10mFan Robusto Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Mark Sepinuck, 10mFan as he is known in the saxophone world, has been selling high end vintage saxophone mouthpieces on Ebay for years. Whether it be vintage New York Meyers, Double Ring Otto Links or handmade Guardala mouthpieces…………Mark has had them all and sold them all. I met Mark years ago on ebay when I was interested in a mouthpiece he was selling. I don’t even remember what the mouthpiece was but I do remember that Mark invited me over to his house somewhere in Massachusetts to try out all the mouthpieces he had. I was ecstatic. I went to his house and tried a ton of mouthpieces! Mark was a great guy to talk to and hang out with. Since that time I have bought a number of mouthpiece from Mark and one thing I have learned is that if Mark says a mouthpiece is great then it is great!

10mFan Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces-Merlot, Robusto and the Boss

Mark came out with his own line of hard rubber and metal tenor saxophone mouthpieces about a year and a half ago. This was no secret to me as I had talked to Mark months before and he said he was working on his own mouthpieces but it was hush… hush. Mark said he had a very unique and precise vision of the mouthpieces he wanted to create. He knew exactly how he wanted them to look and play and wanted them to be perfect before he released them to the public. Months and months went by……… I was starting to wonder if the whole plan of Mark’s had fell through………..

Finally, one day I heard that the mouthpieces were ready to be released to the world. Mark called and said he would send me a few to review. I was very excited to try these new mouthpieces out!  I called him back that same day and I think we talked for over an hour. Mark talked in depth about each mouthpiece and how special it was.  There were to be three models. The Merlot which is the darkest, the Robusto which is in the middle and can do it all, and the BOSS which would be so powerful that mere mortals could only dream of controlling it’s energy. (Just kidding……..it is the loudest, brightest and most powerful of the three)

10mFan Robusto Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece to be reviewed today is the hard rubber Robusto tenor saxophone mouthpiece……….. The Robusto’s description sounds like it is a “jack of all trades” mouthpiece. I used to gig in local bands all the time that went from playing standards to full bore slammin’ R&B and Top 40 so I was very interested in seeing what this “Robusto” mouthpiece could do and how versatile it was………….

The Robusto 7** looks terrific. It has the same extra long table as the Merlot which makes lining up your reeds super easy. The table, rails, tip and baffle look perfect. The baffle of the Robusto looks to be a little bit higher than the Merlot and looks to be about a third longer than the Merlot baffle. After the sloped baffle edge it quickly slopes down into a medium large chamber. The sidewalls are straight but once they hit the chamber area they flare out to make a nice round chamber. Like the Merlot the Robusto has the three white rings around the shank and the words 10mFan and Robusto engraved on the top.

10mFan Robusto Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The sound of this mouthpiece is right in the middle of the tone spectrum for me. As I listen to the sound clip I am struck by the fact that at times the mouthpiece sounds brighter and at other time darker.  Other times during the clip it has a very jazzy straight ahead sound and then other times it has a tone that would “smoke” for funk or R&B. This is a very versatile mouthpiece in my opinion…………. Mark is very proud of this mouthpiece and I can understand why! It covers all the bases. You need to play some jazz……..yeah, it can do that and sound killer with a big,fat and lush tone! You need to play some R&B………yeah, bring it on, this will nail that with some edge and brightness that is still beautiful to listen to.  You need to play some Contra Dance Music from the Pacific Northwest or some Traditional Tibetan Folk Hymns………..you got it covered with this mouthpiece……….. This is truly a great all around mouthpiece and can do it all!

10mFan Robusto Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

These are Mark’s own words on the tonal aspects of the Robusto from his website: 

“ROBUSTO” HARD RUBBER: FOR ME, THIS IS GREATEST ALL-AROUND HARD RUBBER JAZZ MOUTHPIECE I’VE EVER PLAYED

FOR ME, THIS IS HARD RUBBER PERFECTION!

