Around 15 years ago I played in a band with a tenor sax player who had a metal (silver or aluminum finish) mouthpiece but he used alto reeds. This seems strange to me, but I know this to be true because I only ever carried alto reeds and used to loan him reeds when he needed a quick replacement.

I am curious, does anyone know what mouthpiece this may have been?

Is it possible it could have been a standard mouthpiece with a custom plate designed to decrease the facing profile to one that an alto reed would cover?

I haven't found anything over the years of searching but I could just be using the wrong key words.

  • 2
    Could have been, or he was wedging an alto mouthpiece onto a tenor neck (maybe hacking the cork), or just using the wrong reeds by choice. Further, your statement that he used your altos in an emergency hardly proves he didn't otherwise use tenor reeds. Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 17:16

5 Answers 5


I've got a silver guardala studio mouthpiece on my tenor, and I've started using alto reeds on that. It's a very slim mouthpiece.


I have a metal selmer mouthpiece for tenor that came with a C Melody horn and the tenor reeds protrude from the side, causing a metal ligature to bend or not completely hug the reed. So I can see his attempt. Gonna go home and try that!


You can just use the wrong reeds. They're not nearly as finicky as some people would have you believe. It's actually pretty common to use one size larger reeds than normal (e.g., tenor sax reeds on alto, or very commonly, Bb clarinet reeds on Eb with a barrel modification so it fits), so going the other way isn't unthinkable.


I've been using an alto reed on my vintage otto link metal piece. It has to be slightly off center to correct seal and sounds a tad bit airy. It saves a lot of cash though, and I don't take in much mouthpiece when playing jazz so it's never been an issue. I'm tried it out of being lazy but it's proven to work pretty well.


Metal mouthpieces are slimmer than hard rubber/plastic mouthpieces across the board (for reasons that have to do with tone), so it's not necessarily one specific metal mouthpiece that this would work for.

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