Ishimori Woodstone Super Custom Hard Rubber Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I have another Ishimori Woodstone  alto saxophone mouthpiece to review and play today.  This one is the hard rubber “Super Custom” traditional jazz model in a 6 tip opening.  I was very excited to play this alto mouthpiece as I have heard so much about the tenor mouthpieces and knew the alto mouthpiece would be excellent also.

Ishimori Woodstone Super Custom Hard Rubber Alto 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.

The is a beautiful hard rubber mouthpiece.  It has a 6 tip opening.  I’m not exactly sure what that measures but it plays like is around a .072-.076 to me.   It has a perfect looking facing curve and tip. The baffle is medium and slopes down into the medium chamber.  If you look at the baffle from the front it looks to be curved on the sides.  Like the baffle is the bottom part of a circle if that helps. The sides of the baffle roll up smoothly into the curved sidewalls.  There’s not an edge or flaw anywhere inside the chamber.  Everything is smooth and silky.

I used the same Woodstone #3 reed that I played on the Woodstone  A11 review I did earlier and at first it was a little stiff to play.  After a few minutes though it really opened up and played fantastic for me. I’ve played two great New York Meyers in my life and I would say that this played very similar to those two I played.  It has a nice resistance to it while blowing.  The resistance is just enough to let you shape the sound and mold it.  I notice that I tend to bend notes and play more blues on mouthpieces with that perfect resistance.  I do that in the clip below.

I had trouble describing the sound as bright or dark.  It was sort of in the middle for me.  Kind of a Phil Woods and Art Pepper meets Cannonball kind of sound to it.  If I had to think of a modern player I would say Jesse Davis.  I guess where it takes you is up to your own personal sound.  I was left feeling like I needed to play it some more.  I thought it sounded killer as I played it but I had this feeling like there was a connection between the mouthpiece and I that could really take me to another place.  I felt very at home with this mouthpiece.  Very comfortable.  The first lick I play on the clip kills me.  I just love that sound.

The intonation was right on all over the horn.  The great thing I have noticed about the resistance I talked about earlier is that it allows me to play with the intonation much more easily.  For example, my middle E on my Selmer Reference Alto is very sharp. About 25-30 cents if I don’t adjust it. When a mouthpiece has some resistance to blow against then I find it easier to bring that note down into pitch when I need to.  All the other notes on the horn were close to perfect for me.

Ishimori Woodstone Super Custom Hard Rubber Alto 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!  That is certainly a testament to Ishimori’s quality control and customer service!

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

 

Ishimori Woodstone Hard Rubber 6 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

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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 Steve,
    I’m wondering if the Theo Wanne Lig is the on that came with the Gaia or is it one you bought yourself.
    Thanks,
    Jack

  2. No, this is the Theo Wanne ligature that came with the Gaia I have.

  3. Alright thanks Steve. I’m wondering out of All the alto mouthpieces which do you like the most for more traditional jazz playing. I personally think the Ishimori hard rubber mouthpieces you tried sounded the best out of all the clips I have heard so far.
    I’m also wondering if you are going to try the alto model with the small chamber?

  4. I didn’t know there was an alto model with a small chamber. They only sent me this one and the metal one. As far as my favorite…….it’s hard to say. I really like the Ishimori but I only played it for a few hours. I have to play it for a few weeks. I love the Theo Wanne Gaia , JVW Meyer and a Vandoren V16 that Brian Powell put a long facing curve on for me. I have more on my shelf but those are the ones that I really like.

  5. Yeah I checked it out on Ishimori’s website as well as Sax-ccessories. It says it’s a medium-small chambered version of the mouthpiece. from the jumbled google translate it seems to hint that it would make a better lead mouthpiece than the regular medium chambered model.

    But yeah IMHO the Ishimori seems to have it all in terms of sound. It’s fat, sounds like it projects easily, and it gets around easily around the horn from your sound clip.

    And Thanks for all these clips Steve, you sound fantastic on them. I think out of all the mouthpieces on either horns SAT I think I like the Ishimori rubber pieces the best.

  6. Avatar TETSUO ONO says

    The correct pronounciation is “E-SHE-MORI”

  7. WOW Steve this one is so closed to a Meyer NY USA in terms of sound !!!!

    Could you say that this “6” tip is similar than a 6MM Meyer NY USA in terms of feeling when you played it (or did you maybe played a Meyer NY USA 7MM) ?

