Selmer Super Session J Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

This is a sound clip of my main soprano saxophone mouthpiece for the last 6 years.  It is a Selmer Super Session J mouthpiece that I  bought from WWBW. At the time that I bought this, I also tried an I tip opening. I remember feeling like the I gave me a Kenny G type soprano sound (more of a pop kind of sound) and the J gave me more of a  Coltrane type soprano sound. I went with the J after playing them for about a week.  Up to this point in my life I have played very few soprano mouthpiece. Before the Super Session J I played on a Claude Lakey for about 16 years. The only reason I played on that was because it was the only soprano mouthpiece the store had.  The Selmer Super Session was a much better mouthpiece for me compared to the Lakey.

The thing I really like about the Selmer Super Session is that it has that big hollow type soprano sound. I love it for jazz playing.  It has loads of volume and doesn’t get too bright like my Lakey did.  It is much more reed friendly than my Lakey was also. I still have my Lakey in a box so maybe I’ll put a clip of that up also.  I’m not very experienced at trying soprano mouthpieces so I’m finding that it’s hard to make a call on what I think of the sound of a piece. On tenor and alto saxophone  I can play for 10 seconds and know if I like a mouthpiece or not.  On soprano, I don’t feel like my concept is  shaoed enough that I know exactly what I like or don’t like.  I’m sure as I try more mouthpieces that that sound concept will come into focus more clearly for me.  Let me know what you think of the clip.  I would appreciate any comments you might have.    Steve

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. Avatar Gerardo Avila says

    Hi Steve

    That sounds fantastic! I use a Lakey 7*, what´s the tip openning (measure) of that “J” one you´re playing? I would like to buy one of those.

    As I said, I use a lakey but still not quite satisfied with the sound.

    One last question…If you buy a new super session mouthpiece, do you need to do some refacing work? Or it is something that depends on what you get? I was told that “all” mouthpieces in this days come with a lot of details that should be fixed with a final refacing work.

    Thanks for that clip….We´ll be waiting for the lakey one!

  2. Avatar Tarsis santos says

    Hi Steve
    You are right, the selmer J gives you a Coltrane tone. I would love to hear you on the Lakey. I play a Lakey 6* on my MK VI soprano for many years and I can get a very nice (not harsh at all) sound on it. My reed of choice for this set up is 2.5 Alexander DC. I tried many others including the super section and did not like them. Also, I’m hoping to see a clip with the new spectruoso tenor piece from Francoise Louise some day. You do a great, great job. Thank you very much.

  3. I just got a Buffet Crampon Evette Schaefer from 1912. It has a very nice sweet sound. Anyway I am used to play tenor and now I just wonder what is the best way to study both. I mean What is the best way to get adjusted to playing the soprano?
    Does such thing take a long period?

  4. I went through a long period where I would play tenor during the day and then soprano quietly at night when my family was sleeping. I went through a few years of that.

  5. I have been playing a Super Session I for several years now. Every now and then, I’ll pick up something else and give it a whirl, but nothing — nothing — comes close to that Super Session for power, tone, and the ability to play freely in the palm key register. If anything DOES, I’ll be sure to put the word out! 🙂

  6. Interesting… your story makes me curious to test the super session… I now have a Vandoren s35 which I like too…
    How long day play per day on your soprano? Do you stop when your lip starts hurting?

    Thanks for your comments…

  7. Back then I was p;laying 2-3 hours a night really softly because I had little kids and i didn’t want to wake them up. This was during the time when I was working on the whole approach note concept and really getting it down. If my lip started to hurt I would take a break.

  8. I tried an E Super Session in a shop here in Edam, seperately the Super Session didn’t sound nice, it was way to bright in the high register. I tested meyer’s, otto link’s and some ponzols but finally made my decision with buying a selmer s80 facing 7. I guess the best thing you can do is just to try out different mouthpieces until you find the right one. 🙂

  9. Avatar Cliff Mosby says

    I am a novice but I have many sopranos..Selmer 3 Yanis 901-991 Rampone..Yamaha 875 ..Winstons…so I never really get to really understand the “tone’ of a particular mouthpiec as others seem to appreciate and understand mouthpiece tone. Each insturment has a different tone for me and the mouthpiece is somewhat lost to me on “tone”…BUT I had been playing Selmer C-C* C** and F as well as Yamaha 4C…the biggest difference for me was the move to the Selmer F it seemed to be freer blowing and kinder and more forgiving on tongue and embroucher mistakes. I just ordered a Selmer J and have not received it yet. I am very anxious. I hope the move from the F to the J will be as significantly rewarding for me as the move from the Yamaha 4c to the Selmer F

  10. To the guy above^^
    Whoa 0-0

    Just as a general common concept, the saxophone is supposed to have a significantly less importance to the sound than the mouthpiece. Also, bigger opening usually are harder to blow and are less forgiving. This is why you compensate with a lighter reed and more skill. You might just be a different case and/or the inconsistency of stock pieces have hit you hard. I went to a local store for my first pro mouthpiece and tried the ubiquitous Selmer S80 C* and it hardly played! I tried a Selmer S90 and it was fantastic! Now that I know more and have talked to the store owner, my S90 is just a strike of gold. Perfect rails, tip, facing and that’s why it played so well. The S80 was terrible in proportions! Its just luck, play testing, and so on…This is why refacing stuns people more than it should. Got a piece for BP this Christmas though!

