The importance of a correct setup mouthpiece can not be ignored. The setup affects atriculation, intonation, flow, response and playing comfort.
Measureing the facing curve tells you witch type of response you can expect. And how well balanced the response is.
Tip opening is sadly no standard and every manifacture has his own size/opening aspect ratio. Measures in inches is however a true picture of how big a tip opening is on any brand
Its possible to open a mouthpiece up 2-3 numbers - but it will change character a bit. This is due to the tip and baffel start changes shape.
Having your mouthpiece refaced is a fairly inexpensive operation that is done in 1 or 2 hours.
Price is 500 - 1.000r (Dkr.)
OR: 4 - 8 Ounces of 999 fine silver
A correct setup mouthpiece is a dream to play. Here is a bit of info on how its done
As I described in the chapter on mouthpieces there are many factors that come into play when talking about a great mouthpiece. Many manifactures of the past did not have the modern pecision tools for manifacture that modern makers have at their disposal. CNC machinery that can cut as precise as a 1/1000 of a milimeter. So especially old pieces will benefit from a refacing proces.
Tip opening, facing curve, window shape, side rails width and table leveling are some important factors when refacing. What you want to achieve with a refacing process is a mouthpiece that seals tight against the reed. Playing becomes easy and articulation effortless. How the reed closes against the facing curve desides how well the moutphiece intonates across the register..
Still today many mouthpieces has minor issues that can be corrected with ease. So If you want a superior setup, you need to make sure your mouthpiece lives up to the rest of the setup. I recommend that every mouthpiece is checked for tabel levelness and facing curve is measured and checked. If these two factors are good - you are well off. Some mouthpiece manifactures like Drake, Sopranoplanet and Saxgourmet hand faces every single piece and it makes perfect sense to do so. There might be many others that does it as well - the above are just some I know for a fact does it.
This great old Otto Link was brought to me by a young player and he got it with a sax but had a hard time playing it.... go figure.
After two hours of restoration the old Link was playing really well again. As with everything about the sax extreme precission is required in order to make it play well. I had to make the side rails just a bit thinner than the original, but that only improves response but the tip and baffle must be just right. I restored the roll over baffel as well as I could and it was close enough.
Gladly not all mouthpieces are in this bad a shape. Have your mouthpiece checked and measured next time you visit your sax repairman. You are of course welcome to visit my shop and have a talk about your mouthpiece.