Lebayle LRII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Today, I am reviewing a Fred Lebayle LRII tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  The last time I played a Lebayle tenor mouthpiece was about 8 years ago.  I bought a wood Lebayle Jazz mouthpiece to try.  The mouthpiece totally blew my mind.  I fell in love with it and was ecstatic to play it.  I played it for about two weeks on every gig I had and it sounded killer!  On the third week, I took it out to play a gig and it would not play.  It wasn’t responding and when it did it would squeak.  I was devastated!  The only thing I could think of was that the wood had warped and was messed up.  I sent it back to Mr. Lebayle and he was nice enough to reface it and send me another mouthpiece when he sent it back.  The other mouthpiece was a wood LR model.  Both mouthpieces played great but to be honest, I was so messed up from the issue with the wood warping that I was afraid to play them.   I ended up selling them and haven’t tried a Lebayle tenor mouthpiece since then. (nor another wood mouthpiece)

Lebayle LRII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I received this mouthpiece from Brian at Sax-ccesories in California.  He was kind enough to let me try a few mouthpieces that I haven’t tried  yet.  I was pleasantly surprised by this rhodium plated Lebayle LRII.  I’ve been wanting to try one of these for quite a while because I have read that Branford Marsalis uses one on tenor.  I loved his sound on the album “Eternal” and was very curious as to what he was playing on after I heard that album.

The Lebayle LRII  has a smooth rollover baffle that squeezes  together a bit as it enters the chamber.  I don’t think I’ve seen a mouthpiece with this exact baffle before.  The chamber looks huge to me.  It looks cavernous coming from the baffle and sidewalls.

The sound of this mouthpiece is on the darker side of the tone spectrum.  It has a strong thick core to the sound that seems to have soft edges to it.  I know all these strange descriptions are a bit nebulous when you read them but I’m trying to put into words what I’m thinking when I played it so bear with me………..The low register is beefy and thick.  The high register brightens up a little but not much.  It was still quite dark sounding to me.  I often get emails from players asking me to recommend a dark mouthpiece that is powerful.  This is on the top of my list for those of you looking for that sound.  Check out the clip below and you can decide for yourself.

The intonation on the Lebayle LRII was quite good on my Selmer SBA tenor.  I think the large chamber really complements the bore size of the SBA as the notes were much easier to play in tune than on other mouthpieces with higher baffles and smaller chambers than the LRII.

Lebayle LRII Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

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

Lebayle LRII Tenor 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. Avatar David Mendoza says

    Hi, Steve. I thought branford marsalis was playing the jazz chamber not the LRII. One of my favorite metal mp for alto is the LR, and I think the LR has that modern edgy sound. I’m quite surprised that the LRII sounded some more thick. I hear some edge on the LRII but at the same time big and fat, like a early HR babbit. Thanks for the clips. D.

  2. Does he? I read somewhere that it was an LRII but maybe the person didn’t know what they were talking about. If you find out for sure let me know. Thanks, Steve

  3. Avatar David Mendoza says
  4. I used to own a Lebayle metal mouthpiece, but I can’t remember which model it was. It had a dark tone like the one you just demo’d. I really liked it but had to return it because it was bare brass and it started tasting funny in my mouth half way through a gig. Is this one gold plated or bare brass?

  5. Avatar David Mendoza says

    I love branford marsalis tone. One of my favorites players of all time. On soprano I like more the early days on MKVI and bari, but in tenor I like more the actual setup. From the Lebayle website:

    Jazz Tenor Metal
    $320.00
    Branford Marsalis plays a Tenor Jazz Metal 8*
    Wayne Shorter plays a Tenor Jazz Metal 10*
    Ravi Coltrane plays a Tenor Jazz Metal 9*

    Be Well.

  6. I believe this one is rhodium which looks like silver.

  7. That’s white gold plate.

  8. Branford Marsalis does not play a Lebayle on his recording called Eternal. It was the last Cd he released while playing on the Branford model Guardala.

  9. Avatar Graham Sykes says

    I’ve been using the Lebayle LRII 7* for the last 9 months and absolutely love it. I play it with a 3m RJS. It can be punchy with a big round tone on the lower notes with an all round clear tone. It is very responsive. It shades my Florida Link which was always my No.1 mouthpiece.
    I also have a Lebayle LRII H.R. 8. Just as good as the metal but a tad smoother and softer tone but equally as flexible. On this I use a 2H RJS.
    Listen to Ron Blake. He’s a Lebayle user.

  10. Hello,
    I`ve been playing Labayle LR metal tenor and I like it very much but I am wondering is it healthy because it leaves the reeds green from oxide metal.
    What can I do?

  11. I don’t think it has any health side affects. At least I have never heard of any. Most os my metal otto link mouthpiece do this same think because they have been refaced. (The table is sanded down usually to the raw brass) To lessen the green affect, I take my reeds off when I’m not playing and store them in a reed case.

