Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a new metal tenor saxophone mouthpieces made by Vandoren. This mouthpiece is the Vandoren V16 T7 Large Chamber V16 model. This is similar to the T7 medium chamber I reviewed a few days ago but this mouthpiece has a larger chamber.

Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here are some quotes from the Vandoren website about the V16 T7 model tenor saxophone mouthpiece:

BULLET POINTS ABOUT THE VANDOREN V16 T7  MODEL:

        • Made from legendary “Bell Metal” brass
        • Plated with 24-karat gold
        • Small Chamber-The original V16 model relabeled with a Small indication. A centered sound with lots of projection.
        • Medium Chamber-Inspired by the famous mouthpieces from the 50’s and 60’s. A round and deep sound.
        • Large Chamber- In the tradition of the 40’s. The great vintage sound.

The V16 T7 Large Chamber is advertised as having a 40’s sound.  I take that to mean that it is modeled after the Otto Link Metal “Tone Master” of the 40’s.  Players like Ben Webster, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins played Tone Master Links from the 40’s.

The V16 T7 Large chamber I am reviewing today has a tip opening of .104 and a large chamber.  As I look at the V16 T7 large chamber compared to a few of the metal Otto Links in my collection,  the T7 chamber looks similar in size in comparison to the other florida Link chambers I have in my collection.  It is not as big as a NY Otto Link chamber that I own.

Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you have ever bought anything from Vandoren before you probably know they are a company with a reputation for excellence.  If you ask 10 sax player what the best mass produced mouthpieces are on the market most of them will probably include Vandoren in their response.  I have played many Vandoren mouthpiece over my years of saxophone teaching.  I have hardly ever seen any defects or imperfections in their mouthpieces.  The T7 I am playing today also lives up to that reputation. Everything about the mouthpiece is beautiful.  The table, rails, tip and baffle all look perfect. Smooth, even and flawless.

Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The T7 Medium chamber I reviewed earlier seemed to work right out of the box with my first reed choice.  This T7 large chamber was a harder reed match for me.  It felt like the larger chamber made it harder for me to just step up to the plate on this mouthpiece and get to business.  When I first played it,  it felt like I couldn’t get any projection, volume or focus out of it.  I’ve felt that way on different Otto Links in the past and knew that I needed to put in some time before I gave up.  I spent a few days playing the large chamber T7 and on the 2nd day it seemed like something changed for me.

Vandoren V16T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The tone seemed to open up for me and get a bit more volume and fullness.  Nothing changed with the mouthpiece obviously but I began to use more air for the larger chamber and blow differently.  I started to get a fuller sound that filled the entire room.  When I listen back to the clips there are moments where I feel like I am experiencing that and then there are other moments where I’m backsliding into playing with less air.   The larger chamber means you have to spend more time with this mouthpiece to get used to blowing the air it requires for a big full sound.  It’s best to fully commit to a mouthpiece like this if you want to get the most out of it.  (At least for a few weeks so you can see what it can do………..)

The first reed I settled on was a  Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong.  It felt a little soft but I decided to go with it anyways for the first recording.  It had a big full sound and the lighter reed gave a nice crispness and edge to the sound.  That being said, I’m not sure the light reed could be really pushed in a live setting to give the volume I would need in that setting.

Next I tried a 3 Light reed which gave a little more body and thickness.  I tried a RG 3 medium reed but that just seemed to stuffy to me.  I think I preferred the 3 Light over the 2 1/2 just because I had more to work with……..

The Vandoren Large chamber doesn’t have the core and focus of the medium chamber but it has more of a spread diffuse sound to it.  Darker than the medium chamber that is for sure. It has less volume that the T7 Medium chamber in my opinion.  I could get a big sound and volume out of it but I don’t think I would take this mouthpiece on a loud “Tp 40” gig. The mix of less volume with a darker tone makes me think it wouldn’t be able to cut through in that type of situation.  (I don’t think Ben Webster, Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins would want to play their mouthpieces in that situation either………)

On the Vandoren fact sheet for these mouthpieces it says that the recommended tip openings for the large chamber are a T6 and a T5. As I played the T7 I did indeed feel like maybe I should have ordered a T6 to accommodate my air stream better.  I am  still very interested in trying a T6 and T5 to see how they play for me.  The list above says that Ben Webster, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins played Tone Master’s but it doesn’t say what tip opening.  If I had to guess I would say a 5 or 6…………(Let me know what you find out if you Google it…….)

