While at the 2013 NAMM show, I ran into a gentleman by the name of Alex Miyatake. I met Alex at the R.S. Berkley booth while trying out various Virtuoso tenor saxophones. Alex told me to try out his Marmaduke line of mouthpieces.
I have heard and seen these mouthpieces on Sax.co.uk and have seen players demoing these mouthpieces on YouTube and Alex’s website. Alex told me he makes a medium and large chamber hard rubber tenor and alto mouthpiece that is based on the old hard rubber Otto Link models for tenor and the N.Y. Meyers for alto.
He told me that he works on every mouthpiece so that each one is consistent from mouthpiece to mouthpiece. I am going to be reviewing a Marmaduke TL 7 for tenor, and a Marmaduke medium chamber 6 tip opening for alto.
Marmaduke Medium Chamber alto mouthpiece (6)
The sound of the Marmaduke alto is definitely similar to a N.Y. Meyer. I found the Marmaduke to be a not as warm sounding as my Meyer 6M, but the Marmaduke had much more of the punch and brightness that so many players look for in an alto mouthpiece. I was able to produce a bright edgy sound on my Selmer Super Balanced Action alto (SBA) without the sound becoming too shrill or thin. The Marmaduke was free-blowing but with a bit of resistance, and I found it to be more focused than my Meyer. Alex told me that when he was making this mouthpiece, he felt the sound was leaning towards Cannonball Adderley as well as Phil Woods.
This mouthpiece was very consistent from low Bb to high F#. The overtones were easy to achieve and very little effort was needed to keep them in tune.
This mouthpiece is made out of pure hard rubber material. I found the work done to the mouthpiece to be of very high quality with the tips and rails being nicely evened out.
Of nearly all of the mouthpieces I have ever played, I believe that this one most closely resembles a N.Y. Meyer in the way it plays. Alex did a great job in recreating a very sought-after alto mouthpiece. I would highly recommend this mouthpiece to anyone looking for that classic N.Y. Meyer sound.
Meyer 6M, SBA, Eddie Daniels Rovner ligature, Alexander Superial 3[audio: STE-009.mp3]
Marmaduke 6M, SBA, Eddie Daniels Rovner ligature, Alexander Superial 3[audio: STE-012.mp3]
Simon Casgrove testing the Marmaduke Alto mouthpiece:
Marmaduke TL (large chamber) (7)
I found the Marmaduke 7 TL to have a very neutral sound. The TL was very balanced from the low register all the way up to high F# and even into the altissimo range. I typically play on a 7 tip opening, but after playing on this mouthpiece, I believe I would try a 7*. I found this mouthpiece to be very similar to my slant Link in its overall sound, although the Marmaduke is a bit brighter. Alex told me that when he was making this mouthpiece, he felt the sound was leaning towards Stan Getz, Hank Mobley, and Joe Henderson.
I found this mouthpiece very easy to keep in tune as well as play through my overtone exercises.
This tenor mouthpiece is just as well constructed and fine-polished as the alto mouthpiece.
This is a great straight ahead hard rubber mouthpiece. It is consistent, full-sounding, easy to keep in tune, and embodies many characteristics of some of the great hard rubber slant Otto Link’s and Early Babbitt mouthpieces.
Otto Link slant signature, Selmer Mark VI, Alexander Superial 3[audio: STE-005.mp3]
Marmaduke 7 TL Large Chamber, Selmer Mark VI, Alexander Superial 3[audio: STE-006.mp3]
Simon Casgrove testing the Marmaduke LG 7* Tenor Mouthpiece
Marmaduke main website:
While testing out the Marmaduke mouthpieces, Alex introduced me to a brand of reeds called Lupifaro. I had never heard of this brand of reeds before, but Alex told me these reeds are produced by Rigotti. I have played on Rigotti reeds for some time in addition to Vandoren, Alexander, Rico, and Roberto’s Winds. After checking out the website, I found out that there is a classic cut as well as a jazz cut.
The reeds that I was given to test out were the classic 2 1/2 and 3. I have always liked playing on Rigotti cane because of the consistency. I found the Lupifaro classic reeds to play very well. They reminded me of a Vandoren blue box or Rico Reserve cut. I found the Lupifaro 3 to be on the harder side so I tried the 2 1/2 and these felt much more comfortable for me to play on. Although these reeds are designed for the classical musician, I found the overall color of these reeds to be very neutral and not leaning towards the brighter or darker side.
I would like to try the jazz cut sometime soon and am looking for someone who distributes this brand of reeds. I currently do not know the price for a box of Lupifaro classic or jazz cut reeds, but if the Lupifaro’s are priced similarly to the Rigotti Gold’s, then they are a very high quality reed at a very competitive price. In addition to checking out the reeds, I would recommend looking into the saxophones that Lupifaro manufacturers and would be curious to get anyone’s feedback on those horns.
If any questions regarding the Marmaduke mouthpieces or Lupifaro reeds, please contact Alex Mikayate.