Warburton LA Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

This is a Warburton LA tenor saxophone mouthpiece that I am reviewing today.   This tenor saxophone mouthpiece has a .110 tip opening and is silver plated.  These are made by the great mouthpiece refacer Eric Falcon down in Florida. I have done a number of reviews in the past on other mouthpieces that Eric Falcon has made.  Eric was kind enough to send me this LA tenor mouthpiece to try.

Warburton LA Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

The Warburton LA tenor mouthpiece looks great. The metal is smooth and polished and the silver plating appears to be nice and thick.  This mouthpiece is quite a bit fatter than the “A Series” mouthpieces I reviewed last week.  When you hold it in your hand you can feel how substantial and heavy it is.  It comes with a Rovner light ligature but the mouthpiece itself is about the size of an Otto Link.  I put my Selmer 404 two screw ligature on it at one point and it fit perfectly.

As you can see from these pictures, this mouthpiece has a straight baffle that ends about a quarter of an inch higher than the bottom of the chamber.  The chamber looks pretty large to me.  The aspect that is the most noticeable is how large the window of the mouthpiece is.  The window is the part of the mouthpiece that the reed sits on.  This window looks to be about 40% longer than most tenor mouthpieces I have seen.  It is also quite a bit wider.  The rails are nice and thin all the way back to the end of the window.  This design seems to allow more of the reed to vibrate than a typical window would allow………at least that is my opinion on it.

Here is what the Warburton website has to say about the LA tenor mouthpiece:

“The Warburton L.A. Tenor sax mouthpiece was inspired by the timeless sounds of the great musicians of Los Angeles’ studios. Most of these great players are called upon to play in diverse musical settings and expected to adapt instantly to perform at the highest artistic levels.

For many years the classic Otto Link models from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s have been the overwhelming choice of the Los Angeles area tenor players. The versatility of these pieces is legendary. Now, the Warburton L.A. Tenor model takes that versatility and adds more depth, color, and richness to that classic sound.

Based on our experience in modifying current production Links to closely resemble their vintage counterparts we set out to design a new tenor mouthpiece that would set a new standard. We started with a clean sheet of paper and a strong concept of what the finished product should be. After countless hours of play testing and many subtle design changes we finally achieved our goal of noticeably improving on the classic Otto Link sound! The Warburton L.A. Tenor mouthpiece provides everything a player needs to achieve their full artistic potential and easily answer any demand the music may require.

  • CNC machined for the ultimate in consistency
  • Hand finished facing, baffle and rails
  • Enlarged window

This mouthpiece was great to play.  It had a very unique sound in my opinion.  You can decide for yourself as you listen to the sound clip below.  I wouldn’t say it was on the dark or bright side of the spectrum but rather more in the middle.  The thing that was so unique for me was how fat the sound was.  It just sounded really big and round sounding.  When I was editing the sound clip I see a graph of the sound on my computer.  The graph for the LA mouthpiece was a solid mass of sound across the recording.  When I played full force there was no  thin edges to the sound.  Just one thick mass of sound.  The low notes were big and lush sounding and the high notes had  a nice edge to them.

The other thing that struck me was how smooth it sounded.  When I was playing fast lines and runs the sound was very smooth and even across the whole range of the horn.  Also, the altissimo was incredibly easy.  It played with the ease that you usually get in a high baffled mouthpiece.  To me this mouthpiece did sound similar to a great NY link type mouthpiece but it didn’t have any of the weaknesses associated with that kind of mouthpiece. Usually NY links are harder to play the altissimo and the sound is really spread and diffuse sounding.    On the LA mouthpiece you get the fat sound but the sound is also focused and direct.

Warburton LA Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

I commend Eric for coming up with a new design and concept that gives the players out there another alternative for playability and sound concept.  If you like the sound of this clip do yourself a favor and try one of these out yourself. If you want to find out more about these great mouthpieces visit the Warburton Website for more info. Let me know what you think below.  Thanks, 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 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, how would you compare the LA with the A series ?

  2. The LA is Fatter and rounder sounding to me. I actually preferred it more because I really like that kind of sound. It still has some edge but the edge is within this fat tone. That is the main difference. I liked the size better while playing as it is a bit bigger in size.

