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  1. #41
    FawltyTenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Just chiming to agree with others saying there are no hard and fast rules about this stuff. It all comes down to personal preference/comfort, etc. I played things more closed, more open, and ended up kind of in the middle (7/7*). If what you're playing on currently works, keep using it.

    One last thing, unless the baffle/chamber characteristics are vastly different you will be surprised how similar you sound on different setups. I notice a different difference in the response and volume than my actual timbre.
    (formerly fsaxwas9)
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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?

    Quote Originally Posted by FawltyTenor View Post
    ..............................

    One last thing, unless the baffle/chamber characteristics are vastly different you will be surprised how similar you sound on different setups. I notice a different difference in the response and volume than my actual timbre.
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    SchlockRod's Avatar
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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 FawltyTenor View Post
    One last thing, unless the baffle/chamber characteristics are vastly different you will be surprised how similar you sound on different setups. I notice a different difference in the response and volume than my actual timbre.
    I don't even notice a difference in response/volume, let alone timbre!
    Tone Edge 8, #2 1/2 Plasticover
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    Response, Volume... feel and sound exactly the same.
    If I really TRY to find something different in the timbre, I start to think I hear just a wee tiny bit of Fuzz in the sound of the HR mouthpiece that isn't there with the STM...

  5. #44
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    I just came across this from a pretty highly regarded mouthpiece maker, Brad Behn, talking to Ed Joffe, and their conversation states pretty well I think what "projection" (which is inadequate as all words are in describing music) can mean... in terms of musical performance value.
    It's basically the same thing Joe Allard discussed very well, and also I think I read some things Santy Runyon said that captures it also.

    Behn gets specifically into the tip opening aspect at around the 46:00 mark, but both of these guys say some very meaningful things about "resonance", "projection", etc. throughout the conversation.

    They also get into how the right reed (and not too hard) is in many ways far more important.

    http://joffewoodwinds.com/videos/bra...ece-innovator/


    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    What is projection in regard to saxophones.? It's just another name for loudness surely? A way to market something loud to people who don't like the idea of loudness maybe. It is something that may or may not be related to facing or baffle. In regard to the human voice (actors/singers) it seems to mean loudness but without shouting.

    Somem people mightb talk about a saxophone projecting as if it reaches some further point without being any louder, I just don't get that. Maybe it doesn't sound louder but to travel further doesn't it have to be louder?

  6. #45
    Administrator Pete Thomas's Avatar
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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 SchlockRod View Post
    I just came across this from a pretty highly regarded mouthpiece maker, Brad Behn, talking to Ed Joffe, and their conversation states pretty well I think what "projection" (which is inadequate as all words are in describing music) can mean... in terms of musical performance value.
    "Project with volume" - that says it all. As I have been saying it is the same thing.

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    Sacks Of Phones's Avatar
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    Can you "Project without volume"?
    It's not the length of the song that matters, it's the width.

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    Administrator Pete Thomas's Avatar
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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 Sacks Of Phones View Post
    Can you "Project without volume"?
    I don't think so. If there is no volume, nobody will hear you.
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    It helps to listen to the whole interview (I always wish transcripts of stuff like this were available to save time).
    They get into the balance of overtones, the way some great players were able to actually sound "louder" (yes another too vague term) the further away one got from them, stuff like that. They also talks about "effort" and how the best setup works by making response (reed/mpc) as effortless as possible, which allows the player's "concept" (the most important part of tone/"projection"/"resonance") to come through freely.

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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 Pete Thomas View Post
    I don't think so. If there is no volume, nobody will hear you.
    But, if you're alone in the forest with only trees around, and you do have volume, will you be able to project? And will you even really make a sound?

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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 SchlockRod View Post
    It helps to listen to the whole interview
    Noooo!
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  12. #51
    Administrator Pete Thomas's Avatar
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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 SchlockRod View Post
    But, if you're alone in the forest with only trees around,
    What does a bear do in woods?

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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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    "Project with volume" - that says it all. As I have been saying it is the same thing.