The  positives of this mouthpiece are the fat, full and  robust sound.  The low register is just huge and thick sounding and the middle and top register are are full and hearty sounding as well.

Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Thanks to Vandoren for making another great saxophone mouthpiece and letting me review it. I ended up posting 2 clips below.

1.) The first one is with a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong reed about 2 feet from the mic.  The was an easy reed to play and I would consider it on the softer side.  Rigotti can lead to the bright side of things as far as tone and the softer reed makes it even brighter.

2.) The 2nd clip is with a slightly harder  Rigotti Gold 3 Light reed.  This is also about 2 feet from the mic.

If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then please give the Vandoren T7 large chambered mouthpiece a try. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks, Steve

Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong

Vandoren V16 T7 Large Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Rigotti Gold 3 Light

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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. Thanks for sharing your review on the Vandoren V16 T7 Model!

  2. I’m curious how this compares to a metal Theo Gaia. Seems to be the same idea with the large chamber.

  3. Hi Dave,
    I just had a Gaia mouthpiece here and played it for a few months. I would without a doubt say I preferred the new Gaia to the Vandoren T7 Large chamber. The Gaia has more focus and power in my opinion than the T7 while still have=ing a full rich sound. That was my experience. Of course the Gaia is also like 3 times the cost of the T7 so you have to decide if it is worth to you. Steve

  4. Steve,
    I played a late model Florida STM 8 for many years until it was damaged. I tried these pieces in a medium (T8) and large (T7) chamber and much preferred the large chamber, but it was too small of an opening for me. I hear they’re making the large in a T8 and T9 now, but no one is selling them.

    Between the Vandoren large chamber, the RS Berkley Chris Potter and any other piece, what are some mouthpieces, based on your experience, that have the same “flavor” as the Vandoren large chamber? You have a great sound on the Chris Potter piece by the way.

    Thanks

  5. Hi, I played a king silversonic tenor with a Florida ottolink 7 metal mouthpiece that I stuck to for years on various tenors, I now choose to play a 1938 zephyr special & I was struggling with the ottolink.
    I had a try with the Vandoren T7 large chamber & the sax just opened up & flowed allowing me to relax on the muscles yet go for big sounds. Also found I could go straight onto new reeds dry & cold no problem.

    Fabulous for my tenor

  6. I’ve been playing my V16 T7 Large for almost a year now after switching from an Link NY 7*, I absolutely LOVE the V16 overall and I think it goes really well with a lot of standard blues and into most “standards”. However, I think for a more modern or loud setting it might not be quite enough without a struggle. Obviously this post is about the V16 but does anyone have a relatively cheap (under 300) suggestion for those bright moments?

  7. Quang Thang says:

    Steve,

    Thank you for your review of the new V16 tenor metal mouthpiece. I agree with your assessment of this particular mouthpiece and what one can expect from a Vandoren mouthpiece in general.

    As for the two clips, I think you sound more comfortable, more spread, darker, more vintage and more fluid in the second one than you did on the first one. The change of reed certainly had a lot to do with this change. In the first clip, however, you sounded very elegant in your phrasing and vibrato., and I didn’t mind the little brightness you had in your sound.

    Zach,

    For a bright, powerful mouthpiece under $300, I think my #1 recommendation is a Dukoff Super Power Chamber (size of your choice). Or a Berg Larsen 0 baffled one, say, a 105/0 SMS? And if you don’t mind HR pieces, Vandoren does make the Jumbo JAVA line of mouthpieces that is very powerful.

    Good luck!

  8. Steve, do any of these large or medium chamber pieces give off a Trane vibe in any way? I’m slowly edging into becoming one of the many hardcore Trane devotees, but I just haven’t been able to get anything close to that sound out of my horn. I had a modern Meyer HR that was getting there on that concept, but I dropped it and it broke, and now I’m going through all sorts of pieces (a few different modern Meyers, small chambered pieces, large chambered pieces, etc.) and using all sorts of tone techniques (Overtones, sub-tones, Sonny Rollins’ rubber band trick, etc.) trying to get anything close. Its not that I think I sound bad, it’s just not what I want. If you could help at all, that would be great.

