Saxophone/Tenor Mouthpiece


QUESTION: I was recently given a Cecilio Tenor sax but was missing the mouthpiece... I donot play the sax but may try...I'm a French horn player... I'm totally confused what to look for in a mouthpiece (there are so many to pick from). I don't want to invest a lot of money cause this is a cheap sax. I also saw on e-bay of a copper piece to put under the literature. Is this a good idea or a waste of money? I need a mouthpiece to see if it even plays. The sax itself is in very good shape. A simple lesson on mouthpieces would be nice...Thanks     Ken
   P.S.  Where on this sax can I find the model? Serial #?

ANSWER: Hello Kenneth.
What you need is a good, inexpensive mouthpiece. The copper piece under the ligature is a waste of money. The greatest tenor sax mouthpieces have always been Otto Links. John Coltrane  played a metal one and Stan Getz played a hard rubber Otto Link Tone Edge. If you are serious about playing the tenor sax professionally, I would get an Otto link. For now, any cheap plastic student mouthpiece will work. They are about $15 to $25 dollars. Yamaha makes a good student mouthpiece for tenor. By the way, the serial number should be on the sax below the thumb hook. I would go to a music store and look at their selection of mouthpieces and get a good deal....You can always up-grade later, once you get a private sax teacher...The most important thing to look at, when buying a sax mouthpiece is the tip opening. Another great tenor sax mouthpiece is the MEYER hard rubber. A Meyer 7mm is a great first mouthpiece for tenor sax. Beginners will usually have a mouthpiece that is an .085" tip (Closed),(Selmer C*),and pros will use a sax mouthpiece on the tenor sax that is bigger ...(Medium).095" & .100", (Medium Open).105" and (Open) .110" and even extremely Open .115" .120". Lenny Picket on Saturday night live uses a Berg Larsen Metal .130" over zero facing which is totally extreme. Just get a nice hard rubber Otto Link tone Edge 7* or 8 and be done with it....You will have the Greatest mouthpiece ever made....Don't forget to get some sax lessons on the alto sax first. The Eb alto sax is considered to be the one that students learn sax on. You can learn sax on the  Bb tenor, but its harder, bigger and heavier.
Good Luck!
Grant Koeller   

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QUESTION: I will certainly take your advise...Now I need to know about reeds... I heard that synthetic reeds are great.. What # would you say a beginner start out with & what would be your choice for a beginner. I know in horns, the mouthpiece is the most important item... I would like to find an easy to play reed that again is not too expensive... I donot plan to ever become a professional sax player but it would be nice to learn to play more then one instrument... I only have this Tenor sax so that is what I'm going to learn on. I have a few clarinets & the synthetic reed I have works great!

ANSWER: Hello Kenneth,
Real reeds will always sound better and pay better than synthetic reeds in my opinion. The reed world is controlled by 2 companys...(think Pepsi and Coke)  They are Vandoren and Rico, both companys make great reeds...Both companys make a classical reed and a jazz reed...For you, please try out Rico Jazz select or Vandoren Java (green box). A sax beginner on alto starts out with a Rico 2 1/2 then after 1 or 2 years goes up to a Rico 3... Then they will get a pro mouthpiece made from hard rubber.(Selmer, Vandoren, Meyer, Morgan,) On the tenor sax,  Please try out some Vandoren blue box (classical) 2 1/2 , or Vandoren Java Green box 3's...You will love them! Synthetic reed are good for outside, playing in the summer, or for doubling , when you don't have time to wet a regular reed on your clarinet, the tone of synthetic reeds are not as rich or full as real cane, however.
Good Luck!
Grant Koeller

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QUESTION: Thanks for your reply...Here is the site where I purchased this mouthpiece... It's not a closed tip but should work! It is an Otto Link so I hope it is a good one.
My thoughts on the synthetic reeds would be purhaps less maintanance & longer life. They seem to last forever & like you said, don't need to moisten them before playing...I think I will buy both & compare. I really appreciate your advise along w/ your experience so it has been very helpful. P.S. I too started playing in grade school, high school & then the Navy... Hadn't played since for over 40 yrs & finally took it up again & now play in our community band. Comment on that mouth piece if u want... Thanks again   Ken

