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

 

 

 

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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. 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.

  8. I’ve been playing a MBII for the past 7 years, and I love it. It’s the best tenor mouthpiece I’ve ever owned and played. I have others, but quickly found that I never play or use any of the others any more. The MBII is just so versatile, let’s me bend and shape notes and my sound so easily. It’s very free-flowing and free-blowing, and yes, it does project extremely well. I play in a lot of rock and blues bands, with a lot of electric guitars, and this mouthpiece allows me to blow freely without pushing too hard to get optimal projection, cutting right through the mix without losing a nice, focused, centered, core tone or getting too edgy (like a Dukoff). I can’t say enough positive things about these mouthpieces. I wish I could find one for my soprano, but finding any of these besides a tenor (they’re quite easy to find) is really tough anymore, and you pay an arm and a leg for them, when oftentimes they are beat up, scuffed up and pretty badly worn. So, I’m still looking… Was playing on a Rovner Deep V on my soprano (the hard rubber one, not the metal one), and I really loved the openness and balance in the sound that I got from it, but it cracked and split on me; I think these are so thinly shaved in making the deep V that they are prone to this kind of cracking, and would probably be much much better from a structural integrity and durability standpoint in metal. But alas, these too are gone and no longer made, and very tough to find also. Thanks for sharing Steve, and for providing a forum for me to share as well. All the best to you man.

  9. Mike Hutchings says:

    Hi Steve, All the Best for 2016, just wanted to add a PS to my post of Feb.22 2014. After a while of playing and a few gigs on the JodyJazz DV8* I found that it was a bit too bright and a little inconsistant in tone over the whole range for me, so whilst a great m’piece I decided to try a Rafael Navarro Bob Mintzer Be-Bop special in metal. Again, a great m’piece and a little easier for subtone but not enough projection and bite so I’m back on the Guardala MBII which has that focussed core sound that I love. I was interested that you mention in your review of the Fatboy MBII that the tip radius matching to the reed is worse than that on the normal MBII, I was hoping that it would be better as my only criticism of the normal MBII is that the facing is slightly narrower than a standard reed and the tip radius/profile isn’t an exact match. I’m a bit like you and like things like that to be perfect, but as you say it’s the sound that counts! Thanks for all the newsletters and have a great 2016. Best Wishes, Mike Hutchings.

  10. Neffmusic Forum: Bite Plate for Guardala Tenor MBII mpc.
    Where can I buy a factory Guardala Tenor MBII mpc.
    Don’t want to use dental repair.
    Mike Giacalone

  11. Mike, I have no idea where to get a factory bite plate for a Guardala. Not sure you can. I have had Keith Bradbury (Mojo mouthpieces) redo a Link bite plate and a Barone bite plate and they turned out great. You can’t even tell they were redone. Steve

  12. Mike Hutchings says:

    Hi Steve, I think you sent your reply to Mike Giacalone to me by mistake, (or maybe me as well?). However, on my Guardala MBII I had a dental technician take out all of the old plate and re-fill with clear dental epoxy and it’s now better than when new. Hope this may help Mike and hope you’ve survived the recent bad weather, Regards, Mike Hutchings.

  13. (I’m a french Canadian sorry for my so so english )
    I tried a the Guardala mouthpiece yesterday ,
    1- a realy bad ligature on it
    2 – it,s a bright an powerfull mouthpiece
    3 – the reed is not stable due to the ligature ( esay too squeak
    4 – this mouthpiece remind me the old berg larsen 110
    5- easy alltissimo
    6- too expensive
    7-good subtones but not quick response
    8-sharp blade in the middle and high range
    9-the tonguing is so so in the low range ( it need apro 3 mounth to get it i think
    10 -i use a Lebayle 7* ébonite an a Berg 110
    11-i will probably by it .got to try it again with a better ligature an with plastic cover reeds( i use Hemke 2,5 or 3 ,or 3 1/2)
    12-il realy like the power of this mouthpiece

    11-

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