I DESIGNED IT TO BE MY PERSONAL TENOR MOUTHPIECE—-AND IT IS. FOR ME, THIS OFFERS THE PERFECT BLEND OF LOWS, MIDS, + HIGHS, AND HAS A RICH COLOR PALETTE AND WIDE DYNAMIC RANGE. THE SOUND HAS A REALLY GREAT CLASSIC WARMTH AND BRIGHTNESS AVAILABLE AND PLENTY OF PUNCH TO IT WHEN PUSHED! THIS HAS A TIMELESS “HARD BOP NY TENOR SOUND” AND A MODERN SOUND IS AVAILABLE FROM IT AT THE SAME TIME. CLASSIC STRAIGHT AHEAD SOUND WITH MORE POWER AND PUNCH AVAILABLE THAN THE TRADITIONAL VINTAGE MOUTHPIECES…AND WITH A NICE CLASSIC SIZZLE ON TOP WHEN YOU WANT IT. LOTS OF ROOM TO LET LOOSE WITH THIS PIECE. IT’S VERY GENE AMMONS ON HIS “BOSS TENORS” ALBUM, AND DEXTER GORDON ON HIS “GO” ALBUM, FOR ME—IT OFFERS GREAT BODY AND DEPTH. IT’S CLEAN AND POWERFUL TOP TO BOTTOM WITH A HUGE BODY OF SOUND. LIKE ALL MY MOUTHPIECES, THE SOUND “OPENS UP” BEAUTIFULLY AS YOU PUSH IT. THIS HAS A LONGER BAFFLE THAN THE MERLOT AND THE SOUND IS BIG AND FAT WITH MUCH MORE PUNCH AVAILABLE. THIS PIECE IS THE BEST ALL-AROUND STRAIGHT AHEAD JAZZ HARD RUBBER AND METAL TENOR MPC I HAVE EVER PLAYED. AGAIN, I DESIGNED IT TO BE MY PERSONAL TENOR MPC—–AND IT IS. MY SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT MOUTHPIECE HAS ENDED HERE. PHAROAH SANDERS, JOEL FRAHM, JERRY BERGONZI, JAN GARBAREK, DAVID MANN, DOUG WEBB, DAVE O’HIGGINS, EMANUELE CISI, KEN GIOFFRE, AND SO MANY OTHERS ARE JUST A FEW OF THE GUYS THAT YOU MAY HAVE SEEN PLAYING ON MY ROBUSTO MODEL– AND EACH GETTING THEIR OWN PERSONAL SOUNDS FROM THAT SAME MOUTHPIECE MODEL. FINALLY, MOUTHPIECES THAT CAN GET BOTH THE VINTAGE VIBE AND MODERN VIBE!  THE ROBUSTO MODELS HAVE MORE PUNCH AVAILABLE THAN THE MERLOT MODELS.

THE HARD RUBBER ROBUSTO SMOKES THE VINTAGE SLANTS AND EARLY BABBITT LINKS FOR ME.
THE METAL ROBUSTO OUTPLAYS THE BEST ORIGINAL FLORIDA AND EARLY BABBITT STM METAL LINKS FOR ME.  MUCH MORE DEPTH, WIDTH, AND BODY!

10mFan Robusto Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I have had the 10mfan Robusto for about a year and a half now and I can honestly say that the Robusto tenor sax mouthpiece is one of my favorite mouthpieces I own.  I took it out the other day to record the sound clip below and felt totally at home on it.  The Robusto allows me to easily travel between straight ahead jazz and bluesy sounding sax lines with ease. The tone is fat and round with a nice core and focus to the sound.  The altissimo notes are some of the prettiest I have encountered.  The 10mfan Robusto mouthpiece just sings up there and the tone is full, round and beautiful in my opinion.

I would have no problem what so ever bringing this mouthpiece to any gig I might get called for. It’s versatility makes it terrific for any musician that has to “cover all the bases” and play a bunch of different genres from day to day.

