Since writing a review on the MACSAX FJ III metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece and the MACSAX D-Jazz alto saxophone mouthpiece, I wanted to write a review on a hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece that I found to be unique and truly one of the best hard rubber mouthpieces I have ever played.
When I attended the 2012 NAMM show, I had the opportunity to try out the Bob Sheppard Signature Edition hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece. This mouthpiece is made from pure hard rubber and was designed and manufactured based on the partnership between monster tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard and well known mouthpiece maker and re-facer Eric Falcon.
Improving Upon a Classic
This mouthpiece was based on a “classic slant Otto Link” (which I currently use) but with the added features of, as described by Eric, a “large round chamber, open throat, and an extremely gentle roll over baffle.” Eric was nice enough to let me try the first production piece at the show and told me that this mouthpiece will remind players of a great slant Otto Link, but with a richer and more colorful tone. He told me this piece differs from the classic slant Links because he believes it will allow more control from the low Bb of the horn to the highest altissimo note at any dynamic level.
I compared this Bob Sheppard model to my slant Otto Link 7 tip opening. Going back and forth between the pieces, I noticed that they were almost identical in terms of producing a great colorful tone that had a wide dynamic range. However, what I did notice on the new Bob Sheppard model compared to my slant was that it was a bit more free-blowing, and when I played it in the upper register of the horn, I noticed I was able to get a cleaner and more robust sound than on the Link.
A Force to Be Reckoned With
Overall, I would say this mouthpiece could compete with any classic hard rubber slant Link that I have played to this day. It comes with a Rovner Platinum ligature which works quite well in this configuration. The piece comes in facings 6*, 7, 7*, 8, 8*.
I would recommend this mouthpiece to any saxophonist who has been searching for a great hard rubber Link, because it shares all the great characteristics of the vintage slant Links and more, but at a reasonable price.
For more information, check out www.macsax.com where you can learn more about this mouthpiece, and even contact Eric Falcon with any questions.
Here is a video of Bob Sheppard testing out his new piece.