Do 10MFAN Mouthpieces Live Up to their Mission of “Innovation Over Imitation”?

Introduction

Mark Sepinuck has been collecting and selling vintage mouthpieces and saxophones for over 30+ years. Over the past few years, Mark decided to come out with his own line of mouthpieces since he was not entirely happy with the vintage/modern mouthpieces available on the market today.

His goal was to create a mouthpiece that suited him as well as a mouthpiece he believes many other saxophonists would enjoy. The 10mFan mouthpieces that Mark has introduced over the past 5+ years include:

  • Robusto (T)
  • The Classic (T)
  • Merlot (T)
  • Showtime (T)
  • Black-Widow (T)
  • The Boss (T)
  • Daddy-O (A)
  • Showboat (A).

Of note is the fact that there will be metal versions of his tenor mouthpieces in the near future (and may already be out by the time you’re reading this).

Recently, Mark has been working with a new mouthpiece maker to produce his line of mouthpieces with some further updates that are different from his original models. Mark was nice enough to send me a 10mFan Robusto 7 as well as The Classic 7 to test play. I will be reviewing each mouthpiece on tone, response, intonation, quality, and my overall thoughts.

10mFan Classic Mouthpiece (7)

Product Overview

Mark describes The Classic as a mouthpiece which is focused and warm but also incredibly flexible at any dynamic level with an even sound from top to bottom.With the recent updates, the new Classic model has a facing length measuring 50 for a 6*, 7, and 7* tip openings which Mark feels will further enhance, the warmth, core, and flexibility of The Classic design. In comparison to the Robusto, The Classic showcases a higher floor, a shorter and lower baffle, super scooped-out side walls, and an oval shaped chamber. In addition, the new Classic now contains wider tip rails which are not as thin as the previous model resulting in a better alignment with the reed and table of the mouthpiece.

Tone & Response

As Mark described The Classic had a warm focused sound that did not lean towards the dark or bright side but right in the middle in my opinion. I will say by trying different reed brands, strengths, and cuts did have an overall effect on the sound leaning towards the brighter or darker side. I was using a Boston Sax Shop 2.5 reed which is Rigotti cane with a different cut that leans towards the darker side of the sound spectrum.

I found The Classic could have edge to the sound when pushed, but maintained a very clean and focused sound from low Bb into the altissimo range. The Classic response was immediate and free-blowing. In comparison to some of the other previous 10mFan models I have tried in the past, I believe the new facing length provides a little bit more resistance to push against which is something I believe many players will enjoy because sometimes if a mouthpiece is too free-blowing it makes it a bit more difficult to control at various dynamic levels.

Intonation

The intonation was great. From low Bb to the altissimo range I had no problem adjusting to The Classic. I was very surprised how easy it was to play in the altissimo range with little to no adjustment from my current Slant hard rubber link as well as maintain the note in tune.

Quality

The Classic is made from high quality German bar stock hard rubber. When I looked at the tip, rails, and table, they all looked clean, even, and I did not notice any blemishes or irregularities. I did notice the table, rails, and inside of the mouthpiece was not buffed which showed the hand finishing that was done. As per Mark, each of his mouthpiece designs are “saved on the computer, cut by CNC  precision machined for complete accuracy, and hand finished one at a time” which ensures a consistent mouthpiece.

Overall Thoughts

I really enjoyed playing the 10mFan The Classic tenor mouthpiece. I found The Classic embodied some of tone and focus characteristics that I find on my Slant Link while offering much more flexibility and really projecting when playing at various dynamic levels. The overall flexibility and projection of The Classic are characteristics that really stood out to me with The Classic as well as The Robusto mouthpieces.

I will say that if you are coming from vintage metal or hard rubber Link and are looking for a copy, The Classic might not be the right fit for you. With that being said, if you are open to a mouthpiece that embodies many of those characteristics found in a classic link and other vintage hard rubber mouthpieces but are also looking for much more projection and flexibility, The Classic could be the right mouthpiece for you.

