Dark to Bright Alto Sax Tone - Jody Jazz Mouthpieces – Better Sax

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Today I’ve got 5 amazing alto sax Jody Jazz mouthpieces to play test for you. One of which is my top recommendation for any student wanting to upgrade to their first jazz mouthpiece.

The mouthpieces we will be looking at today are all from Jody Jazz and are being played by some of the top saxophone players in the world today. Jody Jazz mouthpieces are known for their consistency, quality and reliable playability.

I want to let you know that in preparation for making this video, I’ve been playing these mouthpieces daily for the last month and have spent many hours with each one.

When trying a new mouthpiece it’s always very important to spend time with it as our first impressions can be deceiving. Also, using a variety of reeds to find what strength and cut works best is crucial.

Want more advice on trying new mouthpieces? Check out this post and review with the Jody Jazz DV NY mouthpiece.

For the sake of consistency, I’ll be using the same Rigotti 3 hard reed for each play test. One observation I’ve made over the last month is that these mouthpieces are extremely reed friendly. I’ve been able to play the same reed on each mouthpiece and get great results.

Dark to Bright – Jody Jazz Mouthpieces

With these 5 mouthpieces we are going to cover a sound spectrum from dark to bright. As we progress you may not notice the difference so much from one mouthpiece to the next, but if you jump from the darkest to the brightest the contrast will be very clear.

I’ve also put links throughout this blog to the JodyJazz website where you can purchase any one of these mouthpieces and take advantage of their trial policy to test them out.

DV NY

The first and darkest sounding is the DV NY. Now, it’s important to point out here that it is very common to have a pre conceived notion about how a mouthpiece plays based on what it looks like. In this case, we have this sleek gold plated metal mouthpiece and it looks like it will be this loud screamer right?

Not all metal mouthpieces are bright, the material alone does not determine how a mouthpiece plays, what’s much more important is the shape and dimensions of the chamber, the baffle, the side rails, the facing curve etc.

The DV NY features the double window design of the original DV mouthpiece but has a lower floor and larger chamber which gives it a more traditional jazz sound.

I’m playing Charlie Parker’s solo from Groovin’ High recorded with Dizzy Gillespie in 1945 still sounds great 75 years later. As a side note Groovin’ High is a contrafact based on the chord changes to the tune Whispering.

DV NY Play Test #1

Listen to my first play test at 03:22

This is a very free blowing mouthpiece, that’s fun to play and although it is on the darker end of the spectrum, I don’t find it at all stuffy. I think I have a naturally brighter sound on alto, so for me, this sort of mouthpiece can balance that out in an interesting way.

I feel as though I would miss a bit of projection in certain situations with the DV NY, but I love how it sounds listening back to the recording.

Personally, I wouldn’t choose this for a lead alto piece or playing in a rock band, but for small group work or acoustic performances this is a great choice.

The gold plating and engraving on these is beautiful and the precision of the manufacture is very impressive. The rains are very thin and uniform.

DV NY Play Test #2

Here’s another clip of me improvising over the first 8 bars of On Green Dolphin St. Listen to this one at 04:46

I’m playing the Jody Jazz Power Ring ligature on this which pairs very nicely.

The DV NY sells for $550.

HR*

Next up is the HR*. This is probably the most popular Jody Jazz mouthpiece and for good reason. I’m playing a 7 tip opening on all of these, but keep in mind they are available in a range of tip openings. This particular model is even available in a very small tip opening like a classical mouthpiece so you’ve got a wide range of possibilities.

HR* Play Test #1

Here’s my first play test of this mouthpiece at 05:36

The HR* is meant to capture the feel and sound of the classic hard rubber jazz mouthpieces. For me, it has more projection and brightness than a typical Meyer, and that’s what I like about it.

These are also made with incredible precision. Tiny imperfections can make a huge difference in how a mouthpiece plays, so consistency is extremely important. If I recommend a mouthpiece to a student, I want to expect that they are getting the same exact product I have.

These Jody Jazz pieces are as consistently well made and nearly identical all across the board.

I really enjoy playing the HR* on alto, it gives the player access to a very wide range of expressive possibilities. I can project and cut through, and then play whisper soft with a consistent tone over the full range of the saxophone.

