Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the new Retro Revival New Yorker alto saxophone mouthpiece made by Joel Peskin (iReedMan) and Bob Sheppard.  Joel  and Bob have started a company called Retro Revival in which he produces exact copies of great vintage mouthpieces from the past.   His first two mouthpiece releases were for this New Yorker alto mouthpiece which is an exact copy of a New York Meyer Bros mouthpiece that Joel owns and the other is a metal tenor mouthpiece that is a copy of a great double ring Otto Link tenor mouthpiece.

For any of you that peruse Ebay regularly, you probably know that finding a NY Meyer Bros alto mouthpiece and a good condition double ring Otto Link can be a costly endeavor.  Both these mouthpieces can many times cost over 2000.00 each!  I think we would all be thankful if someone came up with a less costly alternative where we could get a mouthpiece of the same quality and playability for quite a bit less money.  The aim of these Retro Revival mouthpiece is just that!

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece 6 & 7

Joel was kind enough to send me a 6 and 7 sample of the Retro Revival New Yorker to review.  The mouthpieces came in a nice wooden box with a ligature and mouthpiece cap included (you can see them in the bottom picture on this page)

Upon inspection, the New Yorker appears to be well crafted.  It is faced by master mouthpiece craftsman Eric Falcon so I expected nothing less than perfection.  The table, rails and tip look beautiful.  The baffle is a rollover that descends into a medium sized chamber smoothly and evenly.

I was very curious to try these mouthpieces because I had tried a New York Meyer Bros mouthpiece years ago that was owned by Bob Ackerman.  This was a smaller tip opening piece of a 5 but it played great.  It had a beautiful pure singing quality to the tone.  I was very tempted to buy it but Mr. Ackerman wanted 450.00 for it as I remember and at the time I thought that was crazy so I passed.    Since these new Retro Revival pieces are supposedly exact copies of a great playing Meyer Bros mouthpiece I was very interested in trying them out.

 

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here’s a quote from the  Retro Revival website about the New Yorker alto mouthpiece:

“The New Retro Revival “New Yorker” Alto Sax Mouthpiece is the real thing: an exact replica of the original Meyer Bros New York, the mouthpiece of choice for alto greats Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods and many more. Partnered  with Master mouthpiece craftsman Eric Falcon, we have replicated this rare and sought after mouthpiece down to the smallest detail.

We all have experienced the risk, expense and frustration of searching for vintage mouthpieces on the internet. An original untouched Meyer Bros is indeed finding that needle in the haystack. The gamble on eBay is considerable. You can easily end up spending well over $2,000 on one that’s mediocre or unplayable, as shown on the photo on the left margin of a completed eBay auction.

With our Retro Revival mouthpiece, you can rest assure that we make every replica New Yorker to the highest standard of performance based on a lifetime of acquired knowledge and experience.

As lifelong professionals who share a passion for tone quality and performance, we joined together to apply decades of experience and knowledge to the development of an excellent yet affordable Meyer Bros replica for today’s alto players.

From our own extensive mouthpiece collections, we selected the best of the best to clone, painstakingly narrowing it down to ‘The One” – the Meyer that we all agreed delivered the fattest sound, fastest articulations, evenness of color and consistency of intonation.

We’re proud to offer a faithful reproduction of this rare mouthpiece in a model that meets the highest standards down to the smallest detail. We use the most advanced CAD technology and highest quality Vintage Formula German Rod Rubber. Each mouthpiece is meticulously hand finished and, most importantly, individually tested and approved by professionals.

We know you will be impressed with its consistency and play-ability. Most of all, we’re confident that you’ll be rewarded with years of enjoyment and artistic satisfaction playing the Retro Revival “New Yorker.”

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I had the two Retro Revival New Yorker mouthpieces for about 3 weeks and had a chance to do a lot of playing on them.   The morning of the recording of the sound clip I had worked with two Skype students on Charlie Parker’s Chi Chi and Parker’s Mood so you hear quite a bit of “Bird” melodies and licks interspersed within the sound clips as they were on my mind.

