D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece Review

I receive emails all the time asking me to review saxophone mouthpieces.   Many of these emails are from individuals and companies all around the globe that I have never heard of before.  In the early years of the site, I would say yes to every request but after twelve years,  I’m a bit more picky about the sax mouthpieces I try.  Usually, I have a few questions they have to answer first. Ex. How long have you been making saxophone mouthpieces? Do you play the saxophone? What models do you have and what are they based off of? Can you send me some pictures? etc……

A few months ago I received an email from Donghee Cho of D&S Saxophone Mouthpieces in South Korea asking if I would be willing to try some of his sax mouthpieces.  I was a bit skeptical but when I asked for pics of his mouthpieces I received an email back with some pics that looked surprisingly similar to Guardala mouthpieces.  I was curious……….

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

Donghee answered my second question about how long he had been making mouthpieces with this response:

“I was always interested in the mechanics of the saxophone rather than playing the instrument. I did my major in Saxophone performance, but was always more intrigued on the fixing side of things.  I have been repairing saxophones for 12 years and thanks to the many customers, have built quite a reputation for myself in Korea as a repairman. I’ve always been handy, and loved fixing things. The same applied for saxophones. 
As for mouthpieces, I’ve been refacing and making mouthpieces for almost 10 years now. The thing that got me started was when I found out that there were many unplayable mouthpieces out there (and a lot of discrepancy between the same make and model) and wanted to contribute to the saxophone society by making the best effort to craft a better mouthpiece to play. Since then I’ve researched the facings, rails, bores, etc of many difference mouthpieces around the world and tried to apply my philosophy into handcrafting my own mouthpieces; that a good mouthpiece is a one that plays freely.”-Donghee
Donghee passed my tests as far as pics and having some experience making mouthpieces for many years so I thought I’d give his mouthpieces a shot………….

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

I have to admit,  I have had these mouthpieces sitting on my shelf since June.  The reason I haven’t done a review sooner is that after doing some research, I realized that I couldn’t find D&S Saxophone Mouthpieces on the internet, they don’t have a website and they didn’t have a Facebook page.  All I had was an email address and phone number.   Since that time, Donghee now has a Facebook page although it is very minimal with just a bad picture of a list of his mouthpiece models on it.  I don’t see any prices so I don’t even know how much these go for either.

Even though I don’t think D&S is optimally setup for modern internet consumers I thought it best to go ahead with the reviews.  If they get more of a web presence in the future at least you would have heard of them and have some knowledge of Donghee Cho and his products.

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

Donghee sent me five mouthpieces in a couple of different shipments.  I have three metal tenor mouthpieces and two metal alto sax mouthpieces.  The mouthpieces have high baffles in general.  The mouthpiece I am reviewing today has the lowest of the baffles.  It doesn’t have a model name on it except that it is inscribed with “105 D&S TI Donghee”.   For the sake of this review, I am calling it the “Model I” as i don’t know what it is called.

I don’t know much about it but assume it is silver plated brass.  The rails, tip and baffle all look pretty good to the eye.  The tip matches my Rigotti reeds nicely.  I would say it has a medium baffle to it.

These saxophone mouthpieces all come in a plastic tube with a mouthpiece cap and ligature.  I have to give a warning at this point in the review though.  When I first tried this mouthpieces out, I put a reed on it and slid the ligature on thinking “Wow, that’s pretty tight!” I gently pushed it all the way on and played for a bit.  When I took the ligature off the mouthpiece there were a bunch of pretty big scratches on the top of this brand new mouthpiece.  I was shocked and mortified as I try to be really careful with all the mouthpieces I review.  I looked at the ligature and felt the inside of it and it was all rough and jagged on the upper part of it. The lesson to be learned here is never assume a new ligature is safe for a sax mouthpiece.  Check it visually and feel it with your finger to make sure it is smooth and will not scratch! I learned my lesson!

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

I used a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Medium reed on the sample recording below which worked well with this .105 tip opening.  The mouthpiece has a powerful sound to it with a brightness and edge when played at full throttle.  With less air the tone mellowed a bit and wasn’t as bright or edgy in my opinion.

The intonation was good and I thought it was pretty even up and down the horn.  I felt like the tone was more spread at softer volumes and seemed to gain focus with more air and volume. This aspect would be good if you wanted a more spread sound for a softer dinner set and then had to wail later in the evening on a dance set.

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

The altissimo was easy to get and I felt like it was expressive and easy to bend and manipulate the tone like I wanted.  The low end was full and fat and the high plam keys were full and thick sounding also.

I’ve provided two samples of the same clip below.  One is a clip with added reverb and the other is a dry clip in a moderate sized room.  I think it’s important to add the reverb clip just so people can get a sense of what the sound is like with a little bit of that added affect since the added reverb tend to soften the brightness and edge a little bit.

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

If you liked the D&S model tenor saxophone mouthpiece reviewed above you can contact Donghee to order one by email at cdh9841@naver.com.  By phone at +82-2-522-9841 or by his Facebook page.  The next two tenor saxophone mouthpieces I am reviewing are the Brecker II and the Brecker III models which have higher baffles similar to a Guaradala Studio and Super King mouthpiece.  Stay tuned for those……….

 

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece-Reverb Added

 

D&S Model I Tenor Sax Mouthpiece-Dry Recording

Disclosure: I received the sample mouthpiece mentioned above for free in the hope that I would try it and perhaps review it on my blog. Regardless, I only review mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also. Steve
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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.

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