    Thanks

  8. I played a Meyer NY years ago but I believe that was a 5 and I can’t compare how that tip was to this one other than it was more closed.

  9. Wow – Steve, this is the one for sure. Best sounding alto clip on your web site hands down. It’s got everything in there. I’d love to here this compared to the medium-small chamber model.

  10. Yeah Steve I have to agree with Dave, I love this clip but I’m wondering how does the Medium-Small Chamber compare to the Medium-Chamber. Could you ask Ishimori to send you one for a review?

  11. I didn’t even know they had two models. I’ll contact them and see if I can try one. Steve

  12. Where did you guys hear or see the small chamber model? I looked around the internet but don’t see it advertised anywhere. Thanks, Steve

  13. Hi Steve,

    The you can find two chamber size options when ordering the mouthpiece on the following website:

    http://www.ishimori-co.com/index.php/product/product_detail/821 (use Google translate )

    I noticed that the description on the Ishimori-Woodstone website has recently changed. When describing the Medium Small chamber option they used to refer to the sound of a local Japanese sax player… As of this week their website has been updated with the following notes/recommendations: Medium for NYC vintage Meyer Jazz sound and Medium-Small for more mid-range edge for Funk, rock or lead alto. It seems someone in Japan is monitoring your blog closely!

    Cheers,

    Marco

  14. Oh, Steve Sax-ccessories says they have a medium, and a medium-small chamber, and so does the Ishimori website(disclaimer I don’t read Japanese, I used google translate and figured it out from the jumbled translation)

  15. Where do you see this on the sax-ccessories website? I looked for it and did a search for Ishimori but all that comes up is the Ishimori ligatures. No mouthpieces.

  16. That’s funny. I would one to try the smaller chambered Ishimori. I’ll see if they will send me one to review for the site. Thanks, Steve

  17. Oh just go to the Alto Hard Rubber page, and under the tip opening options, they have another one for Chamber size.

  18. I asked Ishimori if I could review a medium small chambered piece and they said they would send me one to try but probably not until February 2012 because they are busy with back orders. I also contacted Sax-ccesories and they said they would be willing to send me one but have none in stock now. I’ll let you guys know on here when I get one in and do a review. Steve

  19. Steve
    I thought I was definitely settled on alto, but listening to your clip made me order one of these. I can’t believe I did that, I had decided I was done buying alto mouthpieces 🙁
    Best wishes
    Jorge

  20. Steve,
    I agree with many above comments…you sound great in the clip. But you made a comment about the #6 feeling like a .072 – .076 which makes me nervous about trying a #5 which is what I usually play in HR ALTO pieces. Ishimori says the #6 is a .077, would you venture to say that it plays a lot smaller than that?

    Thanks.

    Barnaby

  21. I received this from a member of my site who had asked Mr. Yaguchi about the facing lengths of the alto mouthpieces:

    Dear Jim;

    Thank you for your inquiry about our mouthpieces.
    Our alto mouthpiece is almost the same in opening and facing as Meyer.
    #5 has 1.8mm opening and 20mm facing. #6 has 1.95mm opening and 20mm facing.
    #7 has 2.05mm opening and 22mm facing.
    If you have any questions, please feel free to let us know them.

    Best regards,

    Norikiyo Yaguchi
    Overseas staff
    For Tomochika Ishimori, President

  22. Hi Barnaby,
    It must be a .077 then which is very close to what I said it was. I wouldn’t say that it plays smaller than that. It does play very easily and is very reed friendly. If you are used to a 5 and like that opening I think it would work fine. Let me know how you make out……..>>Steve

  23. Steve,
    Did you ever try the medium/small chamber alto woodstone? I read somewhere that you were excited to try it. curious as to how it went.
    Barnaby

  24. Yes, I did try the Medium small chamber Ishimori Woodstone alto mouthpiece. I liked it so much I ended up buying it. It’s a great mouthpiece. a little brighter than the medium chamber but not a lot. It’s a 6 also but for some reason it needs harder reeds the the medium 6 does. I’m using Woodstone 3 1/2’s on it. I need to put up a review and sound clip of it. I’ve been in a tenor mode for the last week. I’m also going to try a medium chamber 7 Ishimori. I’m happy with the 6 but I was told by the owner of the company that the 7 has a 22 mm long facing compared to the 6 that has a 20 mm facing. I’ve like long alto facings a lot in the past so I’m wondering if I will dig the 7 more. My curiosity gets the best of me sometimes. Hopefully I’ll get the medium small chamber up in a short while. Thanks, Steve

