Saxophone Forum


by Benders_Here
(3 posts)
1 month ago

Equipment advice for sound searching

I'm not exactly new to saxophone, but I'm new to the world of non-stock equipment and I'm having a bit of trouble finding the sound I want. I currently have a Yamaha YAS-23 Alto, and I love it to death. With it, I've been using a hard rubber Meyer 6, Vandoren V16 (3 1/2) reeds and a Rovner C1HL ligature. I don't dislike the sound the combination produces, it's just not what I want. I primarily use my Alto for Jazz, and not so much Classical. I'm looking for a tone that's crisp and bright, but also very warm. I also should include that I'm a college student, so I don't really have a big budget. I'm not prepared to get a new saxophone either, so I'm more looking for tips on mouthpiece, reed, or ligature modifications. Thank you!

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  1. by mijderf
    (72 posts)

    1 month ago

    Re: Equipment advice for sound searching

    This is a fairly tough post to reply to because you mention that you want a bright tone, but also very warm.  One thing I recommend is checking out the alto sax mouthpiece reviews from Steve Neff.  One piece that might interest you can be found here:

    http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2017/01/phil-tone-jz-alto-saxophone-mouthpiece-review/

    Also, if you are looking for better tone, you could consider trying a softer reed, maybe someting like a Rigotti Gold 3 light.  I would work with mouthpieces and reeds first, and hold off on ligatures until after you find a mouthpiece/reed combination that you like.  In general the impact of a ligature is small in comparison.

    Good luck! 

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    1. by Benders_Here
      (3 posts)

      1 month ago

      Re: Equipment advice for sound searching

      Thank you very much! I'll look into his reviews and see if I find something I like. Thanks again for your help!

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      1. by GFC
        (638 posts)

        3 weeks ago

        Re: Equipment advice for sound searching

        I'd give the ligature a little more priority.  A lot of people discount their importance but I disagree with them.  In my experience "less is more" in terms of contact with the reed to get a free and responsive sound.  Apparently there's some resonance over the table that affects the performance of the reed. For that reason I like the pressure plate type ligs with either rails or forks in contact with the reed.   I once gave a Rovner a try in place of the pressure plate lig on a Link and it sounded dull and constricted in comparison.  

        When I was looking at replacements for a blown out Link lig I was giving serious consideration to the Rico H lig and a Selmer two-screw type lig because they seemed well designed and a less expensive alternative to a good pressure plate lig.  Weinermusic.com has a good selection and good prices.

        Best of luck.

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        1. by Benders_Here
          (3 posts)

          2 weeks ago

          Re: Equipment advice for sound searching

          Thank you for your help! I'll keep this in consideration while I look into new equipment. I knew the ligature had a large effect on sound, but I wasn't sure how each type of ligature would influence it. I'll look into pressure plate ligatures and see if they fit me better.

          Thanks again,
          David 

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        2. by GFC
          (638 posts)

          5 days ago

          Re: Equipment advice for sound searching

          FWIW, I'm very satisfied with the Francois Louis Ultimate ligature and it's not even in the hoity-toity price range.  There's also a very interesting Bonade "inverted" two-screw type with rails for a little less.

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        3. by bjroosevelt
          (5 posts)

          5 days ago

          Re: Equipment advice for sound searching

          Double on the softer reed recommendation.  It is important for a warm sound.  It is the easiest item to fuss with.  

          I think the ligature idea is good, but it can send you down a long winding path because it completely changes the way that reed vibrates in your mouth.  (You fine lip muscles which are the most difficult to train have to adjust).   My personal experience is that it is far easier to get used to either a different mouthpiece or different reed Than it is to get used to a new ligature.   

          The ligature is going to make your current reed play much differently (harder or softer)...and it is going to take you some time to learn to play your current reed with the new ligature.  If my experience is accurate, the way you play the new ligature over time will change....and so the ligature you select on day one, might sound unexpectedly different on day 35.   This can be a problem if you are trying to watch your budget.

          It my experience that many band teachers tell students to use harder reeds......I think this is because harder reeds squeak less so the rest of the band is not disturbed as much......not because it sounds better.  --  every woodwind in my community band yesterday was playing sharp......probably due to reeds that are too hard.

          My opinion is that I would go to a softer reed first.  If that isn't enough, take the softer reed and go down to a music store and try out a mouthpiece that has a larger tip opening than your current.  Your 'try-out' sound for a new mouthpiece will probably be more reflective of your final sound (after  hours of practice), than the 'try-out' sound on a new ligature would be.

          I'm sure many will disagree with me.........but I'm used to that.
           

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