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


  1. Raymond, It’s hard for me to suggest a tenor mouthpiece with the same sound as an alto mouthpiece. They are two different instruments and sounds. I would just listen to the clips of hard rubber tenor mouthpieces and see if you can find one you like as much as the Ishimori alto mouthpiece clip. Good Luck and congrats on the tenor sax! Steve

  2. Avatar Alexandra Willats says

    Great review, and amazing sound clip; I’ve fallen in love with the tone of this mouthpiece! I currently have a Theo Wanne NY Bros 2, 6 opening, on my Yanagisawa AW010 alto. I’m wanting to sell this MP now. I feel I can get something livelier and with a better response, but still the richness of your clip. How would you compare this Ishimori to the NY Bros 2? Would it be a good alternative/upgrade? (I use a Vandoren Opt. lig and Rigotti 2.5 Strong reeds).

    I’ve also got a metal Gaia 2 (7) on the way that I ordered a while back, but want both a HR and metal MP in my collection of 3 (the third being the Yany HR 7 that came with the sax, which I don’t use). Any advice would be much appreciated!

  3. Avatar Alexandra says

    Hi Steve

    I just received my Ishimori Jazz HR 6 medium based on your review and sound clip and I’m loving it so far! Thank you for the excellent review. It took several months for it to arrive at my music store in the UK but was well worth the wait. I’m getting good results with Rigotti Gold 3 lights but may take the plunge and try some Wood Stone reeds. If the quality and consistency is what people say, it’ll be worthy investment. Do you still play this MP with the Wood Stone 3 reeds? Can you recommend any others worth trying?
    Thanks again.

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