Saxophone Forum


by Kitch22
(98 posts)
10 years ago

Alto Metal Mouthpieces

I really have never played a metal mouthpiece. I am interested and curious, though. Why does every think that metal mouthpieces suck so bad on altos but can be great for tenors, baris, and sopranos? Why is this true? Also, I'm just starting to venture into to playing soprano for some jazz stuff in a band, and I am going to buy a new mouthpiece very soon. What are some recommendations or some mpcs that work for you? Could be rubber or metal.

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  1. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

    Once again I am sitting here, slightly crocked form the vodka and cranberry juice my girlfriend left here a couple nights ago....bless her heart, reading your posts and thinking....where do some of you come up with your various mythes and ideas. OK... Here's the deal with metal mouth pieces on altos. I caution ANYONE who uses them. A lot of metal pieces are shrill due to design and not simply because they are made of metal. Metal will resonate better though and the harmonics are better with a metal piece. That's what makes them brighter. It's the design of the mouthpiece and the size of the chamber that effects the overall tone. That being said, CHOSE CONSERVATIVELY!!! Find a piece with a fairly open chamber. The Otto Link Super Tone Master or the Selmer Classic Metal are both good metal pieces for alto.

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  2. by selmersaxman
    (13 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

    Hands down a Lawton Alto is happening!! Full tone. Not shrill. Try one!

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  3. by Firk
    (31 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

    altos and sopranos are naturally brighter instruments in comparison to tenors and baris and therefore don't need a metal mouthpiece to brighten it and give it an edge. that's about it for an explanation, but don't let that hold you back...i have a metal mouthpiece myself for my alto. it's definitely a solo type sound, not for ensemble. ~Firk

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  4. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

    I would bet generalizing issues with metal mouthpieces on alto and soprano are a myth. You can get dark-sounding metal pieces like the selmer classic, runion sr, and others. Like all mouthpieces, you have to decide for yourself.

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    1. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

      I generally can't stand a metal piece on an alto, though I have heard a few people who made it sound very good. I think the big thing is that you should try to master the hard rubber mouthpiece as best you can befor you go to metal. It seems like the people who are bad on metal pieces all started on them before they were ready. There's no reason you should go ahead and try one, but play it before you buy it, and don't expect it to blend with a big band or anything.

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      1. by martysax
        (148 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

        I agree, the Meyer 5 I've been playing for the last 30 years is as bright and loud as my Dukoff D8. The Meyer can sound sweeter though. Frankly, I have a hard time playing Take-5 on my Dukoff with a straight face. It makes me feel like honking it, like on my tenor.

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        1. by Goldref18
          (145 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

          Hard rubber just has better control and can let you get more response out of your horn. Also, as in my case, i hate metal on all horns. I don't descriminate. They in general feel uncomfortable and kill some of the sound and capabilites i get from my trusty Otto-Link hard rubber size 5 tenor mpc. (It's a small opening i know but i love how it works) Good luck though and remember to talk to people you trust, try many different ligs on the hard rubber horns and try many many muchisimo different mpcs. Even many of the same exact make and model. Good Luck!

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        2. by Saxman2200
          (64 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

          Two words, Kenny G. That is why people don't like metal mouthpieces on alto's. He pretty much ruined that one. Seriosly though, it really is bad. The alto requires a tight embochure to stay in tune and have that sweet alto sound we have all come to know and love. A metal mouthpiece requres a round loose embouchure to sound like a saxophone (and not a dying trumpet). When you mix the two it really dosn't sound good (once again I refer you to Kenny G). It is really hard to control, and even when you do get used to it, it is still really unpredictable. It is really not fun to sqeak in the middle of a solo, trust me, I've done it (luckily it was only practice.) I have a metal for my tenor and I love it. I am all over that thing, It sounds like that cool sax sound I hear in my head. However I expiremnted with the metal for alto in marching band one time and hated it. It was squeky and unresponsive. And it was really tough to play quiet without jumping an octive. It sounded like I was a begginer all over again. And by that time I was used to the metal too. All in all it's just bad.

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        3. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

          There are advantages and disadvantages to each material. Rubber pieces are a little bigger and to me more comfortable on alto. On tenor metal pieces are a little smaller and more comfortable. Material matters less than the design of the mouthpiece. An open tipped, high baffle, short facing rubber piece with a small chamber is going to be brighter and harder to control than a moderate tipped, rollover baffle, long facing metal piece with a large chamber. The material is probably the least important aspect of mouthpiece sound. Compare apples with apples get a metal and a hard rubber piece by the same maker and compare them side by side. Try each with and without a mouthpiece patch. You still have the problem of variation from moutpiece to mouthpiece but at least you are comparing the materials not the makes. I don't mean to start fights but the comment about metal needing a looser embouchure simply makes no sense nor is metal more prone to sqeaking.

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        4. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Alto Metal Mouthpieces

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Two words, Kenny G. That is why people don't like metal mouthpieces on alto's. He pretty much ruined that one. Seriosly though, it really is bad. The alto requires a tight embochure to stay in tune and have that sweet alto sound we have all come to know and love. A metal mouthpiece requres a round loose embouchure to sound like a saxophone (and not a dying trumpet). When you mix the two it really dosn't sound good (once again I refer you to Kenny G) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- er, no. Metal does not automagically transform your sound into Kenny G. Marcel Mule favored playing a metal Selmer piece on alto. I don't think they sound remotely alike.

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