Hello Kenneth,
That Otto LINK hard rubber 7* LOOKS Perfect!!! It is not a small tip, which is recommended for beginners, but it has the correct tip opening for  professional tenor sax players..
You will now SOUND Just like Stan Getz!!!I'm so happy for you, please let me know how everything works out for you. The Otto Link hard rubber 7* is one of the great sax mouthpieces ever made! perfect for classical,jazz, blues, rock and Big Band swing like the Glenn Miller band! I will be traveling out to Iowa for the Glenn Miller festival, and I'm playing on my Rubber Link, Selmer Super Action tenor(Super Balanced Action) or[SBA].It's perfect with some Vandoren green box Java 3's or (even 3.5's,)! Good Luck!
Grant Koeller


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Grant R. Koeller


I'm a Professional Jazz Saxophone soloist recently retired from 23 years with the USAF Band Of Flight, WPAFB, OHIO, experienced in performance, technique and equipment. I'm not a buyer/seller or dealer. I have 40 years Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Bari Saxophone performance experience with additional years on the Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drum-set, Guitar and Voice. I'm a third generation professional military musician, my father, Bill Koeller(1939-1997) was in the USAF 1958-1962, and played Jazz Hammond B-3 organ from 1957-1997, and my fathers Uncle, Alfred Koeller (1912-1993), was a professional Acoustic Bassist in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and also performed on Jazz Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano and tenor saxophone.


Professional Saxophone Soloist, 23 total years with the USAF Bands, 6 years with the USAF Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, performing on Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Clarinet, and Flute. 4 years in Japan, at Yokota AFB with the USAF Band of the Pacific. An Avid Composer and Arranger for the Night Hawk Protocol Combo. Former Lead Alto Saxophonist with the USAF Night Flight Big Band performing the music of Glenn Miller as well as other hits of the Big Band Era. I collect LP records of Jazz, blue's, classical and rock, and have over 12,000 records.

USAF,Phi MU Alpha Sinfonia, Men's National Music Fraternity, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra, Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Love Big Band, Gem City Big Band, Jazz Central Big Band, Shin Sings Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra,USAF Night Flight Jazz Ensemble, Different Hats Big Band, Jimmy Baker Blues Band, This Side Up, Freelance, KING KOELLER Quartet, Jazz Central Big Band, GB Work, Sax On The Web,

Saxophone On the Web; Anchorage Daily News; All Experts; Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;

North Texas State University School of Music, Jazz Studies 1982-1986 Lead Alto, Lab bands 1982-83 and small group leader 1983-1984, Jazz Radio Host WVIK 90.1 FM NPR affiliate Rock Island, IL United States Collegiate Wind Band European tour 1980 Augustana College, Rock Island IL, Liberal Arts Music Mentors/Teachers:My father Bill Koeller, a Jazz Hammond B-3 Organist (1939-1997) Great Uncle Alfred Koeller, Acoustic Bass 1912-1993

Awards and Honors
Paul Shartle Musician of the Quarter Spring 2008; Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa featured soloist; McDonald's All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble 1979; US Collegiate Wind Bands,Paul Lavalle Conductor, tour of Europe,1980; John Phillip Sousa Award, 1980 Dimond HS Anchorage, Alaska; USAF National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; USAF Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters; USAF Good Conduct Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters

Past/Present Clients
Performed with, Bob Hope, The Platters, Four Tops, Jimmy Dorsey, Crystal Gail, Helen Ready, James Williams, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Jack Jones, The Mills Brothers, the G-Clef's, Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall, Performed for the King Of Thailand 2005, Tom "Bone's" Malone, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Turrentine, Performed for President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, The Maguire Sisters, The USO Girls-Andrew Sisters Tribute, The Four Lads, Lincoln Berry, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Louis Bellson, Buddy DeFranco, Walter Bishop Jr, Sadao Watanabe, Bobby Shew, Pete Jolly, Quad City Jazz Ensemble, Augustana College Symphonic Band, Jack Scott, Catfish Jazz Society, Intrigue-Boston Wedding Band, The Mark Herbert Little Big Band, The Pacesetters Big Band, The Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble, Pacific Showcase Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Big Band under the direction of Lee Castle, Ronny Scott Orchestra, Big Al's Hot Dance Orchestra, The Dayton Sidewinders, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Ken Peplowski, Eddie Daniels, Buddy Guy, Roy Hargrove, Warren Parrish, John OMeara Jr., Dave Holcomb, Albia Silva,Vinnie Demartino, Clon VonFitz, The G Clef's

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