Gear update!

Hi all!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog (and my website). I’ve mostly been active on the usual social media threads – FB, Instagram – and the like. Working on changing that though! HAHA! You can check it out at my EQUIPMENT page.

I’ve just updated my gear list, please do check it out. Suffice to say, I’ve had enough of gear searching for a very long time, but I do have occasional spurts of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), and there’s a bit of it going on for sure. Some of my more recent gear tryouts include the new alto V16 S+ hard rubber alto mouthpiece (A8S+), which I started trying out late last year. Then I switched back to my regular A8S, and after going back and forth, I’ve decided to use the S+ mouthpiece entirely. Even though it’s slightly warmer than the previous iteration, I find that I needed to spend some time with the mouthpiece to be able to get into the full spectrum of what the mouthpiece can do. I’ve grown to like it. I may do a bit of a review soon.

Another recent acquisition were some tenor saxophone mouthpieces.

Now, you do know that I’m primarily an alto/soprano player. But I still enjoy playing the tenor every now and then, for certain types of shows that require the tenor sound more than the alto. And a lot of artistes that I enjoy listening to were primarily tenor players.

However, I haven’t had much luck finding a tenor mouthpiece that I like and makes me want to play the tenor more (or at least with more enthusiasm), and I still go back and forth between whether I like a metal mouthpiece or a hard rubber one. My standard go-to mouthpiece for the last few years was the new Vandoren V16 medium chamber metal mouthpiece (T7M), and it served me pretty well, but I wouldn’t say that it had everything I needed. Some reeds also didn’t sound so great with it. I switched around with a hard rubber V17 T7 (and a T8 before, but it was too open for my liking), along with some others (Pillinger NYT 7* HR, Yanagisawa HR 8, Otto Link New Vintage “Slant” HR 7*). Every mouthpiece I’ve tried had something nice about them, and some other things I didn’t necessarily fancy that maybe the other mouthpieces had. Still went back to the T7M metal. A recent try of a Rovner Light ligature with the V16 metal actually made some improvements to the response, and I realized I had been using a ligature (Vandoren Optimum for the PREVIOUS V16 metal) that wasn’t as suitable for this new 50’s metal V16. Of late, I also bought a used Jody Jazz JET 7* HR mouthpiece, and played it for a gig or two. It’s a mighty powerful piece, but also relatively dark sounding. It’ll be good for loud rock/pop/funk gigs, but without having sacrifice the deep tone that I usually like on tenor. But still, it wasn’t a mouthpiece that compelled me to want to play it more and more. But I may keep it precisely for this reason.

However, I recently (literally a day before I wrote this post) acquired the new D’Addario Select Jazz hard rubber mouthpiece for tenor, with a 6M opening. Thanks to Michael Leong of Bentley Music (who is a distributor of D’Addario products), I got to try these mouthpieces first. I tried the 6M and 7M, and I found the 6M to be more responsive for me. After having played a few minutes, I started to find a lot of interesting things about the mouthpiece. Without saying too much (of which I will probably do a review), I started liking the mouthpiece more and more. After coming back the next day or two for a second try, I decided to buy it and use it for a wedding gig on that same night. I must say, I’m very excited about this mouthpiece! I actually feel a lot more excited to play on this mouthpiece than I had on any other mouthpieces I’ve tried. And I’ve put on some different reeds to try (v16, traditional, java, v12, jazz select) and they all sounded and responded really good. And it also packs quite a punch when I push it, without having to sacrifice the tone!

Here’s an Instagram post to give you a preview of how the mouthpiece sounds like!

So, looks like I will try out this mouthpiece for a few gigs this coming week, with WVC (Oct 19) and the Tribute to Salvador Guerzo with Rachel Guerzo (Oct 21) at No Black Tie. If you’re interested to come by and check it out and try the mouthpiece, do let me know. Come see me at the show and bring your horn and some reeds, I’ll let you try them after the gig is over.

I’ll try to spend some time to write some short reviews of my equipment soon! So do stay tuned!

Later!

JC

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