Soprano Planet Missing Link Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece

Today I am reviewing the Soprano Planet “Missing Link” soprano saxophone mouthpiece by Joe Giardullo.  I first discovered the soprano planet site  a few months ago while meandering around the internet.  I was immediately curious in Joe’s mouthpieces because he specifically focuses on just soprano mouthpieces.  He has a number of models listed on his site……..the Via Coro, Axieme, Metropolitain,  Missing Link, Open Sky, and the 868 Special.

I sent Joe Giardullo an email asking if I could review one of his mouthpieces.  Joe sent me an email back asking a bunch of questions.  What was I looking for?  What sax did I play? What tone or sound concept was I going for?……..I really wasn’t looking for anything but was just curious about his mouthpieces.

Soprano Planet Missing Link Soprano Sax Mouthpiece

We emailed back and forth a bit and Joe got a bit of an idea of what I liked I guess because I received a “Missing Link” in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  It’s been a crazy month so to be honest it has been sitting on my desk for the last 2 weeks.  On Monday I decided to give it a play.

The mouthpiece looks great.  The table, rails and tip all look even and perfect. It has a rollover baffle that descends smoothly to a medium chamber.  I call the area at the bottom of the baffle the chamber. The hole going into the bore I call the throat.  The Missing Link’s chamber is larger and deeper than a Riffault and Selmer Super Session that I have on hand. The throat is slightly smaller than my customized Riffault and larger than the Super Session. The throat looks to be almost egg shaped rather than perfectly round.

Here is what Joe Giardullo says about the Missing Link mouthpiece on the Soprano Planet website:

“The genesis of the Missing Link was my desire to create a piece that would have some of the characteristics of the best “slant signature” Links and also the best characteristics of the rare “squared oval” design of the early Babbitt Links.

The throat is large but not huge, the chamber is medium and the piece plays with a beautiful glow, it jumps throughout the range and it plays with a light, even resistance from bottom through the altissimo.

The roof has a very carefully designed, long rollover-style baffle, but it is so integrated as to be almost unnoticeable to the eye.

The end result is a revelation. I could tell you about it but here is what a few recent clients wrote about their “Missing Link”………….(you can visit the site to read the many reviews)

Soprano Planet Missing Link Soprano Sax Mouthpiece

I played the Missing Link with a Vandoren Java 3 1/2 reed that I had been playing on my Theo Wanne Gaia mouthpiece.  There are no tip opening marks on the mouthpiece but the 3 1/2 reed played perfectly on it.  I emailed Joe later and he told me it was a .057 tip opening.

I really loved this mouthpiece.  It has a sweet singing tone to it.  The intonation on it was about as perfect as I have seen on a soprano mouthpiece.  I have never played a Otto Link Slant soprano mouthpiece so I can’t talk about how it compares.  The tone was nice and crisp while still being round and full sounding to me.  It is darker and more round sounding then my Gaia that I have been playing for the last year. Because it has a  smaller tip at .057 and doesn’t get the volume of the larger tipped Gaia but I really loved the tone and roundness of it.

On a side note,  Joe told me that he decided to go with the smaller .057 tip because he has found that Yamaha 62 sopranos accept air differently than a lot of horns and that blowing too much air through them doesn’t really work with them.  You have to have a  mouthpiece with a certain balance to really make the Yamaha 62’s really sing………I found that interesting as I had never heard that before.

I recorded this clip with the soprano bell pointed right at the microphone.  It was about two feet from the mic.  I have never been totally happy with the soprano recordings because recording from the bell can make some notes have a different timbre and tone.  It can also sound brighter when recording this way.  Even having said all that, I am pretty happy with the sound on this recording.  Yesterday I played it in a large hall for about 6 hours and it sounded killer in there with the natural reverb.

Soprano Planet Missing Link Soprano Sax Mouthpiece

If your interested in trying one of these mouthpieces yourself, visit Soprano Planet and talk to Joe Giardullo yourself.  He will be more than happy to set you up with the perfect mouthpiece for your soprano saxophone.  Thanks so much to Joe for sending me this “Missing Link” to review.  This one is staying with me………………

Soprano Planet Missing Link Soprano Sax Mouthpiece

 

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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. Jared Jackson says:

    Steve,

    Honestly, I think it’s the BEST soprano mouthpiece that I’ve heard you play on! To my ears, it has the roundness and depth of the FMaj7, but with a clarity that makes it sing! Too often I find soprano mouthpieces to be way too nasal, edgy, and thin. On the other hand, there are those that are really fat sounding, but lack projection and/or a core.

    I’m hoping to order one of these from Joe VERY soon. I may even get rid of my soloist……

    How would you compare the Gaia to this piece? Would you make it your main piece and keep the Gaia as a backup?

  2. David Mendoza says:

    I have one of the prototypes. It’s my main piece .062 but feel it a little closer. I will sent it to joe to get opened. Excellent MP by the way. I have a metro and used to play a SS from joe. Joe’s work is stellar. I think the Axieme, the SS and the missing link are the pieces with the most enthusiastic reviews.

