Friday, January 13, 2006

The Vortex



For the past several weeks I have been in saxophone purgatory. (For those reading who are not saxophonically inclined you may as well skip this entry) I've been happily playing a Guardala Brecker II mouthpiece on tenor for approximately ten years. I love that piece, it's free blowing, has a great tone and projects like crazy. I never thought I'd be looking for another mouthpiece - ever. But recently, within the past six months or so, I've been hearing a sound in my head that differed from the sound I was able to produce with the Guardala. Try as I may, I just wasn't getting the sound.

So, a few weeks ago, I entered "the mouthpiece vortex". I've heard stories of saxophonists who search their entire life for their holy grail mouthpiece, the one mouthpiece that just clicks. I thought I had my mouthpiece with the Guardala, so It wasn't until I began searching for a new piece that I realized that I too had entered the vortex - my every thought was centered on which mouthpiece I would try next, how did this one stack up to that one, would it work on a gig, etc. At one point I had collected ten different mouthpieces to try out:

Hard Rubber Otto Link W.T. facing
Hard Rubber Otto Link #6
Hard Rubber Otto Link #7
Metal Otto Link #5
Metal Otto Link #6
Metal Otto Link #7*
Metal Otto Link NY #7
Metal Otto Link Florida #8
Morgan Excalibur #8 EL
Morgan 8 L
Meyer #7

(Thanks to James, John, Jeremy, and Mike for contributing to the collection).

Well, much to my girlfriend's delight, I believe I may have settled on a mouthpiece ... for now. It's the hard rubber Morgan Excalibur 8 EL that I bought a while back. Saxophonist Myron Walden had tried some Excaliburs out and recommended the piece when I ran into him at Justin's about a year ago. At the time I ordered a couple and kept one but I didn't take to it initially and put it on the shelf. Recently I popped a 3.5 blue box Vandoren reed on the thing and it sang! Out of the pieces I've tried, I really feel the most comfortable on hard rubber but the Links lacked the projection I needed in a mic-less live situation. While I haven't used it on a gig yet, I did use the Excalibur at a rehearsal today and it worked great. I'll try it out this weekend at One Caroline and Justin's to make sure.

4 comments:

Andria said...

I think maybe I should post a blog for the narrow population of girlfriends-of-vortex-victims. And by "post a blog" I mean "start a support group." :-)

sarah said...

"much to my girlfriend's delight, I believe I may have settled on a mouthpiece"


What exactly are you using the mouthpiece for?

Anonymous said...

Hi...

Mi name is Claudio and as you would say I'm still in the vortex. I'been looking for years for the right mouthpiece and I think I've finaly found the right one for me which is the Florida Link 8*. The problem is that I've been looking around like crazy for that motuhpiece but none of them are for sale. By any chance, won't you have yours for sale?...This would help so much to one of your fellow saxophonists.

Thanks.

Claudio R.
(BTW...I'm William Paterson Student, curreently studiyng with Rich Perry and David Demsey...If you feel like replying to this message you could do it to mi email address which is: doc_tones@hotmail.com)

Anonymous said...

(Revised Version...sorry for all the mistakes)

Hi...

Mi name is Claudio and as you would say I'm still in the vortex. I've been looking for years for the right mouthpiece and I think I've finaly found the right one for me which is the Florida Link 8*. The problem is that I've been looking around like crazy for that motuhpiece but none of them are for sale. By any chance, won't you have yours for sale?...This would help so much to one of your fellow saxophonists.

Thanks.

Claudio R.
(BTW...I'm a William Paterson Student, currently studying with Rich Perry and David Demsey...If you feel like replying to this message you could do it to my email address which is: doc_tones@hotmail.com)