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Best Saxophone Mouthpiece

What’s the best way to start your search without wasting time?
Here is the deal:

Many saxophonists agree that the least important feature of mouthpiece choice is brand. Even though the various instrument brands are known for their nuanced tone qualities, it’s essential for the musician to discover a mouthpiece that works best for their playing characteristics.

No two instruments, no two musicians, and not two mouthpieces are alike. Inasmuch, the best approach for mouthpiece choice is recognizing what makes a good mouthpiece a good one, and what makes a bad mouthpiece a terrible mouthpiece.

With patience, a discerning eye, and a good grasp of his or her requirements, the musician is well positioned to discover a mouthpiece that will work well given their preferred instrumentation and circumstance for playing.

So surely, it is simple to answer: what’s the ideal mouthpiece for alto saxophone?

The best alto sax mouthpiece can be composed of many unique parts for different players making it tough to suggest an overall alternative for the best alto saxophone mouthpiece.

When selecting the right mouthpiece to your saxophone, you need to think about your expertise, your instrument and what tone or style you’re hoping for when playing.

Find out more in this list of fundamentals.

Understanding the Basics
This simple guide step by step guide to choosing the best mouthpiece for your requirements will explain the basics:

Facing Curve
Baffle
Chamber and Sidewall
Tip Opening
Beak and Bite Plate
Reeds
Step 1: Understand What the Best Facing Curve for Your Needs Will Be
The facing curve, otherwise called the lay, is the part of the mouthpiece which makes contact with the reed itself. This curvature is the most essential consideration for choosing the best saxophone mouthpiece for you.

The characteristics of the facing curving is a vital consideration in mouthpiece selection. When the curve is bad, the mouthpiece is bad. Period.

Since the facing curve represents the plane on which the reed makes contact with the mouthpiece, the facing curve’s precision will have considerable effect on sound precision.

A curve that’s warped, imprecisely machined or prematurely worn could produce a sound that is squeaky, smoky, or almost mechanical in quality. On the other hand, a well-crafted facing curve allows for deft seats of the reed, allowing the reed to vibrate freely.

Similarly, the mouthpiece’s”table,” the region of the mouthpiece in which the reed is locked in place by the ligature, must be level and smooth. A misshapen table will produce unnecessary reed movement.

Why does this matter?

When looking into options for your mouthpiece check the tables and facing curve are smooth and level. Consider the material it’s been created from as flimsy plastic could become easily misshapen over time.

Step 2: No Need to Be Baffled by the Baffle
Understanding the baffle shapes may be one of the most important parts of choosing the best mouthpiece for your saxophone.

There are three main shapes to choose from:

Flat (straight) Baffle,
Rollover Baffle,
Step Baffle.
Flat Baffle
Also known as the straight baffle allows air to flow through the mouthpiece slowly meaning that projection isn’t straightforward. Whilst the dark soft sound that it produces might be regarded as the best tenor sax mouthpiece alternative, it’s often a flat baffle that proves to be the best alto sax mouthpiece for jazz also.

So why would the horizontal baffle be perfect for you?

The horizontal baffle is forgiving in audio across all registers, it allows sounds created to remain soft and mellow. If you are a heavy blower, you will find a flat baffle will soften out your bright sounding fashion allowing for a more mellow tone.

Rollover Baffle
This baffle has a short high section before rolling over into a flat baffle. This slight difference allows for a growl or edge to the tone produced. Investing in a well-crafted rollover baffle is important as the slightest misshapen rollover can lead to a deadened sound.

The best part?

A rollover allows you to have the best of the flat baffle with the option to use the edgy sound. Because of this, this might be the best jazz mouthpiece for alto sax especially when trying to make the most of diverse tone through an improvisation.

Step Baffle
Created by a measure in the mouthpiece, the measure baffle creates a bright sound with a fast and clean air flow. The greatest benefit of this baffle is that the ease of projection allowing you to cut through a band to a solo or be heard over an R N B backing track.

That is not all…

Due to the simplicity of playing with it, this makes the step baffle the best alto sax mouthpiece for beginners.

Step 3: Considering that the Chamber and Sidewall
Chamber size and sidewall shape carry substantial power in shaping the tone color and quality of an instrument, and therefore should be carefully considered when a musician is selecting a mouthpiece.

What 3 things should you consider when picking your best room and sidewall combination:

Generally, the greater the mouthpiece room’s volume, the darker the tone of the instrument. Further, the chamber’s shape is an important consideration. While some chamber shapes allow for good dynamic variance, other shapes exude dynamic flexibility in favor of a greater chromatic range.
Sidewall shapes are usually categorized as straight, concave, or convex. Evidently, slight variances in sidewall shape may have a significant influence on airflow through the length of the instrument.
Often, the very best mouthpiece manufacturers market their specific offerings based on the unique playing experience afforded by sidewall shape, so read carefully about how the shape will influence your playing experience.
Step 4: Selecting the Correct Tip Opening
Narrow openings are forgiving for the novice and can be the best classical saxophone mouthpiece option. Whilst a broader opening suits the bigger saxophone range and enables more manipulation of tone for a more advanced player.

A relatively narrow opening, when coupled with a stiff reed, will produce a significantly darker sound than a softer reed combined with a larger opening. The best tenor sax mouthpiece option would probably have a softer reed with a wider opening.

Embouchure strength also plays to the musician’s preferred tip opening width.

Why does this matter?

For those who have a stronger embouchure you’ll be able to handle a thinner tip opening whereas a novice saxophonist may struggle to master the essential control with this tip option.

