Just a little note on equipment:
After many years of trying out different stuff, and also having to change and refine my tone technique, I have found that the best set up for me is the one that enables me to play easily without having to fight the horn, mouthpiece, or reed. It would also enable me to get whatever sound I want in a flexible manner without having to adjust my technique radically. I love to play many kinds of styles and genres – jazz, pop, funk, whatever. There’s no one size fits all gear for anyone. And there’s no such thing as a “perfect” mouthpiece/reed either.
My concept of sound production is basically this: “let the air do all the work”. What this means is that the big portion of your sound comes from your air (support) and your tone is already created within you before you even put the horn in your mouth. Your horn/mouthpiece/reed setup should not obstruct the air from doing the work, so you need to have: 1) good air support; 2) open throat; 3) relaxed embouchure. Everything else for colour and other tone variations (vibrato, subtones, etc) would be easier once the three main requirements are there.
My general advice is: once you’ve found a set up that works for everything you do, with as little effort (but not without a small touch of resistance for colour) as possible, stick to it. (note: buy a spare if you need it, better safe than sorry)
Here’s a list of my setup for you gear geeks:
Yanagisawa A-991UL (Unlacquered)
Yanagisawa A-901 (2001 model)
Vandoren V16 A8S /A8S+ HR mouthpiece with Vandoren M|O ligature
Vandoren Java #2, #2.5
Vandoren Traditional #2
Yanagisawa S-991 with sterling silver Yanagisawa neck
Selmer Super Session E (w/Vandoren Trad #2.5) *currently using*
Vandoren V16 S7 HR mouthpiece (w/ Vandoren Java #2.5)
Vandoren M|O ligature
Riffault R4 HR mouthpiece (w/Vandoren Trad #3)
Vandoren NEW V16 T7M metal mouthpiece (*currently in use*)
Vandoren Java #3, Java Red #3, V16 #3, Trad #2.5
I’m also currently trying out the newly released D’Addario Select Jazz 6M Tenor mouthpiece. The response from my end has been quite positive, and it seems to fulfill quite a lot of criteria I have for a tenor mouthpiece. May do a review on it, and my other equipment soon. I’m enjoying the piece for now!
Pearl Flute (intermediate model)