PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

OK,   It looks like January is high baffle, powerhouse, mouthpieces on steroids month so far.  For this review I’m playing a PMS Michael Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece.  Now, if that long name confuses you, you are not alone.  Anything connected to Dave Guardala is going to be a bit confusing  (I won’t go into details……….but he wound up in some trouble for ripping people off and had to spend some time in jail………Let’s leave it at that)

Supposedly, Mr. Guardala sold the rights to his mouthpieces to WWBW and they started manufacturing them and selling them on the WWBW site but……..soon after I saw Guardala mouthpieces being offered by a company in Germany called PMS.  I don’t know all the legal  behind the scenes details but……WWBW is still selling their Guardala mouthpieces and PMS is still selling their Guardala mouthpieces.   The mouthpiece I am reviewing today is from Germany and is a PMS mouthpiece.

PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece is called a MB II which is for Michael Brecker II.   Dave Guardala made many mouthpieces and the one he is most famous for making is the one Michael Brecker used.  This is a version of that mouthpiece.  Is it exact?   I have no idea………. I’ll just offer my review.

PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

 

The mouthpiece looks great!  It is a beautiful gold and is engraved with “Fat Boy” on the top of the piece.  As I compare it to another PMS Guardala, is is indeed fatter and seems to weigh more than a regular Guardala made by PMS.  The regular Guardala’s have a rounded top but the “Fat Boy’s”  have a peak at the top of the mouthpiece that gives it a different and unique shape.  The baffle is long and runs at a gradual decline until it slopes down into the chamber. 

The rails, baffle and table look beautiful and perfect but……… the tip on this piece  doesn’t really match the reeds.  The corners slope off faster than the reeds do.  I tried Rigotti Golds and Vandoren Java’s and found this problem with both.  I like my reeds to line right up with the tip of a mouthpiece so when I put the reed on and it didn’t line up I think it irritated that part of me that is a little OCD.  This kind of thing might not effect playing at all but I am just used to it so it rubbed me the wrong way.  (PMS might have shaped there tip using another brand of reed that slopes faster in the corners………..)

PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

The Guardala MB II played great with a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 medium reed.  At first,  I tried a new Vandoren Java 2 1/2 and it was way too soft for me.   I tried to record a clip but I couldn’t even get through it because the reed was so soft.  The Rigottt Gold was just the right strength and offered just enough resistance to feel comfortable.

PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

I won’t lie to you…….the Guardala Michael Brecker II is not a dark mouthpiece.  It is definitely on the brighter side of the spectrum of saxophone sound.   I think you can hear it in the sound clip.  I kept wanting to morph into my old Michael Brecker licks but I tried not to (you might hear one or two………….)

The strength of a good Guardala is the focus it has.   It has a very tight focus and core to the sound.   When you play it feels like a laser beam of sound is coming out of the bell and pointing straight at the mic.  Other mouthpieces without this focus feel more like a wave of sound is coming out of the bell.

The PMS Guardala Michael Brecker II also has more volume because of that higher baffle.  When you blow full force it really opens up and gets LOUD!   You have to be careful or you might damage your hearing……   The downside of the high baffle is that the tone isn’t as thick or full as a lower baffle mouthpiece.

PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

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

PMS Guardala Brecker II Fat Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

Same clip with 30% reverb  and a little EQ

 

 

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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 steven roosblad says

    I like the fat sound that the guardala mouthpiece gives the tenor sax.

  2. Hi Steve,
    thanks for this great review of the DG fat boy piece. I’ve played a DG Silver plated Super King for nearly a year now but I’ve always had trouble with the shape of the conventional design. I find the rails too narrow and cutting edge. However its the other piece that gives me the power and projection I need playing next to a brass section without microphones.
    When I tried the fat boy shape, it felt a lot more comfortable on the embouchure but it was very dark compared to my DG Super power. They’re quit pricey pieces to I just stuck to what I had. I tried some other metal pieces along the way but its hard to find one with that consistency in sound on both high and low register up and down the horn as my DGSP.
    However hearing your demonstration here has awakened my curiosity. Great playing by the way. I like the full depth of the sound up and down the horn. Can you enlighten me further.. Do the fat boy pieces only come in one spec. Are there any variables sizes in the fat boy shape.. Any word of advise will be welcome.
    Thanks
    Bukky Leo

  3. Hi Bukky,
    I’m afraid I don’t know the answers to your questions. The DG fatboy I tried was one that PMS sent me to review. I just based the review off that one piece and don’t know if they have other tip openings or shapes. Thanks for stopping by the site. I’m glad you like it. Steve

  4. Hi Steve – I play a DG FB that I picked up about 17 years ago from Sam Ashe in NYC. It’s an original and I love it, have literally not played another piece since then. Is the one you are playing in the demo an original or a newer lazer trimmed model? From time to time I wish the FB had a bit more edge, for rock and funk, and I’ve entertained getting a MB II Lazer Trimmed, but curious if you have an opinion having played both. Just found your page, via Saxophonists FB Group, great resource! Thanks

  5. Hi Dave,
    The DG FB I tried was a laser trimmed model. The FB did have a softer fatter sound to it. almost like the edges of the tone were rounded. The Laser Trimmed MB II I reviewed before and more highs and edge as I remember. I ended up selling it because it had too much edge for what I like but it was great for rock and funk. Steve

  6. Hi steve
    i decision purchase a DG mbII fat boy i want know is there difference between silver and gold sound
    Thanks

  7. Hamid, I really don’t think there is a difference between plating. Although, I know at least 50 guys that will argue that with me. In the past I have tried gold and silver and the gold seems warmer and the silver brighter but I think that is either differences in the mouthpiece or differences I am hearing because I think that should be the difference I hear perhaps…….. Steve

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