Morgan Mouthpieces: Are they right for you?

Introduction

Morgan mouthpieces have been around for over 30+ years and have been quite sough after as a viable alternative to the highly desirable and expensive vintage Meyer and Otto Link hard rubber mouthpieces. I have heard great things about the Morgan line of mouthpieces from many saxophone students, professionals, and teachers who say they are consistent from mouthpiece to mouthpiece, play evenly, and are an overall great value. Today, I will be reviewing the Morgan Jazz tenor and soprano mouthpieces which is one of the four models currently being offered by Morgan (Classical, Jazz, Vintage, Excalibur). I will be discussing the tone, intonation, build quality, and my overall thoughts but first, I would like to provide you some background and history on Morgan mouthpieces.

Background & History

In the early 1980s, Ralph started his own mouthpiece manufacturing company. His goal was to bring back the “Chart Designed” and handcrafted mouthpieces which were popular in the 1930s-1960s. With the strong attention to detail, Ralph designed and produced some of the best-hand crafted hard rubber mouthpiece in the world. Ralph sadly passed away on August 23, 2007 but his company and products are being continued by Ralph’s long-time employees alongside David and Teresa Hoskins who currently own the company. Erik Greiffenhagen, has been with the company for over 30 years and the lead designer for several of the mouthpieces the company produces today. John MacQueen, has been a crafter with Morgan since 1992 and has handle the production of 1000’s of Morgan mouthpieces for the past  25 years. Finally, Brian Powell, made Morgan mouthpieces for over 15 years before starting his own re-facing business and has recently returned to the Morgan team.

The rubber formula is unique to the Morgan Company. The rubber is made from the finest grade European Ebonite similar to the same rubber formula that was used by the best manufacturers during the 1920s-1950s. In 1990, Ralph designed the molds that create the blanks for his clarinet, alto and tenor mouthpieces. No other mouthpiece company uses the same molds or blanks. Ralph insisted on old Steam Transfer Presses to produce the blanks rather than modern methods, which can leave soft spots in the rubber. After the rubber blanks come out of the molds, they are very soft rubber castings. To cure the rubber, the mouthpieces go through several cycles of heating and cooling to create a cured, hard rubber casting that is ready for facing. The castings are then faced and finished by some of the most skilled mouthpiece makers in the industry. Erik, John and Brian have spent their entire careers working full-time on producing Morgan products as well as working on their own mouthpiece making and re-facing ventures. All of the Morgan mouthpieces are hand-faced and finished to precision. Please see the video below regarding Morgan’s mouthpiece manufacturing process as well as mouthpiece evolution process below.

Morgan Mouthpiece Manufacturing Process

Morgan Jazz Large Chamber Soprano Mouthpiece (5L)

Product Overview

The Morgan Jazz Large Chamber Soprano mouthpiece was “inspired by the older vintage mouthpieces from the 1920’s to 1960’s. This Morgan soprano mouthpiece has a large round chamber with no choke in the throat and a shorter shank which is different from most modern soprano saxophone mouthpieces which have a smaller chamber with a choke throat. Morgan find’s that the shorter shank allows for a better tuning range and contains a warm, rich and dark tone.

Current Available Tip Openings: 1 (.045), 3 (.050), 4 (.055), 5 (.060), 6 (.065), 7 (.070), 8 (.075)

Tone

I found that Morgan Jazz large chamber soprano mouthpiece embodied a very dark and warm sound as Morgan described in their product description. I believe if I played the medium chamber compared to the large chamber, my overall sound would lean more towards the brighter side. I found the sound had a nice combination of focus and spread throughout the entire range and you could push quite a bit of air without the sound starting to thin out.

Intonation

The intonation was even throughout. I do find it difficult to tune when playing soprano especially since I play tenor mainly but the Morgan Jazz large chamber soprano mouthpiece did not take much time to adjust to and believe the larger chamber might contribute to the ease of tuning and comfort for me.

Build Quality

I found the quality of the hard rubber and facing to be clean. I know Morgan mouthpieces prides themselves on still making mouthpieces the traditional way by hand instead of leveraging various CNC machines during the process. The response of the traditional hard rubber material was great and the rails and table were even and smooth.

Overall Thoughts

The Morgan Jazz large chamber soprano saxophone mouthpiece was a great all-around hard rubber mouthpiece that played evenly and dark throughout the entire range of the saxophone. I would recommend trying one of the other Morgan soprano mouthpiece models or different chamber size if you prefer an overall brightness to your sound or different facing but for me I really wanted a soprano mouthpiece that was easy to keep in tune across the entire range of the saxophone as well produces a warm sound that is easy to blend while playing in a section.

Price: $289 (includes a Rovner star series ligature)

Link: Morgan Jazz Large Chamber Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Morgan Jazz Tenor Model (8 MLL)

Product Overview

The Morgan Jazz tenor saxophone mouthpiece is a completely handcrafted pure hard rubber saxophone mouthpiece made the “old fashioned” way with 100% pure rubber formula, which is the same as was used by manufacturers in the 1920s-1950s. The facing curve, interior chamber and baffle are all shaped by hand. The Morgan Jazz tenor model comes in four chambers: “ Medium(M), Medium-Large2 (MLL), Medium-Large1(ML), and Large(L) chamber sizes.  The Large Chamber produces a warmer, deeper and rich tone. The Medium-Large 2 and Medium-Large1 chambers produce a darker core tone with some edge. The Medium Chamber produces a bright, brilliant and centered tone.” Please see chart below for Chamber Tone:

Tone

I found the Morgan Jazz tenor mouthpiece (8MLL) embodies a dark and warm sound as Morgan described in their product description and very similar to the large chamber soprano mouthpiece. Compared to my Slant link, the Morgan Jazz mouthpiece did contain a nice center and edge to the sound that was consistent throughout the entire range and played great at various dynamic levels.

Intonation

The intonation was even throughout and played well in tune into the altissimo range. It was very easy to play at various dynamic levels in tune and I felt comfortable playing on this mouthpiece right away.

Build Quality

I found the quality of the hard rubber and facing to be clean. I know Morgan mouthpieces prides themselves on still making mouthpieces the traditional way by hand instead of leveraging various CNC machines during the process. The response of the traditional hard rubber material was great and the rails and table were even and smooth.

Overall Thoughts

The Morgan Jazz MLL Chamber tenor saxophone mouthpiece was a great all-around hard rubber mouthpiece that embodied an overall dark sound with focus and character to the sound. Although I still prefer my hard rubber Slant link due to the overall additional projection, core, edge, and warmth I can obtain on this mouthpiece, I was impressed with the overall quality after trying the Morgan Jazz tenor mouthpiece. I would recommend if you prefer a brighter sound, you might want to try the ML or M chamber to see how it compares.

Price: $279 (includes a Rovner star series ligature)

Link: Morgan Jazz Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Final Thoughts

I would like to thank Teresa Hoskins for sending me the Morgan Jazz Large Chamber soprano mouthpiece and Morgan Jazz MLL Chamber tenor saxophone mouthpiece to test play. I was overall impressed with the overall construction, sound, and intonation on both mouthpieces. The Morgan Jazz Large Chamber soprano mouthpiece is a great modern mouthpiece that I found was easy to play in tune and the Morgan Jazz MLL Chamber tenor mouthpiece is a great alternative or back-up to my current Slant Link. If you would like to find out more about the Morgan line of mouthpieces, please check out the link below:

Website: https://www.morganmouthpieces.com/