Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Mouthpiece

I have another Rafael Navarro tenor mouthpiece up for review today.  This is a marble Maestra 8.  I used a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong reed on it with a Francois Louis Ultimate ligature.

Like all of Rafael’s mouthpieces I have tried so far, this one is a work of art.  The mouthpiece looks so nice when you take it out of the tube it comes in that you don’t want to play it.  I love the look of these marble mouthpieces!  The table, facing, rails and tip look perfect.  Rafael does amazing work!

Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Mouthpiece

The Maestra tenor saxophone mouthpiece has a nice rollover baffle in it that reminds me of a nice slant link style of baffle. When I compare this mouthpiece by eye to my Early Babbit Link that was made from the slant signature mold it looks almost identical on the inside.  The baffle shape and chamber look very very close in size and shape.

Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Mouthpiece

The Maestra was so easy to play!  I first tried a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 medium reed which was ok but felt a little soft.  I tried the 2 1/2 strong size and that did the trick.  It seemed to give the tone a little bit more character and thickness.

Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Mouthpiece

I loved the tone on the Maestra.  You can form your own opinion by listening to the sound clip.  I felt like it had a brighter sound than I thought it would. The tone was thick and rich.  I love the first few notes of the clip and how pact with overtones they sound.  The tone was even through the range of the horn and the intonation was great.

At 1:35-1:45 in the clip I blow a bit harder and you can hear how the mouthpiece changes color and gets a bit brighter.  The altissimo was also very clear and easy to get on this mouthpiece for me.

I really loved playing this mouthpiece.  I would love to compare this mouthpiece side by side with a marble Bebop Special and Bahia just so I could get a clear picture and perspective on how each of these models is different and unique.  I haven’t been able to try the Bebop Special or the marble Bahia yet but I hope to soon.

Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Mouthpiece

I really enjoyed playing the Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece. If you like the sound and look of this mouthpiece contact Rafael Navarro through his website . The photos and testimonials on his site will really make you want to buy one of these mouthpieces!  It’s a great looking website and the mouthpieces are top quality.  I’d like to thank Rafael for sending me this Maestra to review.  I’ve spoken to Rafael a number of times on the phone and he really knows his stuff when it comes to mouthpieces.

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

Rafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor 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. Wow, this just sounds so different to me than the clip of you playing the same piece in metal. The metal one sounded great, but it sounded “metal”. This one is almost colorless (in a good way), allowing you to add the personality as you wish. Very impressed with this piece. My current mouthpiece (Ponzol M2 110) can sometimes be brighter than I want. I was looking for something a touch darker, and was thinking Bahia, but that piece sounded like there was a layer of bright on top of a fundamentally dark sound. This piece sounds like you can do whatever you want with it. My one question for you is was the piece was big enough for you when you pushed it, or would an 8* have been better? Thanks

  2. Joel, Did you mean to give this one star? The review seemed very positive but then you gave it one star for tone?? I can go in and delete this if it is an accident. Let me know. Steve

  3. Avatar Joel Siegel says

    5 stars all the way. Sorry if I hit the wrong button..

  4. Steve
    How are the Navarro pieces compared to the Gerber Slant ?
    In you review about the Gerber you were very positive in all the aspects of playability and sound.
    Would you trade it for your EB Link ?

    Paul

  5. Paul, They are both great mouthpieces. I felt like the Maestra had more volume to it when I pushed it. The Gerber Slant had a very smooth round sound to it. The Maestra did also but the Gerber was a little smoother I think. I’m not sure what you are asking about the EB link? Would I trade the EB for the Gerber or the Maestra? I’ve had the EB forever so I’m a bit sentimental over it. I suppose I will sell it or trade it someday but every time I come back to it I love it so……….

  6. Steve,
    I translated a dutch expression straight into English, a bit clumsy.
    I actually meant to ask; which mouthpiece would you really choose as your favourite? (if you had to pick only one)

    Paul

  7. Avatar Patrick Mueller says

    Hi Steve,
    you tested the NAvarro Maestra METAL earlier and now the MARBLE.
    Please could you compare these 2 Navarros?

