Tenor Madness 42 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The new Tenor Madness 42 (TM 42) 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece by James Bunte appeared out of nowhere.  I was browsing through Sax on the Web (SOTW) and I came across a discussion about the TM 42 mouthpieces by James Bunte that were being sold at Saxquest.  A couple of people were raving about them and I thought “How can this be?  A great mouthpiece that I don’t know about!”.   I immediately asked if I could try one and write a review on it.

Tenor Madness 42 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I received the mouthpiece in the mail a couple of weeks later from James Bunte.  Mr. Bunte is an accomplished saxophone player as you can tell from reading his website and listening to the clips when you visit it.   I’m all that much more impressed at the fact that he can make his own mouthpieces!

This is what Saxquest says about this mouthpiece:

“This is the new TM 42 mouthpiece for tenor saxophone, designed in the spirit of the vintage hard rubber Brilhart mouthpieces. These mouthpieces are designed with long facings, medium large chambers and have a slight roll on the baffle for improved projection. They are all play tested and hand finished by Dr. James Bunte of the Oasis Saxophone Quartet.

Saxquest has spent a lot of time play testing these pieces against other current production mouthpieces and vintage pieces. The results are in and we are extremely impressed with the product. The TM 42’s play with a warm resonating sound that is rich in color and overtones. Projection on this mouthpiece is also quite exceptional due to the quality work on the inner chamber and baffle.

Dr. Bunte believes it is very important to provide progressive students and professionals with a more affordable option when it comes to a quality hand finished mouthpiece. Typically professional level mouthpieces start in the $250 to $350 area. The new TM 42’s are selling for a very the reasonable cost of $180. This price is a reflection of Dr. Bunte’s philosophy and not the quality of the mouthpiece itself.

These pieces are currently only available in the 7* tip opening.”

When I received the mouthpiece in the mail,  I was confused because the mouthpiece I received had a large brass ring on the back end of it.  The mouthpiece pictures I saw on saxquest didn’t have this big metal ring.  Mr. Bunte said he was experimenting with it on his mouthpieces.  It was a different concept for a hard rubber mouthpiece than I had seen before.  Mr. Bunte let me know that the metal ring could be removed from the mouthpiece and he was curious to see what I thought of it.

When I took the mouthpiece out of the package, the first thing I thought was that it was really heavy.  This is because of the metal ring.  The metal ring itself seems to weigh more than the mouthpiece.   When I looked at the mouthpiece,  it had a pretty high beginning baffle that  sloped down into a medium chamber.  It reminded me a lot of some slant signature links and early babbit links I have played.  The table looked to be flat and the tip and rails were well shaped to match the reeds I was playing.  It was a 7* tip opening and at this time the TM 42 is only offered in a 7* tip opening.    I tried a Vandoren Java #3 reed on it and it played perfectly right out of the box.

Tenor Madness 42 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

My first thought as I blew into this mouthpiece was “Wow, this is powerful!”  It had a tone that leaned to the brighter side of the spectrum but was full and fat sounding.  It played smoothly and evenly throughout the range of the horn and was very easy to play.  I felt very comfortable on it within minutes of trying it.   The intonation was very good and the projection was excellent.

The first clip below is with the bare hard rubber mouthpiece without the ring on it.  The second clip is with the ring added.  I didn’t change anything on the mouthpiece.  I slipped it off the cork and put the ring on and then slid it back on to the same place on the cork.  Any change or differences you hear or don’t hear are due to the metal ring.  Mr. Bunte asked me what I thought.  I was a bit skeptical that a metal ring on the outside of the mouthpiece would make any difference whatsoever.  If I did perceive a change I thought that it would be purely psychological.  Sure enough,  my opinions of the tone were that with the metal ring it was deeper, thicker, heavier and fuller sounding.  At first I had no doubts but then I started second guessing myself and thinking that the metal ring made the front end of the horn feel heavier and thicker and maybe I was  projecting this on to my impressions of the tone.

I can’t give you a definitive answer either way.  When I played the mouthpiece in my practice room I felt like the metal band made the tone thicker and fuller sounding.  On the other hand, without the ring it felt like the piece vibrated more and a bit more buzz and ring to it.  When I listen to the sound clips I’m not sure if I hear this difference.   Give it a listen yourself and let me know what you think.  I’m very curious to know………..Can a thick metal ring outside of the mouthpiece have an impact on the sound of a mouthpiece?  Whoa!

Saxquest  is carrying the TM 42 7* tenor saxophone mouthpieces.  Tenor Madness is also carrying them and you can order one by phone if you call  319 234 3561.   These are worthy contenders for a happening tenor piece that won’t break the bank price wise.  These are great mouthpiece for the 180.00 they are selling for at the time of this review.  Contact the shops above and give them a try yourself.  If you happen to try one come back and write your own review below so others can see what you think of them.

Tenor Madness 42 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Tenor Madness 42 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece with Metal Ring

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.


  1. Hey Steve, I definitely hear more body and less buzz with the metal ring on the shank. I like it better with the ring.

    • Yes, I could actually feel that when I was playing. Without the ring the mouthpiece vibrated and with it on the vibrations were dulled.

  2. Avatar Jonathan MacInnis says

    I do hear a difference in the tone. I think I prefer the sound without the ring. The tone seems to have a bit more edge or greater presence of harmonics. The sound with the ring is a little dark or stuffy for my taste.

