As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

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    Default As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    All the good players and pros I know play more open pieces than I do (>115, 8's to 10's..tenor)

    As I've been hitting it hard for a while, I'm starting to feel like my 110 RPC is a little closed for me. Is this natural?
    What do I get by trying a more open piece? Better altissimo action maybe? How about intonation?
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yofis View Post
    All the good players and pros I know play more open pieces than I do (>115, 8's to 10's..tenor)

    As I've been hitting it hard for a while, I'm starting to feel like my 110 RPC is a little closed for me. Is this natural?
    What do I get by trying a more open piece? Better altissimo action maybe? How about intonation?
    Yeah, after 40+ years of blowin' tenor, I don't even use a mouthpiece anymore...
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    There are no rules about this - everyone is different. For years, I favored pretty open tips on soprano. But after most of the bands I played with folded (old age, don'tyaknow), and I reduced my playing frequency, my ability to hold pitch with those open pieces dwindled (losing embouchure strength). So, I experimented with closer-tipped mouthpieces (like going from Selmer's J tips down to Selmer's D-tips). I've been experimenting with that set-up for a while now. Still, on occasions, I'll go back to the more open tips, but a lot of that is affected by the venue, the room's acoustics, and the individual reed I'm using that day.

    How you react is unknown to any of us. We can only cite our own experiences (and maybe what we've heard from our cohort). DAVE
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Try a harder reed first. Sounds like you are about to embark on an expensive journey.
    It's not the length of the song that matters, it's the width.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    If you're happy with what you now play, don't worry about it. Some players want bigger mouthpieces and some don't. A .110 tenor is a good all-around mouthpiece but even that would be considered big by many on this forum. My question is what is making you think the .110 is too close? What strength reed are you playing? The suggestion to go to a harder reed is not bad but players who get lush tones using softer reeds find that they need to go with a more open mouthpiece instead of a harder reed as their embouchure grows stronger in order to maintain their expectation of a more liquid tone. Other players simply get stronger and stronger and end up playing a #5 on a .130 mouthpiece - Grover Washington Jr. comes to mind. So nobody can really counsel you on it - only you know what set-up makes you happy. Different players have different concepts of how they want to sound and how much effort they want to expend in the process. If you like to blow hard and sound big, maybe you will be a big mouthpiece guy. You really have no choice in the matter - you are going to like what you like whether or not its 'politically correct' with the #6 Otto Link players of the world who are convinced they have the answer.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    And Please don't get those #6 Link players of the world started, don't want to hear it no mo!

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Definitely try a harder reed.

    I don't see myself ever go harder than what I currently play. Which is a 8 opening with a 3.5 reed. I probably could have arrived at this set up sooner. I don't see my chops getting stronger as to have to switch to a 4 now that I've settled on something that works for me.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    A more open mouthpiece won't necessarily give you a bigger sound. You have to look at the entire picture - facing length, chamber size and demensions, beak, type of reed and strength. I've played pieces that were a 4* and blew away some 8* pieces. I've also played a number of pieces in the same tip size that have felt better in one area and not the other, or an all-around great player.

    Can you get altissimo etc out comfortably? If your air isn't stable you may not get everything out well. No matter the tip size.

    If you're going to experiment with tip size, get a few used Vandoren V16 hard rubber pieces. They may not work for you but they're great on a budget. But before you do that, make sure you try a few reed brands and strengths. If you have a friend with a few mouthpieces to try, even better.

    I stayed on my Early Babbitt 7* for almost a decade. I realized that, even though it's one of the greatest mouthpieces I've ever played, the tip was too closed for me. I could hit everything but going to a much higher reed strength would have created too much back pressure for me to handle. I ended up buying and trying a few mouthpieces from 8-9*. The 8, 8*, and 9* were the best fit for me. I mainly buy and trade things bc I'm curious. Now, I'm sure that an 8* is the best opening for me. And, that could change in the future. Who knows? I may end up going back to my EB one day.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    I'm having the reverse of this issue. My setups for over a decade have been .070" (soprano), .090" (alto), and .110"-.115" (tenor), but I recently picked up a couple new pieces with .075" and .080" tips (alto), and .095" and .105" (tenor) tips on tenor, and they play like a dream! Altissimo pops on all of 'em, too! I'm actually considering replacing my more open pieces. I still haven't had much luck with smaller tips on soprano, but I wouldn't mind trying a few more.

    While you can certainly find players from most eras who went more open, keep in mind Coltrane played a 6* (.095"), Dexter played a 5* (.085"), Joe Henderson played a Selmer D (.079"). Not necessarily known for their altissimo skills, but you can't argue with their results.
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    Default As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eulipion2 View Post
    I'm having the reverse of this issue. My setups for over a decade have been .070" (soprano), .090" (alto), and .110"-.115" (tenor), but I recently picked up a couple new pieces with .075" and .080" tips (alto), and .095" and .105" (tenor) tips on tenor, and they play like a dream! Altissimo pops on all of 'em, too! I'm actually considering replacing my more open pieces. I still haven't had much luck with smaller tips on soprano, but I wouldn't mind trying a few more.

