Saxophone Forum


by Renegade Saxman
(7 posts)
9 years ago

Help a fellow Selmer please

I, a 16 year old highschool student, am having trouble choosing reeds. Currently, I am playing a Selmer Mark VII alto my dad handed down to me with many mouthpieces, 2 vandorens, a meyer and a yamaha. I really only use my Meyer 5 and my Vandoren Jumbo A35 with an optimum ligature. For my reeds I use 2 and a half Vandoren ZZ. Now here is the problem, on my meyer i have very nice full tone but on my Vandoren it is difficult to play quitely sounding well. It could be lack of support though my teacher has taught me all the fundementals of sax playing, embroucher, posture, proper breathing and all that jazz, but it might me not wetting the reed enough though that doesn't seem plausable, just a wrong type of reed for my mouthpeice, sax or just me personally. I don't really wan't to go lower than a 2 and a half because I started on them and I would feel like I was degressing not progressing. Any light anybody could shed on my situation such as a different ligature, different brand or if necissary different size reed. Thank you to all who respond

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  1. by blackfrancis
    (396 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

    Don't worry about the strength being less macho when softer. If you need to go to a #2, do it. All of your other thoughts are valid and possibly factors in your discontent, too. Try some different brands and strengths and see what feels and sounds best.

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    1. by selmer 4evr
      (309 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

      did your dad also hand down a Selmer C* as this is the stock mouthpiece that came with a Mk VII ? This will give you a base to start from,,, a C* with a 2 1/2 reed is a good set up ,,this will tell you if you have enough support for this reed ,,the meyers as all jazz mouthpieces seem to give you a full sound because they are loud ,but do very little to improve support ,not to mention intonation ,novices often get fooled with this . I remember ( a long time ago 35 yrs or so )switching from the stock Selmer to a Berg Larson and got better projection but my breathing became lazy ,,,you should only change a mouthpiece when you know what you are doing . try to stay with C* for a few years at least,,, just close your mind and do not give in to the temptation to experiment stay with it ,,,you will thank yourself later .By the way a Mk VII with a C* can easily handle Jazz that VII is a bretty big bore for a Selmer ( never sell it )

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      1. by Bleeding_Gums_Murphy
        (55 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

        First of all, sell the VII (trust me, you'll get much more money for the thing than it's worth), and go Conn-Buescher-King shopping. The vintage American horns for the most part are exponentially better at handling jazz than any selmer. The VII was a bad flop for selmer. In my opinion, the only Selmers that are good are the BA's and SBA's, but they're way too expensive. Conn 6M, Transitional King Zephyr, Super 20 Buescher Big B, 400 Your mouthpieces are fine, but I would toss the C* into a really deep hole (if you have one) if I were you. They can barely handle classical, not to mention jazz. Their tone is way too thin, and they have no control. America is where it's at when it comes to jazz saxes and equipment. The 6M and the Super 20 are widely accepted as being the best jazz saxophones ever designed.

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        1. by Bleeding_Gums_Murphy
          (55 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          Oh, and your reeds are fine. I would step it up a notch though, to 3s. If that doesn't work, get Alexander D.C. 2 1/2's. They're worth the extra money, unlike the vintage selmers (in my humble opinion, of course)

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        2. by blackfrancis
          (396 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          I guess I've been tempted to weigh in on the C* thing so here goes. I assume that you're playing jazz and alto. I agree that you should find a quality mouthpiece and stick with it- that's really good sound advice (no pun intended). If you're not having to do any legit work, I think the Meyer is the way to go. My experience with the Selmer piece, and C* in particular, is that it is too close of a facing and too stuffy and fluffy on a Selmer horn. Made for legit and with a Selmer horn you will sound pretty weak next to someone with a more straight ahead jazz setup. Pretty weak period. Do some comparison, pick the one you like the best, and stick with it. With the reed thing, ask yourself: does it blow easy?, in tune? good tone quality? Find the one that answers these questions and you've got it.

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        3. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          The C* can be stuffy only if you get a bad one as with any brand but you can get a darn good one as well with narrow rails that rocks ,,,, I have one in my collection that blows away any Meyer ( watch out for buzzy meyers ) but if you are to deviate a little (and I mean a little) then try also a Charles Bay these also are versatile. Here is how you choose one. First make sure that the piece plays legato easily and that notes seem to to cavalcade on top of each other as you play a scale. there should be no holes between the notes ( a no go with a meyer) Second play detached ( not staccato just detach every note from the prior with a slight tounge touch just enough to stop the note and begin a new one while the fingers work out of phase with the tounge-- jazz guys never practice this ) making sure that the piece responds quickly and maintains a steady volume without extra blowing. Third play all notes attacking them evr so softly making sure that the response is instant. Fourth make sure that the color of the notes is uniform bottom to top at all volume levels. Fifth make absolutely sure that you can play the piece without occupying yourself with breathing or blowing ,,,but simply by looking at the music .as if someone else was doing the blowing and playing while you just look at and read the notes . A good piece will liberate you not occupy you . Good luck

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        4. by Bleeding_Gums_Murphy
          (55 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          The Charles Bay pieces are some of the most blatantly classical pieces on the market. Your Meyer is absolutely fine. Selmer, you're obviously a legit player, and you're giving legit advice to a jazz player. It's a whole different world.

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        5. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          TO: Bleeding_Gums_Murphy and all Anyone can tell someone else what to buy,,, as we all have preferences. My job as a teacher is to teach him how to fish for himself. You should try and do the same not subject him to trial and error with a heck of expense in the meantime ,,,unless of course you want to pay for him!!!!!, remember he is playing Alto he needs some sweetness in his sound and probably appreciates it otherwise he would be playing tenor .

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        6. by blackfrancis
          (396 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          Teaching the student to fish for himself is, of course, the path of wisdom. Suggesting a C* for jazz on a Selmer horn is ... too Selmer 4 ever. Check the record. How many jazz alto players have done their thing on a Meyer/ Selmer combo, and sweetly? Countless. How many on a (legit) C*? Not many. Not that it can't be done, but in my opinion you gotta work too hard. And in a big band situation, you are sure to get buried by the brass. For fishing, bass is better eating than carp. (and all.)

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        7. by Bleeding_Gums_Murphy
          (55 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          I wholeheartedly agree, francis.

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        8. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Help a fellow Selmer please

          I didn't see where the original post specified jazz or legit. If it is jazz stay with the meyer and work on your air. As selmer 4 ever said (to paraphrase) no point in wasting money on gear until you've got the basics of sound production well in hand. A meyer 5 is a great place to start for jazz. If you are having problems with a 2 1/2 try a 2 it is not regressing. It is foolish to make playing the sax any harder than it needs be. If you are working on legit the selmer C* if you have it is good.

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