  3. I love this sound. It has a nice core to it without being honky, and the edge of the sound isn’t all buzzy and fuzzy. Some like that sound, I do not.

    I’ve ordered one of these, and I have high hopes for it.

    Now, if only I could play as well as Neff!

  4. Hi Steve,
    I really like the sound and the idea of this mouthpiece. I have moved at the moment onto HR Link-related mouthpieces (Aizen and Brahma), and the Link thing seems to suit me. My question is, given that, like you, I have loads of mouthpieces, whether this is the best new metal Link alternative, and so worth investing in. You say the Vandoren T75 metal is in this range, and I like the Vandoren. I also have a Law LCD, which may be related. I’m looking for something that has no hard edge, but lots of projection, which is what I liked about the sound of the Warburton on the clip. You can hear me on the Aizen and the Brahma (which you might like) on Soundcloud: do you think a metal LA would give me a similar sound, with the qualities you like? Thanks,
    Andy

  5. I don’t consider the LA mouthpiece to be like a link at all. It’s very different also from a Vandoren T75. It’s very unique. It does have a super fat sound with roundness to it. I can’t can’t say it has no edge though as it has a brightness to it. I guess you just have to try it for yourself. I haven’t tried a Brahma but compared to the Aizen. I think it has a bigger fatter sound. I hope this helps. Steve

  6. Thanks, Steve, after being responsible for the Laws and the Aizen, you are now responsible again for my mouthpiece collection getting a further member! 🙂 I’ll report back and post some clips when I get it. Thanks for the site as a whole and the excellent books. Andy

  7. Hey……..I have enough responsibility in my life, I don’t need more………. I hope you like it. Let us know what you think when you get it. I’m always curious about others impressions.

  8. Final question, with you being at risk of making me buy another one… The Warburton HR J also sounds great: how powerful is it in relation to the Aizen? Advice greatly appreciated.

  9. It’s been a long time since I played the Aizen so I can’t remember which one is or was louder. Just going by memory I would say they were in the same ballpark.

  10. I just got a Warburton L.A. 7*. It’s free-blowing, it’s powerful and flexible and I like the sound so far. I still need to experiment with the reeds though. I also own a STM 7* I play with reeds 2.5 ~ 3 Java, but the same reeds feel a bit weak on the L.A. Maybe it’s because I am quite used to the resistance I get from my STM and I need some more practice to control the free-blowingness of the L.A. mouthpiece (and the intonation).

    You have played quite a few pieces, so you may not experience the same thing.

  11. I felt that too. I think the huge open window of the mouthpiece allows more of the reed to vibrate so a harder reed responds easier.

  12. You’re in the clear, Steve. It arrived today, having been unfortunately delayed at British Customs. It’s wonderful, and, as you say, not like anything else. It has a sort of Link feel to the tone in some respects, has a bit of the graininess I like about the Aizen, and yet also projects really well and has a fatness to the sound. The great thing is the sense of its being balanced across the range of the horn. It also seems very reed-friendly, though I’m still experimenting. I’ll post a clip if I get something good on this weekend’s gig. Thanks for the chance to find out about the great new mouthpieces there are around.

  13. If you go to http://soundcloud.com/andy-bowie
    there are 3 tracks – a somewhat flawed Countdown, Autumn in New York, and Beatrice from a live gig on the Warburton LA. I was very pleased indeed with it for a first outing (excuse the live gig flaws). I put these tracks up because they illustrate the qualities of the mouthpiece quite well: it is, as Steve says, very fast, has a lovely fat sound, and a lot of power. I think this is now my main mouthpiece, and I have plenty of good ones!

  14. Avatar Jontheboy says

    I keep going up the reed strength scale on this mouthpiece. I was using a 3.5 Hemke today and thought I might even benefit from a 4. I like a hard-edged sound.

  15. Avatar stormott77 says

    it looks almost exactly like a Jody Jazz DV with out the weird cut out in the window. instead the window is super long.

