“Live” Guardala Laser Trimmed Michael Brecker II Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here’s another live clip I dug out of my computer. This is a more  mellow clip of a solo on the tune “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones.  To be honest, I’m one for staying in the mood of the tune when I solo.  I can’t stand it when I hear a slow ballad like tune and then the sax player takes a solo and goes nuts.  They play all these fast licks and go into the altissimo and it seems like they aren’t even listening to the tune.  Here I’m just trying to play a simple melody based solo. Nothing fancy, just simple yet melodic but still with a little bit of soul and feeling to it.

I’m playing on the Guardala laser trimmed Michael Brecker II tenor mouthpiece from WWBW (Woodwind and Brasswind).  I have to say that this was my favorite Guardala that I played back then.  I owned a couple of handmade studios but I liked the laser trimmed Michael Brecker II much more.  It had that same power and punch to it but a fatter and thicker sound than the studio models I had played before this.   It still seemed a little thin up top to me but nothing a little reverb in the mix wouldn’t cure…………….Let me know what you think. Steve

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.


  1. Wow! Great to hear a player who can take a paint peeler and use it to really make a beautiful tune even more pretty!

  2. I thought that the sound cut through with no harshness. Maybe this was the “punch” you were referring to. Did not really hear the “fatter”, “thicker” sound you talked about unless it was in comparison to the previous studio models. Good solo sound.

    My $.02, Ron M

    • Yes, I was comparing it to the “studio”Guardala” which I thought was a bit brighter and thinner sounding. Keep in mind that this is going through a mix and has some effects on it to sweeten it up. A little bit of reverb does wonders for a brighter mouthpiece. For example: if i play my JVW baffled link in my studio it sounds a bit bright and thin to me but if I play it in my garage it sounds completely awesome.

  3. I agree Steve; your solo is totally respecting the vocal/slow ballad. You are basically “singing your heart out” with this solo. Nice !! I also find that reverb helps in the mix when I record using my Link.

  4. Hey! i love your site and im on everyday ! what reeds do you recommend for it..i have the same wwbw mbII mouthpiece and selmer 402 ligature but i get squeaks on it sometimes and a lot of reeds dont seal good on it…what is wrong is it my embouchure? the mouthpiece? i have have been playing tenor a lot for about a year but alto for 10years. you sound great as always! =)

    • Hi Jazzydude,
      Thanks a lot! I’m glad you like the site. I used Vandoren Java 2 1/2 on that mouthpiece as I recall. I’m not sure why you are squeaking. I’d have to talk to you over a skype lesson to see how your embouchure is. It could also be that there is something wrong with the facing on your Guardala. If it is squeaking and reeds aren’t sealing then it is probably a problem with the facing that needs to get fixed. You’d have to get it checked by a refacer to know for sure. Steve

  5. thanks

  6. ooh okay! do you have any refacers you can recommend for a poor college student? lol also how much are Skype lessons (per lesson) ? thanks again!

    • Jazzydude,
      Unfortunately, Refacers and lessons all cost some money so I’m not sure what I can suggest for a “poor” college student. I charge 60 dollars for an hour. A more affordable alternative is to get a subscription on my site which is 30/month and you can get 4 video lessons a month. It’s much cheaper and you can learn a ton if you pick the right lessons for you. As far as refacers there are Brian Powel, Phil Engleman,Keith Bradbury,Erik Greiffenhagen, as well as many many others out there. Steve

  7. Avatar MatsGranath says

    Sounds great! I’m also a big fan of your site. Especially the mpc reviews. So much info on just one site is terrific!
    What do you think about Bob Reynolds statement: The greatest mpc ever: “The one that you already got”?

    • Hi MatsGranath,
      Bob is a great player and seems to be a great teacher from what I have heard. Here are my thoughts on that comment from my experiences:

      “As far as the Bob Reynolds video…….. I played alto in high school and used a Caravan mouthpiece my teacher sold me. I tried for years to get a Sanborn type alto sound on that mouthpiece. I knew nothing about mouthpieces and thought it was all me. I was frustrated for a few years.

