PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

OK, It looks like January is high baffle, powerhouse, mouthpieces on steroids month so far. For this review I’m playing a PMS Michael Brecker II Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece.  My last review was of the “Fat Boy” version of this mouthpiece.  This is the regular version from PMS.

Supposedly, Mr. Guardala sold the rights to his mouthpieces to WWBW and they started manufacturing them and selling them on the WWBW site but……..soon after I saw Guardala mouthpieces being offered by a company in Germany called PMS.  I don’t know all the legal, behind the scenes details but……WWBW is still selling their Guardala mouthpieces and PMS is still selling their Guardala mouthpieces. The mouthpiece I am reviewing today is from Germany and is a PMS mouthpiece.

PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece is called a MB II which is for Michael Brecker II. Dave Guardala made many mouthpieces and the one he is most famous for making is the one Michael Brecker used. This is a version of that mouthpiece.  Is it exact?………. I don’t think so because I’m pretty sure that Brecker’s mouthpiece had a straight or smooth edge on the end of his baffle.   Every other MB II I have seen has had a straight or smooth edge.   The rumor is that PMS went with a “bullet” type baffle so that the mouthpieces could be machined and less handwork was needed.

PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece looks great! It is a beautiful gold and is engraved with “MBII” on the top of the piece. The baffle is very long and has that curved “bullet”edge I talked about above.  I have seen this same baffle type on the Guardala “King” and “Super King”  mouthpiece produced by WWBW.

The rails, baffle and table look beautiful and perfect ……… the tip on this piece does match the reeds better than the “Fat Boy” mouthpiece I reviewed earlier.

PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

The Guardala MB II played great with a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 medium reed. At first, I tried a new Vandoren Java 2 1/2 and it was way too soft for me. I tried to record a clip but I couldn’t even get through it because the reed was so soft. The Rigottt Gold was just the right strength and offered just enough resistance to feel comfortable.  This mouthpiece has a .114 tip opening.

PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

I won’t lie to you…….the Guardala Michael Brecker II is not a dark mouthpiece. It is definitely on the brighter side of the spectrum of saxophone sound. I think you can hear it in the sound clip. I kept wanting to morph into my old Michael Brecker licks but I tried not to (you might hear one or two………….)

I found this MBII to be a bit brighter  and edgier than the “Fat Boy” model I reviewed earlier.  You can compare the sound clips and judge for yourself.  Because it has that longer “bullet” shaped baffle, the air travels faster into a smaller chamber and gives it that brighter sound.  The “Fat Boy” had a fatter more round sound to it in my opinion.  Less edge on it than this MBII.  You can hear it more on the higher notes of the recordings………

The strength of a good Guardala is the focus it has. It has a very tight focus and core to the sound. When you play it feels like a laser beam of sound is coming out of the bell and pointing straight at the mic.  Other mouthpieces without this focus feel more like a wave of sound is coming out of the bell.

The PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II also has more volume because of that higher baffle. When you blow full force it really opens up and gets LOUD! You have to be careful or you might damage your hearing…… The downside of the high baffle is that the tone isn’t as thick or full as a lower baffle mouthpiece.

I gave this mouthpiece a 3.75 rating for tone.  This is a purely personal rating as I prefer a darker and fatter tone on the tenor saxophone.   I will say that if you like this type of tone then you might choose to rate it higher.  I usually rate a piece 4-5 if it is more of a tone I really love………

PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

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

PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II Tenor Mouthpiece

 

 

 

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, really love this piece. I use to own a MII mouthpiece.
    I am actually thinking if you can found the time to compare the current tenor mouthpiece you have and list some of them that you really liked. Abit like the 9 alto mouthpiece comparison you did.

    Cheers

  2. I was actually thinking of doing that again with my tenor mouthpieces……..It’s a lot of work!

  3. Chris S. says:

    Love your reviews! It really helps me out, but I’m curious as to whether this was the handmade one or the laser trimmed one. Would you happen to know?
    P.S. You sound really nice… keep doing what you do.

  4. This was the laser-trimmed PMS model. I also reviewed a WWBW laser trimmed model on here but that was years ago………

  5. Hi Steve, I have been playing the MBII for the last few years and I’m also not too happy that reeds don’t fit properly. I normally use Rico Select Jazz, but have found with all brands that the mouthpiece is too narrow for the reed.Any other mouthpieces that are a bit fatter, and possibly with a little more”body”to the sound you could recommend?Thanks, Mike.

  6. Mike, do you play hard rubber at all. I’m playing a hard rubber piece by 10Mfan right now called “the Boss”. It has huge volume but is much thicker and fatter sounding than the MBII in my opinion. Other options are the RPC115B or a Lamberson DD.

  7. Mike Hutchings says:

    Hi Steve, Thanks for your reply and suggestions re hard rubber tenor mouthpieces that are a bit more comfortable than the Guardala MBII that I’ve been using. As I now live in spain it’s not easy to try out pieces as no local stores around here! I must confess to always preferring metal m’pieces, I’ve used Lawton 7*B for years on both Sop. and Alto but the Tenor 7*B does nothing for me, strange , isn’t it! However, late last year I did some serious research after re-reading your comments and took the plunge and ordered a JodyJazz Tenor DV8*. WOW, all the positive reviews are true. It is the best Tenor mouthpiece that I’ve ever used, the intonation is spot on and the sound I like. A little darker than the Guardala but still has a good core sound and plenty of projection to cut through when soloing with the bigband. Also reeds match the mouthpiece perfectly. Anyone wanting to move on from a Guardala MBII must try this! Sincere Best Wishes, Mike.

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