Untitled Document
     
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!
     

Where to find mezzo soprano sax reeds?

As I mentioned in the New Member with Clarinet/Saxophone thread, I have a Conn mezzo soprano saxophone. I was inspired by reading the True Tone Alto thread to seek reed suggestions, and here's why:

I inherited the horn with two mouthpieces: the original mouthpiece and an alto sax mouthpiece, which someone lined the inside of with cork (?) so that it would fit on the smaller neck. I assume this was done because of the lack of availability of reeds to fit the mezzo soprano mouthpiece.

I read through some old threads on this forum, and checked a few of the online vendors (i.e. discount reed, 1stopclarinet, usareeds) with no luck.

Short of making my own reeds, which I have zero experience doing, does anyone know where I could find reeds to go with the original mouthpiece? I'd love to try the original setup.

Thanks!
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I don't have a clue to what size mouthpiece is appropriate to your F-mezzo. I've only seen and heard one of these horns before - and that was a while back. But I know that some horns can be effectively (and well) played with other size mouthpieces (e.g., alto or tenor pieces on a C-Mel).

If you are able to do so, it may be worth your time to take your horn (or at least the neck) to a large music store with a wide selection of soprano and alto mouthpieces and try all of them on your neck. Mouthpieces vary as to the inner diameter of the barrel. You may stumble across some that will fit your neck. Otherwise, you could re-cork-to-fit.

Does the alto saxophone piece fit your F-mezzo (your description wasn't clear to me)?

When you place your F-mezzo's stock piece (assuming that what you have is a stock piece - those things can be iffy if someone before you switched mouthpieces) next to the known alto piece, what are the size differences?

How does an alto reed fit when placed against the F-mezzo's mouthpiece table? Is it way too big . . . or . . .?

You may also want to compare your F-mezzo piece to a standard Bb soprano piece. Maybe a soprano piece would work.

I know much of this doesn't answer your basic question, but it will solve MY curiousity!!

Some players have found that various sized clarinet reeds will work on saxophone mouthpieces. If you can find alto clarinet reeds, etc., etc., maybe they'd line up with the table on your F-mezzo piece. Or slightly trimming an alto sax reed (by sanding the sides to narrow the reed's width) would better fit your F-mezzo piece.

There are probably many solutions. Hope I've mentioned a few. DAVE
 
I would see if you can find normal soprano sax reeds, and I'd try alto sax reeds. I don't know of any mass produced reed between those sizes. Bb clarinet are longer and narrower than sop sax. Alto clarinet uses alto sax reeds. Bass clarinets are the size of tenor reeds. Not aware of any others.

There are a few players who use bari sax reeds on tenor mouthpieces and tenor reeds on alto mouthpieces because they get a "fatter" sound out of them. I don't see why the same principle wouldn't apply to F-mezzo. It's worth a shot anyway.
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
The best reed as far as I know is an alto reed. At least, that's what I use. They are a bit too long, but they work well. Just experiment with different strengths and cuts. Soprano reeds are too narrow for the original mouthpiece, as are clarinet reeds.

As far as I know, reeds made specifically for F mezzo-soprano were never made, and believe me, I've looked long and hard.

Most alto mouthpieces cannot be pushed on to the F mezzo neck far enough to get up to A=440, although I had some luck with a Lakey alto mouthpiece. Welchmusic on ebay occasionally sells a very good Babbit mouthpiece for f saxophones, but I think the original is better.

Many years ago, Frank Wells made me an F saxophone mouthpiece out of an old large chambered Meyer soprano mouthpiece. I know of other F mezzo players who use Bb soprano mouthpieces, sometimes with the backbore enlarged. They work very well, especially for a modern sound.
 
Last edited:
One of the guys in our wind ensemble is playing eefer and he is just taking Bb clarinet reeds, clipping the end and shaving them down. Might work on alto reeds as well. If Randy says it works, then it works.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
On my oldest bass clarinet, it with the narrow mouthpiece, I have cut down (for length) and sanded down (for width, taking equal amounts from either side of the reed) regular bass clarinet reeds to fit with little or no problem.
 
When you place your F-mezzo's stock piece (assuming that what you have is a stock piece - those things can be iffy if someone before you switched mouthpieces) next to the known alto piece, what are the size differences?
Here's a picture of the size difference, and yes, the alto mouthpiece fits onto the neck (only because someone lined the inside with cork, I think).

As suggested, I tried an alto reed onto the original F mezzo mouthpiece. It is indeed too long, but does work. I may try to sand the edges because it is just wider than the opening. Otherwise, it plays just fine. My ear is probably not as discerning as all of yours, but I think the sound was a little warmer. I'll stick with the original equipment for now and just use alto reeds.

Thanks for your help everyone!!
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
The shorter of the two mouthpieces shown in the picture certainly has that "vintage" look. Are there any markings on the one you think is the stock F-mezzo mouthpiece? I'd also like to see that mouthpiece side-by-side with a soprano sax mouthpiece, too. But maybe that's asking too much. After all, the question was about reeds and now that you know you can play it, it looks like a done-deal. One thing, though. You may be surprised at how much more open that horn sounds with a more modern mouthpiece on it (I'm sure you've already seen the discussion of modern vs. vintage pieces in another thread).

The length of the reed shouldn't matter too much if the sides line up close enough. Keep us posted on how this horn progresses for you. DAVE
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I think it's the original F mezzo mouthpiece. The size looks correct and the marking makes sense. Many F mouthpieces (F Mezzo and Conn-O-Sax) are not marked at all.
 
Top Bottom