      In college I bought a tenor and a Brilhart level air mouthpiece because it was the only mouthpiece the store had. I loved Brecker and wanted to sound like him but again was frustrated and never happy with my tenor sound for about 6 years! I was practicing 4-6 hours a day.

      On alto I finally bought a Beechler HR s6s that totally changed my playing over night. I loved it and stayed on it for 10 years. On tenor I bought a Sugal JB model that Jerry Bergonzi sold me. That mouthpiece got me so much closer to that Brecker sound that I wanted at that time! So much so that I switched to tenor after getting it and even went in the studio to record a demo. I never did that before on the Brilhart or even wanted to. I hated that sound I got on that mouthpiece. I stayed on the JB for 4 years until I dropped it on a concrete floor. I then bought another Sugal Super Gonz 1 that I played for 7 year and I loved that sound. It was to die for……

      I know Bob’s talking from his own experience but he might just be one of the few guys that was lucky enough to find his sound early on with his link. To me it’s similar to “What is the best car?” “The one you already drive” That wouldn’t be the best answer in my opinion. (Maybe if you drive a Lexus or Lamborgini or something……….) I do think Bob’s advice is valid when you get to a certain point in the mouthpiece search. I’ve had students who played Theo Wanne, then florida links then Navarro pieces, then something else. Every month they come in with something else. In reality they sounded great on the first piece the Theo Wanne in my opinion and would have been better off to just stick with it for 6 months……

      I think Bob says in the video to get something in the ball park of what you want sound wise. Once you get in that ball park the rest is all practice. If you keep switching you will never mature and grow into your sound. This is good advice!

      Because of my history I love trying mouthpieces. The times I talk about above where I discovered a new mouthpieces that let me sound like I wanted were huge! Because of this, I do believe mouthpiece can make a huge difference and really move someone in the right direction. BUT, they can also get in the way of your progress as a musician if you are always playing and switching to new mouthpieces every couple days.

      Find a mouthpiece that gets you in the ballpark of your perfect sound and then stick with it until you have mastered all the intricacies of playing it and shaping your sound. I think that sums up what Bob was saying in that video and I agree. Hope this makes sense.” Steve

  8. Avatar Mats Granath says

    Thank’s for answering,and all the wise words! Totally agree.

  9. Excellent sound . I just picked up the guardala Michael Brecker alto piece at a great price, not that i can play anywhere near what you just did. The tip opening is too large for me at this point as an 8 , vinny

    • I never heard of a Guardala Michael Brecker alto mouthpiece. Are you sure it is a Michael Brecker model and not some other model?

  10. You sound very much like the Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel. A++++++
    Kind regards

  11. Avatar Henry Gerwien says

    The eternal discussions bout “what mpc is best” is utterly exhausting. We all can change our mps’s in a tutorial group and will determine: “Ooooh, other one sounds much better as mine!”. We also can change our wives, our cars or our monthly income and get the same result. Since 33 years I hear this discussions. Instead of pouring out thounds of $ and hours, everyone can spend the time better — in listerning yourself, embouchure trainings, ensemle abilities, playing in time, jazz harmony or whetever else. Believe me, I failed also in this manner and hoarding at least 20 mpc.s, unto a guy one day packed out a damaged mpc and played, while I couln.t get out even an “eeek”!

    Looking for and buying always new gear is break away from the own insufficiency.

  12. Avatar Henry Gerwien says

    Thanx, Steve! You’re right too, in case, if amodel isn.t right for technique, style or instrument. My opinion aims to the point of spending the time for practising, if s.o. has a working mpc, instead of wasting time for monthly new gear. Man is the most versatile general outformed species on this planet, and so we’re able, to create solution for (nearly) every problem.

    So we should always do s.th. for peace and health for mankind, but mostly we act reverse.

  13. Avatar Henry Gerwien says

    “So we should always do s.th. for peace and health for mankind, but mostly we act reverse.”

    I meant by this, that we can create solution for everything and don’t do it. Kind regards Henry

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