    ......
    I wonder if rockers think "projection?" lol

    Anyway, to my way of thinking, projection and volume are two different ways of thinking...probably arriving at the same results.

    When discussing mpcs "projection" implies a "sharp" sound, one that pierces , while "volume" implies a big "wide" sound...again, to my way of thinking.
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    Administrator Pete Thomas's Avatar
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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 jazzbluescat View Post

    When discussing mpcs "projection" implies a "sharp" sound, one that pierces ,
    I've never thought that. What do you mean by "projection" implies a "sharp" sound - do you mean it's sharp in pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jazzbluescat View Post

    while "volume" implies a big "wide" sound...again, to my way of thinking.
    Surely volume just mneans how loud something is. I've never heard of a wide sound.
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  15. #54
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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 Pete Thomas View Post
    I've never thought that. What do you mean by "projection" implies a "sharp" sound - do you mean it's sharp in pitch?
    Pete, I suspect he means a 'focused' sound. And yeah, 'sharp' tends to imply pitch, so not the best term to use in this context.

    But then again, does a more 'focused' sound really project more? Intuitively it makes sense, but who knows for certain? I agree that a 'loud' sound should project farther than a softer sound. But what about two sounds of equal volume, one more focused than the other? Or is this idea of focus, when applied to sound, a lot of conjecture with little substance? And then there is dark vs bright. At a similar volume level, it seems a brighter sound will cut through more, but again depending on exactly what those terms mean.

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

    When discussing mpcs I think of two extremes of a spectrum. One end is a sharp or cutting edge piercing sound, like a bullet going through a wall(e.g. a Dukoff S) as opposed to the other end of the spectrum, which is a wide or big sound(a NY Link), like the way a bulldozer would knock down the wall.

    I didn't see pitch implied anywhere in this thread. We all can play sharp or flat in pitch with 'bout any mpc.
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance...then baffle 'em with bullsh*t.

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  17. #56
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    "Projection", to me, means filling the room. Some players sound loud if you are right in front of them, but their sound won't carry to the back of the room without a mic.
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by jazzbluescat View Post
    I didn't see pitch implied anywhere in this thread.
    Except some would interpret 'sharp' as in 'sharp in pitch,' so it might not be the best term. I took it to mean more or less what you said, although 'cutting edge piercing sound' suggests a very bright sound, with lots of emphasis on the higher partials. While I was thinking more of a focused sound, which can be bright or dark.

    I agree with the idea of two extremes or end members, generally related to the chamber and baffle height/shape. But there is a lot of room in between those extremes. Getting back to mpc opening, tip size can used to mitigate those extremes. A smaller tip might brighten up a large chamber Link with a low rollover baffle, while a more open tip can add body and depth to a higher baffle piece. Lots of factors to consider.

  19. #58
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    The sound I have in my minds ear is like a Bassoon. When I hear myself on recordings getting that sound I like, it's the description think of. haha

    When I was young and strong, sheding, rehearsing, gigging, jamming, I played #3 cane reeds on 8*. I worked at always having three to five good reeds, so I could rotate them. I needed to, because I was killing reeds in a few gig nights. Sometimes in the middle of the third set, a reed would lay down on me when I needed it to perform.

    #3 1/2 strengths solved that problem. But then I was blowing my chops out half way through the third set. So I began to go from 8* to a 7*, 7, 6*, 6 then finally a 5*. The reason was to get around the horn better, play large intervals rapidly, play stacks of 3rds and 6th easily, play fast and clean triad pairs over 3 octaves, etc. Get my tongue out of the way, open my throat, sit on my air column and fill the horn up. No scooping, sliding, ghosting, no big vibrato... just pop them little fingers down in time. Teeth, jaws, inside lower lip all fair much better too.

    In the '70s, the guitar payer in our band owned a music store. He would get me boxes of Tenor, Soprano and Alto reeds wholesale, no sales tax, when I bought more than $250... for around $10 a box. It seemed like most of the reeds played from each box. I finally ran out of tenor reeds about '98 and bought a box from a music store. Three of ten played. Got my horn COMPLETELY overhauled. After a few more boxes of horrible reeds I was not happy.