If you are interested in the Robusto tenor saxophone mouthpiece contact Mark Sepinuck at 10mfan.com.  Mark is a great guy and can answer any questions you might have…………

Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you want to hear another couple of clips of the hard rubber Robusto mouthpiece check out Dave Mann demonstrating the Robusto on a blues solo and a funk solo ………….Thanks, Steve

10mFan Robusto Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

10mFan Robusto 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. Steve,
    You make that mouthpiece sound so sweet from top to bottom, but when I hear a player like you I can’t help thinking that you could play dam near anything and sound good.
    Good saxophone tone is a subjective thing but you definitely hit it.
    i just bought a SR Tech Fusion and I am trying hard to like it and mostly i do . The biggest problem Ii have is that the table and how the Forestone reed sits on it. The reed just barley catches the edge of the rails so placement is extremely critical. The H-Couf I have been using with my new horn is fine reedwise but the intonation from top to bottom is not near as good as the SR Tech fusion. If I keep struggling I will try the Robusto.

  2. As always, Steve—thank you for all you do for the sax community!
    I really appreciate you doing a review of my Robusto hard rubber tenor mouthpiece.
    With the Rigotti reeds, this piece will be able to get its brightest. You’ve got that beautiful R&B vibe going—LOVE IT!
    Because of the flexibility with all my mouthpieces, all players need to do is try out different brands of reeds to get themselves the sound color and response they desire. You can make this piece very warm, very medium, or very powerful. Highly adjustable, and thats why this Robusto has had the worldwide success it has had.
    Thank you again for all your efforts.
    Your friend,
    Mark Sepinuck

    10mfan saxophone mouthpieces
    http://www.10mfan.com

  3. Thanks Mark. You’re totally right about the reeds. On the Robusto I have found a good balance between the Rigotti Gold and the Rico Select Jazz. If I want to go brighter with a little more edge the Rigotti do that if I want a rounder more sweet sound the Rico Select jazz do that. Thanks again for all the great mouthpieces you are making…………….

  4. Thanks Bob. I have never tried any of the SR Tech mouthpieces…… Believe it or not, I have played many mouthpieces that I can’t get a chemistry with. I decided years ago when I first started reviewing mouthpieces that I couldn’t waste my time on lame mouthpieces. It was just to painful for me to play them. It was like torture. I can review great mouthpieces all day long as long as I can connect with them……..

  5. mike gallagher says:

    Great sounding as always, Steve.
    I’m curious why you chose your garage for the sound sample, when other mpcs don’t get the garage sample?
    The garage sounds blow away, btw.

  6. Hi Mike,
    It does sound like my garage but it is actually my new office above the garage. I gave up my 1st floor office because my mother-n-law needs a place to live. Right now I’m in a big empty room with a desk in it and wood floors so the natural reverb is pretty huge. Most of the other clips on the site were done in a small room with carpet and ceiling tiles so the sound is much dryer. I’m actually really digging the big natural reverb in this room now! I don’t have to go to the garage to practice anymore………….

  7. very nice and fat. I love the room reverb.

  8. Nice review and great playing Steve! Have you ever had the chance to try the metal Robusto yet? I’ve heard that the design is slightly different from the rubber one (though I’m not completely sure if that is true).

  9. Michael B says:

    Bought a 7 rubber Robusto from Mark 2 months ago. Really a great mouthpiece. Does it all. Brighter sound with Rigotti, darker with Rico JS. I am digging it with medium hard La Viz. Lush, fat, spot on intonation. Great dynamic headroom. You really can get any sound you want depending on the reeds and how you play it. Very centered resonant sound. I too am curious about the metal and how it compares. Super nice to deal with.

