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Vandoren Optimum Tenor Saxophone MouthpieceThe Vandoren Optimum series of saxophone mouthpieces is designed to be more free blowing and responsive. This tenor 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 TL3 and the TL4. The TL3 most closely resembles a C* facing and is perfect for students from beginner to intermediate and into advanced. It is characterized by roundness, depth and precision, and has a 1.76mm tip opening with a medium-short facing length. The L4 is a little more open than the TL3 with a richer timbre. Tip opening: 1.95mm. Facing length: Medium. 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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The Optimum is an excellent mouthpiece for beginners and professionals. It feels good and sounds awesome. The optimum works well with various reeds but Vandoren V16 and zz work very well. 2 1/2 to 3
I ended up purchasing a TL3 after I got a TL3, TL4 and T20 on trial. The T20 was super dark. I liked it, but it was almost too covered sounding. The TL4 was really easy to play as well, but it seemed a bit bright for me and the opening had me working too hard on a Rico Reserve 3.5 and getting too much reed sound on a 3. I went with the TL3 because, quite frankly, I felt like it was cheating. I couldn't believe how easy it was to just play the saxophone with this piece on. It did it all...
Tone -- unreal, buttery smooth, dark, but not stuffy.
Articulation--fast, easy, just the way it should be.
Reeds--I use Rico Reserve and Grand Concert Selects on this piece with great results.
If you or a developing student are in the market for a new mouthpiece, you owe it to yourself to try this one.
This is a simply amazing mouthpiece to boot. Although it's mainly a classical/contemporary piece, with a Rovner, or similar strap ligature, and a jazz reed, producing a Stan Getz kind of tone is a breeze. With a Classical reed of some type, either Hemke or Vandoren, the sound is almost liquid smooth. Intonation is the best compared to any piece I've played before, and response is perfect. Anybody looking for an upgrade should definitely give this one a try.
As a classical saxophonist, I am very picky about my sound as well as responsiveness in a mouthpiece. It needs to be reed friendly and compatible with many groups, being flexible enough to work form solo to ensemble situations. Having played many classical tenor mouthpieces, from Rascher setups to Selmer S90's, S80's (refaced and stock), the LT, and various vintage C*s, I couldn't find quite the right compromise between response, intonation comfort, and tone quality. Selmers typically were very reed picky, even refaced, and the Rascher was a challenging blow that produced a sonorous yet antiquated sound. Also, most makes besides Vandoren are incredibly inconsistant and dodgy with workmanship and finishing, so it adds another variable to your playing.
I was skeptical about the TL3 but tried it based on my excellent experiences with its sister product, the AL3; I am so glad I made the jump. I have never before played a mouthpiece that is this responsive, flexible in terms of voicing, homogenous across the range, and pure and focused in tone. This, paired with a Vandoren / Rico Reserve 3.5, proves to be my "beats all" mouthpiece. Its only caveat is that it plays a little more sharp than Selmers on my horn, but this is easily fixed. As I play it more, I find I am compensating, as well. Workmanship is great, no need to reface. All in all, an excellent sounding and playing product without the inconsistency of other makes. This is the new standard of classical mouthpieces for many years to come.
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