Step 5: Finding your Best Choice of Beak and Bite Plate
While often overlooked in the selection process, the beak and bite plate of the mouthpiece should be fitted to the bite and embouchure qualities of the saxophonist. Saxophonists with overbites, for example, are well served by bite plates crafted with minimal contouring.

On the other hand, musicians with underbites might feel inclined to pick a mouthpiece with a substantially thick beak that can withstand the torque of teeth pressing down close to the edge of the mouthpiece.

Step 6: Selecting the Proper Reeds
It is not advisable to pick a mouthpiece without considering the type of reed that will be coupled with the mouthpiece.

For saxophones, reeds are grouped by:

Construction material,
Hardness,
Size.
The best option in red construction is always the organic cane reed. Used for thousands of years on woodwind instruments of all shapes and playing characteristics, the cane reed produces gorgeous tone quality that affords the musician a great dynamic and chromatic variety.

Artificial substances are used in less expensive reeds. While an attractive alternative for the newcomer, the synthetic reed should not be paired with a high-end mouthpiece.

In terms of reed hardness…

Softer reeds are easier to play so good for beginners. Ordinarily, a hardness of 4 or 5 will give you a great tone if you have some experience.

That said, new musicians should always choose a softer reed and advance to harder ones as competence deepens.

Top tip:

You will need to decide on a reed to fit your mouthpiece choice. Remember a general rule is a smaller reed will give you a brighter tone and a larger reed will a soft, low and mellow tone.

Reeds should not be altered to fit a specific mouthpiece.

Final Thoughts
Selecting your mouthpiece can be difficult but these 6 steps should help you to cconsider best option for you.

It can be somewhat complicated at times. Woodwind mouthpieces and reeds are far more complex than their neighbors in the family.

Inasmuch slight variances in mouthpiece sizes, shapes, and craftsmanship can foster incredible differences in sound production and sustainability. Add the qualities of a particular reed, and the effect of this mouthpiece is amplified exponentially.

So what should I concentrate on to get the proper mouthpiece for me?

Decide before you begin looking whether you want a glowing or mellow tone and just how much control you would like to have over the tone you are able to produce.

Don’t forget that your proficiency will influence on which choice is right for you.

The best advice is always patience. Saxophonists of proficiencies will need to fully consider their playing ability, playing circumstance, and desired sound characteristics as they hunt for the next, great mouthpiece.

Ah, and do not forget, bring the saxophone along. Do not pair a mouthpiece to a tool without knowing if they are compatible.

Happy Playing!

Top 8 Best Sax Mouthpiece Reviews 2018
Yamaha Alto Sax Mouthpiece 4C
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: An ideal alternative for all abilities, this mouthpiece will provide you with a forgiving mouthpiece with a clear tone that’s affordable.

Pros:
Effortless to keep tone across a large Selection.
Great for all abilities.
Affordable.
Pick this mouthpiece for: A simple full tone and beginners.

Selmer S-80C for Alto Saxophone
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: Professional mouthpiece with a step baffle. This top of the range mouthpiece is fantastic for professional saxophonists.

Pros:
Ideal for solos cutting through the ensemble.
Improves tone on all devices.
Cons:
Expensive.
Must purchase ligature separately.
Pick this mouthpiece for: The best solo performances on your alto saxophone.

Vandoren SM711 AL3 Optimum Series Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: This Vandoren AL3 will offer a terrific tone for classical players. The curved shape allows for an improvement in the tone of beginners and intermediate players.

Pros:
Great classical tone.
Allows great control over tone.
Disadvantages:
Expensive.
Pick this mouthpiece for: Improvement in classical tone and control of unique tones.

LADE Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Professional #7 (gold plated)
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: A mid-priced jazz alto saxophone mouthpiece with ability to bend notes and control tone. A participant’s comfort is key with this particular metal mouthpiece.

Experts:
Excellent flexibility and control for jazz playing.
Comes as a set including ligature, cap and mouthpiece pads.
Player’s comfort.
Cons:
Hard for beginners to blow on
Choose this mouthpiece for: Intermediate or professional jazz players that want increasing control over their notes.

Yamaha Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece 4C
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: Standard choice for all abilities. This mouthpiece will allow for the player to maintain a consistent tone.

Pros:
Effortless to keep tone across a large range.
Great for all abilities.
Affordable.
Cons:
Ligature not included
Choose this mouthpiece for: Beginners to professional gamers who would like to maintain a consistent bright tone.

Otto Link OLR-404-6S Tone Edge Rubber Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: This rubber mouthpiece provides a stable mellow tone whilst projecting.

Experts:
Good option for control whilst projecting.
Comes as part of set including ligature and cap.
Improved tone on lower notes.
Disadvantages:
Expensive
Pick this mouthpiece for: Jazz tenor sax players looking to maintain a constant tone when projecting.

Selmer S80 *C Mouthpiece for Tenor Sax
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Review: A pricey mouthpiece that allows a warm clear sound.

Experts:
Beautiful hot tone.
Blends well with other saxophones for ensembles
Disadvantages:
Expensive
Pick this mouthpiece for: Ensemble players to blend in within the section.

Aibay #6 Plated Bb Soprano Saxophone Metal Mouthpiece
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com

Overview: This long-lasting mouthpiece gives a stable tone for soprano sax players and allows them to acquire wide-ranging dynamics.

Pros:
Great tone, dynamics and relaxation.
Durable material.
Comes as a set with ligature and cap.
Disadvantages:
Can take a while to get used to playing.
Choose this mouthpiece for: Intermediates and professional Soprano Saxophone players looking for an edge to their tone.

We hope that our TOP picks for the best saxophone mouthpieces has helped you’re one step closer to finding the perfect saxophone mouthpiece just for you!

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