This summer I visited Japan for the first time, and was blown away by how crazy they are about saxophones. Not only are some of the finest instruments in the world made there, like Yamaha and Yanagisawa, there is also a smaller brand you may not know about called Ishimori, based in Tokyo.
They’ve got a great shop in the center of town which is a must visit for all saxophone players, and while you’re there, you’ve got to try their saxophones, mouthpieces, and ligatures, all of which are known to be excellent quality. Mr. Ishimori was kind enough to send me home with a few of their mouthpieces and ligatures, which I want to share with you in this video.
Alto EX-L Mouthpiece
This first alto mouthpiece is a 7 tip opening and I’m using a BetterSax Jazz Cut reed 2.5, straight out of the box.
This mouthpiece, the EX-L, is modeled after a vintage Brilhart design. It has a larger chamber and lower baffle which gives you a nice dark and warm sound. The alto sax I’m playing for you is the soon to be released BetterSax Tradition, which will be the step up to our entry-level Classic line.
Alto Traditional Jazz Model Mouthpiece
Now here’s another Ishimori mouthpiece. This is the traditional Jazz model which is based on a Meyer design.
As you can hear, this one is a bit punchier and has more projection and brightness that’s due to the smaller chamber and higher baffle. I do like this mouthpiece a lot better than most Meyers I’ve tried, which tend to be on the darker side and sometimes even a bit stuffy. As you can see, the mouthpieces are very well finished, with thin tips and rails. The design of the shank is very nice as well.
Ishimori also makes some very nice ligatures. I have their standard two screw model model as well as the new Classic that has a plate holding the reed. They come in a variety of finishes like gold-plated, silver-plated, and rose gold.
I actually prefer the two screw design because it really holds the reed on there very solidly. The one with the plate is very cool but like most ligatures in this style, it’s a bit more delicate when it comes to adjusting the position of your mouthpiece on the neck cork.
Tenor Traditional Jazz Model Mouthpiece
I also have the Ishimori traditional Jazz mouthpiece for tenor. This is the one that’s based on a Meyer design. Let me play this 7* tip opening for you now. Once again, I’m using a BetterSax Jazz Cut 2.5 reed.
The horn is the very soon to be released BetterSax Classic tenor, and you can get more information on all that stuff at www.bettersax.com. So what do you think of these Ishimori mouthpieces and ligatures? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you to Ishimori for allowing to me to try all the great gear, and if you’re ever in Tokyo you’ve got to go visit their shop which has a large selection of vintage as well as new saxophones and a very busy repair department.
While in Tokyo, I also visited the Yanagisawa saxophone factory where they make world-class saxophones and mouthpieces. Watch this video next where you can see the entire amazing process in detail.