  25. Hey Steve,
    Just wondering if you’re going to post a review on the Medium-Small Chamber Ishimori alto mouthpiece soon, I’m really excited to hear it!
    Thanks,
    Jack

  26. Yes, I was planning on it this weekend if I have the time. If not, then certainly next week.

  27. I agree with Pierre this one is very closed to a Meyer NY USA in terms of sound.
    Do you feel the same sensation when you play a true Meyer NY USA.
    I mean is it a very very good copy ? or is it maybe still better than the original vintage one ?
    Cheers

    Yan

  28. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the post and I would like to find out from you if you compare to Brian powell Cafe bros. Which one you think sound to best when compare to ishimori woodstone. My Cafe bros sound thick on my 82Z and nice but I want something brighter than Cafe bros. Maybe you can share your thoughts with us. I would like to invest this for my collection. at least is cheaper that the orignal vintage Meyer.

    Best regards
    Robby from Singapore

  29. Hmmmmmm………Let me see. I’ve tried three Ishimori Woodstone alto mouthpieces. I tried a 6 medium chamber and I think that was a bit more focused than the Cafe Brothers piece I have. a similar tone as far as bright to dark. I also have an Ishimori 6 Medium Small chamber that is a little bit brighter. This week I tried a 7 Ishimori with a longer facing and that one was similar to the 6 medium chamber but has a more spread sound because it had a longer facing length of 21mm. I hope this helps.

  30. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the precise feedback. I think I know the answer already. I will still stick to Cafe bros for now since the difference is minimum.

    Best regards
    Robby

  31. Hey Steve,
    Have really enjoyed the clips of the Ishimori MP. I wondered if I missed the review of the med. small chamber mp you purchased. It will be great to compare the three mps. Could you explain why you decided on the small chamber mp as well.
    Thanks,
    Greg

  32. He Greg, I have two Ishimori alto pieces. The medium chamber I reviewed and I also have a medium small chamber. Both are 6 tip openings. I haven’t done a review of the medium small yet because I am having some issues with my hands over the last months. Pain in the wrists and thumbs and numbness in both hands due to a pinched nerve in my upper spine. I keep waiting until I feel better to do a review but that seems a long time in coming so maybe I’ll just put one up and take it easy playing wise. The medium small chamber is just a tad brighter in my opinion. The facing curve feels quite different to me in that I prefer 3 1/2 reeds on it where as I prefer 3 reeds on the medium chambered Ishimori. I hope I can get a clip on here soon………..Thanks, Steve

  33. Hey Steve,
    if you had to compare this mouthpiece with the Theo Wayne Gaia hard rubber, what will choose to buy. Are really comparable?I’ll buy one of this and i got doubts

    Best Regards
    Marcos

  34. The Gaia is a little brighter and has more of a dry sound to it. The Woodstone is more clear sounding. For me the Woodstone reminds me of a Cannonball sound and the Gaia more of a Phil Woods sound. Of course, it’s not like playing one or the other magically give you that sound but that’s what it reminds me of when I play them. Listen to the clips and see if you can hear what I’m talking about. Steve

  35. Hi Steve,

    If i am using a Gaia 7* in tenor , sop, and alto, which size do you guess is good for me on alto? I will try the small chamber one actually.
    thanks!

  36. It depends on what you are comfortable with. I also like the 7* tenor openings and on alto I play a 6 or 7.

  37. Avatar marcos cabrera says

    Hi Steve,
    I just recieved my Ishimori Woodstone Mouthpiece, and I was wondering what kind of reed suits it more. The ones i used with my Vandoren were the V12, 2,5 , but are too soft in this mouthpiece for me, I think.I know that takes time to get used to a new mouthpiece, but any comment would be wellcomed
    Thanks

  38. I used Woodstone 3’s or 3 1/2’s with mine. I also use Rigotti Gold 3’s. You don’t say what tip you got but if it is a 6 like mine then the 2 1/2’s will be too soft probably.

