Drake Pete Christieb Tenor Mouthpiece

This is a new hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece by Aaron Drake.  Aaron has started a new series of mouthpieces called the “Masters” series  where he copies the favorite mouthpieces of the great players alive today.  So far, he has made mouthpieces for Dave Liebman, Jerry Bergonzi and Pete Christlieb.

I have been a fan of Pete Christlieb’s since around 8th grade.  That was the year that my parents took me out to California on vacation.  They happened to take me to the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson  and that  was the first time I heard Christlieb play.  I was just getting into the saxophone at that time but I still knew this guy was smokin”.   Later at Ithaca college, Pete Christlieb was the guest artist one semester.  I got to play in the big band behind him and I remember being in awe of how much this guy could swing. (I still have that concert on cassette tape but haven’t listened to it since that day because I don’t have a cassette player anymore……)

I remember at that time learning that he played on an old Berg Larsen.   He had a huge sound.  It filled up the room and was big and powerful.  I remember thinking at the time, that I had never heard a tenor player be as expressive as Mr. Christlieb was.   He was scooping and bending notes all over the place………..  (It was around this time that I bought my first tenor saxophone……..I had only played alto until this time)

When I heard that Drake mouthpieces was making a copy of Pete Christlieb’s mouthpiece I wanted to try one immediately……………….

Drake Pete Christieb Tenor Mouthpiece

 

This is what the Drake website says about the Christlieb model:

Pete Christlieb MASTER SERIES Tenor Mouthpiece

This model is based on the very same “Bullet Chamber” design that Pete Christlieb has played for over 50 years.  The specially calibrated baffle is contoured to create an “aliveness” to the sound that is even through all the registers.  The addition of the long silver plated banding on the shank helps to focus the core vibrational frequencies and generates greater projection.

“For a guy who has played on the same mouthpiece for 54 years, my new Aaron Drake recreation is incredibly accurate.  The .120” is my favorite.”
– Pete Christlieb

 

Drake Pete Christieb Tenor Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece looks great. The baffle is a medium height Berg type baffle with the scooped bullet chamber in it.  The mouthpiece has a thinner profile to it than I am used to, but it’s easy to get used to it.  It is a very lightweight mouthpiece.  The silver banding on it gives it a little bit more weight but I think if it didn’t have that it would blow away in the wind………  The bite plate area has a bit of a duckbill shape to it.  I imagine that Mr. Christlieb’s original Berg has a shape similar to this one.  The rails, tip, table and baffle all look perfect.

Drake Pete Christieb Tenor Mouthpiece

The Drake Pete Christlieb mouthpiece played great from the get go.  It has a similar vibe and feel to it as some other great Berg’s I have played through the years.  It is very powerful and the scooped out baffle gives it a thick hearty tone that really carries.  You can hear in the beginning of the recording how thick it sounds.   It also has loads of power when you push it.  At times during the recording I found myself “growling” and going for more of a blues tenor sound.  The mouthpiece was very smooth and even from note to note and was easy and smooth to play fast on.  The last phrase of the clip was about as fast as I’ve ever heard myself play…………The altissimo was very easy to get in comparison to many other “Link” type pieces.  It was fun to play up there on this mouthpiece.

Drake Pete Christieb Tenor Mouthpiece

 If you like the Drake Pete Christlieb sound you can check them out on the Drake website for more information.

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

Drake Pete Christieb Tenor 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. Nice Steve!

    That has to be one of my favourites of your reviews.. really fat and expressive. The listener can hear how easily that played for you and how much you enjoyed it! Lovely playing as always:)

  2. You sound very good on it, and I’m chomping at the bit to get mine! Of course, it is impossible to judge a mpce by hearing someone else play it, unless that player also posts the same routine on other mpces. Then you can judge it to some extent but still only in the relative sense. Hearing you play yours and Pete play his, and knowing that I have always played mpces of this general type, I have high hopes for it. As Paul said, it is obvious that you liked it very much and it inspired you to go where the mpce was leading you, which is certainly the mark of a great mpce. Thanks very much for the great review1

  3. I was very surprised by the sound you got on the low end of this piece. Most impressive.

  4. Hi Steve,

    I love your voice on this mpc very much! Thanks for your review! I know you also own an RPC 120B high baffle mpc you mentioned that you use alot on Blues gigs, could you plx let me know: which one is more easy/free blowing? (I think my rpc has some resistance there that I do not like sometimes when I want to play soft on some occassion…); which one is warmer is sound? Thanks! nick

  5. I had a RPC115B Nick. I ended up selling it because it felt too open for me. I would say the Drake is warmer than how I remember the RPC playing. The RPC could get a lot louder and brighter when you pushed it though. Steve

  6. Very nice sound! What tip opening was it?
    Is it true that in a high buffle piece like this you
    can go to a larger tip than usual?

  7. Pan, That was a .110 tip opening. Yes, I usually feel like I want to go to a bigger tip with a high baffle piece. I usually prefer .105-.110 with link type mouthpieces. With high baffles I tend to prefer around .115.

  8. Steve,

    I have listened to all of your reviews and I think this is one of the best ones. You sounded great on it. Makes it very tempting to get one! What Berg baffle would you compare it to?

  9. Hi Bob, I’m not sure? I have played a few Bergs but I would have to see them side by side to compare. I do have a clip of a HR Berg I did for tenor somewhere on the site……….

  10. I noticed Christlieb’s name gets misspelled, lacking the L after T.

  11. Terrific piece – both your blog and Drake’s masterful creation. Pete deservedly chose to play the original for over 50 years to become a modern legend. I love playing this mouthpiece too!

  12. I bought a 110 and it’s so versatile that it is now the only mouthpiece that I use for all styles of music. I used to play a 1950’s 100/0 Berg but I always found it too bright and hated practicing on it. This has all the things that I like about the old Berg but it’s way better and I find it easier to shape my own sound on it (I use Vandoren ZZ reeds on it). I highly recommend the 110 if you normally play a 7*, it really is a truly remarkable product..

  13. Steve,
    Many years ago I bought a mouthpiece from Pete Christlieb when he was casting around to get his piece made by someone. I am so glad he found Aaron Drake. You sound legendary on Drake’s Christlieb. One of your best ever. Do you recall what reed & strength were you using?

  14. Hi Jason,
    I don’t remember the reed strength but I usually say in the review or at the beginning of the recording. Thanks, Steve

  15. Thanks Steve and thanks too, for your work with everything saxophone.

  16. Alan Klingaman says:

    You sold me at 2:20… ; > ) I am really liking mine so far. The more time I spend the better. I find Vandoren V16s sound the best for me. I use 3s, with a little work they match up great. I agree that it is a light weight piece. A concern at first, but no longer. Thanks Steve.

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