Sound Clip

Equipment

  • Saxophone: Lupifaro Platinum Tenor
  • Ligature: Marc Jean Ligature or Vintage metal two screw ligature
  • Reeds: Boston Sax Shop 2.5 (T)
  • Mouthpiece: The Classic (7)

10mFan Robusto Mouthpiece (7)

Product Overview

In addition to testing out The Classic model, Mark sent me the Robusto model in a 7 tip opening. Mark designed the Robusto as his own personal mouthpiece and describes the Robusto as a hard rubber mouthpiece that contains a “spread, fat, warm, and punchy sound with a sizzle when pushed.” In comparison to The Classic, the Robusto has a medium height baffle with straight side walls and the floor drops after the baffle into a round chamber.

Tone & Response

When speaking with Mark about my current setup, he told me that I would prefer The Classic model but wanted me to try the Robusto to see what I thought. Mark’s description of the Robusto is spot-on. The Robusto had a spread fat sound that could be warm as well as edgy when pushed. Similar to The Classic, sonically speaking, I found the Robusto fell right into the middle of the sound spectrum, but I also believe that using a different reed and ligature combination could brighten or darken the overall sound. Like The Classic, I test-played the Robusto with a Boston Sax Shop 2.5 reed.

The biggest difference I noticed between the Robusto and The Classic was the overall response. The Robusto seemed to project even more than the Classic when pushed and I found that the overall sound was much more spread than focused, but depending on your playing style, the Robusto can play with a focused sound. In addition, on the Robusto, I found that the sound was a bit brighter in the upper stack than on The Classic and could really project and cut  while playing into the altissimo range.

Intonation

Similar to The Classic, the Robusto’s intonation was great. From low Bb to the altissimo range I had no problem adjusting to the Robusto.

Quality

Similar to The Classic, the Robusto is made from high quality German bar stock hard rubber. When I looked at the tip, rails, and table, they all looked clean, even, and I did not notice any blemishes or irregularities. The Robusto’s tip, rails, and table looked clean, even, and I did not notice any blemishes or irregularities. As was the case with The Classic, I did notice the table, rails, and inside of the mouthpiece was not buffed, which showed the hand finishing that was done.

Overall Thoughts

The Robusto is a great mouthpiece. From the tone, response, and intonation, the Robusto provides the player a lot of flexibility from a dynamic standpoint as well just sheer projection when pushed. I would recommend those players looking for a spread, fat, and punchy sound (Mark says to think of Gene Ammons) to consider checking out the Robusto.

Sound Clip

Equipment

  • Saxophone: Lupifaro Platinum Tenor
  • Ligature: Marc Jean Ligature or Vintage metal two screw ligature
  • Reeds: Boston Sax Shop 2.5 (T)
  • Mouthpiece: Robusto (7)

My Final Thoughts

I would like to thank Mark Sepinuck for sending me his 10mFan The Classic and Robusto tenor saxophone mouthpieces to try out. I really like the recent updates that Mark has made to each of these models and think many players will feel the same. With that being said, overall, I preferred The Classic over the Robusto in terms of its playing characteristics, as they suited me best.

After checking out The Classic and Robusto, I still see myself playing my vintage Slant Link, but what’s important to note is that the 10mFan line of mouthpieces were not designed to be copies or modified versions of a vintage Link, Dukoff, Meyer, Freddie Gregory, Berg, Selmer, etc., but as truly original designs that stand on their own.

If you are looking for a Link or Meyer copy, Mark’s mouthpieces might not be the right fit for you. However, after play-testing The Classic and Robusto, these 10mFan mouthpieces have a lot to offer in terms of dynamic range and flexibility which are areas in which I believe many of the classic vintage mouthpieces & many modern mouthpieces fall short.

Again, I would like to thank Mark for sending me The Classic and Robusto mouthpieces to review, and I am excited to try out  the new models that Mark has in store for the near future.

10mFan Website: https://10mfan.com/

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