    Thanks,
    Ty

  9. Ty,
    I think these Vandoren pieces can get you in the ballpark of Trane with a harder reed. I play petty soft reeds but I tend to get more of a tone like his when I go for a harder reed. I think a piece similar to a Florida Link chamber or a Link double Ring chamber will put you in the ballpark. I think the new Vandoren pieces are similar to those. Not exact but close. I have a couple of Florida Links that are close to that sound with that harder reed……….Good Luck on the search. Steve

  10. Brian White says:

    How are thing’s my brother?
    You did this post about 2-yrs ago, so I’m not sure if anyone asnwered your question about Coleman’s facing on his Tone Master.
    I found this page about an all original Otto Link Tone Master HS (Hawkins Special)
    http://www.saxophone.org/museum/mouthpieces/specimen/856
    They state how the facing is all original and measures true at 0.098″, about a modern Otto Link 7 (0.100″) or a Vandoren V16 T6 (0.098″)
    So lookinh at my research, the Vandoren V16 T6 would be the one you want to pick.

  11. me myself i like a warm, soft tone, i don’t need projection, i like more spread out sound, , playing in a house or small room, would this be in that category , from your time spent

  12. Philipe,
    I would say yes from what I remember of it. Steve

  13. does this model have scooped rails or flat, thanks

  14. Yes, the large and medium chambers have scooped sidewalls. The small chamber doesn’t.

  15. Kevin Goodall says:

    I have the V16 Large Chamber Metal Tenor Mouthpiece and am currently using it with a Rover Light Ligature and Vandoren Red Box JAVA 2.5. My only issue is the projection. What you say above may be the case for large chamber mouthpieces as I have only just purchased it and probably need to spend time on it. I have tried a JAVA 3 but thats seems to hard. I did not get the Optimum Ligature with it but I am wondering if that will open the sound up.

  16. I am looking for a rovner lig to try on this one, I have the optimum and it projects decently, but honestly the sound on these are good, and played through a mic would get you projection, if your looking for un mic ed projection the med or small would be better

  17. Kevin Goodall says:

    Yes i like the sound and with my clip on its ok.

  18. I agree with Philipe. I personally would prefer the core and projection of the small or medium chamber for gigs I think but if you have a mic and a monitor system that would help the large chamber. That being said, I have done gigs where no amount of micing or monitor helps me if the mouthpiece is too dark and spread sounding. The sound just doesn’t cut through the mix. Steve

  19. Although ligatures can have a small affect on the way a piece plays it is not a night and day difference. It’s not like you will put on a Optimum and the projection will be night and day different. I do think the Optimum will perhaps brighten up the tone a tad from the Rovner Light but only a little I think. This might make it easier to hear in the mix.

    As far as the Java 3, make sure you experiment with moving it higher or lower on the table of the mouthpiece. Sometimes I have moved a hard reed lower or higher and it plays much easier depending on the cut of the reed. Worth a try……

  20. The optimum lig has 3 plates, I found the plate 2 the one with 2 complete rails front and back was the best

  21. Kevin Goodall says:

    I managed to get hold a Optimum Lig and like Steve says very slight difference between the Rovner Light and the Optimum. After playing the MP now though for a week it seems to have opened up a lot. I think these are great MPs.

    Thank you all for your help.

  22. ptnoahsark says:

    did you get the 7 or the 6

  23. i traded my 7 in for a 6 , on order

  24. As a bari player, the large chamber felt right at home for me; able to accommodate the way I like to blow. I used to play a brighter peice (Guy Hawkins 10*), but the lushness of this piece made me fall instantly in love.

    Thanks for the review, you always highlight great stuff and I find your reviews honest and insightful.

  25. for some reason i squeak more on this one, and the Vandoren reeds seem a little small width wise, the rails on these are wid not thin so it still seals—-i tried a onyx caarbon reed and the size was spot on,

  26. Philipe,
    You might want to get the facing checked. You shouldn’t be squeaking. I think in 40 years of playing I have only squeaked maybe 10 times. It is very rare. Sometimes it happens when I put a reed I used on another mouthpiece on a new mouthpiece but I have never had that happen on a new reed unless there is something not right with the mouthpiece.

