This mouthpiece was first brought to my attention by one of my favorite baritone saxophonists, Brian Landrus on the Sax on the Web forum. From that point on I had to try one. Even though I run a moderately somewhat successful baritone saxophone blog I still have to purchase everything I demo. So with that in mind I camped on eBay and Sax-on-the-web (SOTW) and waited for one to become available. When this piece appeared I immediately jumped on it. It was in mint condition and looked perfect in just about every way. I did have reservations in bidding as I knew the 7 tip opening (.103) is quite a bit smaller than the Vandoren B9 (.120).
Construction: This mouthpiece really is pretty to look at even though it is just a hunk or hard rubber. The large deeply engraved Lebayle logo and tip opening really compliment the swooping design of this piece. The interior of the baffle chamber were as smooth as expected though the interior of the throat was machined ever so slightly rough. To be clear it looks purposefully not completely smooth. I surmise its to help the piece grip the cork though I am not sure.
The mouth feel: This piece feels fantastic in the mouth. the feel is very much like the duckbill Brilhart’s but much more comfortable to blow than those. I find that compared to my Vandoren V16 and Otto Link Tone Edge that this piece has a smaller mouth feel. This should be good news for those who have smaller mouths and generally don’t find rubber mouthpieces comfortable to play.
Ligature: Because this was purchased used it didn’t come with a ligature but finding to fit was not difficult. I had several Rovner dark ligatures for alto clarinet through baritone and found one that fit perfectly though I couldn’t tell what instrument it was for. i also expirmented with a string ligature, a vintage Selmer expanding ligature, and a two screw brass ligature and all performed well. The rovner provided the best grip on the smooth rubber surface without risk of marring the finish.
Reed friendliness: As of late I’ve replaced nearly every wood reed on reed instruments that I play. From clarinets and saxophones to my bagpipe chanter, synthetics have become my reed of choice. This presented a problem as i didn’t have hard enough reeds to accomodate my embouchure and the closer tip opening. I did try this piece with Vandoren ZZ’s 2.5, 3’s, as well as Rico v3 3’s, Rico Royal 2.5’s and every Legere reed I had and none of them gave me the tone that I wanted. They were just too soft for my embouchure to keep in tune on either end of the spectrum. The palm notes were flat and the low Bb and A notes were sharp. I get the same effect when I use a reed too soft on my Yamaha 5c and a 3 reed.
Sound: The tone is bright and punchy. It has a real baritone sound and at least 3 shades brighter than my V16 but it’s not as bright as the Dukoff that I had tried a few months back. So I feel confident in saying this piece will give a great contemporary tone while still maintaining the ability to provide lush subtones.
TAKE AWAY: This is a great mouthpiece for those who need power and precision. Would I recommend someone try one? Yes, but get one that is close in tip to the mouthpiece that you use now.