Barone Hollywood Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is a fairly new Phil Barone  tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  This is the “Hollywood” model and is an 8 (.110) tip opening.  I believe this is a 2009 model although there is no date on it ( his older mouthpieces had dates engraved on the side of them).  I have owned 5-6 Barone mouthpieces over the years and I was very curious to try these new models that Phil is making.  As you can see from the pictures of the baffle this has what looks like a shelf type baffle in it that made me think it would be very bright and loud.  It wasn’t though………….

I was surprised when I first played this mouthpiece.  I thought that it would be really bright and loud from the looks of the baffle but in reality it had a medium volume and was more on the midway line between dark and bright.  The one thing I found about this mouthpiece was that it had a lot more resistance than other Hollywoods I have played in the past.  I like a little bit of resistance when I play but this had a bit too much for my preference.  I was also trying a Barone “Jazz” model when I was trying this mouthpiece and I  really liked that one much more.  It had less resistance and I could get more volume out of it.  While I was playing, I felt like I was getting more of an airy and smokey vibe to the sound.  The interesting thing is that the person who sent me the  Barone mouthpieces told me that they liked the Hollywood the best.  That goes to show you that each person has their own preferences for what they like or don’t like.  I have to say though, please don’t take this review as the bottom line description of all Hollywood mouthpieces.  I have played many over the years and there was a lot of variety in how much resistance each mouthpiece had.  Some of the Hollywoods I have played in the past were more free blowing, louder and brighter.  Some were darker and fatter.  Some were more resistant like this one.  Phil works on each mouthpiece by hand and many times customizes the mouthpiece for the needs of the player buying it.   Phil’s website is if you want to read more about his mouthpieces…………Enjoy!

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


  1. I really like your sound on the Hollywood better than on the Jazz model. You can tell that you’re fighting the resistance so you’re not as fluent as with the Jazz, but the tone is much deeper and with a lot more body. Compared to the Barone, I found the Jazz to be shallower. I have also owned a Barone Hollywood in an 8 size and I sold it because of the resistance, it was too much work for me, which is sad, because it really sounds great. I guess with some pieces you just can’t have the best of both worlds. Usually Phil Barone recommends that you spend more time with the mouthpiece until you become more comfortable with it and discover more of its secrets. I guess he’s right.

  2. +1 on jlima’s comment

    The jazz seems like a piece you would enjoy playing more, but this one just has a beautiful quality to the notes and is just more complex/full. But then again, the comfortableness of a piece is just as important as the sound.

  3. Hey – Awesome playing!

    I like the Hollywood A LOT better – more overtones – wider tonal spectrum – in my opinion, more “authentic” sounding – whatever that means : )

    Reminds me of Dexter’s golden years a la Darn That Dream…

    Jlima – “Usually Phil Barone recommends that you spend more time with the mouthpiece until you become more comfortable with it and discover more of its secrets”

    There’s a lot to be said for that opinion…Personally – I think that a mouthpiece is like a great pair of shoes. If it doesn’t just jump out at you immediately when you very first play it – it never will…

    just my opinion : )

  4. Definately sounds like a Hollywood; have a 7* myself. It took me a good year to get it speaking the way I wanted it too. Used fibercells for 6 months and then switched to RJS. The last 3-4 months I have been on Vandoren Jazz and have been happy ever since.

  5. I have to agree with the comments above. While the jazz has a very nice sound to it, the Hollywood has a richer sound and texture to it. It sounds a bit velvety and has a husky old school sound I didn’t hear in the jazz (reminded me of Stanley Turrentine on a ballad). Both clips sound great, but I think I’d be more inclined to try the Hollywood after hearing your clips. Thanks Steve!

  6. Sort of reminds me of the Erik G. Florida Link, but with a little more focus. I think this would be that one piece that I wouldn’t use a lot, but when I’m laying back and playing a calmer Gordon tune or something, I’d love it

  7. Hey Steve, I got one of these coming to me shortly. About the resistance you said you felt with it, do you recall if you used the same reed on both the jazz and hollywood?
    I heard others say that softer reeds than normal worked better on the hollywood. Maybe the facing curve on the hollywood could be on the short side. Maybe that airy sound and resistance you were getting could have been caused by using a reed that was just a tad too hard. Just a thought.

    • HI Devon, That was so long ago I can’t remember what reeds I used on it. I have a Barone NY here now that I’ve been playing for the last few days. It plays very well also.

  8. I’ve had my Hollywood 7* since 2001 or so. I was made in Feb. of 1999. I found that Rico Jazz Select #2M reeds are a perfect match for me. Recently tried some Java’s ZZ’s, V16’s in a 2.5, felt good at first, but lacked versatility in range.

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