MacSax FJIII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Today, I am reviewing a new MacSax tenor saxophone mouthpiece that is made by Eric Falcon.  I have reviewed a number of other mouthpieces in the past that were made or refaced by Eric Falcon including the LA tenor mouthpiece which I loved.  This mouthpiece is named the FJIII.  I have no idea why it is named that but would be interested in hearing what it stands for.

MacSax FJIII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you look at the pictures here of the FJIII and compare them to the pictures of my Warburton LA tenor mouthpiece review (also made by Eric Falcon), you can see some similarities between the two mouthpiece designs.  Both have a similar body and long elongated window.  The baffles seem to be a similar length but if you look closely you can see that there are some differences.  The baffle in the FJIII is lower than the LA mouthpiece.  It also has a straight edge at the end of the baffle where the LA model has a little trench or pit.

Although, I loved the LA models volume and fatness, in the end I thought it was a bit too bright for what I’m looking for in a tenor mouthpiece.   I was very interested in trying the FJIII because it has the lower baffle which I knew would give it a darker sound.

MacSax FJIII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Boy was I right,  the MacSax FJIII is a much darker mouthpiece than the Warburton LA model.  Besides how incredibly free blowing it is,  I didn’t find much in common with it and the LA.  I don’t know what Eric does with these mouthpiece to get them to blow so easily but they are incredibly freeblowing. Personally, I  like a bit of resistance when I play the sax so playing this mouthpiece was a bit of an adjustment for me.  It is an 8 (.110) tip opening.  Usually when I play .110 tips,  a 2 1/2 reed works great.  The first 2 1/2 I put on blew like a wet noodle.   There was nothing to it.  I tried a few other 2 1/2’s and experienced the same thing.  When I moved up to a 3 I expected it to be too hard but even the 3’s were too free blowing for me.  What I really wanted was a 3 1/2 but I didn’t have any so I had to make due with the Rigotti 3 that I played on this clip.  It was slightly harder than the others in the box and I thought it was a good match for this mouthpiece.

The tone of this mouthpiece is very dark in my opinion.  It does have a bit of kick and guts to it when you really blow but the overall tone is thick, rich and dark.  The response and intonation were good.  The volume was ok for me.  I couldn’t get as much as I would like but it was certainly enough to play a smokin’ jazz gig with.  The lack of brightness in the tone would make it hard to play a loud R&B or rock gig on this piece in my opinion.

The free blowing aspect of the mouthpiece was the hardest thing for me to wrestle with.  I feel like a certain bit of resistance lets me push against the sound and mold it easier.  In that way, I can be more expressive.  I did gain some resistance with the harder Rigotti 3 reed but still wasn’t feeling the resistance that I normally like when I play.  I would think that over time, I could get used to the way the mouthpiece blew and be able to adjust to it.

MacSax FJIII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece comes with a neat looking Rovner Platinum ligature that looks cool and hip.  I’m not a big fan of ligatures that clamp on the outside edges of the reed.  This is what the Rovner did.  To me, it made the tone more hollow sounding.  When I put on the Rovner Eddie Daniels ligature the tone was much more centered and focused sounding for me.   This is just my opinion so you guys that think ligatures don’t matter can do what you want with this opinion.

Overall,  I believe this is a very good mouthpiece if you like free blowing and dark.  This would be an especially good choice for any of you who have tried the Warburton LA model but found it too bright for your tastes.  This has the same free blowing feel of the LA mouthpiece but is quite a bit darker and lusher sounding.  If your interested in trying one of these mouthpieces yourself, visit MacSax.com.  and talk to Eric Falcon yourself.  Thanks so much to Eric and MacSax for sending me this FJIII tenor mouthpiece to review.

MacSax FJIII Tenor Saxophone 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. Ivan Romero says:

    Thank you Steve, this helped me. Now I also have listened to your recording of the Barone Super New York and I would like to ask you how would you describe it in terms of brightness, lushness, focus and fatness compared to the LA and to the FJIII.

  2. There are tradeoffs when deciding between any two mouthpieces usually. The LA is certainly louder and brighter. I still thought of it as fat and thick sounding and the low end was nice on it. The FJIII is a bit darker like you hear on the recording. The LA was fine on ballads but to me it is more leaning towards a Brecker type sound on a ballad. I don’t think it is as bright as Brecker’s sound. I also think it is quite a bit fatter sounding than the guardala’s I have played.

    I would not consider the FJIII a R&B and Rock mouthpiece is any way. Much too dark for that in my opinion. As far as comparing it to a link type piece I think they are very different. The FJIII looks like it would scream because of the baffle but it was surprisingly dark. Not too dark because it still had some nice highs when I pushed it. Compared to a link type piece it is much more free blowing. I encountered very little resistance in it. The focus tone I played had much more resistance. Which was or is better……….I really can’t say. That’s a matter of personal preference for whoever is playing them. Hope this helped. Steve

  3. Michael J. Smith says:

    Sounds great to me. I have an alto piece made by Eric Falcon and I love it. I ordered a Fj III for my new MACSAX tenor and waiting for both of them is driving me crazy.

    Great work Eric; I am glad you teamed up with Mike C. A good man to know and work for.

    Michael J. Smith

  4. Ivan Romero says:

    Hi Steve,

    I like the lush and deep sound of this mouthpiece but I also think it is a little bit dark on the recording. Now, listening to the Warburton L.A. I liked the overtones and power but I just missed the lushnes and deepness of the MacSax, so I wanted to ask you if you also feel like that. Did you try to play a ballad with the Warburton?
    I am also interested in your opinion about the aproach of these kind of mouthpieces with long baffles and straight side walls. When I first see them I think of R&B, Rock… but then I listen to them and are not so bright. What do you think is the difference with similar sounding mouthpieces with a shorter rollover baffle and undercut side walls, for example the ted klum focustone?

    You would help me a lot in my search with your answer.

    Thank you,

    Ivan

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