Jon Van Wie Meyer Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

This is a modern Meyer tenor saxophone mouthpiece that I recently bought.  This one is a 7 that was refaced by the late great Jon Van Wie to a .105 tip opening.  I knew that if Jon Van Wie had refaced it then it would be a great example of what a Meyer could do.  I was very curious to try this mouthpiece because I have never tried a Meyer on tenor before.  Of course, Meyer is a big name when it comes to alto players but I have never met a tenor player who played a Meyer and was curious to see what it played like.

Jon Van Wie Refaced Meyer Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

As you can see from the pictures, this mouthpiece is in great shape.  The tip, rails and table all look perfect to the eye.  The mouthpiece has a nice high rollover baffle on it.  The chamber is more of a medium or small size.  I’m not sure how Meyer would rank it but if you compare the bottom picture to an Otto Link chamber this one is quite small in comparison.

The mouthpiece played great.  The Rigotti 3 Light played very easily.  The bottom end of the horn was nice and lush sounding. The smaller chamber made it more focused sounding then most Otto Link mouthpieces I have tried.  It also required a lot less air for me to get a nice sound out of  than a Otto Link would.

The altissimo was much easier to hit than most large chambered mouthpieces I have played.  The one phrase that came to mind while I was playing this mouthpiece was “smooth as butter”.  The tone seemed almost creamy to me and when I played fast patterns it was so even and smooth that it was a delight to play.  With all that being said,  I don’t think it had as big a sound as I can get on a link but it was plenty loud when I pushed it.  It is more focused sounding and a Link is more spread in comparison.

Jon Van Wie Refaced Meyer Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

This would be another great choice for a player looking for a mouthpiece to do it all.  If you lay back on it you get a beautiful focused straight ahead sound and if you put some air through you can easily get a brighter R&B sound from it.  I don’t know how this compares to a average un-refaced Meyer but this one played terrific.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments.     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. Avatar Jana (Van Wie) Pratt says

    Hi Steve,
    I’m Jon’s sister. What a thrill it was for me to stumble on a post from yesterday, talking about my brother’s artistry. He was very passionate about many things. The saxophone mouthpiece work came about after many years as an amazing guitarist. He was the most devoted father I have ever seen and his daughter has grown to be a terrific talent. We all miss him everyday. Thanks for helping to keep his memory alive. Too bad he didn’t have time to reface more!

  2. Hi Jana,
    It is so good to hear from you. Jon worked on 3 or 4 mouthpieces for me years ago. I never met Jon in person but talked to him on the phone a couple of times. He was a joy to talk to. He had such a passion for what he did. I could tell he was committed to making the best mouthpieces he could. I always just assumed he was mainly a sax player. When someone told me he was mainly a guitar player I was blown away. Jon did such great work and was such a great guy that I’m sure his legacy will live on for years and years. Take care. Steve

  3. Avatar Eric Bessette says

    Jana,
    It is so nice to hear about Jon since I will be playing this particular mouthpiece for the foreseeable future. I am hoping that I can channel some of Jon’s passion. The mouthpiece certainly had a wonderful energy that I connected with when I tried it at Steve’s. We all live on in many wonderful ways and it sounds like your brother left very positive vibes behind.
    Best regards,
    Eric Bessette

  4. Avatar Paul Nagy says

    Yo Steve….nice article on Meyer for tenors. Thought I would share a little info with you about the great Clifford Scott’s ground-breaking tenor work on Bill Doggett’s ‘Honky Tonk pts 1 &2’………..the mouthpiece he used was a hard rubber Meyer 8. Keep On Rockin’……….paul

  5. It’s really nice to know that a distant relative, with the same name, made many musicians happy! 🙂 I always loved the sound of a saxophone, but never played one. I’m a longtime guitarist, 35 years playing, who grew up on the other coast.

  6. On alto, my ‘go to’ piece is still a Meyer Limited Edition NY that he refaced for me…I don’t remember how long ago. I think of him every time I play alto. Wish that I had collected more of his artistry all the time. He lives on in the music…

  7. Hi steve , I bought a size tenor 10 (104 opening) medium chambet medium facing in amazon last week. The facing is great out of the box and very even. Easy to blow and give a smooth focus sound.

    I played it with a legere studio and it is so easy to play.

    As you mentioned , the volumne is not as big as link.

    I will try it with vandoren’s reeds and fibracell

    Thank for your review it is great

  8. Avatar PAUL DION says

    I recently switched to a 9 Meyer rubber medium chamber tenor m/pce. It’s great. Even, in tune, easy on altissimo, centred tone but flexible too (soft/loud, ballad/rock) and easy to blow. getting more volume from this than my Link metal 8. Maybe it’s because I’m using a Meyer 7 on Alto and baritone.

  9. Avatar Giuseppe says

    Very good MPC!
    I had played Meyer on alto and bought it for the tenor. I have to say that, for my experience, I bought a modern Meyer 6, medium chamber, medium facing, as a commercial piece, not refaced, very irregular aesthetically, at 125 euros ten years ago and I felt good: 0.81 tip opening but big volume and projection, not inferior, playing together with saxophonists who use other MPC tip opening 110, to them; only the high notes are a little finer. But I like fine notes on the treble, for a certain proportion of the sound. I happened to play it to warm the instrument and, other saxophonists, surprised, they asked me that MPC was! I must also say that, compared to other brands, all the Meyer I tested over time, except one, sounded good and practically the same.
    I think that, at least until ten years ago when I bought mine, it is a good choice as a value for money; of course, if one carries out the refacing, excellent levels are achieved.

  10. Meyers can play great on tenor but I have always found the medium chamber to give me a more medium size sound with the Meyers I have played. I feel like playing a great Link with a large chamber just gives me a much bigger fuller sound in comparison. Meyers can be more focused that is true where a Link can have a really spread tone that lacks core. The key for me is finding a Link with a big spread sound that also has focus to it. That is heaven! Steve

  11. Avatar Giuseppe says

    But the Meyer also exist with big chamber, even if in Italy they import only medium chamber and medium facing ones.

  12. Avatar Eric Bessette says

    Seven years later I am still playing this mouthpiece! True, I am lazy about trying new pieces when this one works so well. I traded a Barone NY metal with Steve and I really like HR better and I don’t have to worry about chipping my teeth. This piece is not as bright as others nor quite as powerful but it doesn’t freak out when pushed even too hard if the rhythm section is playing too loud.

    Thanks Steve for matching me to this mouthpiece.

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