Play Testing 5 Alto Sax Mouthpiece Upgrade Ideas

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Alto Sax Mouthpieces

Today, I’m going to play test and review 5 different alto sax mouthpiece upgrade options.

I get asked every day about mouthpieces. Which one is better, which one should I buy, how can I get a more jazzy sound? The list goes on and on…

I never tell anyone buy this particular mouthpiece or that particular mouthpiece because our preferences are all different. The best mouthpiece for me isn’t necessarily the best for you.

Your mouthpiece preference will be as individual as you are as an individual. That’s why there are so many different mouthpieces to choose from and each one has it’s own set of variations.

I want to talk about some great mouthpieces that I think are worth checking out if you’re looking to upgrade to a professional level.

4 of these are based around the classic Meyer style and design. Each one is a great all around mouthpiece that you could use for a variety of musical situations.

Listen carefully and let us know your thoughts on these pieces in the comments below – especially if you are already playing on one of them.

100 Year Anniversary New York Meyer 6

First we are going to check out the latest offering from the JJ Babbitt company which currently produces all the modern Meyers and Otto Links, among others. This is a new model with a 6 opening.

I’ve been playing on this mouthpiece since it’s been available and absolutely love it.

One of the reasons I haven’t done a video about this mouthpiece until now is that they’ve been incredibly hard to get a hold of.

I was waiting for them to catch up on the production. They are still hard to get but checking with a few dealers online I found some availability.

100 Year Anniversary New York Meyer 6 - Alto Sax Mouthpiece

Despite a lot of Babbitt mouthpieces coming with not the most even facings out of the box, this particular alto sax mouthpiece came to me in fantastic condition. I haven’t had any work done on it, and it plays great out of the box.

It comes with a traditional old style Meyer Ligature and cap, and a rather tight fit so I’m using this BG Duo ligature which provides an excellent grip that doesn’t slip out of place.

Check out the play test around 3:39

Theo Wanne Gaia 2 (3)

Theo Wanne Gaia 3 - Alto Sax Mouthpiece

Next up I play test the Theo Wanne Gaia 2 hard rubber piece. However, the Gaia 2 is now discontinued because Theo Wanne has created the new . You can check out this mouthpiece in my “New Theo Wanne Mouthpieces” video around 08:08.

The Gaia 3 is the most expensive in the bunch selling for $575. It also comes in a metal version.

Theo Wanne is offering 15% to BetterSax subscribers. If you want to pick up this mouthpiece or any other of his great mouthpieces use the coupon code BETTERSAX15 at the Theo Wanne Website.

To hear the Gaia 2, check out the play test around 5:19.

Drake NY Jazz

Drake NY Jazz - Alto Sax Mouthpiece

Next up is a mouthpiece from Aaron Drake. It’s called the , referencing its lineage with the Classic New York Meyer.

All of the Drake Mouthpieces come with these custom resin ligatures and caps, which work really well so that’s what I’ll be using. This mouthpiece is also available with a brass chamber variant.

Check out the play tests around 6:54 and 7:49 to hear both versions.

Phil Tone Rift 7

Phil-Tone Rift 7 - Alto Sax Mouthpiece

Lastly is the newest mouthpiece in my collection. This handmade mouthpiece by Phil Engleman has absolutely blown me away with how good it is (for me and the sound I want to get out of an alto saxophone).

This is the in a 7 opening. It’s not quite like a traditional Meyer design since it has more baffle in it. For me it’s like a great Meyer with an interesting baffle that adds some nice power and edge.

Check out the play test around 9:30

Thanks to Rocky at the JJ Babbitt company, Theo Wanne, Aaron Drake and Phil Engleman for the great mouthpieces. The hardest part is choosing which one to play!

Interested in more mouthpiece reviews? Check out “Best Alto Sax Mouthpieces Under $150.”

Also be sure to follow BetterSax on Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube to stay up to date with us for news, giveaways, and other saxophone tips and tricks.

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James F. Curtis says:

I like the Phil Tone Rift 7.

Larry Weintraub says:

I like the sound of the Phil Tone Rift the best. The Meyer 100th Anniversary and the Drake w/the ceramic chamber are tied for 2nd for me. How much is the Meyer mpc? I actually play a White Brilhart Tonalin 3* mpc that I lucked into. It has replaced my Meyer 6M from the 70’s or 80’s. The Brilhart works well w/a LaVoz med-hard reed.

Ed Crotts says:

Thanks for posting this mouthpiece comparison video, Jay. Old-timer here. Started on the sax at age 12; now 69. Agree that the Phil Tone sounds very good and suspect would cut through very well for a HR piece. I’m a ballad/lyrical player most of the time and would lean more towards the Meyer sound for what I do (my primary mpc is a Kessler NY 50/50 that I had Eric Falcon reface for me). Regarding the Drake — preferred the sound of the piece with the ceramic chamber.



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