Ken Okutsu Traditional II Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing my third hard rubber alto saxophone mouthpiece from Ken Okutsu in Japan. It is the Traditional II model and has a 6 tip opening which is .075.   I already reviewed four Okutsu tenor mouthpieces which were all excellent so I have been very curious to review these alto mouthpieces also.

Four New Ken Okutsu Alto Saxophone Mouthpieces

Here is the description and features of the Traditional II alto mouthpiece from the Okutsu website:

Features

  • Traditional II model has long rollover baffle which is higher than traditional model.
  • The brighter sound and more versatility.
  • Round inner side walls and medium round chamber. It makes alive and fat modern sound.
  • All mouthpieces are crafted by CNC machinery for incredible accuracy and finished by hand carefully.
  • Concave table. It makes the tone full and rich. The practical life span of reeds is lengthened.
  • Material is the highest quality ebonite (hard rubber).

Ken Okutsu Traditional II Alto Sax Mouthpiece

The Okutsu mouthpieces are hard rubber and come in a protective plastic case.  Within the case,  they are wrapped in a black velvet bag.  I received four alto saxophone mouthpieces from Mr. Okutsu.  The alto mouthpieces are the Traditional model, the Traditional II model, the Focus Core model and the High Baffle model.(I have listed these from darkest to brightest)  I kind of like how simplistic and straight forward the model names are.   The Traditional model looks to be the darkest of the four, then the Traditional II looks to have a slightly higher rollover baffle.  The Focus Core has an even higher baffle and the chamber is much smaller. Finally, the High Baffle model has the highest baffle as the name implies although the chamber is bigger than than the Focus Core model.

The mouthpieces look good to my eye.  The hard rubber is shiny and without any imperfections. The gold engraving is neat and clean.  The rails, tip rail, table and baffle look very well crafted and even.

Ken Okutsu Traditional II Alto Sax Mouthpiece

The Traditional  II model looks to have a slightly longer rollover baffle. These are not small rollover baffles.  I would say the Traditional model has about a half inch long rollover before it descends into the chamber.  The Traditional II has around a 3/4 inch rollover before it smoothly descends into the chamber.  The longer baffle on the Traditional II would most likely give it more brightness and power than the Traditional model would be my guess.

 

Ken Okutsu Traditional II Alto Sax Mouthpiece

I thought the Ken Okutsu Traditional II alto sax mouthpiece played great with the same Rigotti Gold 3 Light reed that I used on the Traditional model. The Traditional II had a brighter more modern sound in my opinion.  It wasn’t so bright that it would be unacceptable in a jazz setting although I did find it brighter than the Traditional model.  Although the tone was brighter,  I also found the tone to have a nice fatness and thickness to it to balance out the edge and highs in the sound. You can listen to the sound clip and see what differences you hear.

The intonation was still very good and it’s tone was very even and smooth throughout the range of the horn just like the Traditional model.

Ken Okutsu Traditional II Alto Sax Mouthpiece

The Ken Okutsu Traditional II alto saxophone mouthpiece was great to play.  This is another great mouthpiece for players who want the best of both worlds……..a sound that can be used for traditional jazz and bebop or a bit brighter for lead alto or funk music. The extra brightness and power of the Traditional II seemed to give me more energy and excitement while playing which I really dug!   You can listen to the sound clip yourself and decide if you like it for yourself…………..

If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then please contact Ken Okutsu and give it a try. You can contact Mr. Okutsu at his website at Okutsumouthpieces.com. Tell him Steve sent you………….Great work Mr. Okutsu!!

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

Ken Okutsu Traditional II Alto Sax Mouthpiece

Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on LinkedinShare on Pinterest
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. I have purchased one Alto trad. II. (you have to wait Six weeks) because Ken Okutsu make his mouthpiece extremly perfect. This mouthpiece is EXCEPTIONAL The tone and response is incredible. Very balanced, low, medium and high register is sooooo great. Easy altissimo also. Rich, depth, gritty, lush sound, absolutly no harshness, not tubby or nasal. Better than my Theo Wanne Amma HR. Since 30 years i have played on severals mouthpieces Brand. Finally, i start to believe than some unknowing mouthpiece makers can really do someting exceptional. perfect and accurate rails, tip rail, rollover baffle extremly well made. Heavy and dense hard rubber like German one. Great great mouthpiece. Can be the holy grail.
    Many thanks to Steve for the mouthpieces demos. That help a lot.

    Damien

Speak Your Mind

*

Visit us on FacebookVisit us on TwitterVisit us on YouTubeVisit us on GooglePlusVisit us on Linkedin