Berg Larsen 110/2 Tenor Mouthpiece

This is a Berg Larsen hard rubber tenor mouthpiece I recently won on ebay.  I saw that it was refaced by Brian Powell and I knew it had to be good.  Sure enough it plays great.  I thought it would be really bright but it has a big thick core to it that is nice.  Thick is the best word for it.  It can get very very loud too.This would be a great mouthpiece for an R&B gig.

I was trying to keep the recording on the more laid back side because I was afraid I would clip the mic levels.   I really enjoyed playing this piece. For the sample I’m messing around with Sugar.  This piece makes me want to play a tune like that!  Listen………….

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. Larry Weintraub says:

    Hi:

    SOunds good but I like the Links better. The subtone on the Links sound much better. The upper register is a coin toss.

    Larry W

  2. Hey Steve, you have any clips of you playing this in hyper-drive? Do you remember if it gets bright as you get higher and louder?

    I’ve been wondering about this piece a lot because Eric Marienthal is a local in my area and I recently listened to a clip of him and Lee Ritenour playing “Rio Funk” and Eric is ripping (as is Lee of course) but Eric has that same thick sound here that I just love. He’s playing a Berg Larsen 100/2 in metal.

  3. this was a great loud piece. It got a little brighter but not much as I remember. This is a tenor piece. Was Eric playing tenor?

  4. Yes he was on tenor. He’s always been pretty attached to his setups. Always on the Beechler for alto and Berg on tenor, with the same reeds and ligs.
    Here’s the link.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LpMfC2QWaA

  5. Mmmmm, really love this one. 2 of my mentors played Bergs. Fantastic sound. I gotta say, it sounds like when you are playing you are really into this piece and diggin it!

  6. Well.. i have the same: 110/2 sms (medium chamber) and thought I did not like it because it was me playing it. Now I have a certainty: I just don’t like the skinny buzzy sound of it even in competent hands. I come here often to listen to mpcs reviews and this is one of the most deceiving ones. One last comment: a friend has the same on baritone ( mark VI low A bari) and on that one it just sounds great.

  7. Hi Stefano, What do you mean by deceiving? This was a very good mouthpiece. Some people love bergs and the sound they get with them. It’s not personally my sound but I thought the mouthpiece was a great example of a Berg of this size and chamber. I put up the clips just so people like you can hear the tone of each mouthpiece and make their own decisions. Steve

  8. Steve.. what do I mean by “deceiving” ?… It’s that I have heard perhaps about a couple dozen clips you made with very different mpcs and sounds, also heard the poll on tenor sax mpcs and found them very interesting. This one to me, the berg HR 110/2 sms has such a sound – in this clip – that it doesn’t even compare with all the rest. I personally find it very distinctive, but in a negative way. So, in the end, it’s not that true that a good player comes out with his sound practically with all set ups.This is my final remark, and I feel reliefed that someone that in my opinion has quite a good sound as you, gets that kind of buzzy sound I just couldn’t get rid of with this berg. Mine was untouched. Played out of the box

    Glad I traded it! 🙂 (do tou want to laugh ? with a 95/ sms 2 grained ebonite berg that had a great sound in the hands of a friend o mine 🙂

  9. OK. Now I understand what you are saying. I thought you were saying I was deceiving. Yes, some of those high baffle mouthpieces have quite the buzz to them. Some people really like that though. I sold that one pretty easily after I put up the sound clip so someone really liked it…………..

  10. Hi Steve… just wanted to add a few lines on this matter. The grained ebonite 6* (95 opening and 2 sms chamber) does an excellent job. It lacks a tad of volume, being so closed (I normally use a 7, but I cannot push too much presently, having had an hernia operation a couple months ago). However, this piece is buzz-free and quite surprisingly it has corrected a strong tendency to be out of pitch on low B and Bb , about a quarter tone higher than normal pitch, especially on Bb (even by dropping my jaw) , of my tenor sax: a 1955 SML rev D standard, rehauled and relacquered. Quite surprisingly I say because I normally use it with a 1980 STM Otto link refaced by Fil Bucci in Italy, and a 7 lebayle metal jazz, and both have larger chambers than the Berg, which I thought would have helped to stay in tune in the lower end. On the contrary this Berg – untouched – delivers a very uniform pitch throughout the whole instrument. Very positive experience indeed. Bottom line: mpcs need to be tried one by one and the matching with an instrument is all but guaranteed.