I recorded each mouthpiece with a slightly harder reed and a softer reed because I quite honestly could not figure out which I preferred.  For about a week, I kept going back and forth between the reeds and in the end I decided to spend a little extra time and record on both.

I also had a heck of a time trying to figure out which tip opening I liked better.   I had thought that it would be easy to decide but there were different aspects to each tip opening that I really enjoyed and it was very hard to choose. (Maybe if you have an opinion on which sounds better you can help me out in the comments below…….)

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Retro Revival “New Yorker”   played great!   For me they had a classic bebop sound and tone.   Their intonation was good and they were smooth and even up and down the range of the horn.  As you listen to the clips, there will be times where I all of a sudden slow down and play long held out notes or melodies.   It was during these times that I really relished what the “New Yorker” alto sax mouthpieces brought to the table.   In my opinion, these mouthpieces have a very classic Meyer compact centered tone.   Sometimes when I refer to a classic Meyer tone I feel the reader can interpret that to mean “average” because Meyer mouthpieces are so common.  That is not the case!  When I say classic Meyer tone I am referring more to the sound of an amazing Meyer.   One that sings and whose tone sparkles and vibrates.   My first thought is of the sound of Phil Woods on “Warm Woods” or “Musique Du Bois”, two of the first albums I owned in high school.  ( I didn’t intentionally do this but I think the sound of these mouthpieces reminded me of Phil Woods so much that I played “The Summer Knows” a few times during the clips also which is from Musique Du Bois.  I didn’t realize this until right now as I’m writing……Cool!!)

As I listen back to the sound clips,  there are also bluesy type lines that are reminiscent of Cannonball’s sound  I think.   Cannonball was such a monster of tone that I can’t say I sound like Cannonball,  but once in awhile I hear a whisper of his tone coming through on the recording……..it’s in there I think……….

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

I said the intonation was good but I would like to add that I think the centered core of the tone makes the “New Yorker” easier to hone in on the intonation.  On many of the mouthpieces I review I have to thing about intonation and whether I’m sharp or flat but the New Yorker pieces just seemed to be in the zone intonation wise for me.

There is a lot of material in these four sound clips but I repeated a lot of the same ideas and lines on purpose so you can get a good comparison between the 6 & 7 and perhaps how the different reeds play and sound on each mouthpiece.  I hope it helps many of you out in making a choice.

 

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Below is a picture from the Retro Revival website of the box, ligature and mouthpiece cap the New Yorker comes with.  They are a standard Rico “Harrison” style ligature and Rico cap.

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Retro Revival New Yorker alto saxophone mouthpiece is a great playing mouthpiece that I really enjoyed playing and recording with.  In my opinion it is one of the best choices I have played for a vintage Meyer type sound without the high cost.  If you read this review, listen to the clips and decide the New Yorker mouthpiece is worth a try, you can purchase one on the Retro Revival mouthpiece website.

Congratulations to Joel Peskin, Bob Sheppard and Eric Falcon for making an excellent well crafted mouthpiece reminiscent of a great vintage Meyer Bros mouthpiece!  Great Job!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you get a Retro Revival New Yorker alto  saxophone mouthpiece be sure to come back and let us know what you think below……..Thanks!!  I’m off to listen to some Phil Woods on “Musique Du Bois”!!

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece 6 with Rigotti Gold 3 Medium Reed

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece 6 with Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece 7 with Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed

Retro Revival New Yorker Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece 7 with Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation or products for writing this review. I am borrowing these mouthpieces from Joel at Retro Revival who was kind enough to let me borrow them. Regardless, I only review mouthpieces and other saxophone related products that I enjoy and believe will be a good choice for other saxophone players to try also.    Steve Neff
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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:

    I would give the edge to the 6 with the softer reed, although the 7 with the softer reed is also a classic sound. Both are terrific. Even though Cannonball played a vintage Meyer 5, I feel that the 7 with the soft reed has some of the sonic “fatness” that he got. No pun intended. I am curious to see how this piece stacks up against other Meyer copies you have played. I’m going to go back and listen to them.