  11. Avatar Gerardo Avila says

    Hi Steve

    What´s the tip opening of the Lakey you used to play?

    Thanks!

  12. I can’t remember. I was looking for it to put a sound clip up and realized that I must have sold it years ago and forgot about it.

  13. Avatar Steve O'Connell says

    I play a super session J and it’s certainly my all-time favorite soprano mouthpiece. It has a big fat sound, great intonation and is capable of large amounts of volume. I do lots of jazz gigs where I play mostly soprano, and the selmer is great. On tenor, I use a Vandoren V16 T95 metal mouthpiece and it’s also a cracker.

  14. I play a Lakey 6* on my alto and I find that it is too bright for me. That is why I am going to look into a Jody Jazz 5 HR, or maybe even a Selmer Super Session J alto. After hearing you on this Selmer SS J soprano piece, I may look into one for myself. It sounds gorgeous.

  15. Hi Steve,
    Great website! I’ve not been happy with my tenor sound for ahile now. Right now I’m playing mainly on a Ponzol Hard Rubber, but have also played on a vandoren Jumbo Java and some others. I like the overall control around the horn and sound, but would like a bit more edge and more ease of playing — I seem to get tired fast playing the Ponzol — On both soprano and alto I play Lakey hard rubber, and am happy with the sound. Do you think a Lakey Hard rubber on Tenor is a good piece? I’m playing a Super 20 on tenor if that helps?
    Thanks!
    Chris

  16. I’ve never played a Lakey hard rubber piece on the tenor so I can’t give you my opinion on it. If you get one let me know what you think. Steve

  17. Avatar Graham Snell says

    Steve
    The J seems to be quite an open piece comparable to to the Tenor pieces you usually play , do you find it easy going from Tenor to soprano on this piece, is it quite freeblowing
    Cheers

    G

  18. I don’t have the J anymore. It was the only soprano piece I played for a number of years and I didn’t think it was that open. Then I tried a more closed one for awhile and went back to the J and it seemed huge for me after that. The Soprano Planet piece I’m playing now is at .058 and teh Theo Wanne Gaia I play also is at .063 I believe.

  19. Avatar henk leeuwe says

    How different the opinons. I play already 30 years on a vintage Conn Eagle mouthpiece, but am almost through and am looking for something new. I tried also the Super Session J. What a horror!. Yes, for playing the very high notes rather easy but the sound is like false sopranino. I found under Selmer mouthpieces the CL (copy Bechet by Claude Luter). Also Drake makes fine large chamber mouthpieces with a fat sound thet can be modulated easy by the player. So! as many different mouthpieces as soprano players with a different taste.

  20. Hi Steve, are you still playing the Selmer Supper Session “J” mic. on your soprano?
    I notice in your reviews you favor a .065″ tip opening! Any reason for that?
    What would be the negative side of going larger or smaller with tip openings and playing around with reed strengths?

  21. Hi Angelo, No, I don’t play the SS J anymore. I’m just playing the Theo Wanne Gaia mouthpiece on soprano now. Usually the bigger tips have a more hollow spread sound to my ears but you can get more air through the piece and hence, more volume usually. The smaller tips have a more focused core sound to them. A bit easier to control but you might not be able to get as much air through them and less volume because of that………

  22. Avatar ezequielgarciapinilla says

    Hello Steve.
    I’ve read your comment about the Selmer Super Session “J”.
    I’m a novice in soprano (I’ve been playing tenor since 1985 to the date.)
    My question is: which opening is bigger, “J” o “I”?

    I’ve heard the clip with Selmer SS “J”.
    For me it sounds brilliant, I like that type of sound.
    I’ve tested an Otto Link STM 7*, and I liked it.
    Can you tell me something about Otto Link in comparison with SSS? Thanks!!!

  23. ezequielgarciapinilla,
    The J is a larger tip opening than the I. I liked the J the most of the SSS mouthpieces that I tried. Surprisingly enough, I have never tried a Otto Link STM on soprano so I can’t speak about the differences…….sorry. Steve

  24. Bought a soprano Selmer Series III a month ago and kitted it with a Phil Tone Sapphire .067, a Selmer Super Session E and a Syos 7*, all played with Legere Signature 2 1/4 or 2 1/2.
    Until then I was a real novice on soprano, staying away from what I regarded as too high a pitch, and now I love it, alternating with my tenor Series III & alto SA 80 Series II.
    I did read your review about the Super Session I & J but, because it was my first experience on soprano, I decided to stay away with humility.
    Thanks a lot for your reviews Steve, looking forward to your views on Syos mpc

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