  3. David Mendoza says:

    Upss. I ment Via coro instead of axieme. Sorry

  4. The Gaia is brighter and louder that is for sure. The chamber on the Gaia is huge so it can take all the air you can give it and get some great volume. The Missing Link has a smaller chamber and throat than the Gaia. Plus it has a smaller tip opening. I think these factors make it harder to put a lot of air through for me. The thing is that I really love the tone of the Missing Link and the volume isn’t as important. I’m not sure which one will be my main piece on soprano yet. I have to give it more time and get past this honeymoon stage with the Missing Link and then decide.

  5. Joe is an expert on soprano. I’ve been to his site many times and we communicated a few times. His knowledge of the soprano, sound production, mouthpiece technicalities astound me. You can’t go wrong with Joe.

  6. Thanks for the enthusiastic review, Steve.

    That piece can have more volume without altering the tone. There are so many small variables that can be applied to bring out subtle and not so subtle changes. It can be brighter or darker, louder or softer, to certain degrees.

    My comment about the YSS62 just reflects a subtlety in the way that great horn responds. It is part of what makes that the horn it is. I had one for a year and learned a lot about it during that time.

    I’m very proud of this piece and glad that it has had such a good reception from so many players.

    Many thanks again.

  7. Steve,

    have decided yet between the Gaia and the Missing Link?

  8. No, I still have both. I’m not in a hurry to decide. They are both different enough that I would like to keep both I think.

  9. Merritt Smith says:

    I have The Via Coro, and I am very happy with the tone and response that I get
    from this mouth piece. Believe me when I tell you that Joe will customize it to suit your need and it is phenominal how he does it! I’m happier with my sound on soprano then I’ve ever been. I’ve found it versitile for R&B, Classic and Smooth Jazz settings.

  10. Hi Steve, you sound great as usual.

    How would you compare the Missing Link to the Son of Slant… which one you think is easier to manage, especially high notes. Thanks

  11. Hi David, The Son of Slant I remember being very free blowing and open sounding. The Missing Link as more resistance to it and has more of a focused core to the sound. The high notes are the same on both as far as plability. The Theo Wanne Gaia is the mouthpiece I find the easiest up there. Hope this helps. Steve

  12. Charles R says:

    Hey Steve,

    I love your lessons and your reviews. I’m playing on a Via Coro that Joe made for me which is a sweet piece. I haven’t found anything that can top it. I hope you will get a chance to review his Metropolitan MP and some of his other pieces. Here’s Joe’s description of it:

    Made from premium French ebonite, this design takes warmth to another level.

    This is the most sensuous and elegant piece I’ve ever made or played, and that includes “slant” Links and Selmer Soloist pieces. The sound is dark, deep and lush. It has plenty of volume but it is not a paint-peeler and it will not cut it for loud situations or fusion music.

    But if you want elegance, warmth and a sultry, evocative sound, this is it. It is smooth and deep, plays with a nice, even, light resistance that lets you “work” the sound, like a singer might do.

    You have never played a piece as sensuous as this piece, I assure you. I love this mouthpiece.

  13. Charles, Wow! That sounds amazing! I’ll have to try one of those. The Soprano Planet Missing Link I had was great sounding but I purchased too small of a tip opening which caused too much resistance for me. I have some medical issues where I have a shunt in my head because there is too much pressure and fluid around my brain. When I play a mouthpiece with too much resistance weird things can happen with me. Last year I was playing the Missing Link really hard for a couple of hours. My face was turning red and my cheeks and neck were puffing out much more than usual. The next day I woke up and when I looked in the mirror I had two black eyes. (Believe it or not) I went to the doctor and they had never heard of such a thing. I found out later that my shunt had also been malfunctioning. I decided to give up on the Missing Link because of that resistance. Obviously, it wouldn’t affect a healthy person like that. I hope to try some more of Joe’s mouthpieces in the future with bigger tip openings. This Metropolitan sounds great! Thanks, Steve

  14. Charles R says:

    Steve,

    Its good to hear you’re okay now. I actually started out on a .60 piece when I first started playing soprano. On the subject of resistance, I recently I decided to experiment with a few different setups. I tried the Yamaha 4c because I’ve heard so many good things about it. The tone was nice but I didn’t like the resistance from it. I tried a rovner ligature on my via coro that seemed to focus the tone a bit but it was too resistant on my low B and Low Bb so I went back to my Theo Wanne Liberty ligature. People argue and debate that ligatures don’t make much of a difference, well I found in my case it made a big difference when it came to resistance.

  15. Hi Steve,
    as a direct result of Your review I (never really lucky with even some highly regarded soprano mp’s) contacted Joe and after asking me about my setup and wishes he made me a Missing Link 0.063 tip opening for my Yanagisawa curved soprano. And for the first time in all these years playing saxophone I’m really at home with soprano playing and absolutely love it! The Missing Link has it all: spot-on-intonation, huge full-bodied sound, nice harmonics without any shrillness, wide dynamic range and strong focus. Joe did an amazing job and brought my soprano-playing to another level. Thank You very much for Your review! I think Joe is (btw a very nice guy) the man when it comes to soprano mouthpieces. I sent You a short clip with the Missing Link…

  16. I’m glad you are happy. Joe knows his stuff!! I loved the sound on that clip. Very cool!!

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