    Fast forward me... trying to figure out how to make a #3/Medium strength, synthetic reed work for the last ten years. It took me a few years to understand how to play them vs cane. I want to be able to take one brand/strength of synthetic reed, whose characteristics work for me, then rotate a handful. Mostly they play the same after a couple hours of break in... same enough for me. I like picking up a horn and having it play... and play the same.

    Last month I got a 6* and like it very much. Getting around on the horn pretty well... can still peel paint at will. My synthetic reed works better, I can relax. I still sound the same on recordings. Playing the same reed for three weeks now.

    Good thread guys, a wealth of experience and knowledge. I learned a lot. I know a few pro tenor players. They aren't on SOTW and they never want to talk about this stuff. They have played the same rig for years. Homey what iz your set-up? "I dunno... it came with the horn Man."
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  20. #59
    Distinguished Mouthpiece Designer/Maker/Forum Contributor 2014 Phil Barone's Avatar
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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?
    This just isn't true. In my experience most players play a 7* or an an 8, medium tip openings. I can name names but the list would be too long but Coltrane played very close openings and Sonny Rollins played very open pieces. Read what I pasted below, maybe it will help. It's very simple, more closed mouthpieces play the high notes better and more open pieces play the low notes better. More closed pieces are brighter (disregarding the chamber) and more open mouthpieces are darker. That's why you're best going with a medium opening. Phil Barone

    This coming year marks my thirty-seventh year in the saxophone mouthpiece business, and in that time Iíve learned much more than how to make mouthpieces. Iíve also learned about human nature and, more specifically, how neurotic we are. Iíve seen it manifest itself in mouthpiece selection and saxophone equipment selection in general.

    Humans want what they want "immediately", and when it comes to something like playing the saxophone, that just doesnít happen. And more often than not, a player's ideal tone can be more elusive than just something as simple as just buying a mouthpiece or having one refaced. Itís just not that simple.

    Years and years of propaganda have led many of us to believe that the facing is of utmost importance when, in fact, itís really the chamber. This is because back when the sax mouthpiece was still in its infancy stages, it was being developed by clarinet makers and to this day the incremental differences are too small to make a substantial difference.
    Mouthpiece Chamber Adjustment and Tone

    The chamber is more imporant than the facing, and Iíll tell you why. The facing works in conjunction with your reed and each time you change your reed itís just like changing your facing. Put a reed thatís a little denser toward the back on and itís just like having a shorter facing, put one on thatís less dense or thinner and the facing feels longer. The chamber never changes so you have something much more stable to deal with. I can dramatically change the way a mouthpiece plays and sounds by modifying the chamber because thereís so much material to work with but I canít say that about the facing. Also, since the facing is so important to the mouthpiece playing in tune thereís more parameters that must be met whereas the chamber is more resilient and forgiving.
    Mouthpiece Tip Openings and Tone

    Donít confuse your facing with the tip opening; they are two complete and distinctly different things. The facing is the curve in its entirety, it begins on the two side rails and ends with the tip opening of the saxophones mouthpiece whereas the tip opening is not really part of the saxophone mouthpieceís curve; it's just the opening.

    An important thing to remember is that while the facing is not terribly important, the tip opening is. If two mouthpieces have the same chamber, the more open one will be a little darker. More open mouthpieces are darker and more closed mouthpieces are brighter provided the chambers and baffles are the same but not by a lot. However, if a mouthpiece is more open, it will be harder to play and control which is why I am an advocate for chambers and finding the right one.

    In recent years the refacing industry has become increasingly busy despite the fact that facings arenít that influential to your tone, in spite of what we get pounded into our heads every day via the internet. Chambers are important. So talk to your tech about altering your chamber as a means to finding your ideal sound.


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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dave Pollack's Avatar
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    Default Re: As you play more and more, is it natural to want a more open mouthpiece?

    It just depends on the person- not in ability level, years playing, etc. I play on a 5 for alto and 7* for tenor (and that feels large to me!) and I get the sound I want.
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