  2. Steve Carmichael says:

    While i like all of these set ups, the 7 with the softer reed really sounds authentic, without sounding dated. What i mean is, yes it has a Cannonball/WoodsVibe, i can hear it on current mainstream jazz. The upper pitches are more balanced with the mid and low pitches, a nice even scale. The 6 Was nice, but sounded thinner in the upper end. Also, sounded as if wasn’t locked in as much, tone wise.

    You always sound great on every piece! Thanks for Sharing. I see a 7 in my future.
    BTW, i play the Super D tenor piece (8* Rhodium plated)

  3. Jerry Pritchard says:

    Steve, As always, you sound great on all of these mouthpieces. You sound more in control of the sound an intonation on these Retro Revival Meyer mouthpieces and have the kind of consistency of color and focus you have on tenor. I think you sounded best on the 6 with the harder reed, though the 7 with the stronger reed allowed you to have more flexibility and the ability to bend the notes and sound like Cannonball with all his subtle inflections and bluesi-ness. The 6s have a very compact sound with a solid core to the pitch and would probably be more all-round mouthpieces for playing in a big band or even some classical saxophone literature, but the 7s might allow for more individuality of sound. Again, you sound great on anything you play. I really appreciate your reviews.

  4. Hey Steve,
    After reading your review and listening to your sound clip I ordered a Retro Revival New Yorker #7 of my own. It arrived a few days ago and it’s KILLIN’!!! It has surpassed all of my expectations in terms of tone, color, flexibility and response. Joel was amazing to deal with… a total pro in every respect. I’m 100% satisfied with my purchase and your review was instrumental in my decision making. Thanks so much for your great service to the saxophone community.

  5. Samtsax,
    That is great to hear! I love it when I hear that someone has found a mouthpiece they consider “KILLIN'” with help from my site. No better feeling than finding that perfect piece for you! Congrats!

  6. Vincent Gaglio says:

    Wow that is so awesome. You are just fantastic on the saxophone. Wow. Love the sound , I need one.

  7. Hello Steve!
    You sound very good on these mouthpieces!
    Is the openings of the new or old Meyer Mouthpieces
    identical with the retro mouthpieces?
    What is the difference between the old
    and new Meyer mouthpieces and
    Retro mouthpieces?
    Kind regards,
    Charlie

  8. Hi Steve,
    when did you test the Retro Revival Tenor Mouthpieces?
    Kind Regards,
    Charlie

  9. Charlie, I didn’t try the Retro Revival tenor mouthpieces yet………..

  10. Charlie, I think the tip opening are the same as the Meyer tip openings. Since they are copies of old Meyers I would assume they are pretty close if not identical. I haven’t played or seen the originals they were copied from so I can’t testify to that………..

  11. Wow, nice, there are so so many pieces out there, love it. Love the sound . I am looking at the tip opening 6. Wow

  12. Vincent Gaglio says:

    I am going to buy a Tip opening 6 today, There are so many MP’s out there and so may manufacturers. However, I am loving the sound out of these . I look forward to getting one

  13. Chris Andrews says:

    I would bet they copied a good ny meyer 5m. The 7 and 8 tip opening probably wouldnt be as authentic because meyer never made one past a 6. I figure the 5 tip is the best copy of the original facing. I just ordered one so we will see.

  14. Hi Steve, I have just ordered one of these after reading and especially listening to your review. They sound amazing in your hands, I hope they will do as well in mine. Thanks

  15. Michael Bard says:

    I bought the tenor model (darker one) and its a great piece.

  16. That’s great to hear.  I’ve been wanting to try those Retro Revival tenor mouthpieces out.  Have heard nothing but good things about them………

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