  10. Hi there, thanks for this great page. i wonder what is the brightest between the morgan fy, the navarro be bop and the robusto ? what is the more balanced among these mouthpieces ? thanks

  11. Jean,
    Thinking back on these 3 pieces I would say the Robusto is the brightest. It also has a more pure focused tone for me. The Morgan Fry and Navarro Bebop I remember as being darker and more spread in tone. I’m not sure what you mean by balanced? All 3 played great and were even and smooth throughout the range of the horn. Hope this helps, Steve

  12. Michael Bard says:

    I bought a Robusto 7 from Mark 6 months ago. I love it. big sound, lush, even response across all registers, NOT thin or bright in palm keys. its fun to play and it is versatile: You put a brighter reed on it and its punchy, a darker reed its warmer. Great job, Mark

  13. Greg Kingston says:

    Wow sounds great. Im looking at a second hand mint condition metal robusto 6* and just wondering your thoughts? Have you tried the metal? thanks..Greg

  14. Greg,
    I did try a metal Robusto but the tip opening I tried didn’t feel right for me so I sent it back. I’d like to try another in the future. Steve

  15. Greg Kingston says:

    Thanks Steve. I bought the second hand mint metal robusto which was advertised as a .095 tip opening or 6* but this thing is definitely not a 6 * I don’t even think mark makes a 6* Its more like a 7*. Im having a job trying to get a reed to suit it and they sound dull on it and not punchy enough. and I know one reed from another from the same breed can be totally different but it is a bit frustrating. The only thing I find it ok with at the moment is a fibracell 2. I may make a slightly higher removable baffle to see if that brightens it up a bit. Do you think the HR and metal robustos have the same baffle, lay and chamber etc? cheers

  16. Greg Kingston says:

    Updating my thoughts on the metal robusto, I found it a bit dark and not quite bright enough so I made a large removable baffle for it and now it really sings with lots of punch!

  17. This sounds like a top top mouthpiece, but is it really the one mouthpiece to rule them all?
    I’m looking for something with more pizzazz and a lush bottom end, so I don’t have to switch around. I tried the PPT Oxynite as I had the chance, it was definitely versatile and a joy to play, great subtones and nice altissimo, but the middle register was…meh! But this one sounds fantastic and a class above with a really strong core. I’ve been listening to clips of this one and the Metal version to see which to choose. Is the hard rubber powerful enough in a gig situation in your opinion? The Metal obviously is but it gets a bit brighter and maybe a bit too clean at the top. I think my concept of the sound I’m looking for leans away from the polished and towards the HR, so your opinion on gigging with this piece would be appreciated.

  18. Geoff,
    The Robusto has a lot more power and focus than a typical HR piece in my opinion. That’s part of what I love about it. It’s sort of like a great EB HR Link but with a more pure clear tone in my opinion. It’s got that baffle in it which kicks the power up a notch for me. Hope this helps, Steve

  19. Thanks for your help Steve. It’s interesting to read these comments, I’m worried about the Metal Robusto being too bright and then others stating that it’s too dark. I watch a clip of this one and think it’s too dark then I watch another and think it’s fine and you comment how bright it is. So, this must highlight how versatile it is and how are concept of the sound changes with mood. I’m definitely going to invest in one of these pieces and then I can drive myself nuts being too bright or too dark depending on my mood, but at least the sound will be both beautiful and loud.

  20. Geoff,
    The important thing to remember is that every player comes at a piece with a different physiology. I’ve been told I play brighter by a few guys who played pieces I said were bright and they felt it was too dark. We all play different. Different air, embouchure, tongue position, etc…..it all has an affect and influence on the tone produced…….

    I’m not saying every player is a night and day difference but there are differences in a percentage of players…………

  21. In that case I would imagine myself as a dark player and take that into account, so thanks for that little reminder. Does this piece have resistance ? as for me, no resistance is a bit boring. I can thank Ted Klum for that.

  22. It’s fine for me and I like a healthy resistance. I think it is good. I usually play a 2 1/2 Strong Rigotti on it and if it was too freeblowing I would opt for a harder reed………

  23. I’m curious what Ted Klum said about resistance?

  24. I do have other mouthpieces that are more resistant that I like also but the Robusto is within that spectrum that I like also……..

  25. That’s just a preference that I have gained as a result of playing his Acoustimer

  26. I understand. My JVW link has a bunch of resistance and now I tend to be attracted to pieces with resistance like that…….

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