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  Saxophone Set Up - GEAR

Greg Vail

Saxophone Set Ups, sax gear, Greg Vail mouthpieces, saxes, sax necks and equipment.

Saxophone Set Ups

The most asked about topic on forums, emails, websites, socials and back stage across the world - What kind of Mouthpiece do you use?
What kind of Sax is that??
What number Reed do you use??

I have had this information online for years, buried in a pile of bio pages and realized it need to be updated and visible for sax players to find easily at 3 AM, rather than waiting a month for me to find the question online and try and respond long after anyone cared! Hope this helps!

Sax Set Up Disclaimer

You can have the exact same Sax Set Up as Kirk Whalum and not sound very much like him at all! I want you to read a couple of pages on the Sax Review Site - One Size Does Not Fit All - How To Buy a Sax! These go into greater detail and explain how each piece of the puzzle is first effected by the person doing the blowing!

Most Important in a Sax Set Up

The big 3 pieces of the puzzle, arguably effect 75%+ of a Saxophones tone production as the sax player blows. The Saxophone, the Sax Mouthpiece and the Saxophone Reed.

The war totally goes crazy as you go to the smaller parts of a sax and wether they can effect the sound at all. I don't let the self imposed scientist of the Saxophone world tell me I am wrong - ever! Last time I checked - The scientific method involved test and observation. My experience says (with all my tests and years of observation as a player) any piece of the puzzle that is changed can and will change the end product. The open variable being the musician since we are all very very different before we even put an instrument to our face!

Sax Accesories - Further Shaping the Tone

The list of smaller effecting puzzle pieces-
  • Sax Necks
  • Ligatures (Mouthpiece)
  • Sax Finish and Base Materials
  • Pad types
  • Resonators on the Pads
  • Thumb Rest Hook and Post materials
  • Base material for Ligature Screws
  • Base material for everything on a Saxophone

    Greg Vail Soprano Sax Set Up

  • Yamaha YSS-62R Soprano Saxophone, now discontinued.
  • Beechler medal #7 mouthpiece
  • Beechler Ligature
  • Rico Royal 2 reeds
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Alto Saxophone Set Up

  • Yamaha YAS-875EXW Custom Alto Saxophone, EX model in White - the 50th Anniversary Edition, limited to 50 pieces. This is my daily player now - NOV 09 - standard production model with the provided G1 neck.
  • Played with the Guardala with Plastic Cover Reeds listed below.
  • Yamaha YAS-875B Custom Alto Saxophone, Black Lacquered
  • Yamaha Silver Plated M1 neck
  • Dave Guardala Bebop Traditional Alto Gold Plated Mouthpiece
  • Dave Guardala Ligature
  • Rico Plastic Cover #2 1/2
  • OR - New York Meyer 6M
  • Silver Plated Harrison Ligature
  • Rico Plastic Cover #3 reeds
  • Yamaha prototype, solid Silver Thumb Rest
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Tenor Saxophone Set Up

  • Yamaha YTS-875B Custom Tenor Saxophone, Black Lacquered
  • Yamaha Silver F1 neck
  • Dave Guardala Crescent Tenor Mouthpiece by Dave Guardala, Gold Plated
  • Dave Guardala Crescent Tenor Mouthpiece by Nadir at PMS Germany, Gold Plated
  • Rico Plastic Cover #2 reeds
  • Selmer Silver Ligature
  • Ishimori Gold Plated and solid Copper Ligatures
  • Brass Oleg Thumb Rest
  • Roo Pads
  • Gold Plated Noyak Resonators
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Bari Sax Set Up

  • Yamaha YBS-62 Baritone Saxophone, Brass Lacquer
  • Guardala Silver Plate Studio II Mouthpiece
  • Selmer Silver ligature
  • Rico Royal Plastic Cover #4 Reeds
  • Flight Case - the new Walt Johnson flight case for Bari Sax
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Clarinet Set Up

  • Yamaha YCL-CSV Custom V-Series Clarinet
  • Petterson Custom 63mm Barrel
  • Jim Kanter Custom Clarinet mouthpiece
  • Vandoren Optimum ligature
  • Vandoren #4 reeds
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Flute Set Up

  • Muramatsu Flute
  • Wing tip head joint by Muranatsu
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Piccolo Set Up

  • Yamaha YPC-62 Wood Piccolo
  • No other modifications made to date

    Greg Vail Electronic Sax Set Up

  • Akai EWI 4000 - Electronic Wind Instrument
  • Patchman custom sound bank
  • Yamaha turbo VL70 Virtual Acoustic Synth module from Patchman

    Sax Effects - Sax Mics - Set Up

  • Links to my articles on Audio Technica clip on and wireless mics
  • Links to my Sax Rack set up details
  • Diagram for my rack - digital effects for the Saxophone in live gig settings - Setting up effects to work well from the mixer

    The old page in the BIO in case you want to look for anything more on the topic - click here.

    I hope this helps and answers the fact questions. It is good to know what pros use because they have access to more information and greater opportunity to experiment. It is also important to remember that you need to find YOU - your sound - your voice. Good luck finding that perfect combination of gear and talent! Many Blessings, Greg Vail - SAXBOY

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