    Thanks for you graet and detailed reviews.
    Patrick

  8. Patrick, I think the two Maestra’s were of different concepts? I’m not sure about that but Rafael did say when he sent me the HR Maestra that he had changed the chamber and baffle from the original Maestra. They were both great. I thought the metal had a cleaner, purer sound to it. The HR had more graininess and artifacts in the sound. (some people call this “character”) I think the HR and a little more resistance than I remember the metal mouthpiece having. I liked both tones. I think if you listen the clips side by side you can hear what I’m talking about.

  9. Sounds great Steve, lots or character for sure. Would you say the tip opening “feels” like an 8? The reason I ask is sometimes tips feel bigger or smaller, depending on resistance, and some run big or small. For instance my Aizen so 8 feels smaller, and to the eye looks like my otto link 7* and is very easy to blow. Its also a bit smaller than my Lebayle HR LR, but those seem to differ in tip sizes quite a bit. Its just that Im trying to settle on a BBS 7** or 8, and need to make up my mind! Alot of folks seem to think they are pretty free blowing pieces though, so its an 8 or 7** and mess around with reed strengths. I just dont wanna wear myself out in the long run, although there isnt much difference between the two! Hmmm, choices….choices……Thanks! -Chris.

  10. Hi Chris, I haven’t played a BBS yet. Rafael is suppose to send me a few to review but I haven’t heard when yet. The 8 I tried felt great to me and it felt like an 8. It didn’t feel like a 7* to me. I don’t think there is any big difference between the 7** and the 8. The difference is so small. Your best bet would be to talk to Rafael and ask him about it. I would wonder what the differences are between the facing curves of each and what effect that might have on how they play. Good Luck, Steve

  11. Thanks steve. Let me ask you this though: do you find that aizen mouthpieces are consistent in measurement? I have an aizen soloist 8 that seems smaller than other 8’s that I’ve played, and even looks smaller. It’s a perfect opening for me, and would like to get the same tip in the BBS. Thanks, – Chris.

  12. Chris, The Aizen mouthpieces I tried seemed consistent. I don’t remember anything “off” about the tip openings.

  13. Avatar Jeremy Carter says

    How would you compare this piece to the Theo Wanne Gaia?

  14. Jeremy,
    i would say the Maestra is more like a really good EB link or even slant link. The Gaia is a whole different vibe. It’s got that extra large chamber that makes the sound fatter and smoother throughout the range. They are both great mouthpieces. Hope this helps, Steve

  15. Hey, did you also try the Maestra Alto? Would be interested to hear you opinion!
    Matthias

  16. Matthias, No, I don’t believe I have tried any alto mouthpieces from Rafael Navarro.

  17. lets talk real , the gerber Vintage is awesome, i don’t know anything about the otto link, this or that, never played them, many seem t copy them, so they must t be something about them, , the Gerber was/Is insane good, crips clear and a lot of sonority, it is definitely differant than my wood stone or BA 10E, these are great for slow sax and darkness, the Gerber vintage kicks on little richard sax moves and fast growling, my guess is Johannes figured it out, he is great and a perfectionist, you can’t find anything wrong with his work, , i am considering theRafael Navarro Maestra Marble Tenor Mouthpiece, or black, as another MP, but is is dark enough to compare with , wood stone or 10E

  18. Hi Sir and thank you for your amazing work !
    Is there some kind of ligature you can suggest as best choice for the marble maestra ? I was thinking the ultimate or the pure brass but I’m here to ask . Thank you

  19. Peter, I prefer the Ultimate FL ligature over the Pure Brass model. I feel like the Ultimate is lighter and gets more harmonics and overtones out of the reed. I basically feel like the tone is richer with the Ultimate. I had a Pure Brass for a few month but never really cared for that ligature very much. Steve

  20. Thank you very much ! So if I have to choose between a Fl ultimate or some kind of leather ligature , what you think could work better ? Thanks bye

  21. I don’t have much experience with leather ligatures so I am not sure which lig you are talking about. I do have a leather Vandoren ligature that is pretty cool with different plates you can swap but that’s the only leather ligature I have tried. I prefer the FL Ultimate to that one though. Steve

  22. rovner dark works for me all the time,it fast simple and the cost is not bad

  23. I saw one of these the other day and it had a 1(one) engraved on it below the “maestra”. Ever seen this?

  24. Philipe, No, I haven’t seen that before. I have no idea what it means……..

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