Ishimori Woodstone Silver Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I have an Ishimori Woodstone silver tenor sax mouthpiece to review and play for you today. This is a 8 tip (.110) high baffled mouthpiece.  I have been eagerly wanting to play these Ishimori mouthpieces for quite a while.

Ishimori Woodstone Silver Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Over the past few months, I have heard of Ishimori Woodstone mouthpieces from a number of players on the web. They were all raving about how good these mouthpieces were which really peaked my curiosity. I had a problem though, when I searched around for these mouthpieces I couldn’t find them anywhere except for the Ishimori site in Japan and the whole site was in Japanese. (I am not fluent in Japanese) I gave up after that but then a month later I heard another player raving about them again. This time I decided to try contacting Ishimori directly through their website. I sent them an email asking about their mouthpieces and a few days later received a courteous response from Norikiyo Yaguchi who handles Overseas transactions for Mr. Ishimori. He was nice enough to send me 5 mouthpieces to review- 2 alto, 2 tenor and one soprano mouthpiece.

This tenor sax mouthpiece is beautiful. It has a perfect looking facing curve and tip. The baffle is high and slopes to a horseshoe shaped edge where it then slopes down into a medium to small chamber.  The shape of the baffle reminds me of some Guardala King and Super King mouthpieces I have tried in the past as well as some metal Berg Larsen mouthpieces.  It has a big black plastic bite plate that came with a mouthpiece patch on it for extra protection. The bore end of the mouthpiece is covered with black hard rubber that has a scroll type design on it that looks great. Underneath the black hard rubber end is the metal of the mouthpiece  (you can see it in the picture at the bottom of this page) so don’t worry, it won’t break on you.  I am told that they added the hard rubber to soften the sound a bit.

Before I even played this mouthpiece, I guessed that it would be loud and bright (Just look at that high and long baffle in there).  As with the alto mouthpiece, I was again surprised by how versatile this mouthpiece is.  It sounded great at low levels and with a subtone and wasn’t obnoxiously bright like some other pieces I have played.   This mouthpiece was not like one of those other pieces……… It had a medium bright powerful sound but it wasn’t overly bright to my ears.  It seemed to highlight the mid range spectrum of frequencies rather than the high end.  I wouldn’t say this mouthpiece is for everyone but if you are looking for a medium bright, loud and more focused modern tenor sound, this would be a great choice.

The mouthpiece came with a Woodstone #2 1/2 reed on it which was perfect for this mouthpiece.  As you listen to the clip below,  I think you can hear the focused sound this piece has. I was playing at a softer level at the beginning and you can hear how it would sound great playing a jazz set.  Later on I am blowing a bit harder and you have to trust me when I say that this mouthpiece can play pretty darn loud!  When you play softly or with a subtone it has a smokey type quality about it that is really nice.  I loved it’s sound on the ballad I started on.  When you really blow though this mouthpiece can knock some walls down!

Ishimori Woodstone  Silver Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I hope to have some more clips and reviews up in the next few days of the rest of the Ishimori mouthpieces I have so stay tuned for those. Every mouthpiece and reed that I have received from the Ishimori company has been perfect. They pay attention to the smallest details and it is obvious when you see and play their products. Believe it or not, I have played about 40 of their Woodstone reeds and haven’t found a bad one yet. They all played great right out of the box!

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks, Steve

Ishimori Woodstone  Silver Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

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 Graham Snell says

    Hi Steve
    This sounds great, does it feel like it would be good in a loud funk setting?
    Thanks
    Graham

    • Yes, I think it would do great in a funk setting. It has plenty of power. The tone is brighter but it still has a nice tone to it. Sometimes the brighter high baffle mouthpieces sacrifice tone too much but this one has a nice balance.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I am looking for a mouthpiece for straight ahead jazz that is a little reminiscent of the old Berg Larsens. Any ideas?

    • Hi David,
      I don’t have a lot of experience with playing old Bergs. They do have that unique chamber and baffle mix so I guess you will have to find a modern maker that copies that idea. I have an Absolute HR piece I reviewed that reminded me of a Berg type baffle. The review is on my site. You also get into whether you want something like a 0,1,2 or 3 chamber and baffle which is how the Bergs were designated.

  3. Hey Steve
    Despite this review being from long ago, do you recall how you reacted to the 8 tip size compared with your normal 7* on non-baffled mouthpieces?

    Ishimori appears to increase their actual tipsize to take into account the baffle as according to the Ishimori Website the 8 tipsize is 2.85mm (.112″) or Otto Link 8 half star and their 7* is 2.75mm or .108″ or Otto Link 7**.

    Given that do you think a Wood Stone 7* on this Wood Stone metal mouthpiece might suit someone who normally plays a non-baffled 7*?

    • I don’t really remember but I am sure I felt pretty comfortable as I only review mouthpieces I feel comfortable on. I tend to like 7* (.105) baffles for low to medium baffled mouthpieces. 7**(.108) to 8(.110) for medium baffled to medium high baffled mouthpieces. 8* (.115) for high baffled mouthpieces.

      That baffle on this mouthpiece looks like a baffle I would prefer a tip opening around an 8 so I think it was probably pretty comfortable for me. Steve

  4. Avatar Clive Astle says

    I’ve ordered the 7* plus a box of Wood Stone 2.5 tenor reeds. I’ll let you know hoe it goes by reporting back here.

    BTW, how would you compare the Wood Stone reeds to the BSS reeds? My expectation is they are similar. I have BSS reeds but I have not tried Wood Stone reeds as yet.

    • Clive, I feel like the Woodstone reeds are closer somewhere inbetween the BSS and Rigotti reeds. They seem easier to play like they are a little softer than the Rigotti reeds. For example, I have played the 3 1/2 Woodstone reeds and they are easier to play than the 3 1/2 Rigotti or BSS reeds for me.

  5. Avatar Clive Astle says

    Steve
    OK, mine has arrived. I really like it! It has a dark core with a mid-tone brightness I really like. On a song like “Those Were the Days” I can get a sadness mixed in with that that works really well. My 7* tip paired well with a Wood Stone 3 reed. The 2.5 was too soft. Other brand reeds don’t seem to suit it, including the BSS reeds. Select Jazz reed 3S was OK but the Wood Stone reeds really suit this mouthpiece for me.

    Thanks Steve for making me aware of this mouthpiece’s possibilities with your review. It definitely adds what I was looking for.

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