Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

This is a new metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece by Rafael Navarro.  There has been a lot of “buzz” going on about the Navarro line of mouthpieces over the last few months.  As of this review, Rafael has 3 models available for the tenor saxophone. The Maestra, the Bahia and the Bob Mintzer Bebop Special. All are available in black hard rubber, marbled hard rubber, brass or wood. (Actually, you have your choice of 5 different types of wood).

There are some great players that are playing the Navarro mouthpieces right now. Just to name a few…… Bob Mintzer, Wayne Shorter, Brandon Fields, Joel Frahm, Walt Weiskopf and Bob Franceschini and Anibal Rojas as well as many others. The one that I’m reviewing today is the brightest model to date, the Bahia 8 (.110 tip opening).

Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

I spoke with Rafael on the phone after I had played the mouthpiece for about a week just to get some more information on it.   This is what he told me:

“The length of the piece is identical to the Maestra. The chamber of the
piece is also as big as the Maestra chamber, however the baffle is long
and medium height. It’s like taking a rollover and extending it.

I like sounds that are full.  I wanted a full sound like the Maestra but with a
lot more power and center.  It is still clear but I definitely find more
power on this model.  It really evolved from that original chamber
of the Maestra but the Bahia baffle changes the feel and air direction.

I can make the baffle higher, shorter,lower or medium like the one I
sent you.  However;  the one I sent you, is what I wanted on this model.”

Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

The mouthpiece looks beautiful. The craftsmanship is amazing.  The tip, table, baffle,chamber and rails are as perfect as you’ll ever see.  The baffle is a medium height rollover.   It looks perfect to me.  As I write this, I’m thinking of a time about 10 years ago when I was wondering why more mouthpiece makers didn’t make great high baffle rollover mouthpieces.  It seemed like you were either playing a link type baffle or a Guardala type baffle back then.   It was very hard for me to find a good mouthpiece in between those two models.   Soon after that I bought a JVW (Jon Van Wie)  altered modern link that was exactly what I was looking for.  JVW had refaced a modern link and put an epoxy baffle in it.  This has been my main gigging mouthpiece for the last 10 years.   The reason I bring all this up is that the Bahia’s baffle looks almost identical to the shape and length of my JVW baffle.  The only difference I see with my eye is that the Bahia has a larger chamber to it.   The chamber does look similar in size to the Maestra mouthpiece chamber that I reviewed a month or two ago..

The mouthpiece diameter is slightly larger than an Otto Link diameter.  My Selmer 404 ligature and Vandoren Optimum fit on the mouthpiece but it was a tight fit to get them on and off.  I ended up using a Francois Louis metal ligature that fit great.

This .110 opening Bahia played great with Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 medium and 2 1/2 strong reeds.  I chose a 2 1/2 medium for the recording below but the 2 1/2 strong played great also.

 

Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Bahia was very easy to play just like the Maestra was. Many times it will take me a while to get used to a mouthpiece.  Like the Maestra, I felt very comfortable within minutes of playing the Bahia. The beak profile is similar to a metal link so it was very comfortable.

It had a quick response and evenness throughout the range of the horn. I did anticipate that the Bahia would be a lot brighter than it was.  The baffle makes you think it will be bright but the large chamber does a nice job of countering the brightness and power with a nice fat tone.  It was definitely brighter and more powerful than the Maestra but I didn’t think it was too bright at all.  The low notes were thick and full sounding and the altissimo popped right out nicely.   I hate to use the word “effortless” with altissmo but the altissimo range was so easy to navigate that that word did cross my mind.

Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

You can judge the tone for yourself as you listen to the sound clip. In my opinion, the Bahia leaned towards the brighter side of things while still having a nice fat and full sound.  You can decide for yourself…………

I would have no problems playing this mouthpiece on any type of gig.  It can get loud enough to crank the R&B wailin’ tenor solos or if you lay back it can handle a jazz set perfectly.  It’s a great all round mouthpiece for a gigging tenor player that has to do it all on one gig.

Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

I really enjoyed playing the Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal Tenor Sax Mouthpiece. If you like the sound and look of this mouthpiece contact Rafael Navarro through his website . The photos and testimonials on his site will really make you want to buy one of these mouthpieces!  It’s a great looking website and the mouthpiece are top quality. I’d like to thank Rafael for sending me this Bahia to review.  I’m tempted to buy one right now buy I want to wait to see how the Bebop Special plays for me first before making a decision………………

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks, Steve

Rafael Navarro Bahia Metal 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 30 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. Fantastic playing and sound as always. I’d be curious to hear you on the Maestra with a brighter reed. Java Red 3.

  2. Steve,
    How would you compare the Bahia 8 to the 7** Freddy Gregory Mark IV ?
    They look and sound close.

  3. Some annoying bright frequencies.
    Maybe I don’t like it much because of it.
    Great playing as always , Steve.

  4. Hi Steve

    Thanks for all the great reviews! Sounds great too. I may be re-hashing slightly, but I’m also looking at probably getting metal Maestro and eventually Bahia for brighter needs, and I’m hung up on tip openings, due to hearing some more open Navarro pieces sounding like smaller openings. I play (all metal Wanne Durga/Amma II) #8, Ponzol M2 plus (.110), Vintage Florida link (.112), and Jody Jazz CHI (8*). So i’m leaning between the 8 and 8* on Maestro, and 8* and 9 on Bahia. I just don’t want something that feels like a 7* or 7 show up. The reviews seem split on whether they “feel” more closed than they say, even though I have no doubt they are that precise measurement. Thanks for any help , Bill

  5. Bill, I think they feel just like the opening they are. Where people have problems I think is that they seem to like a slightly harder reed than other mouthpieces of the same size. I think moving up in tip size lets people use their same reeds and get the same resistance that they are looking for. It doesn’t bother me at all. I just use a slightly harder reed. Let me know how you make out. Steve

  6. thanks that was helpful!

  7. What size Francois Ligature did you use on it? (if I may ask) Thanks!

  8. Jason, I’m not sure. I have a FL ligature that I use for metal Otto Links. This is the same one I used on the Bahia I think. Steve

  9. Thanks – -considering this mouthpiece.

  10. Hi there!

    Sounds great! I was just curious how you would compare this to the Jody Jazz DV? Is it as bright or darker? Thanks for all the reviews 🙂

  11. Hi Nate, I have never played a Jody Jazz DV to review sorry. I did play test one in a music store years ago when they first came out but it was only for 30 seconds and I don’t remember anything about except that I didn’t really care for it at the time I tried it. Steve

  12. I really like this piece. Before this, I favored Drake’s Stubbie but I’m a convert. Is Navarro still making mouthpieces? I can’t find any.

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