Saxophone Mouthpiece Trial Tips

I’ve had a ton of questions emailed to me over the years about all the mouthpieces I have reviewed.  Some of the typical questions are:

-How do I switch to different mouthpieces so often?

-How do I know what reeds to use?

-Why do I choose the ligatures I do?

-How do you know if a mouthpiece is for you or not?

-How long do you need to play on a mouthpiece to make a decision on it?

I could probably come up with one hundred more………..

Instead of typing all this information out on my blog here,  I decided to make a video where I talk about what I have learned over the year about trying out different saxophone mouthpieces.   I share some stories from my journey to illustrate some points.  The video is in 3 parts and I hope you find it beneficial.   If you have any questions about the videos or if you think of anything that I forgot to cover……feel free to let me know in the comments below. (I can add more videos in the future to answer other questions)    Thanks,    Steve

Sax Mouthpiece Trial Tips-Part 1

 -In part 1, I talk about the history of my mouthpiece reviews, how the site has helped people, you have to spend some hours on a mouthpiece to see what it can do, the importance of using new reeds on a new mouthpiece, the importance of having a variety of reed strengths and brands to try on the new mouthpiece, the importance of reed position, the effects of raising the reed or lowering it and correctly positioning it………..

Sax Mouthpiece Trial Tips-Part 2

-In part 2, I talk about lining the reeds up with the tip of the mouthpiece, the affects of the ligature position and tightness on the reed and mouthpiece, getting used to how a mouthpiece blows with your air and voicing, going from a smaller tip to larger tip, working on air support for larger tips, voicing positions are different on different mouthpieces, I share a bunch of stories to illustrate my points, the difficulty of jumping from a high baffle mouthpiece to a link style mouthpiece, the magic moment when you feel like you are one with your equipment, the effect of embouchure and how to change it to get the most out of a mouthpiece……..

Sax Mouthpiece Trial Tips-Part 3

-In part 3 I continue to talk about the effect of embouchure and how to change it to get the most out of a mouthpiece, experimenting with the amount of mouthpiece you put in your mouth, the importance of air support in playing a new mouthpiece, the difficulty of jumping from a Guardala type mouthpiece to a link type mouthpiece, how your voicing can change between mouthpieces, intonation tips, tips on what to do with your cork when trying mouthpieces with different bore sizes and the feelings that come with buying different mouthpieces.

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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 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site


  1. Avatar David Smith says

    Excelent video,this helped me out a lot.
    Thanks Steve

  2. Avatar Eugene M itchell says

    I am thinking of buying a BUesher true tone about 1948 ,no mouth piece I am not a great player what to do?

  3. Steve,
    This is great information. Thank you for taking the time to put it together and sharing it. Your site is an amazing learning resource.
    New Member,

  4. Bravo!
    Thoroughly enjoyable listen, Steve..
    You are a great communicator.
    Thank you,

  5. Wow Steve!

    I love the detail and to the point tips in these videos.
    You do a great job of explaining this topic.

    Man, the subject of reeds and mouthpieces can really be a nightmare. Fortunately, I’ve found a combination that fits me perfectly now. It only took about 20 years and a whole lot of cash buying and trying.

    These tips will most definitely be useful to sax players that need guidance with this.
    PLAY ON!

  6. One of your last comments “I hope this makes sense” is quite an understatement! The video is a great watch from a “regular” guy.
    That is the thing that jumps out at me even more than your sound advice Steve. I have been on web sites where each guy is trying to show he knows more than the next, sometimes even unnecessarily berating them.
    I have three mouthpieces coming from one of the common web stores out there and am quite nervous but at the same time excited about taking the step. I now have a solid place to start from and will exercise the proper patience, which I’m not sure I would have without watching this.
    I have played a rubber Java T75 for many years now which I find to be a wonderfully versatile mpc. I have been skeptical about trying anything else. I am an experienced player that is playing Rock and R&B in a 10 piece band with 5 horns. I’ve never had so much fun, as all the guys are good people. Lately I’ve been called on to do most of the solo work and feel I would like to project a little more. I am trying a Ponzol M2 stainless 105 (too chicken to try the 110 although I’m sure I can support it) a Guardala Crescent and an MBII. At least now I know how to go about it, thanks to you.
    Sincerely, Bart

  7. Great advice!

  8. Steve — Another great video and explanation. Mouthpiece choice can be overwhelming — I know, experiencing it now!
    Best Regards

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