Friday, January 13, 2006
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
(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.