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  1. #1

    Default What mouthpiece?

    My name is Bruce. I am an intermediate player about to step it up a notch, and could anyone recommend a mouthpiece brand that I can confidently buy without having to test various pieces? I am looking for a "sound" similar to Michael Brecker's. He is/was my favorite modern jazz player! I love the Rovner style reed holder, it works well with my standard Vandoren mouthpiece, now I just need the right style/composition mouthpiece to go with it. I like Bonry James' sound also! (I play tenor, flute, harmonica, piano) Thanks, Bruce

  2. #2
    Heterodox nonconformist renaissance_man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Central NC


    Hello, Bruce. Let me be the first to welcome you to the labyrinth of information that is the SOTW Forum!

    Regarding your question(s), I'm sure others will echo this, but there is really no way to be absolutely certain that you will be happy with a mouthpiece without play-testing it first. The mouthpieces that I've ordered online and consequently sent back or sold are surely a testament to that! Anyway, if you're after the Brecker sound, I can offer you this: his style of mouthpiece was a high baffle/medium to large chamber kind of thing, so you might want to start from there in your quest. However, with that said, I would certainly recommend that you make sure that you have your breath support and embouchure squared away before you make that switch. Changing to a high baffle setup before these elements are really locked in can be detrimental, resulting in lack of fullness and body, and loss of control.

    Also, don't expect to find the "one perfect mouthpiece" that will make you instantly sound like Mike Brecker (aka, "chops in a box"), because there isn't one. If you really want to sound like that, the most important thing is that you listen, listen, listen. Once you really get the sound in your head, it will be a lot easier to reproduce on the saxophone.
    The sleep of reason produces monsters.
    Alto: Buescher Aristocrat Model 141 S/N 357*** + Selmer Soloist-Style .096" Tenor: Buescher Aristocrat Model 157 S/N 355*** | C. G. Conn New Wonder II + Otto Link Tone Edge 8*

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Forum Contributor 2012
    AhCheung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    I think Renaissance said it all... just wanted to add that my former sax teacher uses Vandoren Jumbo Java 95 on tenor and claims he can play any style on it (he plays classical, modern, pop, jazz).... you may also want to fiddle with testing different reed brands/cuts for a start, with your same mpc, INCLUDING synthetics like Fibracell... less expensive than changing mpc
    Hope this helps...

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Los Angeles County


    Agree with all responses. Jazzmaster, there is no way around the testing part of selecting a mouthpiece. If anyone comes up with a great mouthpiece set-up on the first pick, it is coincidence.

    I'll bet all of us have tested/owned MANY mouthpieces because finding THE ONE on the first attempt is almost impossible. For sure, no one here can recommend that ONE piece for you without being like winning a lotto; nor will you sound like your favorite player merely by playing his/her favorite saxophone and mouthpiece set-up. DAVE

  5. #5


    Sound advice, but I think the search can be narrowed down a bit. First of all, metal or hard rubber?

    Then are you playing alto or tenor? The standard for alto is meyer; for tenor it is Otto Link.

    Thiink also of reliability of quality on purchase: Phil Barone, Ralph Morgan, Yanagisawa, Jody Jazz are the names mentioned most often in this context. Why look for trouble? The Barone and Morgan pieces tend to be a little like the Meyers and Links, so could be one way to go. Be careful with Morgans, though as there are medium and large chamber versions. If you have a modern sax, a medium may be OK (but did not work for me on a Selmer); if vintage, go for the large chamber.

    Don't go for anything too way out .. or expensive; they are not worth it.

    Try eBay if you want to try out several mouthpieces and put the ones you don't want back on eBay.

    Go for a medium tip opening (about 5 or 6); anything narrower will be too classical; anything wider plain crazy for an intermediate player.

    All this does is point you down a road or two to get you thinking. After that, its trial and error.
    Buescher TT alto + Barone Jazz HR AND Buescher Big B Aristocrat tenor + Morgan Jazz L
    Conn 12M baritone + Erik Greiffenhagen custom HR

  6. #6


    michael brecker played a customized guardala if ur interested : /. He had some sort of throat thing that made him require a "customized" mouthpiece. I don't think you can buy these, maybe u can, maybe guardala made this style mainstream before they went out of business, im not exactly sure. Although you probably wouldnt sound the same on it.

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