  11. I play a 40’s /50’s Berg 95-2 hard rubber with the boat shaped table and
    original facing and it sounds killer on my Conn 10M. I think it is a totally different
    animal compared to the recent Bergs. It can be bright indeed but with a very thick
    warm core and stays thick all the way up. Never gets harsh. Very flexible too from lush whispering jazzy subtones to clear piano or clarinet like tones up to screaming R&B. And it is as loud as my Dukoff D7 at full throttle. It think these Bergs are a great match with Conn horns. That said I have played and still have a numbers of different mouthpieces (not even close to your numbers Steve), most of them vintage, to compare. I prefer it even over a killer ss berg 105-0 refaced by Kai Siebold. I do admitt the hard rubber Berg has a very different sound of its own. You like it or you don’t. To each his own.
    By the way Steve, I think you sound very good on that Berg too and you emphasize the typical Berg sound in the clip. However I think it would sound warmer on a Conn.

  12. I love the Hard rubber Bergs. In some cases. It depends on the horn you’re playing. I just obtained a 110 over 2 M berg. Never been refaced. I’m the proud owner of two super King tenor horns 1947, 1956. I once heard that berg pierces were made with King Saxophones in mind. I’m yet to find a match for this pairing. Maybe a Conn would also be a good match. However I’m yet to decide if the berg piece works the same with my Selmer SBA 42, I’m a big Joe Henderson buff hence always played a ebonite 7* Selmer soloist in which I’m very happy with. I know its a big contrast. Blame it on Johnny Griffin and Yousuf Lateef lol

  13. SaxyBruce says:

    I’m totally hooked on HR Bergs as well. A couple months ago I picked up a vintage Berg HR 100/2 sms that quickly became my favorite piece, and seemed to justify a sax lifetime of not having settled on a mouthpiece sooner. It is nimble with a nice thick core, great for R&B, and I figured I could finally play in peace. All was good until a week ago, when I scored a vintage Berg HR 130/3. The sound is dark and thick like molasses and powerful throughout the range, even the altissimo is unbelievably fat. Great for everything. It does beat up my lip more quickly, but I can’t stop playing it. I’ve been using it on a 73k VI, haven’t tried it on my 50k SBA yet.

  14. Maurício says:

    I´m just a dummie when talking about or playing sax, but I can fell a really large difference between this piece and the Selmer C* I´m using on my Yamaha yts-61. I tried out the Berg Larsen 110/2 when my teacher lend it to me and that very moment I decided to have it. The problem is to find it in Brazil, but I can wait a little.
    I could not avoid to comment: it´s easy to sound powerfull in the low end, but it´s difficult to produce subtones. I´m sure it´s a matter of skills, but my Selmer C* is much more comfortable.

  15. Mauricio,
    You are probably used to the C* and very comfortable on it. Sometimes when you try another mouthpiece it takes some time and testing with reeds to find the right combination for you.

  16. Hi Steve…Listed on the Berg Larsen website, it shows that their HR ebonite mouthpieces come in Black or Grained ebonite models. Have you ever compared the two models?
    The Grained model is 25 percent higher in cost than the Black ebonite? Can you tell me if they both have the same features i.e..tone, volume, brightness, projection etc. Any ideas why the Grained one cost more?

  17. Hi Angelo,
    I haven’t tried any of the new Berg Larsen mouthpieces. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to put up a review. Don’t know why the grained would cost more except maybe the process of making it is more complicated??? Steve

  18. Steve, the audio on this page (and the other Berg page: http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2009/08/berg-larsen-1201-sms-tenor-mouthpiece/) doesn’t seem to be loading. Would love to hear these clips if you can get that worked out!

  19. Hi Devin,
    I checked those two pages with Firefox and Chrome and the clips play fine for me. What browser are you using? I do have to wait a few seconds for the clip to load………

  20. stefano says:

    Hi Steve.
    I’m stefano. I’ve been playing sax for 6 years. Yesterday i was thinking of buying a new mouthpiece for my alto yas62. My teacher told me about this berg larsen HR mouthpiece.. Do you think this is actually a good jazz mouthpiece?(i’d like to improve my jazz style and sound). See you 🙂 thanks so much

  21. Stefano,
    A berg Larsen can be a great mouthpiece if you find a good one. I have tried some Berg’s that were pretty bad so the key is playing one to see how it plays for you and if you like it. I personally wouldn’t order one online if there was no return policy. If there is a return policy, You could have your teacher try it also to see what he thinks of it. Steve

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