Jon Van Wie Modern Meyer 6MM Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

This is a modern Meyer that was refaced by the late great Jon Van Wie.  I had Jon work on a few tenor mouthpieces for me and his work was always great.  I don’t think I ever had him work on an alto mouthpiece so this is a real treat for me to play this Meyer.

I had a friend on the internet email me and ask if I would be interested in trying some refaced mouthpieces he had worked on by JVW.  I immediately emailed him back and said  “Are you kidding me?? Of course I would love to!”.   He sent me a double ring link, a florida link and 2 modern Meyer alto mouthpieces.  All of them were worked on by Jon Van Wie.  This is one of the Meyer mouthpieces.

Modern Meyer 6MM alto saxophone mouthpiece refaced by Jon Van Wie

I’ve played probably 25-30 Meyer alto mouthpiece over the years.  They are usually what I have my jazz students step up to from a Yamaha 4C,  Usually, I go to the store and try them there and then pick out a good one for my student.  I then  bring it to the lesson and have the student try it and if they like it they buy it.  I would say that I liked maybe half the Meyer’s I have tried.  By liked, I mean that they played, responded well and had a half way decent sound.  The other half weren’t very good.  They squeaked, responded badly, or were too dark or too bright, etc………. The good ones are usually OK for my students but usually nothing super special.  They just do the job.

When a mouthpiece is refaced, the refacer measures up the facing curve, tip and table and sees if it can be improved.  Most of the time it can be.   Jon Van Wie  refaced this to a .o75 tip opening and did a great job in my opinion.  The tip, rails and chamber look perfect.  The tip is an exact match for the reed tip which is always nice.  The mouthpiece plays great with a fresh 2 1/2 reed.  It has a brighter sound for me than most of the Meyers I have played.  As a side note,  years ago I remember going to a Yellowjackets concert.  This was in the 80’s.  Marc Russo was playing alto with them and he had this screaming bright alto sound that ripped.  He was all over the altissimo.  Even as a kid, I was curious as to what he was playing………..it turned out that it was a Meyer hard rubber mouthpiece.  This Meyer mouthpiece kind of reminds me of that.  I’m not really playing it in that style of music but it’s the kind of mouthpiece that could go there really easily I think.  I get a little funky with it in the middle of the clip just to see what it can do.  If I really pushed it,  I  am pretty confident it could handle a R&B or rock gig pretty well.

The response is fast and quick.  The intonation is great.  I actually played it with a bunch of student during a day of teaching and I noticed that it was really easy to play in tune.  I think it might be because it is brighter and I could hear it clearly when I was playing with others.

The tone has a bit of a hollow quality to it but is really sweet sounding to me.  Just a beautiful brighter singing tone in my opinion.  I’m not sure how to describe it.  It’s not fat and spread sounding but it not super focused either.  It’s kind of right down the middle for me.  The bottom subtoned nicely and the high notes have a nice ring to them in my opinion.  It’s very even and smooth throughout the range of the horn.

Modern Meyer 6MM alto saxophone mouthpiece refaced by Jon Van Wie

Give a listen to the sound clip below to hear for yourself what a JVW modern Meyer sounds like. If you are interested in trying one of these …………. good luck.   I haven’t seen very many around in the last 10 years.  I think the people that have them are hanging on to them until death do we part.  Maybe estate sales will be the place to find one of these.  Enjoy the clip.   Please post any questions or comments you might have below.   Thanks,   Steve

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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. Paul Bavington says:

    I had a Meyer 6MM that Jon reworked. What impressed me so much about Jon (aside from the artistry of his work) was how humble and down to earth he was. When I first got the piece back from him, I played on it for a while and did not really like it. Couldn’t get it to sound the way I wanted to – it was too bright. After a couple of months, I took it back out again and played around with it and after a while something clicked and I knew I had found my piece. Jon passed away about 6 months after and the world lost a great craftsman and person. That 6MM met an untimely end about 4 years ago when my neckstrap clip gave way, dumping my horn right on to the wooden stage at my church. No one could understand why I was saying “I don’t care about the HORN, the mouthpiece is ruined!” The horn was a YAS-23 I bought second hand for about $100. It was a good little horn, but I’d have gladly beaten it flat with a baseball bat if I could have that piece back.

  2. Tarsis Santos says:

    I love the sound Steve, I am surprised it played so nicely and sounded so good with a 2.5 reed, being a .075 tip. I enjoyed the clip a lot.

  3. Yes, I was surprised by that too. Usually a 2 1/2 is pretty soft on a .075 but this felt great. The Woodstones are a tad harder than Java 2 1/2’s. I tried a 3 on it the other day also and it played pretty good but was a little stiffer. Still played well though.

  4. I have a modern Meyer 6M and it is 0.075″ right out of the box. So why you mentioned this mpc has been refaced “to” 0.075?

  5. JVW refaced it. There was probably something wrong with the original facing that he felt he could make better.

  6. Thanks for the response! Got it.

  7. Hi Steve! I am a middle school band director out here in Guam. I have an amazing alto sax student who wants to improve his tone greatly by purchasing a new mouthpiece. I shared your website with him (http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2011/03/9-great-alto-mouthpiece-to-compare/). Now he is inspired and wants to purchase one of these mouthpieces (Modern Meyer .075 alto sax mouthpiece). Where can he purchase one? If not this mouthpiece, what can he use as a substitution? I am beginning to feel a bit sad; perhaps I inspired him with your website…only to disappoint him with a mouthpiece to difficult to locate. Please advise.

    Musically yours,
    Carroll W. Flores
    Band Director
    F. B. Leon Guerrero Middle School
    Yigo, Guam

  8. Hi Carroll, Modern Meyers can be found all over the place. This one is unique in that it was worked on by Jon Van Wie. Those are harder to find that is for sure. There are lots of alternatives though. He could get one refaced by Phil Engelman, or Brian Powell. Greg Weir makes some great pieces that he sells on EBay for an affordable price. The Theo Wanne Gaia is a great alto piece also……….I hope your students finds a great one!!

  9. Steve, do you have a 6M mouth piece for alto?

  10. Hi Leonard,
    Sorry, I no longer have 6M Meyer in my collection. Steve

  11. Thanks Steve!

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