Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing another great mouthpiece by Johannes Gerber in South Africa. Mr. Gerber has been making mouthpieces for many years and I reviewed a tenor mouthpiece of his a few years ago.  The Gerber Slant model.  Johannes Gerber has a great reputation amongst sax players as well as craftsman for his excellent work and attention to detail.  (As well as being one of the best mouthpiece photographers ever!!)   The mouthpiece being reviewed today is a soprano saxophone mouthpiece called the “Solo LC” model.  LC stands for large chamber.  It has a  6* tip opening which is a .065.

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece

Like the other Gerber mouthpieces I have tried over the years,  this LC soprano saxophone mouthpiece looks great out of the box.  Just looking at it by eye, everything looks clean, even and perfect.  The table, rails and tip look even and precise.   The baffle has a slight rollover that angles straight down to the chamber and the sidewalls are straight. Although this mouthpiece is called the Large Chamber model, the chamber isn’t as large as my Theo Wanne Gaia soprano mouthpiece.  This mouthpiece as a unique chamber design from other soprano mouthpiece I have seen in that it looks like the bottom of the chamber entrance has been scooped out and widened to create an entrance to the chamber that is larger than most soprano mouthpieces.  That larger entrance then opens up to a larger chamber than most soprano mouthpiece have that I have tried (with the exception of the Gaia)  Many of these other soprano mouthpieces have that smaller round or oval hole entrance that then just opens up to the bore with not much chamber involved it seems.

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece

I feel I should add a bit of personal information as my soprano playing situation is a bit unique.  I happen to have had a bit of a bumpy ride medically speaking (read my “Funny as a Brain Tumor” posts for more info……) and have had a number of operations on my head and brain.  Long story short, I have a shunt in my head that drains fluid when and if the pressure in my head becomes too great.  I tell you this because it seems to affect me now when I play a soprano mouthpiece with too much resistance or back pressure.  What I mean by back pressure is that when I blow with a good amount of air I feel pressure in my face, head and throat when the soprano chamber opening is small.  I have a soft spot on the left side of my head where they took part of my skull out and I can actually feel that area expand and seem to inflate when I play a mouthpiece with too much of this back pressure.  In the past, I just ignored this and many musicians can play with this kind of pressure.  Dizzy Gillespie is a great example as the pressure would expand his cheeks in a crazy way.  I also know a few sax players whose necks and face blow up like a balloon (I have always thought this can’t be good for them but they seem to be doing fine…….)  All this being said, is that when I play with too much back pressure I get incredible headaches, dizziness, black eyes and trouble concentrating and thinking (I also seem to get really tired)

I say all that to state that I don’t feel any of that with the Gerber LC mouthpiece so I take that to mean that the chamber is large enough to allow enough air to pass with the size 3 reed I tried on it.   In my opinion, this is a good thing for me.  Of course, I’m probably the only one in the world with this problem but I thought I would mention it anyways……..

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece

The Gerber Solo LC soprano mouthpiece played perfectly with the first Vandoren Java 3 reed I put on it.  Just a little tad of resistance that I liked but not much back pressure at all which I loved.  The mouthpiece played well in tune and I felt like it had a sweet sound to it with a somewhat “hollow” quality to the sound.  Something about the sound triggers the word “haunting” in my mind.  It can have a haunting quailty to the sound………..not even sure what that means……….. I recorded the clip in a dryer recording environment with the bell of the sax pointed off center from the microphone which I felt gave the best results.

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece

As far as that hollow haunted sound I was talking about I think there is something in the sound that reminds me of Jan Garbarek’s sound.  If you check out a few clips on youtube like this one you can hear that quality.  It’s beautiful, deep, penetrating and filled with character in my opinion. I hear that “hollowness” and “haunting” quality in the sound although it is hard to describe it in more detail. You might not hear a similarity in this clip but that is what the sound and tone reminded me of.

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece

In the pictures above and below, you can see how the chamber is shaped.  The chamber opening is a bit more forward compared to other soprano mouthpiece I have here which also makes the chamber space larger than those other mouthpieces.   You can see how the chamber opening is not a pea shooter type hole but is enlarged to give a distinctive and unique shape.

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano Mouthpiece

If you read this review, listen to the clip and want to try the Gerber Solo LC soprano mouthpiece you can contact Johannes Gerber through his website or through his facebook page.  I also see him on Ebay selling mouthpieces quite often.  If you get one please come back and let us all know what you think in the comments section below!  Thanks again to Johannes Gerber  for creating such great playing mouthpieces!

Johannes Gerber Solo LC Soprano 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. Great sound. Really love it. Great playing as always 😉
    I m curious how the other Gerber (Jazz soprano) plays and sounds, If you can get a hand on that one .

  2. Hi Paul,
    I haven’t played that one yet but if Johannes Gerber sends me one I’d be happy to review it. Maybe he will see this at some point and could post on how that model is different……..

  3. Hello Paul,

    Thank you for your interest. The feedback on my soprano Solo LC has been so overwhelming, a few players already changed after they played on the same piece for 20 years, some of them described the Solo LC as the best soprano piece they’ve ever played. So I’ve decided to focus on the Solo LC and alto and tenor VINTAGE for the time being. The reason for it is that I’ve reached a really sweet spot with these designs after much time went into research and development in the past years, and I now want to get my best work out there and offer what works amazingly well. I hope to assist you soon. Best wishes. Johannes

  4. The MPC that I have just says jazz, 5* and Gerbers signature . Is this the same as the solo
    LC?

  5. David, I don’t think so. The mouthpiece I have is engraved with Solo LC. Maybe reach out to Mr. Gerber and ask him about it. Steve

  6. David Smith says:

    Thanks Steve
    I talked to Mr. Gerber and he explained that the Jazz and solo LC are not the
    same. I bought the solo LC from him. I have yet to hear back from him , so I don`t know
    when I`ll get it.

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