Tenor saxophone mouthpiece
Syos tenor saxophone mouthpieces were created with Syos artists: a lot of famous saxophone players made a Syos custom mouthpiece for their tenor, based on the expertise of Syos'finest acousticians. You can buy the exact same models as those musicians in the color and the tip opening of your choice.
Which reed to use for tenor saxophone mouthpieces?
The reed is fixed to the mouthpiece table. It vibrates creating the sound within the mouthpiece when the musician blows into the instrument. The tenor saxophone reed is termed "single" because it has only one moving element, compared with double reeds of the oboe and bassoon for example. The choice of a reed is made according to various parameters. It is made of either natural organic cane or synthetic polymer. The parts of the reed are: the heel, the spine, the side, the heart and the tip. The heart is the most sensitive part and also the one that most influences the vibration quality. Thick sides increase the hardness of the reed while fixing the reed on the table with more efficiency. The reed tip replicatesthe line of the mouthpiece tip so that when the reed vibrates it closes the air intake into the mouthpiece. Shape, thickness, height and the width all have an impact on the sound.
Saxophone reeds can be classified according to two main criterion: the reed hardness and the reed strength. For a tenor saxophone reed, a strength of 1,5, 2 or 2,5 is adapted for beginners. These reeds are more flexible and easier to apprehend. Reed strengths of 4 and 5 are more suitable for good amateurs and professional players. The shape of the mouthpiece, its tip opening, facing curve and baffle interacts with the reed choice. With a reed of strength 5, the sound volume is more impressive. It’s interesting to try different reed models before choosing a definitive category.
Tenor sax mouthpiece material: metal mouthpiece? plastic mouthpiece? hard rubber? Wood?
If you’re looking for the best tenor sax mouthpiece you probably wonder which material is better. Actually, the tenor mouthpiece choice depends mostly on the shape of the mouthpiece and not the material. According to the saxophonist level and sound preferences, different shapes are recommended. The choice of the material is more a question of comfort and durability.
- Tenor mouthpieces in plastic or resin, like Syos mouthpieces, have a very good quality. They have a resistance against impacts, scratching, high temperature and can be used in wet environements. It’s a solid choice for playing outside. Saxophonists also like their nice finish, the choice of colors and their very affordable price.
- Metal tenor sax mouthpieces are very traditionnal, and very resistant to impacts (they are almost unbreakable). Their main inconvenient is the comfort in mouth which is not very good, especially when it’s cold. If you ask about the best tenor sax mouthpiece for jazz, several saxophonists talk about a metal mouthpiece like Dukoff, Guardala, Berg Larsen or Otto Link. Such brands were famous for their high step baffle metal tenor saxophone mouthpieces very suitable for pop, rock and fusion. However the brightness and power of these mouthpieces is due to the baffle shape and not the material. It is possible to get a very dark and warm sound with a metal mouthpiece.
- Hard rubber tenor mouthpieces are also very popular. Hard rubber is a plastic material made with organic rubber vulcanized with sulfur. They are very comfortable in mouth and have a good finish. However they are not suitable for wet environements and break quite easily when dropped on the floor.
- Wood tenor sax mouthpiece have a beautiful natural aesthetic and are often handworked. They are not made to play outside, but they are quite durable for playing inside. Some of them were made with ebony, like for example Frederic Lebayle tenor sax mouthpieces. Today, wood is quite uncommon for mouthpieces.
Choosing a tenor sax jazz mouthpiece
The best tenor sax mouthpiece for jazz depends of which kind of jazz you like. The typical jazz sound is obtained with a large chamber, with curved walls for a warm and deep tone. For brighter tones like in smooth jazz, funk or fusion, small chambers and high baffles are more appropriate. The mouthpiece tip opening has to be big enough to get more width and more volume in the sound. A curved or step baffle is better to get some power in the sound. It is important to choose the right reed to enhance the qualities of the mouthpiece. A good combination of the reed and the mouthpiece provide the saxophonist with more articulation and deeper tone, both suitable for jazz. The choice of the ligature can also be important. When adapted to the player sound, a good tenor jazz saxophone mouthpiece is easy to play and has a very good intonation either in a band section or in lead or solo.
Several accessories such as ligatures, and cushions are suitable for a tenor saxophone mouthpiece.