Saxophone Forum


by jtf1459
(9 posts)
10 years ago

Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

Hello: I have played tenor sax and flute since the sixties. However, I am new to this forum, and new to the soprano sax. I am playing a 1929 (226K) Conn New Wonder Series II (Chu) soprano. If you play or have played this model, I would like to hear from you about the mouthpiece you prefer with it. Please respond only if you have first-hand experience with this particular horn. Thank you.

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  1. by jtf1459
    (9 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

    Don’t mind me, folks. I’m just talking to myself. It’s hard for me to believe that none of the regulars on this forum play, or are willing to discuss their Chu sopranos. (There must be thousands of these horns out there!) At any rate, I use an Otto Link Tone Edge (HR) 6* mouthpiece with stock ligature and Hemke #4 reed. The tone of this setup is sweet and mellow and plays effortlessly in the lower register. I find that I need a bigger “byte” of the mouthpiece when transitioning to the upper register, and even more as I move upward. To date, I have been unable to get any satisfactory sound from the upper palm keys. Can anyone suggest a setup that will ease the top end? Come on, all you saxophiles, talk to me!

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    1. by connsaxman_jim
      (2336 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

      That's a good mouthpiece. I'd like to try one on soprano. I have one for my alto. On soprano I use a Meyer 5. Hemke # 4 reeds are pretty stiff for a 6*. You might try dropping back to a # 3. I use a 2 1/2 on my soprano. That might make a difference. I've been using the unfiled Rico Jazz Select reeds. They're ok. Not the greatest, but I like them much better than the Vandorens. I have a 1925 Conn Chu soprano that I have been putting back together. I played it for a while when I first started playing soprano. It belonged to my uncle. It needed a good overhaul. I just haven't had the time to finish it up yet. I've been playing a new Keilwerth SX 90, and I love it.

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      1. by nlyons@oberlin.edu
        (18 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

        yeah, I found that stiff reeds are much more playable on soprano than other horns-- and really bring out the low register, but the evenness of the registers becomes a SERIOUS struggle. I play a 160xxx Conn soprano. at first I used a Selmer metal F (close to a link 6) and a Rico Jazz SElect 4M or 4H. the low register was beautiful, but above middle D, it was a struggle to say the least. Now I've loosened my embouchure and switched to an medium-large chambered Buescher mouthpiece (a later Babbit blank, but marked buescher), with a .050-.055 opening (so like a link 5 or 5*), and gone down to Vandoren Java 3 or Trad 2.5. I am finding this setup to be much truer to the voice of the instrument. those horns were designed to be played with larger-chambered pieces.

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        1. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

          Exactly. I think most Conns sound best with larger chambered pieces, and what you're using nlyons is really the ideal set-up. The new Otto Link Tone Edge #5 is very similar to the Babbit Buescher piece. Babbitt, who makes Otto Link and Meyer, was originally started by Jesse James Babbitt; a former employee of CG. Conn who started his own company in Elkhart, Indiana shortly after WWI. Babbitt made many of the great mouthpieces for the American woodwind companies, including Conn and Buescher.

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        2. by jtf1459
          (9 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

          Thanks for your helpful comments, guys. I'll keep the Link, try a softer reed, and keep an I out for a vintage Buescher m/p. I should plobably mention that I had to trim the shank of the Link about 3/16" in order to get it far enough down on the cork to be in tune.

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        3. by nlyons@oberlin.edu
          (18 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

          that's probably because you have the later model which has a completely different bore design (longer and narrower) from mine (which is an earlier horn) and tends to play slightly flatter. You might also keep an eye out for an original Conn mouthpiece.. similar to the one that might have been provided by Conn with your horn when it was new. that might be the best bet for intonation.. you would probably have to alter the facing though.

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        4. by jtf1459
          (9 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Mouthpieces with Chu soprano

          Interesting that you should raise that point. I have a posting under Vintage Saxophones (4/7 – How long is your New Wonder, Big Boy?) that deals with the design change that some refer to as the “Stretch” model. Haven’t had any response. What do you know about them? Would you mind measuring your Chu? I understand that those later horns are very mouthpiece sensitive, and that the original mouthpieces are as rare as hens’ teeth.

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