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Vandoren Optimum Alto Saxophone MouthpieceThe Vandoren Optimum series of saxophone mouthpieces is designed to be more free blowing and responsive. This alto sax mouthpiece gives you accurate articulation and total control at all dynamic ranges with precise intonation.These mouthpieces are available in two different facings, the AL3 and the AL4. The AL3 most closely resembles a C* facing and is perfect for students from beginner to intermediate and into advanced. The AL4 is based on the popular A27 from the V5 series. The design is a bit more open and better for professionals or serious, upper-level students. It is similar to C**.Vandoren mouthpieces are known for their high, uniform quality—among the best of the mass produced. The Vandoren line is extensive. It covers all woodwinds and offers designs suited to a variety of playing and musical styles.
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I purchased this mouthpiece because the Selmer S80 C* just wasn't doing it for me. I have to say, I wish I had got this one from the start! I have an AL4, and it is the best mouthpiece I have ever played on. The low register is deep and doesn't "honk" at all. The high register pops with ease, as well as altissimo. The sound is mellow and dark -perfect for a classical player. There is also little resistance. Not to mention it's great for the price. I play this with a size 3 V12 reed, but blue box also sounds good.
I give my full recommendation for this mouthpiece!
For a long time I've been looking for an amazing sounding concert mouth piece that would give me a smooth, rich, dark sound without a buzz. I JUST bought this piece, got it a week ago and right out of the box it was everything I wanted. No buzz, rich, dark sound, centered pitch. It is extremely easy to keep this mouth piece in tune. My setup is Rovner Dark ligature and Vandoren ZZ 3 1/2. I know...ZZ reeds are for jazz but I like the response that I get from the thinner cut reeds that are focused on superb response however, the thickness being 3 1/2 gives me a rich sound not too bright.
If you are looking for a smooth, mellow, dark, rich tone you owe it to yourself to try this one. Like some of the other posts here, I ordered several mouthpieces from WWBW to do a side by side comparison. The Vandoren AL4 won hands-down! The tone I got from it was absolutely amazing. I continue to get compliments on my tone from amateur?s and pros alike. I recommend using it with a Rovner 1RL Dark ligature and Vandoren # 3 or better reeds. Plan on spending a week or so experimenting with the ligature placement. I found the best positioning for me was placing the ligature towards the back of the chamber then "cocking" the ligature forward and tightening. Have fun!
This is a GREAT mouthpiece - I've played a couple others but none of them give as good of a sound. I get a lot of compliments on my tone now and I think it has a lot to do with the Optimum. It's really clear, dark, smooth, rich, direct - it's great for classical but definitely not for jazz because it's so clean sounding. I got the AL3 and I've had it for about 2 1/2 years and it still sounds great, but the smaller facing is starting to feel like there's not enough flexibility, so I would definitely say for really experienced players or anyone playing on harder reeds (4 or above) that the AL4 would be the way to go.
I had been struggling with a different mouthpiece by a famous manufacturer for several years. The old piece just wasn't working for me...I could not get the dark sound I wanted. The "S" piece was also very resistant and slow to respond - I never got comfortable with it. This piece is completely different! Responsive, good intonation and very flexible in tone quality. I could not imagine being happier. This is my second Vandoren mouthpiece and I am very impressed. I can get the sound I want without having to think about it.
Recently, I have played on the Selmer S80 C* Mouthpiece. After purchasing the Vandoren Optimum AL3 I immediately heard and felt a difference in my sound. My tone was much more desirable that the tone that the S80 gave me. I have a richer and darker tone which is great for classical music. I would recommend this mouthpiece to anyone that wants to improve how they sound while playing classical music.
I've been a sax player on and off for 35 years, but the last 6 years I have gotten serious with it. My main mouthpiece was the Selmer C* for classical. I saw the good reviews on this piece and ordered one to see for myself. This piece is noticeably easier to play than the C*. The sound may be a little quieter, but the tone is still nice. This would be the best piece for a student, in my opinion or a classical player.
I bought the Vandoren AL3 mouthpiece about two years ago. It was one of the best investments I've ever made. Not only did it make my playing more fun, but my sound has improved tremendously. I wouldn't recommend this mouthpiece to a beginner, but for an intermediate or higher level player, it's amazing. It's a great step from a stock set-up. I wouldn't recommend any other mouthpiece.
I've been using a Selma Larry Teal mouthpiece playing a Yamaha 82Z alto sax. A good combo that works well for me when playing classical. When playing soft jazz, I use a Meyer M5 mouthpiece. A short time ago, a friend asked me to try the Vandoren AL4 mouthpiece and provide an opinion. I tried it with a #3 medium Rigotti Gold reed and WOW what a clearly noticeable difference in sound. Naturally, I liked it so much I had to buy one. I tried various ligatures and the one I thought worked best is the Rovner MKIII.C-1RL, lightly tightened (as in snug). When I first used the AL4 mouthpiece the fellows I played with liked the sound and said they heard a clean much darker focused sound, also thinking I may have been using a different sax. I still use the Larry Teal and the Meyer mouthpieces but the AL4 plays a much darker focused sound that seems to fill the room. The AL4 mouthpiece is easily free-blowing and quick to respond. It's a keeper.
I would Compare the Selma Larry Teal, Meyer M5, and the Vandoren AL4 mouthpieces as follows. The Selma Larry Teal is free-blowing and quickly responsive and plays a clean focused sound that's just a tad on the bright side. It's definitely a good versatile mouthpiece. The Meyer M5 is free-blowing and responsive and plays a clean, focused slightly darker sound than the Larry Teal mouthpiece. The Meyer M5 is a good jazz mouthpiece. The Vandoren AL4 is free-blowing and responsive and gives a clean darker focused sound than the Meyer M5. I like it and occasionally use it rather than the Meyer M5. If you like the sound, the Vandoren AL4 could be the one all purpose mouthpiece.
I went to a local music store and I tried out a variety of alto saxophone mouthpieces. This mouthpiece out played every single of the other mouthpieces I tried. It has an absolutely beautiful. The sound is not only deep, but almost rich. I had never heard my alto sound so beautiful. Furthermore, all the notes on my saxophone seemed to come out with a little more ease. The more I played this mouthpiece, the more I loved what I was hearing. I loved it so much that I immediately ordered it off WWBW because it was about $20 cheaper. I got the AL4, the AL3 was a little too closed for me.
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