This is one way to think about just how important a well-balanced mouthpiece is for a soprano player. I started considering soprano saxophone and fuel injection while designing the OPEN SKY 2, but the idea applies to all soprano mouthpieces.
Performance autos moved to fuel injection long before the typical automotive production models. Injecting the precisely calibrated mixture of fuel and air into the rigorously designed combustion chamber maximized the efficiency and performance of the engine and the car. Getting the exact right mixture was carefully analyzed and tested, until the performance confirmed that the mixture was exactly right. Too much or too little fuel made for trouble. But once it was balanced correctly, it hummed.
But it only works if the fuel injection system is matched to the engine. Put a great fuel injector from a Chevy onto an engine from an Alfa Romeo and….. it doesn’t work well. All kinds of problems arise, if the engine will run at all. The reason is obvious: they are really not compatible.
The soprano mouthpiece functions a lot like the fuel injection system. It is designed to deliver, first, the air and, second, the sound wave, into the horn. And, almost any soprano mouthpiece can do that. But if the mouthpiece is not designed to be compatible with the rest of the “system” ( you and the specific horn you play ), all kinds of problems arise, just like the Chevy injector on the Alfa.
Like a poorly tuned injection system on a car, your horn may “choke up” or “stall”, or behave erratically while accelerating or decelerating. It’s funny how alike the two systems are, isn’t it?
Now, when things are extremely unbalanced, it’s easy to tell because very little goes right. But, just like car with a slightly clogged injector, small issues with soprano mouthpieces will cause odd things to happen. Hit “the gas” hard and…. Nothing. It just stalls. Or, try to “let it coast” and the engine starts coughing.
On soprano, these things are the usual suspects: resistance, stuffiness, lack of response, intonation issues and tone. They are all affected by the mouthpiece design and configuration, and there are two ways to determine which “injector” you and your horn need:
Keep buying mouthpiece after mouthpiece and hope you find the one that matches your system,
Order the mouthpiece that is made for you and guaranteed to make your Alfa operate like a Formula 1 winner. Guaranteed.