Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto 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 great tenor saxophone mouthpiece of his a few years ago, the Gerber Slant model  as well as the Gerber Solo LC soprano saxophone mouthpiece  last year.   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!!  I had to use his photos for the review as mine are lame in comparison………)   The mouthpiece being reviewed today is the Gerber Vintage Alto saxophone mouthpiece.  Mr. Gerber was kind enough to send me a free sample to review for you today.  It has a  6 tip opening.

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece

Like the other Gerber mouthpieces I have tried over the years,  this Vintage Alto 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 scooped out smoothly.  The Gerber Vintage Alto mouthpiece looks to have a medium chamber to my eyes.  Johannes Gerber does some of the best finishing work in the business and it shows on this mouthpiece.  Perfect in every way………..

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece

I have to be honest and say that the Gerber Vintage alto mouthpiece didn’t really work for me at first.  All I had for alto reeds was one box of Java 2 1/2 reeds which were way too soft and a bunch of Rigotti Gold reeds of assorted sizes from 2 1/2 strong to 3 medium.  The problem was that they all felt too soft to me.  The 3 medium played ok but felt a bit dead to me.  Luckily,  earlier this week I was cleaning out my desk and I found a box of forgotten Woodstone 3 1/2 reeds in a drawer.  It had 2 unplayed reeds in it and I immediately thought of the Gerber alto mouthpieces I had.  (I also have a Gerber NY model alto mouthpiece that I will be reviewing within the next day or two also……)

I wet the Woodstone reed, put it on the Gerber mouthpiece and played……….I was in heaven.   It played perfectly for me.  “I can work with this” I thought.   I played it for about an hour and then recorded the clip below.  As usual, I tried to get a good range and variety of lines and sounds in the recording so you can get a good feel for what this mouthpiece sounds like for me.

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece

The recording was made in my new house and although the room is big, I find the recordings in this room to be a bit dry.  There is no reverb or effects on the dry clip at all but many of you have said that is what you prefer to hear so here you go.  I also added the same clip with a bit of reverb added for the other half of you who like  it with reverb.

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece

The sound of the Gerber Vintage leans to the brighter side of an alto tone.  The middle to high register are beautiful sounding in my opinion.  There is a “singing” “pure”quality to the tone that I love.  The 2:55-2:58 part of the clip has a “Dave Binney” type quality to the tone down low.   I’m not sure how to describe it but I was reminded of him when I listened back to the clip. At 3:35 I do my typical routine to see how a piece articulates for me and the Gerber Vintage Alto passed the test. Very clean and smooth articulation.

The tone when pushed could get very loud and powerful which I think comes out at times in the recording.  I found the tone unique in that it has a bit of the “hallow” sound in the tone that I noticed in the Gerber soprano piece I reviewed last year.  Kind of like a  bit of that Kenny Garrett hallowness if you know what I mean.  I know this stuff is confusing but those are my impressions.

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece

In this clip I tried to play similar ideas as I do in the Gerber NY Alto Mouthpiece review which is to follow this one.  I did this as much for me as for you because I had a heck of a time figuring out which mouthpiece I liked more.  I’ll talk more about the qualities of the NY model in that review.

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece

If you read this review, listen to the clip and want to try the Gerber Vintage Alto 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 Vintage Alto Mouthpiece-Dry Recording

Johannes Gerber Vintage Alto Mouthpiece-Reverb

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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. Vincent gaglio says:

    So sweet, I love it. If I played 25 % of what you just did, it be ama zing love b the sound , I will look forward to hearing the NY

  2. Kevin Ledbetter says:

    Steve, I liked them both. For general use, like a combo setting I would prefer the Vintage.
    Maybe a big band setting where I needed to cut more I could use the New York.
    I still think the Vintage has enough cut when pushed to cover all the bases, so if I
    could only get one I’d get the Vintage.
    Kevin L

  3. I think you are right Kevin. The Vintage certainly has cut and power but the NY has a little more. The true test is playing it in those settings and seeing if it passes the test……..

  4. Hi Steve. I have been playing a Johannes Gerber Vintage 6 tip opening as my main alto piece for close to a year now. The vintage gives me the perfect mix of playability, tone and intonation. This mouthpiece is a definite keeper. Johannes’s attention to detail is simply world class. His trade mark “Hand finished like no other” is very true indeed. I can vouch for that. And he is a great guy to deal with as well. Regards. Morgan G

    P.S. Great playing Steve!!

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