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.

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