  16. Looks like a DV, plays very differently, though it is pretty easy-blowing,

  17. Steve,

    I just received the Marc Lig for the Warburton LA tenor mpc and there’s a huge difference compared to the stock rovner light. I observed that the rovner light dampen the sound coming from the mpc. It’s like how comfortable/easy to run when you removed all the weights from your body (leg weights..wrist weights..etc)

  18. Kudos to Warburton LA tenor mpc and to Marc Jean lig.

  19. What size Marc Jean lig does one need, and how do you order one (I’m in the UK)? I’m still knocked out with the LA, and if it can get any better, that would be great. The Vandoren Optimum tended to be too restrictive on the reed somehow. Thanks.

  20. It’s a customized lig made for this mpc. You can contact him at this website http://www.musiquedemarc.com/en/ligatures.asp. He’s a very professional/courteous guy.

    From the picture below, the two red sticks are the main contacts between the reed and the metal lig. I also observed that the length of the lig is almost equal/perfect to the length of the table. It holds the reed properly and there’s a difference in tone when the ligature was pushed upward/lower. I love the tone when the lig was pushed upward. I guess, it’s the position where the reed vibrate freely up to the large window. Overall, all I can really say is “wow” 🙂

    [IMG]http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x67/narra_78/2011-07-25173430.jpg[/IMG]

  21. Avatar Henrique says

    Hi,

    i would like to know if anyone tried this mouthpiece with Yamaha’s 62 saxophones. Or if someone have a guess on it!

    Thanks!!

  22. No I haven’t. I don’t own a Yamaha 62. Sorry.

  23. Thanks, Steve!

    I really like the sound of this mouthpiece. I also heard Andy Bowie on it and he sounded great too! As i live in Brazil and we don’t have any of these mouthpieces here, and i will have to order without testing it, i was wondering if you could tell me how would you compare the 8 tip openig with another famous mpcs (like STM and Vandoren V16)tips, considering the easiness to blow.

    Thanks you in advance!

  24. It’s much more free blowing than a link or other mouthpiece with the same tip. It blows much easier for me. Less resistance. The sound is much fatter and bigger sounding. Hope that helps. Steve

  25. Avatar Henrique says

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Although i am sure this is a personal choice, i would like to ask you wich size would you recomend knowing that i can handle a STM 7* tip openig. Or if you simply would advise me to try a Warburton LA 7* with a harder reed.

    Thanks in advence!

  26. I usually play a 7* florida link and the 8 LA piece played great for me. Didn’t feel big at all. Of course, I didn’t try the 7* LA so I’m just stating my experience with the 8. I believe they have a trial policy so if you try one and it’s too big you can return it for a smaller tip. I don’t know for a fact though so you should check with them first. Let me know if you get one and how you like it. Steve

  27. Ok, Steve! Thanks again!!!

  28. I recently tried a Ponzol M2 SS 110 and was surprised but how full it sounded, I expected much less fatness by the look of the baffle.

    How is the LA compared to the M2 SS? It appears fuller sounding. On the playability side are they comparable?

    Thank you

  29. Yes, You are right the Ponzol is very full sounding. I played one for about 4 months. It is a full sound that I considered focused. The LA is even fuller and fatter sounding in my opinion. The trade off is that it is not as focused sounding. It has a huge spread sound that is a bit brighter than the Ponzol if I remember correctly. I think as far as playability they are similar although I think the LA was a bit easier for me to play. Hope this helps.

  30. Hi Steve,

    Thank you that’s helpful. There are no LA (or Warburton for that matter) dealers in my area so I’m trying to judge relative to Ponzol M2.

    I currently play a Jody Jazz HR 7* (105) but the M2 I tried (110) was a much easier blow than I expected (probably due to the baffle). If I were to order an LA do you think I could chose size based on how I felt on the M2?

    Lastly have you ever tried any SR Tech mouthpiece? If so what did you think of them? Are there one along the line of the LA?

    Thank you!

  31. I never tried a SR Tech yet. I would get the .110 LA if you liked the .110 M2. I think they would be similar. I believe they have a return policy so if it is too big you should be able to exchange it for a .105. Check with them first though as I’m not sure what their policies are. Good Luck.