  12. Thank you Steve but my mouthpiece was new and after two days of playing 3 hours a day it gets green color.
    We normally don’t think about this things just play but after many years of playing it can even be carcinogenic. Do they pass any sanitary test before they are on the market?
    all the best

  13. So the table of the mouthpiece is still gold or silver plated when it happened? I have never heard of that. When it is just brass it will happen very quickly like you are describing. I’ve never hear of it happening on a mouthpiece that is plated………….. I’m not sure what it is if it isn’t the brass oxidizing. Sorry. You can send Fred Lebayle an email and see if he responds to your question. Steve

  14. For Andrzej, Steve and Honeyboy. I had the same problem with a lebayle 7 jazz chamebr that was partially refaced to reduce the baffle, and two metal links. Steve, sucking on a bare brass mpc does actually have health effects. If you look at copper kitchen pans, they are never left untreated. They have a lining inside. This is because copper is poisonous to us, besides tasting horribly. After refacing, I had mine electrocoated with 925 silver which is the one used for cutlery an other food related uses. It has no taste, and possibly it has no effect on sound or perhaps improves it ( to my ears). In Italy this coating costed me 15 euros ( 2011). I strongly recommend it to all that find disgusting the taste of bare brass but also to others which ignore what heavy metals are in terms of poisoning effects.

  15. Avatar Michael Bard says

    I had a brass link that was bare. I searched the literature for health effects but could not find anything concrete. I decided to have it plated with rhodium at Ted Klum’s suggestion. The rhodium gave it a smooth sound with more “presence”.

  16. Hi Steve, I think others have had this problem with ordering Lebayle mouthpieces. I ordered a tenor HR jazz chamber 7* and a Lebayle ligature last February– 8 months ago. I have heard absolutely nothing since. One has to pay up front using PayPal when ordering on Lebayle’s website. I have sent about 6 emails asking for an update and I have never heard anything. Hearing nothing, receiving nothing, and being out the price of the mouthpiece and ligature is extremely frustrating.
    I just went to the Lebayle website to use the “send me a message” form and his website is no longer operating. So I am now very pessimistic that I will ever receive anything. I understand that he has made great mouthpieces and a lot of famous players use them, but this is really bad behavior on his part.
    Since you have dealt with him, I was hoping you had some information on what has happened to his operation and whether there is anything I can do to get my mouthpiece and ligature, or my money.
    thanks.

  17. Sorry to hear that Phillip. I haven’t talked to Mr. Lebayle in maybe 10 years I think. I don’t have any information that can help I’m afraid. I would think he would make this right as a business man and to keep a good reputation. Good Luck, Steve

  18. i had the Lebayle Wood tenor mouthpiece Nice sound but it did like Wood do it CRACKED AND WORPED so i did bye another one and it did the same no more Wood piece

  19. Yes, I had one that was amazing and then warped also after 2 weeks. I’ll never do wood again………..

  20. lebayle is a very unreliable guy ,no phone number ,does not return his email or fb …messages..be carful with this guy…
    i bought a hr piece L iii ,did not work for me!
    im currently trying to chase him down ,to see if i can exchange it or get my $$$ back.
    dont do busyness with this guy….unless you dont mind waiting,chase him down and waiting til he wants to contac you….

  21. I was talking about Dave G the other day with my tech apropos the mouthpieces his ex-girlfriend makes and sells. We were talking about the whole issue of his fraud and how some people in even a business like this go crooked and it’s hard to figure out why. He said, yeah, Fred Lebayle has already gone down that path and is going to be the new D.G. really soon. Not sure what info he has but I feel sorry for those who sent him money because it looks like it’s gone for good. A bad scene all the way around.

  22. Hi,

    I was very sceptical at first at Lebayle mouthpieces because they were rather cheap in comparison to other handcrafted mpc’s and a wooden tenor Lebayle didn’t do it for me some 10 years ago. But I have been playing a lot more since then and improved my chops and sound a lot (Now I use Theo Wanne metal Brahma and Ponzol resin mpc as my main mpc).

    About a year ago I swapped my Yani sop Elimona for a Yani 901 alto and chose a Wanne HR mpc from a bunch of others. It all sounded great but a little restrained. A few months later there was a sell out of Lebayle’s mpc’s and I bought 2 wood alto Studio mpcs (8 and 8*). Wow, they were really mind blowing! I also learnt on the web that oiling the mpc twice a year AND cleaning the mpc after every session to remove moisture would keep them in shape like clarinet mpc’s. I have done so ever since and they still play terrifically. No warping and the reeds even seem to suck themselves to the table. Won’t sell or swap them. The funny thing is these mpc’s cost me 60 euro’s for BOTH.

    Now I have ordered a Studio HR for tenor for 50 euro’s and am anxious to try it.
    The Wanne Brahma mpc cost me 4 times the 3 Lebayle’s cost together but apart from the superb finishing I play the Lebayle’s with just as much pleasure.

    It is not about the money but enjoining your own envisioned sound with a mpc I hadn’t tried beforehand is satisfying.

    Greets francis

  23. Avatar David Spital says

    Lebayle ordered sop. piece 4 months ago in January 2016… no status, no mouthpiece?? Sounds like a pattern.

  24. Just picked up a Lebayle LRII HR tenor piece. Wonderful player. Great character. Massive chamber. Perfect for ’20s/’30s instruments like Chu Berrys. Yes you need to go up half to a whole strength. 8 plays like a 7. Great fun to play. Fat and dark with nice clear tone and easy response.

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