Benjamin Allen Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing another mouthpiece made by Benjamin Allen. I have reviewed a number of Benjamin Allen’s tenor mouthpieces which were all fabulous in my opinion.  I now have in front of me a Benjamin Allen prototype of an alto mouthpiece that he has been working on.  This is not the finished product but rather a “prototype” of a mouthpiece that he hopes to have available soon. I believe he is calling it the “Shema” (although I’m not sure if this is 100% nailed down…….I will change it here if it is something different)

 

Benjamin Allen Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

I won’t go into details on the outward appearance of the mouthpiece as this is a prototype and made from a blank of some sort I assume.  There are no model markings or tip opening on the mouthpiece (although there is a mysterious 184 marked on the table).  The rails and tip are nice and thin and even.  It looks to have a substantial rollover baffle that then slides down into a medium chamber. The side walls don’t look scooped but rather open up smoothly into the chamber.

Benjamin Allen Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I used a Rigotti Gold 3 Medium reed on the Benjamin Allen alto mouthpiece and that seemed to work well.  The tip opening is .070 which is a bit smaller than I usually play as I like alto mouthpieces in the .075-.080 range usually.  I tried some softer reeds but they were all too soft for me on this .070 tip opening.

 

Benjamin Allen Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Benjamin Allen alto mouthpiece has a bright sweet sound to it.  It was easy to play although the smaller tip opening took some getting used to.  The piece blew very smooth throughout the range of the horn.  Playing fast sounded smooth and like butter to me.  The smaller tip gave it more of a focused sound in my opinion as opposed to larger tip openings that tend to give a bigger more spread sound.  To be honest, this mouthpiece reminded me of a vintage NY Meyer mouthpiece I tried years ago.  It also had a smaller tip opening like this mouthpiece and played with a bright sweet sound also.  I felt like it had a unique tone and vibe to it and wanted to buy it but the owner wanted 500.00 for it which I thought was ridiculous back then. (This was in the early 2000’s sometime……..if only I knew what they would go for today……..)

On the Benjamin Allen mouthpiece, the top notes on the horn just had this beautiful singing quality about them that I loved.  “Sweet and pure” are the perfect words I think. With a little vibrato added they were perfect……….

Benjamin Allen Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Benjamin Allen Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece was fun to play. After reviewing all of Ben’s tenor mouthpieces and now his alto prototype it is obvious that he knows what he is doing!  I can’t wait to try this mouthpiece when the final product comes out in a bigger tip opening that I am more comfortable with.

If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then please contact Ben and get on the list to get one when it comes out! 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

Benjamin Allen Alto 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. Jeffrey Todd says:

    Bright and sweet is not an easy combination to achieve. To that I would add “gutsy.” Very nice mouthpiece, and I’m glad to see that the tradition Doc Tenney has a worthy successor.

  2. Jared Guebara says:

    Hey Steve I have a question. What books and lessons do you recommend for a begginer jazz player?

  3. Hi Jared,
    I have a beginner jazz lesson series that comes with PDF that can get you started. Steve

  4. kc0mgd@hotmail.com says:

    Hello Steve;
    My name is Mike I have been playing the Sax. since 1960. I put it down in 2001 when I lost my wife, I just bought a new sax and I am wanting to play Blues. Any suggestions to doing that and getting my lip back without having to do “Hal Leonard” ? LOL.

  5. Hi Mike,
    I wish I had a magical answer for you but the truth is there is only one answer, practice. I think Hal Leonard and Jamey Aebersold play alongs are fine to practice the blues to, Of course what is much better is playing with real musicians but if you are just starting again you might not be ready for that. I do have a bunch of lessons on the blues but I don’t know if they would be good for you as I don’t know what level you were at before you stopped playing. If I can help in any way or you have more questions feel free to let me know. Thanks, Steve

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