JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the JX Custom Series B alto saxophone mouthpiece.    This is made by Jianxing Liu in Guangzhou, China.  The JX custom Series B is advertised as a replica of a 1980’s Beechler metal alto saxophone mouthpiece.  I have never played a Beechler metal alto sax mouthpiece from the 1980’s but my main alto mouthpiece when I was at Berklee was a hard rubber Beechler s5s that I absolutely loved. The only thing I know about the metal Beechler mouthpieces from the 80’s is that I see them being sold on ebay for astronomical sums of money.  I’ve seen people asking over one thousand dollars for these and have been told they sell at that price! Why? (There’s one on Ebay as I write this with a buy it now of 1200 dollars!)

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I was contacted by an individual who asked if I would be interested in reviewing this mouthpiece if he sent me one.  I said yes, mainly because I was so curious about what makes those 1980 Beechler mouthpieces so desirable. If this was a good replica then I was curious to try it.  I received the JX mouthpiece a couple of weeks later.

I am told the JX Custom Series B alto saxophone mouthpiece is made of stainless steel.  I feel sorry for whoever works on these as  I have heard that working with stainless steel is excruciating on the hands.

The mouthpiece looks nice to the eye.  It does look similar in design to the 1980 metal Beechler alto saxophone mouthpieces I have seen in pictures.  The shape of the body, table and baffle look very similar if not the same.

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The JX alto mouthpiece rails and tip look well crafted and precise.  The width of the mouthpiece tip and rails seem to be exactly the width of the reed.  I mean exactly!  It reminds me of a couple handmade Guardala mouthpieces I have owned where you have to be really exact lining up your reed or it will be slipping over an edge on one side.

The mouthpiece I am reviewing today is a 7 tip opening.  I’m not sure what that measures to but I am comfortable at .078-.083 tip openings on the alto sax and this feels somewhere in that range.

The side rails are straight and I would call the chamber a “small” chamber.  The baffle looks to be of medium height in my opinion.  It gently curves down to the chamber opening.

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I would say that the JX Custom Series B alto mouthpiece has more resistance to it than other mouthpieces with similar tip openings.  My Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong reeds felt too hard and resistant on it so I had to look for a Java 2 1/2 in my box of used reeds as I don’t have any new ones.  The first one I picked out played well but I still felt a bit of underlying resistance as I blew.  I think with a 2 1/2 Java it is fine though.  The resistance gives me something to blow against and helps you to shape the sound. I’m guessing the resistance has to do with the small chamber of the mouthpiece only being able to take so much air through it.

I felt  like the JX alto mouthpiece gave me a bright dry tone in my opinion. I wouldn’t describe the tone as “fat” but more bright  and focused.  I liked the recording with reverb a bit more than the dry recording because I feel like the reverb fattens up the sound of the JX a bit.

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Just looking at the baffle, you wouldn’t think the JX Custom Series B mouthpiece would be all that bright but if you couple that medium baffle with the small chamber you get a brighter tone.

The intonation was as expected on my Selmer Reference 54 alto saxophone.  I say “as expected” because whenever I play a  mouthpiece with a baffle and small chamber my middle E tends to be really sharp.  Sometimes between 20-30 cents sharp.  It takes some getting used to and I have to “voice” that note down a bit lower than I usually do on a larger chambered mouthpiece.  It is something that you can adjust for and get used to in my opinion.

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

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 edge and fatten the tone a bit.

The JX Custom Series B alto sax mouthpiece is a great example of a well crafted medium baffle, small chambered alto mouthpiece.  If you have been on the search for an alto sax mouthpiece that will give you a bright edgy sound with power this is a great one to consider.

Thanks to Jianxing Liu and Zhu Haiming for working together to get me a mouthpiece to review.  If you are interested in the JX Custom Series B alto mouthpiece you can email Mr. Liu at 596775867@qq.com.  At the writing of this review, JX Mouthpieces do not have a website but I am told they are working on one.   The sale price for these mouthpieces is 380 US dollars at the time of this review.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you get a JX Custom Series B alto saxophone mouthpiece be sure to come back and let us know what you think below.  I’d also love to hear from any of you that have played  these 1980 metal Beechler alto sax mouthpieces and can tell me why they are so desired and valuable……..Thanks!!

 

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Added Reverb

 

JX Custom Series B Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Dry

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.

Comments

  1. Egil Furre says:

    It sounds like it has a short facing curve. When I reface Beechler bellites I give them a little longer facings (from “short” to “medium”). It takes away some resistance and makes them play better in the bottom of the horn. I‘ve been playing one of the Custom Bellites about 10 years, this Custom model had a longer facing curve and a little lower baffle when I bought it.

  2. Egil,
    That may be true about the short facing curve as I have experienced other mouthpieces with short facing curves needing softer reeds. That’s a good tip about putting a more medium curve on them. Do you know the measurement number for the length of the curve you are talking about. What are they typically when they are short? What length do you make them to be medium? I’m just curious. Thanks, Steve

  3. Hi!
    I don’t know what facing length Beechler intent to put on them, but the latest two alto bellites I had here where about 39 (19,5 mm). I tested them with differend facing length and found that 40.5 was perfect for me to match my choice of “the perfect alto reed resistance” (vandoren 2.5 red java/V16).
    Egil

  4. Egil, Thanks for the info. Steve

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