    Thanks for sharing Steve

  3. I just bought one of these from Saxquest and it’s instantly my main piece. These are great! I was motivated to buy one after I tried an original Brilhart Hard Rubber #7 that just knocked out but the NYC price was prohibitive. I wasn’t happy with the high notes on my old Big B with Otto Link setup, wanted a more clear tone with a more ‘E’ syllable rather than the ‘Ooh’ sound I have been getting. This piece does that easily for me. Focused, clear, pretty, nasty, powerful. If you like old American horns like I do, I say give one a spin! And thanks for the blog Steve, really helped me make my choice! You sound great on this piece! JB

  4. I definitely go with the brass ring for my taste but could see liking both. Can it be purchased with the detachable ring?

  5. Dear Steve,

    A very nice sound You have:) May be You can suggest me a very good master who could reface my E soloist ?!Its new one, just from Selmer Paris…..

    With best wishes and thanks for advice, Oskars

    • Oskars,
      The guys I have used that are great are Brian Powell and Erik G of the mouthpiece guys. Also, I recently bought two mouthpiece from James Bunte. He does great work also.

  6. I just received my Bunte 42 with brass ring. I am having a problem with it being extremely sharp. I have it as far out on the neck as possible and still can’t bend note down,too sharp. High c d etc way sharp. Not sure what to do

    • Hi Tony, I’m not sure, I have never heard of that with Bunte mouthpieces. The first 42 I reviewed wasn’t sharp and I have another here now I just bought about a month ago that is not sharp at all either. Can you contact James Bunte and ask him about the issue?

  7. Steve & Tony,
    I’ve been playing a HR Brilhart as my main rig for nearly 20 years
    (though Doc Tenney opened it up to a .95). It plays very sharp, I’ve considered extending my neck just to fit it better. So it wouldn’t surprise me if The 42 does play on the sharp side. My horn is a Keilwerth SX90R. I’m very excited that someone might even be getting close to making a HR, It’s nice to think if anything happened to mine I might not be ‘lost’ without it.

  8. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    I’m a novice but I thought I share my impression. I like both of them but it sounded like with the ring it had a bit more definition (may be more focused) although less partials (like smaller chamber mouthpiece) which I think is the payoff. It sounded as if the notes of the fast passages are more defined rather than the first clip (without the ring) sounded as if the fast passage notes fluidly connect together. I guess both characteristics are useful in their own way. It’s probably good to see how the mouthpiece perform with a bit brighter reed (i.e. more buzz like using a Java 2 1/2). If the ring makes it dull but makes it more defined, it could end up being a better R&B setup perhaps.

  9. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    It was a great reply I got from you Steve.. I listened to TM 42 in your website and really liked the vibration in the sound while it had a nice core and thickness / fatness. I was in touch with James Bunte right after that and found out he and his team (The Oasis Quartet) are coming to Calgary, Canada to play a concert. He was kind enough to bring a few of his newly hand tweaked tenor pieces and let me try them. I ended up picking one with a tip opening of a bit more than 7 and I felt very comfortable playing that as if it was a 6*. I would say it is the only piece that I could put even a dry reed in it and start playing with a clear tone right off the bat. I am not a pro so it always take me a couple of minutes to prepare the reed and blow in the mouthpiece a bit to get to a full clear sound.
    Once I got used to the mouthpiece I made it vibrate a lot or play laid back depending on my embouchure adjustment and also made the highs don’t sound thin and low B, Bb don’t sound hunky. I’m still working on fine-tuning my performance on it but I can say right now that it is a beautiful sounding, lively, and very user friendly mouthpiece. The dynamic range is excellent. As a student, I found the mouthpiece responds so well that I can focus on learning and know that I don’t need to think about the mouthpiece. I know a lot of low baffle pieces have that tendency for easy playability but as far as I experienced the payoff has been getting a sound that doesn’t have enough kick (sort of dull for my taste) so I think for me (in my limited experience of course) this is the only mouthpiece that I found easy and full sounding like a low baffle while it has a kick like a higher baffle piece.

  10. After a few years dithering I finally bought a used one of these the other day and I am really enjoying it. Ease of playability is great, it takes some getting used to after the lower beak on the RPC 115b I have been using for the last two years but the character and colour of the tone this mouthpiece gives is something I am digging at the moment. Big bottom end and full thick highs.

    Thanks for posting review Steve

  11. Hi Steve,
    Am confused so am writing. The problem is likely that the Bunte review is now five years old and lots has happened. You mentioned that both Saxquest and TM were selling the Bunte’s. Indeed the link to TM works and they say they’re have “exclusive” pieces by Bunte which they call the “EBII”. These must be what you reviewed. Saxquest, however, has the Bunte piece but today, that seems to be a newer version Saxquest labeled called “The Core”

    QUESTION: If these are different pieces, might you review The Core by Bundt/Saxquest or….. are they really the same piece with different names.

    • Jason,
      I have the Core and the Bridge here now on my desk and have been playing them a lot this week. I also have a 42 so I can compare all of them in a review hopefully. Steve

  12. Avatar lea macquarrie says

    Steve, I am on the verge of buying one of these. I had one once before, and regretted selling it. A concern, however, is the circumference of the shank. My vintage Links have small shank interiors, and I don’t want to have to recork to use it. Do you know if the shank interior is a tight fit, or loose?

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