Saxquest “The Bridge” Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the new “The Bridge” hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece from Saxquest. Mark Overton over at Saxquest came out with two new hard rubber tenor sax mouthpieces a few months ago called “The Bridge” and “The Core”.

Mark said that the purpose  behind making these two mouthpieces was to try to recapture the sound and playability of the 60’s era “Blue Note” tenor sound.

Saxquest “The Bridge” Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

“The Bridge” was designed using a killer Otto Link Slant Signature mouthpiece as a starting point.  According to Mark, “The Bridge was designed using a killer slant sig tenor piece as a starter. However, the problem with every great Otto Link is that they sound incredible in a small room but often fail to project in a larger setting. So, we used the best slant sig from a collection of 20 years and used that as a mathematical starting point. Then we selected and tweaked the copy to get a piece that retained the core sound of the slant sig but had the efficient blowing characteristics of a great stubby Hollywood Dukoff, always keeping in mind that Dexter sound mixed with a little Sonny Rollins. This was a two year process. The resulting piece is milled on a high-precision 5-axis CNC machine and then hand faced to absolute precision.”

“The Core is a piece that embodies the very best characteristics of an Early Babbitt (I’m sure you recognized the baffle configuration with the characteristic “thumb print” pattern). But also utilizes the chamber configuration of a great Calrsbad vintage hard rubber Brilhart. This mouthpiece is actually manufacture at Babbitt using a specially designed core mandrel exclusive to this mouthpiece. It is then hand faced by James Bunte. (I think he’s one of our current “unknown” master mouthpiece facing experts.)  The piece has a unique easy blowing character to it and is perhaps slightly darker in overall sonics when compared to The Bridge. But it also projects and allows for an incredible flexibility regarding tone shaping and expression.”

“These two pieces are definitely different but represent, to the best of my ability, a similar sound concept, that ultimately depends on the player. I’ve seen people respond differently over the years to both versions of a great vintage Otto Link. Some gravitate towards a Florida vintage slant and other gravitate towards the early Babbitt concept. “The Bridge” and “The Core” were designed to give players both modern and consistent opportunities to experience both concepts at a price that won’t break the bank.

Saxquest “The Bridge” Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxquest Bridge mouthpiece and Core mouthpiece came together and upon inspection looked very similar to my eyes. To be honest, it is hard for me to pinpoint the differences between them.  They both have medium rollover baffles although the “Core” baffle does look slightly higher to my eye.  The chamber size looks almost identical to me, although I would be curious if one is slightly larger or smaller than the other.

The side rails  are scooped out heading into the chamber and the tip and side rails are then and even.

The two mouthpieces were very reed friendly and the shape of the tip matched the reeds perfectly.

Saxquest “The Bridge” Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I used a D’Addario Select Jazz Unfiled 3S reed on the Bridge (I call it a Rico in the audio clip out of habit but they are made by D’Addario now according to the new box they come in).  Rigotti Gold reeds also played well on the Bridge mouthpiece, but I felt like those reeds tended to brighten the sound a bit more than I like.

I found the sound of the Bridge to be in the same ball park as a focused and a pure sounding vintage Otto Link mouthpiece.  In comparison to the Core, the Bridge is a little brighter and was definitely more focused sounding.  I could get some nice volume out of it and as I pushed it louder it did get a little bit brighter but not excessively so.

I enjoyed the focus to this mouthpiece as I have played other hard rubber Otto Links in the past that sounded too spread for my tastes.  It’s like the tone was this big huge wash of sound but it was hard for me to hear the center of it if that makes sense.  I really enjoyed the pure core and focus of “The Bridge”.

The Core, on the other hand, seemed to have more “character” and kick in the tone to me.   It’s tone seemed more grainy, textured and complex than the Bridge although the trade off is that the Bridge had that tight focus and purity to the sound I thought. I’ll talk more about the Core in that review to follow.

The intonation on the Bridge was great and the tone was very even throughout the range of the horn as you can hear in the clip at the bottom of the page.

Saxquest “The Bridge” Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Bridge tenor saxophone mouthpiece is another great affordable option for those looking for a vintage hard rubber sound without the vintage hard rubber price tag.