  39. Dear Steve
    I like the 6 very much it has a nice focussed sound. Wouldn’t this be too small for lead alto playing in a big band?
    I know I can go bigger in tip but I read that the 7 is a different piece with a different facing and a more spread sound, which I would not want. Will you have a clip up frome the 7 ?
    At the moment I play a Ralph Morgan Excalibur 7e which projects extremely well but can be a bit harsh in the higher notes.
    I allso have a new Francois Louis Spectruoso (235ML) which plays nice (alltough with a LOT of resistance) but does not project enough.
    Will you be testing the Francois Louis pieces allso sometime?
    Thanks

  40. Hi Walter, I did try the 7 but I didn’t like it as much as the 6. The facing curve was longer and it had a totally different response for me. Not as crisp I think. I can get pretty loud with my 6 but the true test is playing it with a big band…………. Talking about loud, I have a Beechler diamond dot alto mouthpiece I just got in that I think is one of the loudest alto mouthpieces I have ever played. Not thin at all but very loud and brighter but with a fatness to the sound. I tried a Morgan 7E way back and found it way too bright in the top register for my tastes.

    I don’t have any plans to review the Francois Louis mouthpiece but if I run across one I might give it a try and review it…………

  41. Avatar Walter Maas says

    Thanks Steve, yes the Morgan can be bright…..I might go for the the Woodstone 6 then 🙂

  42. Avatar Dana Bachner says

    What model/sz was the beechler diamond dot you recently got? Been enjoying your reviews for years!

  43. It’s a S6S that was opened up to .085 by Brian Powell.

  44. For me no doubt a “super-excellent” “modern” clone (even the best till yet!!) of the better Meyer NY USA from 60’s

  45. Avatar Austin Zhang says

    I bought the 6M a couple weeks ago and I love it!! If you push it you can get some volume out of it while still maintaining a great tone. My favorite part is the response, the resistence is perfect for me, I can’t get over that. It has a more rounded tone that is very complex and no overly bright at all. To me, it is very clean and “pure” sounding, sometimes I wish it had more edge and bite but that’s why I have a Beechler. This is my main straight-ahead piece while I use my GW refaced Beechler for funk and higher power stuff. I tried a Wanne Kali recently and could believe it. It was so perfect. Too bright for straight-ahead I guess but it was definitley much better then my beechler for funk, rock, and blues. If only I could afford one haha. In an ideal world I would have a Kali and the Ishimori and sell the Beechler. Steve’s review really helped my decision to buy one and is really bang on!!

  46. Avatar Lukas Andrae says

    Hello Steve
    How does the Ishimori compare to a Vandoren V16 A7 small chamber in case of Chamber size, hight of the Baffle an Sound? I’m asking because i’ve played a Drake NY Jazz 6 for almost 2 Years now and im looking for a Mpc that is a bit more focused and brighter, but has still that warm Meyer thing. (z.B Miguel Zenon) I’m testing a V16 A7 small at the moment and i like the resistance and focus that it has compared to the drake, but for me its a bit to loud and agressiv in the hights. Do you think the Ishimori (maybe with small chamber?) would be a good match? I liked really your playing on this clip and your tremendous work on this site in general!!
    Thanks and greetings from switzerland
    Lukas

  47. Lukas,
    I played a V16 small chamber for a little while and I just found it too bright for my tastes. I tried an Ishimori small chamber and it was similar in brightness but played much better for me as I remember. That being said it was also too bright for me. I opted for the Ishimori medium chamber piece. One mouthpiece that might be exactly what you describe you want is a new one I am trying called a Phil-Tone Rift. I just got it yesterday with a .081 tip. It has a high baffle but isn’t super bright. It has a kinda powerful Meyer sound to it. It can really handle some loud playing as well as bebop in my opinion. The Ishimori medium has a slightly darker sound I think. The Ishimori small chamber is a bit brighter than the Rift. In my opinion the V16 is brighter and more focused than all of them. I believe the chamber is much smaller also. Hope this helps, Steve

  48. Steve I’m just interesting What is your favorite mouthpiece in ALTO)?,I’m really won’t buy ishimori but very few reviews on the Internet at this japanese brand!?

  49. Hi Romario,
    I’m mostly a tenor player as that is my go to horn but when I play alto I play the Ishimori medium chamber in this review here or a Phil-Tone Rift. They are very different mouthpieces. If you listen to the sound clips of both you can probably hear the difference in the sound. I love both though. Steve

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