  32. This has become my main mouthpiece, because it balances tone, projection, volume, and speed better than any other, as well as being very reed-friendly. For really loud gigs I’d probably go to the Jody DV Chicago (which plays in some respects quite similarly), because it has a bit more projection, but for everything else the LA offers the best combination of virtues, and is a reasonable price, given the quality of materials, etc.

  33. Some samples on
    http://soundcloud.com/andy-bowie
    Click on the title to find out which mouthpiece I’m playing, as there are 4 or 5 different ones.

  34. Horn was a Reference 54, Vandoren Red Java 2 and a half reed. Playing sax for around 40 years amateur and semi-pro. Wish I’d practised more earlier!

  35. Steve,

    What are your thoughts regarding the Warburton LA Model vs the Theo Wanne metal Gaia for tenor?

    Thanks

  36. Hi Bob,
    I’m going by my memory here……………The LA was brighter and more powerful than the Gaia, They both had a fat and lush sound but the Gaia was a bit darker than the LA model. I think the LA had a slightly more focused sound although it is still very fat and spread sounding. I think the highs in the sound focus it a bit more. I found the Gaia to be more spread and lush sounding. If I was mostly playing jazz I would lean towards the Gaia. If I had to also play louder R&B and pop stuff I would lean towards the LA. That’s just my opinion. I think either one would be fine in either style. It would just be a matter of playing the piece for awhile and getting it dialed in to the sound you want.

  37. I received my LA 7* on Friday and I can’t stop playing it! I can’t believe how close the tonal characteristics come to my personal ideal tenor sax sound. There’s a richness and a “pop!” to the sound that I really like. I’m still adapting a bit on the low C,B,Bb — they’re a bit hesitant but they’re coming along and I don’t think they will be a problem in another week or so. Beautiful silver plating job, btw. I’m liking Legere Studio Cut 3’s on this; the Legere Signature 3 sounded stuffy. The piece sounds fantastic on my YTS62, not quite as good on my Mauriat 66R. I resisted getting one of these for quite some time but I’m glad I finally took the plunge.

  38. Steve are the LA model and the 12 degree model similar? Do both models have the power for R&B (LOUD) and subtlety for Straight Ahead gigs.
    What similarities and differences did you find in the two models???

    Thanks
    Calvin

  39. I can’t remember the exact differences between the two. I don’t remember the 12 degree that much. The LA model I think would be great for R&B and jazz gigs . you have to dive that sound though. It’s a bit brighter than I prefer on jazz stuff although the fatness of the sound takes some of that away. It’s sort of like Brecker or Berg playing straight ahead. Kind of leaning towards that side with the brightness I think. Again, it’s a different type of sound as I believe it is one of the fattest sounding tones I have had on a mouthpiece. For R&B it would do well again but the fatness is quite different to the laser beam focus you get from a Guardala or Dukoff. It’s a bigger sound in my opinion. Having said all that, I didn’t get to play the LA on any gigs. I just played it in my studio and my opinions are from that. Playing it on a gig is the true test as you probably know………….

  40. Got a little Breckerish towards the end there ;-).

  41. Hi Steve,
    Do you recall the sound of this piece to compare it to your Sugal Super Gonz I?

  42. Arya44,
    From memory, I would say the LA piece is much brighter than I remember my SGI being. I think they both had fat sounds and the Sugal did get brighter when I pushed it but I don’t think as bright as the LA piece. The LA piece also was a lot more free blowing than the Sugal. Meaning I had to use harder reeds on it because it played so easily. Hope this helps, Steve

  43. Hello Steve,
    I am curious how would you compare it to Lawton mouthpiece?
    Regards

  44. Mateusz, This is a very different mouthpiece than the Lawtons I have played. The LA is much more freeblowing. Steve

  45. Steve, I really like your sound on this piece – so I bought it…
    For me it plays too bright for my liking in the upper register – so I have a brand new Warburton LA 8 for sale. Finished by Eric Falcon.
    I hope you don’t mind my using your platform for this…
    rudz at iCloud com
    Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. […] you look at the pictures here of the FJIII and compare them to the pictures of my Warburton LA tenor mouthpiece review (also made by Eric Falcon), you can see some similarities between the two mouthpiece designs.  […]

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