HR* Play Test #2

Here’s the second play test for the HR* at 06:54

The HR* sells for a very reasonable $189. For that reason, I recommend this as the best choice for a step up jazz mouthpiece but it’s also a perfectly suitable professional mouthpiece. It’s the sort of thing that you could afford to have in a few different tip openings.

So for all the music teachers out their recommending the Meyer 5 to your developing students, I think the HR* is a better alternative. It’s a bit more expensive, but the consistency and versatility make it worth spending more.

DV

This is the original Jody Jazz DV. Like the DV NY we saw earlier, it also has the double window. I don’t know exactly what that does, but I can say that this may be my personal favorite mouthpiece out of all of them, and that goes for the tenor and baritone models as well.

The main difference from the DV NY is the raised floor of the chamber which results in a lot more projection. The Jody Jazz DV mouthpiece is significantly brighter, but it doesn’t ever get overly bright for me. The sound retains a wide spectrum of frequencies over the whole range of the saxophone which results in an unusually rich sound.

DV Play Test #1

Listen to the first play test here at 08:34

The DV is one of the most unique mouthpieces I’ve played and even though I’ve spent a lot of time with it, I feel like I’m still discovering new things the more I play on it.

I find it gives me access to the full palette of tone colors on the alto saxophone, while being easy to play and play in tune.

I have no problem playing in the altissimo range on any of these pieces, but starting with the DV, the altissimo becomes easier as more baffle in the mouthpiece help those notes pop out.

DV Play Test #2

Here’s the second play test for the DV at 09:27

The Jody Jazz DV sells for $550 and is very much a top of the line professional alto mouthpiece for serious saxophone players. I recommend this to anyone who wants to be able to project and play in the altissimo range with ease, but also wants access to a mellower, easy to blend sound.

Jet

Next up on the brightness scale, we have the Jody Jazz Jet.

Now, with this mouthpiece again, I had an idea of how it would play based on the name. Yes, it is a powerful mouthpiece that is on the brighter end of the spectrum, but for me it is still very much a jazz sound and can easily be used in a traditional jazz setting.

Jet Play Test #1

Listen to my first play test for the Jody Jazz Jet here at 10:33.

Try going back to listen to that clip on the HR* again to hear how they compare.

The Jet is a very comfortable mouthpiece to play if you like HR pieces. Especially if you want more projection, you should really try this one.

It’s intended for use in more contemporary styles of music. However, I would not hesitate at all to use this as a lead alto mouthpiece in a big band. It cuts, but still has the sound of a traditional HR jazz mouthpiece in there.

Notice the high baffle and small chamber in this design.

Jet Play Test #2

Here’s the second play test at 11:31.

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoy playing this piece. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants an affordable professional level mouthpiece that can help you be heard on any type of gig.

The Jet sells for $189 and again I think that it’s really a great value at that price.

Super Jet

Our final and brightest mouthpiece in this group is the Super Jet. Like all the other Jody Jazz mouthpieces, it is beautifully made with great attention to detail. I love the look of the matte silver plating.

Super Jet Play Test #1

Check out the first play test here at 12:28.

Now this is a bright, powerful, and cutting mouthpiece. When playing a bebop solo like this, it doesn’t sound out of place to my ears. While this mouthpiece is best used in higher faster louder situations, it retains a warmth and doesn’t get shrill sounding.

I use some form of ear protection when I practice on any mouthpiece, but with this one it’s really necessary. The Super Jet is super loud.

Altissimo notes are also very effortless with this mouthpiece.

Super Jet Play Test #2

Here’s the final play test at 13:27.

Even with the high baffle and small chamber, the low notes come out with ease and intonation is totally under control. For me this mouthpiece is the most challenging to play but if I were in merengue band or doing a DJ gig, this is the one I would want with me for sure.

The Super Jet sells for $350.

Final Thoughts

These 5 Jody jazz alto mouthpieces cover the full range of alto sax sound possibilities in popular music styles. They also cover a wide price range so anyone can get a professional mouthpiece that fits in their budget.

Again, I think the HR* is one of the best options available for developing students. It’s easy to play and very versatile.

The DV may be my favorite. However, I could see myself playing any one of these depending on the circumstances of the performance.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing a mouthpiece is that when you have something that’s more in the middle of the road it gives you access to a broader spectrum of sound possibilities while the extreme ends of the scale are better choices for a specific niche.

I have really enjoyed all 5 of these, and will continue to play on them going forward for sure.

Which mouthpiece was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

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