Phil Barone NY Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

This is a Phil Barone NY model tenor mouthpiece I have for a review today.  As you can see from the pictures, this mouthpiece has been heavily used by some past owners……………not the prettiest mouthpiece I’ve had on here.  The gold plating is all worn off and there is some corrosion on the brass.  Sometimes mouthpieces that look like this make me more curious about them because obviously someone played the tar out of it and loved it at some point.  When I’m looking on ebay at mouthpiece, I’m much more interested in the old florida link that looks awful than the shiny brand new looking florida link that looks like it has never been played.  My first thought is that the shiny one probably hasn’t been played for a reason…………..the awful looking one has been played to death for a reason.

Phil Barone NY 7* Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

If any of you have been with me from the very beginning of this site, you might remember that the very first mouthpiece I reviewed was a Phil Barone NY model that had been refaced 3 or 4 times.  I had a hard time with that piece.  I remember I just couldn’t get any power or projection out of it.  I sent it away to get refaced and every time it came back it was better but not where I wanted it.  I ended up selling it to someone who loved the sound clip I did with it.

Now I should mention, that I did play a NY model way back around 2001 that I received on trial from WWBW.  I ordered 6 or 7 Barone mouthpieces from them to try.  I happened to love the NY model.  I took it on a gig and it was great.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money compared to my Sugal I had then and I sent it back.  I have thought about that Barone NY quite a bit since then.  This was all before I had this website.  I also had 3 jazz models and 2 Hollywoods over those years.  I always got on great with the Jazz models but I played a lot of R&B and Pop music and always ended up feeling like they were too dark for that style of music.  The Hollywoods were better but they lost the dark fat sound I liked about the jazz and were to far on the bright side of things for my tastes.

This NY model reminds me of that NY Barone I tried from WWBW years ago.  It has a fattness and thickness to the sound but also has tons of power and brightness in the sound when pushed.  This  mouthpiece is a good example of a healthy resistance.   I feel like I’m blowing against something and that helps me to shape and mold the sound the way I want.  I have noticed that mouthpieces with this kind of resistance take some getting used to.  My Lamberson J7 is like this also.  You have to really play it for awhile and get used to it.  If you jump to it from a more free blowing mouthpiece it feels stuffy and hard to blow.  My Lamberson is the same way……… If you stay on it though it really feels great after a little while.

Phil has an interesting technique in that he pinches the sides of  his tips so they are much slimmer than in the middle of the tip rail.  I’m not sure why he does this or where he got it from? I’ve never seen another mouthpiece maker do this and I think it is original to Barone mouthpieces.  The reed still seals great and I actually like the way many of the Barones I have played have responded.  I’m not sure if that is because of the tip technique or something else like the facing curve.

Phil is a big fan of taking more mouthpiece into your mouth so that the reed can vibrate to it’s full capacity.  This mouthpiece does play  with a bigger fuller sound when I take in more that is for sure.

Phil Barone NY 7* Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

Take a listen to the sound clips and the other Barone examples on my site.  If your interested in a Barone mouthpiece contact Phil Barone through his website at http://philbarone.com/ .  Let me know what you think.  Thanks,   Steve

Funkier sound

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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. Hey Steve,

    This piece sounds like it has a really strong core and adds a great bottom to your sound (thinking of bob berg). Really resonant without being too edgy.

    One thing about barone’s plating: When he makes mouthpieces, he never adds silver before the gold. Basically, it’s just gold plating on bare brass. It comes off within a couple of weeks of playing any of his pieces. Guardala use to do the same thing for his pieces. it sucks, but at least if it’s bar brass you can send it out to get plated the right way.

  2. Nice sound! Does the Phil Barone have a thin tip like the handmade Guardalas or a wider tips like the old Berg Larsen?
    EgilF.

  3. Andysax says:

    I have one of these little beauties (it`s a 8* opening) and love playing it, I totally agree with you as far as the resistance concerns. Besides, I played mine for a while although it had a very bad facing, the rails and tip were uneven and yet, surprisingly, sound came out nicely on the low ans well as on the altissimo register, no squeaks or stiffness. Amazing. I sent it for a refacing to equalise the rails and I’m looking forward to see if it worth the effort, I`m sure it will be a great piece!

  4. Larry Weintraub says:

    Steve: I think it sounds good. You sound good on it. Dan Higgins the Hollywood Studio has said this. “Instead of changing mpcs to get a brighter or darker sound, change your reed. So if you want a brighter sound choose a brighter reed, a darker sound, choose a darker reed.” He uses a STM older metal Link on tenor on just about all his tenor dates.

    What do you guys think it that concept?

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