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Eppelsheim bass saxophone neck for baritone mouthpiece

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
OK, I got a request to post about Benedikt Eppelsheim's bass sax neck that uses a baritone sax mouthpiece.

Pro: You can use any baritone sax mouthpiece on it, and it is really, really loud.

Con: It's expensive, and high F# (3 ledger lines above the staff) is a little flat. It makes the Eppelsheim bass sound more like a Selmer.

Benedikt Eppelsheim himself doesn't like the neck, because he wants the horn to be perfectly in tune and he wants the true bass sax sound. With the neck for baritone mouthpiece, his bass sounds a little like a Selmer, with less depth, but it is really loud.

First, a description - The bass neck for baritone mouthpiece is EXACTLY like the standard Eppelsheim bass neck, but the end with the cork on it has a sudden contraction in diameter to fit a standard baritone sax mouthpiece. The neck is also longer so that the bari mouthpiece plays in tune (except for the altissimo F#)

Since I own a contrabass sax, I could foresee a situation in which I would have to loan my bass sax to a baritone player so that I could play contrabass. Almost no one owns a bass sax mouthpiece with the necessary large backbore to fit the Eppelsheim bass, so the new neck was an option that solved some problems. But to use a baritone mouthpiece on an Eppelsheim, you don't have to buy the neck.

The best solution for using a baritone mouthpiece on the Eppelsheim bass sax that I have found is this:

1. Find a good, loud baritone mouthpiece that has at least a medium chamber, not a high baffle mouthpiece. (OK, if you want to use a high baffle mouthpiece, they are screamingly loud but not too flexible) I have had the best results with old slant signature Otto Links and M.C. Gregory baritone pieces, but I'm sure there are other good choices, such as Lawtons, new Otto Links, and others.

2. The baritone piece will not fit onto the Eppelsheim bass sax neck because the backbore is too small. Test the mouthpiece on a baritone sax. If it's loud on a baritone, it'll be louder on a bass. Try for a mouthpiece that has at lest some depth in tone.

3. Open up the backbore of the bari sax mouthpiece. Here's how - get a wooden dowel that loosely fits into the backbore of the bari sax mouthpiece. Cut a lengthwise slot in the dowel for about 2 inches right down the middle. Get some sandpaper of varying coarseness from 60 grit to 400 grit. Cut the sandpaper into strips about 2 inches wide (Use old scissors!), slide the first inch into the slot in the dowel and wrap the strip around the dowel until is fat enough to sand the inside of the mouthpiece shank. Turn the dowel + sandpaper one way only (!) to sand and open up the backbore. When the sandpaper grit fills up with hard rubber from the mouthpiece, fold the used grit under the unused part of the sandpaper to reveal fresh unused sandpaper. You can also slide the used sandpaper into the slot of the dowel and use the other end of the strip.

4. As you get closer to the proper internal diameter, use sandpaper with a finer grit. It's a whole lot harder to add material than to take it off!

5. You will probably have to extend the shank of the baritone mouthpiece to get in tune on the Eppelsheim standard bass neck. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to glue an extension onto the neck end of the mouthpiece. Grind the end of the moutghpiece flat and use really good slow setting epoxy to glue on a piece from another baritone mouthpiece. Use your slotted dowel plus sandpaper wrap to align the 2 parts, and use your brain to find stuff around the house to press the 2 parts together while the epoxy sets. If you are good with a lathe, cut a small tenon and socket joint to make it stronger. Add about 3/4" to the mouthpiece shank depending on the size of the chamber. Big chamber mouthpieces require less extension, high baffle mouthpieces require more length.

6. Sometimes bad baritone mouthpieces make great bass mouthpieces.

7. I went to the hardware store and bought a piece of copper tubing that I epoxied over the entire extended shank of the baritone mouthpiece. I used lots of epoxy, slid the tube over the back of the mouthpiece and presto! a bomb proof joint.

8. If you want to use a metal baritone mouthpiece (Otto Links are very good), the best procedure is probably to cut off the shank of the mouthpiece and then solder a larger diameter brass tube onto the outside of the mouthpiece shank.

9. This method is pretty much standard operating procedure for opening up any saxophone mouthpiece backbore. If the moderators want to move it to another area, feel free to do so.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
FWIW, if I had an Eppie bass, I'd have a nice bass sax mouthpiece. So, if someone was to borrow the horn, I'd assume he'd borrow the mouthpiece, too. Or, alternately, I bet an extra bass mouthpiece is cheaper than an extra neck.

Also, FWIW, my Sigurd Rascher bari mouthpiece was bigger than Conn's and fit just fine on the New Wonder bass I played. Intonation was a bit off, but that could be due to the instrument's design and state of repair as much as the mouthpiece being designed for bari.
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
FWIW, if I had an Eppie bass, I'd have a nice bass sax mouthpiece. So, if someone was to borrow the horn, I'd assume he'd borrow the mouthpiece, too. Or, alternately, I bet an extra bass mouthpiece is cheaper than an extra neck.

Also, FWIW, my Sigurd Rascher bari mouthpiece was bigger than Conn's and fit just fine on the New Wonder bass I played. Intonation was a bit off, but that could be due to the instrument's design and state of repair as much as the mouthpiece being designed for bari.
Pete,
Everything you say here is true. However, there are bass sax borrowers who are completely freaked out by a bass sax mouthpiece.
When I rework Rascher-style baritone mouthpieces for bass sax, I don't change them very much. For the Eppelsheim, which has a huge diameter neck at the neck cork, I do have to enlarge the backbore, tho...
 
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