vrijdag 18 november 2011

Review Vandoren BL3

Ever since I picked up the baritone in the '90's I wanted to play Vandoren, but it never worked for me.

The main problems were: Quacking sound when playing loud and squeaks! Every so many years I tried different types of Vandoren mouthpieces for baritone. I felt that there was something to gain from Vandoren. But the practical problems were always in the way. Vandoren came closer some years ago with the BL3 mouthpiece. The squeaks were gone for the largest part and the sound came closer to something that I liked. But of course, like on alto, the biggest gain I get from the BL3 is playing ease. Some eyars ago I decided playing ease was equally important as a 'good' sound when selecting material. The BL3 is fantastic in that sense that the legato, even in bigger jumps is so much easier. The sound is more consistent and 'cleaner'. I always have the feeling that the baritone is not a serious solo saxophone. It is too hard to play. The BL3 amkes the baritone come closer to a 'real' saxophone. When playing fast notes with register changes I can hear all the notes, whereas with my C* I just had to give up playing all the notes, some would fall out of the line, no matter how hard I tried.
In general, the mouthpiece is much easier to play than any other classical mouthpiece.

Disadvantages are still:
-There is a bigger chance of water on the reed, producing a strange effect to the sound.
-The squeaking is still there, but much less. I have not squeaked in the four concerts I gave in three days on our US tour. Gauvin's tip to put the reeds further over the tip worked, but also straighting out the reed with the Vandoren reed resurfacer seemed to work. And some reeds just squeak...
Also, I feel I have to take less mouthpiece in my mouth.
-The 'quacking' is still a risk. The Vandoren needs more containment, especially in the louder registers. On the Selmer I could open my embouchure and throat, and the sound would still be more or less focussed. On the Vandoren I have to focus the air more.
-The sound, even in legato, is a bit flat. You have to put a lot 'of yourself' into this mouthpiece to have personality and soul come into your sound.

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