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Should I change my alto sax mouthpiece?


Most student saxes come with a plastic mouthpiece but these tend to be basic to keep the cost of the instrument lower.  

For a total beginner, to start, the sound will sound similar but the addition of a better plastic mouthpiece e.g Yamaha 4C will make the instrument more responsive.  As you get better the mouthpiece will also improve your sound and improve the production of high notes.  I would happily recommend this mouthpiece to any new learner as something fairly inexpensive that can make a huge difference to their playing. 


As you reach around grade 7 you will have more of an idea what styles you enjoy playing and can tailor your mouthpiece to your personal taste. At this point you would have usually outgrown your student mouthpiece anyway finding it has poor tone that requires a lot of effort and even occasional squeaks. 


It is important to try a selection as the sound varies between them and they will all sound better than your student mouthpiece.  Material choice can also effect the tone and style the mouthpiece suits best.  

Here are the most common ones below with some popular make/ model suggestions:
Ebonite/ Hard Rubber: Warm and clear sound, easier to blend.  Traditionally considered more ‘Classical’.
Selmer Concept- A solely designed Classical mouthpiece.

Some versatile/ cross over ebonite mouthpieces:
Vandoren Optimum
Selmer S80
Selmer Soloist
Otto Link
Vandoren V5 Jazz
MeyerAizen ASSO


Some Jazz ebonite mouthpieces:
Vandoren V16
D’Addario Select Jazz
BrancherAizen Jazz Master/ NY

Metal: Bright sound with a bit more punch/ edge usually associated with jazz, rock or blues.
Lawton
Otto Link 
BrancherYanagisawa


These are only suggestions and each mouthpiece will react differently with different players so I always recommend trying a selection. Due to a certain element of hand finishing it is advisable to keep the one you have tried to avoid variance.  

We keep a wide selection of these mouthpieces available to test in our shop in Taunton, Somerset or we can send them out to you to trial for a week on our approval scheme. Please contact us on 01823 282386 (option 1) or email sales@johnpacker.co.uk for more details.
 

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