    While you can certainly find players from most eras who went more open, keep in mind Coltrane played a 6* (.095"), Dexter played a 5* (.085"), Joe Henderson played a Selmer D (.079"). Not necessarily known for their altissimo skills, but you can't argue with their results.
    Brecker also played a 6 or 6* afaik.
    Rick Margitza also plays a 6* Link.

    On the other hand guys like Tony Lakatos play a strength 5 reed on an 8* mouthpiece.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    All must bow to the Otto Link #6 Master Race (users of long facing mpcs need not apply).

    Ironically, though I like 90 openings my main is a 105. Preference for smaller openings is more a sound thing--I find big openings can make the upper partials muted, and closed openings have more sparkle to the sound, for lack of a better word (not a hard and fast rule). I dunno if I buy the whole bigger openings is louder thing too, since I had a punchy mpc with a 6 opening.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Getz I think used a 5*.

    I heard an interview with Greg Fishman where he mentioned he was using really large tips, and now uses a #5 due to the large pieces giving him TMJ.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbieg View Post
    Getz I think used a 5*.

    I heard an interview with Greg Fishman where he mentioned he was using really large tips, and now uses a #5 due to the large pieces giving him TMJ.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    I always thought that myself and was looking for a more open piece to increase my volume and improve my sound until I had a chance to talk to Walt Weiskopf who was playing on the same piece I was - a 5* Florida Link. He has a pretty huge sound, so it is not necessarily the mpc opening.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by mi000ke View Post
    I always thought that myself and was looking for a more open piece to increase my volume and improve my sound until I had a chance to talk to Walt Weiskopf who was playing on the same piece I was - a 5* Florida Link. He has a pretty huge sound, so it is not necessarily the mpc opening.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBAycqFHmPI
    It really is a personal preference. It also seems to be regional. Here in New England guys seem to play more softly and with smaller mouthpieces, whereas back in Texas high volume and more open was the rule.

    So much of being able to project is not related to the tip opening - so you really have to try what works for you.

    I have seen people on this forum post that after years of playing they are still using very open mouthpieces, and others have stated that they are moving toward less open pieces. In my personal case, I play what I think of as kind of "medium open" pieces on alto, tenor, and baritone (Meyer 7 on alto and Meyer 8 on tenor and bari) - now to some people those would seem rather small and to others rather large. I have also gradually played softer and softer reeds over the years but I don't think I've lost any ability to project. Being able to play all the notes (including low Bb) at any dynamic volume with good tone quality has become more important to me with time.

    One option would be to pick a standard make of MP that isn't too expensive and try several tip openings of the same MP.

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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yofis View Post
    All the good players and pros I know play more open pieces than I do (>115, 8's to 10's..tenor)

    As I've been hitting it hard for a while, I'm starting to feel like my 110 RPC is a little closed for me. Is this natural?
    What do I get by trying a more open piece? Better altissimo action maybe? How about intonation?
    You may find intonation better, but it can be a double edged sword. On one hand if you have the ability to control it and a quick ear to recognise when you need to adjsut the tuning then you may find it easier to play in tune (especially if those around you are not as in tune as you might like). In other words there is more versatility. But this can count against you - if you are already quite in tune the increased versatility of a wider tip can make it easier to wander into uncharted intonations by mistake.

    I tend to like wide tips due to the increased pitch versatility that I find I can get.

    I've heard people before advise a harder reed instead of a wider tip. I don't quite get this. If you need a harder reed, get a harder reed. If you need a wider tip, get a wider tip. But you do need to make sure that what you really need is a wider tip when maybe a shorter facing curve or better air support is actually what you need.

    But a harder reed is not necessarily a substitute for wider tip or shorter facing curve, nor is a wider tip a substitute for a harder reed, although if you had to change one and didn't have the luxury of choosing, I'd always be infavour of soft reeds or wide tips.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
    It really is a personal preference. It also seems to be regional. Here in New England guys seem to play more softly and with smaller mouthpieces, whereas back in Texas high volume and more open was the rule.
    Everything is bigger in Texas.

    Anyway, I would assume that some of it is the thought that projection and tip opening are interlinked. A lot of gigs here are blues, R&B, and rock, so a lot of guys use big tip opening because they think that gives them more projection.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbieg View Post
    ... so a lot of guys use big tip opening because they think that gives them more projection.
    And more testosterone...
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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014 jazzbluescat's Avatar
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    I think most players go through a stage of "Hard reeds & open mpcs" signify advancement.

    After 50+ years of playing all kinds of music I wound up using a 7* NY Link with a #2 (Lavoz, et al) reed on a MKVI tenor.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    It depends what you’re playing too. For classical music, everyone uses a pretty close mouthpiece and around a 3.5 reed. (Some Pittel guys use 5s and shave them down to around a 3.5. Whatever...)


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