If you read this review, listen to the clip and want to try the Saxquest “The Bridge” tenor saxophone mouthpiece you can contact Saxquest at this link. Also, check out the video of Doug Lawrence on that page as he has a much darker sound on the Bridge than I could achieve on my recording.   Great job Mark Overton, Zak Minor, Ben Reece and everyone else over at Saxquest!

 

Saxquest “The Bridge” 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. Very nice. To the listener it sounds very similar to the 10mfan Robusto, hardly a surprise as they are made by the same guy, but less expensive. What is your impression from the player perspective?

  2. Andrea,
    My Robusto is my own design. Many pieces are made by Eric Falcon for other people, and they are made to the specifications each client wants.
    My designs are not made with any vintage piece in mind. Every client that Eric makes pieces for has their own idea of what they want.
    Eric is wonderful to work with, because he will do exactly what you want, whether or not he personally likes it himself. . That’s the beauty of working with him. His goal is always to please the clients, and he always comes through!
    Each piece will have their own character and it just depends on what that client is looking for. The Bridge sounds very nice and I would put it in between my Merlot and Robusto in terms of color.
    Very nice sounding mouthpiece and I wish my friends at Saxquest much success!
    All of the mouthpieces that Eric makes are made with love and they always play beautifully.
    All the best, Mark
    10mfan

  3. Andrea,
    I think what you are hearing in common between the Robusto and Bridge is that they are in the same ballpark for me as far as brightness goes and both have a similar purity of tone perhaps. That being said from a players standpoint these are very different mouthpieces. The Robusto has a medium shelf baffle that extends a ways into the mouthpiece. For me, this makes the playing experience totally different. When I am playing the Bridge it blows similar to an Otto Link. There are of course differences but it blows very similar to a great Link. The Robusto blows totally different than a Link for me. I think that the baffle of the Robusto makes it easier to blow and get more volume out of. I still have my Robusto which I love but in my mind these are very different mouthpieces from the players perspective. Hope this helps, Steve

  4. frank battaglia says:

    Sounds much better than the Robusto (IMHO)– thicker but bright too.
    I have a Bridge for 4 days now– great mpc.
    Great price.
    A winner.
    AND if you don’t like it you can return it== now that is confident customer service.

  5. Thanks Steve, you really answered my question. Indeed I preferred the way my Robusto HR blows vs any HR Link I have ever played, so I believe I can save my money. I like the instant response of my Robusto, in particular the HR version which I prefer to the metal which I also have but seldom play.

  6. James Andre Brennan says:

    Hi Steve,
    My name is Andre and I am a 72 year old war horse tenor player here in New York.The one thing that I promised myself was that I would continue to study to improve both my ability to play on my horn the complex lines that I heard in my head regardless of being able to put a name to the scales and arpeggios that I was using in some cases , and to gain the knowledge of all of the other harmonic choices that are available.As an example, playing mixed pentatonics on a standard blues progression as a starting off point.I read your article regarding your brain tumor and I knew first hand what you had to have gone through.I have an incurable cancer,Multiple Myeloma, but I am not about to let it throw a “wet blanket ” on my goal. Where do I start? I prefer books as ,like most people my age,I am not that computer savvy….because of lack of interest,allow me to add.I was happy enough with a standard rotary dial telephone and call waiting.I have looked into the other courses that are available and I consider yours to be outstanding; definitely the one to go with.I enjoy practicing and it is always goal oriented so I never move on until the subject matter is thoroughly understood and feels comfortable under my fingers.So, your suggestions please.

    Thanks,
    Andre.

  7. How would you compare this to the TMEBII?

  8. Nick,
    I’d have to take some time and play them side by side to see. I haven’t done that yet. Steve

  9. cornelius campbell says:

    Have the guys at Saxquest sent you the Hoss tenor mouthpiece? It’s a Berg like hard rubber mouthpiece the make from soprano to bari sax. I’d like to hear your opinion and your “sound” on it.

  10. No, I haven’t heard from them about reviewing that one yet…….

  11. Hi!What i have to bay the Bridge.Song it very nece!

  12. Viktor, you have to contact Saxquest if you want to buy a Bridge mouthpiece. That’s who sells it……..

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