LAW Buzzer, JVW Link, Kali Comparison

I thought I would put up a comparison clip of my 3 favorite tenor mouthpieces  so we could hear the differences in their sounds. The three mouthpieces are a Theo Wanne Kali, a Jon Van Wie STM Link and a LAW Buzzer. All three  mouthpieces are around a .110 tip opening.  They were all done on the same recording with the same reed. I edited the recording to take out the time I took to change the reeds and make sure I was in tune.  This is a cool idea.

LAW Buzzer, JVW Link, Kali Comparison

I wish I had thought of it sooner.  My go to tenor mouthpieces for any R&B or pop gigs has been the LAW or Jon Van Wie STM Link.  The Link has always had that penetrating focused sound that I find cuts right through on almost every gig.  The new Theo Wanne Kali plays great.  I wish I could take it on a gig to really test it but here in my studio it sounds terrific.  It’s cool because although it is bright it sounds fatter and smoother than the JVW or Law.  Let me know what you think by making some comments if you are interested. The picture order from left to right is Kali, JVW Link and LAW.
Listen………

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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 30 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. I really like the sound of the Kali! The Law and the JVW both sound great, but the Kali has a bigger sound. The Law sounds the brightest, but also has the shallowest sound (just not as much depth). The JVW has more depth and some extra edge, which I really like in an R&B sound. What I like about the Kali is that it seems to have that edge that the JVW has and adds some depth to the sound of each individual note without seeming to loose any projection. I think that would sound great on an SNL type tune.

  2. I think if I separated each of these pieces by range of notes on a scale of 1-10 (5 being average relative to others)

    KALI
    Low notes: 9
    Mid notes: 7
    High notes: 3.5

    JVW LINK
    low notes: 7
    mid notes: 6
    high notes: 6.5

    LAW
    Low notes: 6
    mid notes: 6
    high notes: 6

    This being said, I don’t think this grading system works though. The LAW is just missing something the others have. The LAW seems the most even to my ears, but it just isn’t as full. The KALI has the huge low notes, but the mega-baffle make the high notes too thin in comparison. It’s not too thin in general, but it sounds weird with the bottom notes being so big and then jumping to much thinner high notes. The LAW fixes this issue perfectly being even, but as aforementioned, it just isn’t the same. The JVW fixes both issues decently. The Low notes aren’t as good as the KALI, but it’s still medium-good on the evenness (though less than the LAW) and still has that fullness the LAW is missing.

    Overall IMO:
    JVW link>KALI>/=LAW

    (“>/=”is greater than or equal to)

  3. Wow! I don’t know much about sax-tone, but I am a guitarist/composer who respects any instrument/player with good tone. Take this lightly from a guitar players ears, but before even reading Mike’s comments, I came up with similar thoughts about the tone differences. Hopefully I won’t be judged for being biased because Jon is a distant relation of mine, but I found that I liked his mouthpiece the best. I like the Kali, but couldn’t quite define what was missing in the tone until I read your review, Mike. It’s the highs that are slightly weaker/thinner than Jon’s.

  4. I like the link the best . The Law is too edgy for me and the Kali is great but almost too sterile sounding. The Link is almost unfair. Somehow I feel like you shouldn’t be able to scream like that with one. The Link for me was in the middle of those two other pieces. I would like to have heard some more softer playing and sub tones. The link sounded more versatile and a better overall piece.

  5. Thanks Dave. Yes, that Link is amazing. It has been my main mouthpiece for “real world” gigs where I have to play everything and cut through the sound of a loud band for years. I would love to produce an exact copy of this mouthpiece………….

  6. Hey Steve I’d like a copy please!

  7. Hi Dave, What are you asking for a copy of?

  8. When you produce an exact copy of that link of course!

  9. Dave, Ahh, I see what you are asking for. If I ever do I’ll be sure to let you know. Steve

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