best while using Vandoren Java Red 3.5."

    So there is a lot of experience playing this mpc and 3.5s work best, but still do not play low notes without trouble.

    Something is up.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Given the problem is playing low notes, I agree with those who are saying the reed is too hard. And it would also be worthwhile to get the horn checked for leaks. As turf says, a minor leak might not be a problem, but a lot depends on which key(s) is leaking and how much. Poor response in the lowest notes is the first sign of a leak.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    Given the problem is playing low notes, I agree with those who are saying the reed is too hard. And it would also be worthwhile to get the horn checked for leaks. As turf says, a minor leak might not be a problem, but a lot depends on which key(s) is leaking and how much. Poor response in the lowest notes is the first sign of a leak.
    My tech says, "If it starts to get hard to play, come see me. It should be easy."

    But sometimes I think my horn falls out of regulation so gradually that I just get used to it (rather like failing eyesight and needing new glasses).

    I just send them in on occasion and rotate a backup into front position.

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    Default Re: Looking to Upgrade Mouthpiece for Blues/Jazz

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    If you are having trouble playing low notes, then I'd posit that a 3.5 is too hard. A 2.5 might be a better choice, and perhaps a lesson to get your embouchure and air support dialed in. I'm guessing that you are playing way too tight. and working far too hard.
    +1 Good advice

    All through college I beat myself up playing LaVoz mediums, or even medium hards, on a Berg SS 120 2 M. What a dummy I was. Medium soft, when I finally switched, was revelatory.
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