Benjamin Allen Brighter 10E+ Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Today, I am reviewing another hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece from Benjamin Allen. It is the 10E model but it is a Ben’s brighter version of this model.  This model doesn’t have a name yet so for the sake of this review I will just call it the 10E+.

Benjamin Allen mentored under “Doc” Tenney and after Doc’s death decided to carry on his tradition and dedication to the mouthpiece making craft.  Ben decided to come out with a 10E model in honor and memory of Paul “Doc” Tenney” himself as a reflection of Doc’s work and mentorship.    Here are a few words from Ben’s site on the 10E:

“I have placed every ounce of my knowledge, skill, and training into making this mouthpiece worthy of carrying the mighty initials “10E”– I do not and will not ever take this obligation lightly. While my model “10E” is an exceptional mouthpiece reminiscent of Doc’s Jazzmaster, it is still not Doc’s work–it is my own. But I firmly believe this mouthpiece will fully reveal Doc’s outstanding mentoring and my dedication to the craft.”

Benjamin Allen Brighter 10E+ Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here are some more bullet points from Ben’s website about the 10E model tenor saxophone mouthpiece he makes:

BULLET POINTS ABOUT THE MODEL 10E:

  • This mouthpiece has a truly large chamber, yet it retains a nice level of relative focus and density to its spectral coloration and envelope.
  • The walls are undercut, but there is a slight squeeze going into the chamber.
  • The facing curve is moderately resistant on this mouthpiece.
  • The beak design is based on a standard Otto Link.
  • The ramp is undercut and the side rails are slightly thinned and balanced.
  • The tip rail profile is significantly thinner that Dr. Tenney’s (this does not make it better; it’s different)
  • My concept of “neutrality” is ever so slightly more brilliant than Dr. Tenney’s concept.
  • Each mouthpiece is handmade and hand adjusted to ensure each piece approaches playing perfection.
  • All steps are completed in the United States.
  • Each mouthpiece is made of American hard rubber–sorry, but there is no plastic in my pieces.

Ben actually sent me three 10E mouthpieces to try and review.  One is the 10E model which I already reviewed and one is this brighter version of that model that I will review today.  The other 10E he sent was an absolute monster of a mouthpiece at a .135 tip opening.   I hope to review that in a few days after I take an adrenaline shot straight to my heart to pump me up  and maybe some steroids for recording the audio clip! (Actually, it was much easier to play than I had imagined……more on that later…….)

Benjamin Allen Brighter 10E+ Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

When you open the package, there is nothing about this mouthpiece that says  ” this is the greatest mouthpiece to ever exist and will change the future of saxophone sound forever”  It isn’t shiny and doesn’t have glitter or anything.  It’s pretty nondescript.  It looks like your average black hard rubber mouthpiece with the words “Benjamin Allen” and “New Orleans” engraved on the top.  When you turn the mouthpiece over and look at it in the light it looks perfect though. Not one ounce of asymmetry or imperfection.  The table, rails and tip rail look even and perfect.  The tip rail is thin and even as are the the side rails and baffle.

The 10E tenor sax mouthpiece has an ever so slight rollover baffle that then angles down into the large chamber.  It almost seems like it goes straight to the back of the chamber but there is a slight scoop in the chamber at the bottom.  The side rails are scooped out smooth and evenly.  There is a slight protrusion around the back of the chamber where the chamber meets the bore as you look at the chamber from the tip.

To be honest, although this Brighter 10E sounds and plays very different than the original 10E as I look at them side by side it is hard for me to tell a difference between the two.  The baffles and chambers look almost identical to me.  There is a big difference in how they play and sound so I’m rather perplexed by what the differences are………….

 

Benjamin Allen Brighter 10E+ Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

OK,  on to reviewing the sound and playability of the Brighter 10E+.  In the review of the original 10E I commented on how it is one of those mouthpiece that can slip by you if you are not careful.   The 10E+  is not like that.  It is very easy to play and like all of Ben’s mouthpieces I have is very reed friendly.  I found the tone brighter and much more powerful sounding.  Although it does seem louder decibel wise to me,  I also think the brighter tone seems to carry and cut through more.

The intonation was excellent and like the 10E the tone was very even throughout the range.  Although the tone was brighter than the 10E it has a very sweet and buttery sound to me.   The altissimo was very fat and round sounding to me. No harshness or edge up there, just round, fat and sweet sounding notes.

The low notes still retain that dark lush 10E sound in my opinion. The Rigotti Gold 3 Strong reed I used on the 10E seemed harder to me on this 10E+ mouthpiece which makes me wonder if the facing curve is different than the 10E.  It would be interesting to me if the extra brightness and pop came from a different facing curve or not………..  I ended up picking out a Rigotti Gold 3 Light reed for this clip.*

* I just got a response email from Ben saying that the extra brightness is due a difference in the baffle area of .005 to .010 higher.  He says the extra brightness is caused from air flow compression………..Interesting!

Benjamin Allen Brighter 10E+ Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Benjamin Allen 10E+ Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece was great to play. If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then please contact Ben and give it a try. You can contact Benjamin Allen at his website at Allenmouthpieces.com  Tell him Steve sent you………….Great work Ben!!

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

As I listen to this clip the mouthpiece sounds very nice but I would like to add another clip with louder more hardcore playing to see what the piece sound like in that style.  I’ll post the clip hear also after I record it.

Benjamin Allen Brighter 10E+ 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. Tim Zannes says:

    You sound great on this one Steve. Very fat but also clear. I have the Dragoti and the 10E and now I want to get one of the 10E+ models from listening to your playing on it. This one sounds very versatile.

  2. Thanks Tim. Yes, this is one is really good. I’m playing the .135 10E today. Hopefully I can a clip of that up later today and then I can start reviewing the Dargradi pieces………….

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