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Saxophone mouthpieces between 1915 and 1930

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Saxophone mouthpieces between 1915 and 1930

Saturday, July 11, 2009 4:53 PM
Author: James Noyes

Greetings, I am looking for information regarding saxophone mouthpieces (brands, facings, etc.) used in the military bands of Sousa, Gilmore, and Grainger as well as if these mouthpieces are available for purchase still. If they are not for purchase, which modern mouthpiece would closely resemble their sound. I would appreciate any input. Thanks, Marcos Duran


Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:48 PM
Author: Jane Sylvester

Unfortunately I doubt you are going to find much in the way of this information. Since most of the information out there is on the ensemble and their leaders more than the musicians themselves, the information of set ups they used will be very hard to find. Someone may have information on one or a couple players, but there just isn't much of a chance of finding that info. Also, much of the specifications of mouthpieces from that time isn't documented well so there could be a bit of variation from piece to piece. Some of those types of mouthpieces may still be available, or at least ones made in the same time and factory. I have a 1926 Conn "Chu Berry" alto which would be from that time, and it had the original mouthpiece. Unfortunately it fell out of my hand one day and I broke the tip. I nearly cried. I know of others who have the vintage stuff from that time, and I wouldn't be surprised if players played similar ones. One thing I can say is that if you are trying to obtain them in the hopes of replicating the sound they had, you might as well just experiment with what you have now, and try techniques like in Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound by Liebman or other similar books. The mouthpiece does have an effect, but the body (mouth shape, tongue shape/size, etc) of the player has more of an effect than the mouthpiece. This is why a player like Paul Desmond has such a distinct tone while playing on a mouthpiece that shouldn't have sounded anything like that.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 10:22 PM
Author: Zelde Malevitz

Hi, I have two quick thoughts on this: 1) If anyone has an answer on this it would be Paul Cohen. Paul, are you listening? 2) As far as a modern mouthpiece that would fit the bill my own personal guess would be those made by Ron Caravan. These are mouthpieces more along the lines of what Adolphe Sax intended and from owning a few of these, I think they would fit the bill as far as the time period you are looking for......before the mouthiece makers went crazy on baffles, chambers, blank material, etc. Hope this helps! Roland Colsen

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