  27. well i will notify Vandoren, and see what they have to say, its a nice piece but nothing special, , my favorite are the Woodstone trad , Johannes Gerber and ben Allen, he also did a reface job on a otto link for me, friggen dark sweet and mellow, i also have an original bob shepard by maxsax

  28. by the way steve your reviews help alot, my decisions were based on your reviews and sound clips, i missed out on a sweet Stan Getz Legend Series tenor,,, should have got that one, dang, anyway thanks

  29. Giuseppe Casagrande says:

    Great fantastic sound, Steve! I think that with the Rigotti 3 the sound is more coltranian.
    Also, I allow myself to answer to Ty, that asks if we can give off a Trane vibe with the V16 in metal; before buying the Vandoren V16 T5 in metal, I used a Meyer 6 in ebonite that gave me, if you want, a Trane vibe, but it was losing sound, I have the impression. So, after listening to Steve’s clips, I bought a V16 T5 in metal mpc.
    For further confirmation of Ty’s request, I send two strings taken from you tube by Michael Cheret a franch saxophonist, very good too, who clearly give off a perfectly Trane Vibe from the Vandoren V16.
    Greetings to all.
    P.S.: Sorry for any errors; I’m writing with the translator, not speaking perfectly english.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KxJWXHJ8lc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1-9P8N2lfI

  30. well the V-16 6 or 7 did not do anything special, it sqeaks every now and then, for the price it was not worth it, my refaced Otto , Gerbers and woodstone are great, 10m fan classic may be worth a try

  31. Giuseppe says:

    Thanks Steve,
    if you used the Vandoren Optimum legature in the clips, which one of the three plates you used? If you used another legature, what legature was it?
    I would like to try to bring out a sound similar to yours, even though I know that the beauty of your sound depends on you at 99, 9%!
    I use Rigotti Gold 2 and 1/2 medium reeds, unfortunately I do not have the strength to use higher ratios, perhaps because I use double lips embouchure?

  32. Giuseppe, I use the Vandoren plate with the ridges traveling the the direction of the length of the reed. That is the plate I liked best when I first tried these like 20 years ago and I don’t think I have even tried the other plates again since then. Steve

  33. Giuseppe says:

    I have also chosen the same plate, it is what seems to me gives more richness to the sound; thanks for the reply.

  34. Giuseppe says:

    I apologize as of now for any errors, because, not knowing English well, I’m using the translator.
    Of course I speak in general and I am not referring to Vandoren and, therefore, I go off topic and the good Steve will be able to eliminate the comment; but I would like to try to express a question that has been pressing me for years:
    maybe I’m wrong and I do not understand how good are the innovations, maybe it’s wrong my impression that in Italy it arrives only, in general, from SOME brands (I DO NOT REFER TO VANDOREN) starting from saxophones, moutpieces and reeds, only the second choice? maybe he does not tell the truth an Italian mouthpieces refacing expert who says that 90% of the mouthpieces on the market in Italy, of SOME brands, do not have a perfectly flat table? …
    Yesterday I saw a picture with excellent definition (so good that you could see the small piece of scotch, slightly raised, which placed on the mouthpiece) of Coltrane’s face, his chiver and mouthpiece, an Ottolink, perhaps a Tone Master, because I could read on the same the initials T and, below, M (given the position you could not read anything else); what amazes is how small this mouthpiece was compared to today’s mouthpieces, as if it were satin, opaque and not shiny, how much grace, and harmony, and ergonomics, just to see it, release, how narrow was the opening, the tip opening; so small is the mouthpiece so great the sound!
    Same with a movie, on you tube, of Dexter Gordon’s mouthpiece that plays “Ladybird”, probably a Dukoff Hollywood: so small that you see a long piece of reed sticking out from the back of the mouthpiece!
    I wonder: why do SOME of the current builders make bigger mouthpieces? How can you, without effort, let 130 grams of metal enter into vibration instead of 45 grams?
    The famous saxophonists filed their mouthpieces until they were broken; SOME manufacturers make them increasingly heavy with layers and layers of lacquers and plating.
    Why not PEDISSEQUAMENTE copy the old best models of famous musicians instead of always trying to change things that work well?

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