Drake Vintage Resin Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Comparison

I thought I’d put up a comparison post of the three Drake vintage resin alto saxophone mouthpieces I received today.  I will be doing a separate review for each mouthpiece but I thought that if I played a simple melody on all 3 next to each other you could hear the differences better.  On these clips I’m playing  the first 16 bars of “Stella By Starlight”.  Nothing fancy, just the melody.  Hopefully, you will be able to hear the differences in the tone of each mouthpiece.  Let me know what you think……………………

From Left to Right: NY Jazz, Jazz,Contemporary

Drake Contemporary Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Drake Jazz Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Drake NY Jazz Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Which one do you like the best? (Poll Results)

  • NY Jazz Model (57%, 56 Votes)
  • Contemporary Model (19%, 19 Votes)
  • Jazz Model (16%, 16 Votes)
  • They all sound the same to me……….. (8%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 98

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. Hi Steve!
    I currently own a Jody Jazz HR mouthpiece, and a Jody Jazz DV NY mouthpiece, both for alto. I’m heading off to college, so I was thinking of selling both and using part of the money to order a Drake mouthpiece. I’m wondering – in your opinion – which mouthpiece would be ideal for me to order. The problem I have with the DV NY is that it’s almost too free blowing, and I struggle to keep an evenness across the registers. The upper notes tend to get too punchy, while the lower notes are too bright and harsh. I like the HR much better, both in feel (I like a little more mouthpiece in my mouth) and resistance. Altissimo notes are easier to produce as well. The only thing I don’t like as much is the overall tonal quality. It’s not bad, per se, but the DV NY has a smoother, rounder sound, at least in the middle register where the sound is easily produced. Sorry, long question.

    • I think the Drake NY Jazz model is my favorite of all the Drake mouthpieces I have tried. I would strongly suggest trying it first before selling your existing mouthpieces as you don’t want to get rid of them in the hopes of finding a replacement. Find a replacement and then sell them. Good Luck. Let me know how you make out.

  2. I can’t find much about the Drake NY Jazz tip openings on their website. I know you played a 6. Have you tried the 5 & the 7 also? Which tip opening is your favorite?

  3. Avatar Bill Scavotto says

    I bought the Jazz but now I wish I bought the NY Jazz.I think it has a richer fuller tone and sound.I hope I can exchange it.I did think the NY required a little more effort to play however

  4. Avatar Roberto Iriarte says

    Steve, Thanks for sharing so much knowledge and samples with all of us. I just picked up the Drake Jazz 7 for Alto to add something new to my Meyer 5 and Otto Link HR 6*. The 7 plays very easy for the size; easier than the Link 6*. Your review is spot on. The Drake plays great in all registers and has amazing intonation. I can now think about the music instead of the piece.

    • Roberto, That is great to hear. I love it when a player like yourself tries a mouthpiece I have reviewed with good results. Have fun with the new mouthpiece! Steve

  5. Hola estoy buscando una Drake NY Jazz alto, sabéis
    de alguien que venda?

    English Translation:

    Hi, I’m looking for a high NY Jazz Drake, you know
    of someone who sells?

  6. Avatar Dong Dong says

    Hi Steve!
    Do these three mouthpieces have ceramic rings?

  7. Avatar Jeffrey Newton says

    Steve, do you like the NY Jazz Drake > the Phil Woods Drake? Regardless, how would you compare these two pieces? Thanks….

    • Jeff, I love both of those pieces! I’ve owned two Drake NY Jazz pieces and they are one of my favorite alto mouthpieces I have played. The Drake Phil Woods I also loved just as much. The difference to me is that the NY is not as bright as the Phil Woods model and in my opinion has a fatter sound. That is what I loved most about it, that fatness to the tone. Reminds me of that Cannonball Adderley fat round tone. The Phil Woods I found brighter, more focused and more powerful and aggressive in my opinion. Both great mouthpieces in my opinion. Hope this helps! Steve

      • Avatar Jeff Newton says

        Thanks, Steve! That was exactly the type of information that I was looking for! Perhaps the “fatness” of the NY Jazz versus the Phil Woods is due to a slight enlargement of the chamber size (although both are “medium”)?

        Apparently both Cannonball and Phil used NY Meyer #5s…

        My alto is a 5 digit Mark VI, so it has a darker sound than the later ones do. The Phil might be the better choice to brighten it up a bit.

      • Avatar Jeff Newton says

        Steve –

        I have a Vandoren V16 7M mpc, as well as a stock Meyer mpc that’s about 10 years old, also a 7. My horn is an early 5 digit Mark VI with a short bow – it’s a darkish horn (darker than the 130,162 that I used to own).

        On this sax, the Meyer sounds darker than the Vandoren, takes less air, and is less flexible. It appears that the tip opening is smaller, but I’ve not measured it.

        Comparing the Drake Phil Woods and the Drake NJ Jazz, it sort of sounds like a Phil Meyer versus a Cannonball Meyer – a difficult choice indeed!

        Would you say the Phil takes less air than the NY Jazz? That the tip openings run equal between the two? Thanks…

        • I didn’t notice an air difference but I played these two mouthpieces like 5 years apart from one another so it’s not like I played them side by side.

          • Avatar Jeff Newton says

            Hi Steve –

            Aaron Drake just replied: “the NY Jazz is a bit more free blowing than the Phil Woods. They are comparable in terms of brightness.”

            Aaron also stated that the facing curve of the Phil Woods is a “42” …
            which, at 1/2 mm per number, equals a 21 mm curve (per Aaron’s explanation).

            He can make a longer facing curve if the customer so desires.

            • Interesting. He knows best! I seem to remember the Drake NY Jazz as having a longer facing curve and that’s what I loved so much about it. Longer facing curves can really fatten up the sound in my opinion. It also tends to make it a little more free blowing for harder reeds than a shorter curve.

          • Avatar Jeff Newton says

            Hi Steve –

            I now see that Meyer also currently offers a “Connoisseur” model of the NY reboot … a Cannonball replica, replete with the gold band around the end of the shank. Cannon’s was because his had a crack there, but you have to hand it to Meyer for authenticity here! Maybe this one’s even fatter sounding?

            • No idea. I have reached out to JJ Babbitt a few times on their website but they have never responded to me unfortunately. With the amount of sax players that come to my site every month to read the reviews you would think they would want to get their mouthpieces reviewed here…….

              • Avatar Jeff Newton says

                Hi Steve –

                Yes, one would think. I only discovered the Cannonball “connoisseur” model whilst shopping online stores for NY Meyer reboots, and came across it (it’s more expensive than the “regular” NY Meyer roboot, too). My guess is that it’s roughly equal to the Drake NY Jazz in terms of “Cannonballish”
                big, fat, round components, and not as assertive, focused and bright as the Drake Phil Woods. Hopefully J.J. Babbitt sends you one!

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