Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Today, I am reviewing a new metal tenor saxophone mouthpieces made by Vandoren. This mouthpiece is the Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Chamber model.  I have been dying to try this mouthpiece since first hearing about it a few years ago.  I used to play a Vandoren V16 T75 back about 12 years ago but was always curious how that mouthpiece would play with scooped sidewalls.  The sidewalls on the T75 were straight and although I could get tons of power and focus out of the T75 I thought that with scooped sidewalls it might add some fatness and thickness to the tone that I was longing for.  This T7 is about as close as I could hope for with that idea………….

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here are some quotes from the Vandoren website about the T7 model tenor saxophone mouthpiece:

BULLET POINTS ABOUT THE VANDOREN V16 T7  MODEL:

        • Made from legendary “Bell Metal” brass
        • Plated with 24-karat gold
        • Small Chamber-The original V16 model relabeled with a Small indication. A centered sound with lots of projection.
        • Medium Chamber-Inspired by the famous mouthpieces from the 50’s and 60’s. A round and deep sound.
        • Large Chamber- In the tradition of the 40’s. The great vintage sound.

The T7 Medium chamber I am reviewing today has a tip opening of .104 and a medium chamber.  As I look at the T7 chamber compared to a few of the metal Otto Links in my collection,  the T7 chamber looks a little bit smaller in comparison to the Links although it is fairly close in size.

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you have ever bought anything from Vandoren before you probably know they are a company with a reputation for excellence.  If you ask 10 sax player what the best mass produced mouthpieces are on the market most of them will probably include Vandoren in their response.  I have played many Vandoren mouthpiece over my years of saxophone teaching.  I have hardly ever seen any defects or imperfections in their mouthpieces.  The T7 I am playing today also lives up to that reputation. Everything about the mouthpiece is beautiful.  The table, rails, tip and baffle all look perfect. Smooth, even and flawless.

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The first reed I used on the T7 worked great.  It was a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong reed that I had played on some other mouthpieces so I was worried it wouldn’t play well on this Vandoren mouthpiece.  It played great!  The facing length for this T7 medium says that it is medium long.  I also received a T8 that has a longer facing curve so it will be interesting to see how the different reed sizes respond to these different facing lengths.

 

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

OK,  on to reviewing the sound and playability of the Vandoren T7 Medium Chamber tenor mouthpiece.  Upon first playing  the T7,  it was exactly as I had imagined my T75 would have played with the scooped sidewalls.  It had a core focused sound that reminded me of that T75 but I felt like the tone was fatter, richer and more interesting in my opinion.  For me it is sort of like a cross between that T75 and a florida Link sound.  The focus and core is great for modern playing but it still can be rich and full sounding for jazz playing.

In the beginning of the clip you can hear how full and lush the bottom end can be. From :28-:40 I put a little more air into it and you can hear how it brightens up.  I think this would be a great sound for some “pop” soloing.

The intonation was as expected and it was very smooth and even throughout the range of the horn.  The altissimo was very easy to get but as I listened back to the clip I realized I didn’t go up to the altissimo notes at all in this clip.  You’ll have to take my word for it that they sounded great with this mouthpiece. Sorry………

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Vandoren T7 Medium Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces was fun to play. Thanks to Vandoren for making another great saxophone mouthpiece.

I ended up posting 3 different clips below.

1.) The first one is with a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed about 2 feet from the mic.  The was an easy reed to play and I would consider it on the softer side.  Rigotti can lead to the bright side of things as far as tone and the softer reed makes it even brighter.

2.) The 2nd clip is with a harder Rico Select Jazz 3S Unfiled.  these tend to play darker than the Rigotti for me so I thought it would be good to demonstrate this reed also.  This is also about 2 feet from the mic.

3. The last clip is with the same RSJ3S reed but I am about 4-5 feet from the mic.  Sometimes I get comments that it sounds like I am too close to the mic so I thought I would record a clip from further back in the room.  I personally don’t like the sound of recording like this as I feel it loses some of the character of the sound out of the bell of the sax and you get more of the room sound but some people like this better I think.

If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then please give the T7 medium mouthpiece a try.

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

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Rico Select Jazz 3S Unfiled 2 Feet Away from Mic

Vandoren V16 T7 Medium Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Rico Select Jazz 3S Unfiled 4-5 Feet Away from Mic

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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 Gilberto Perez says

    As usual Steve, great review, Thanks You!!!.

  2. Avatar Norman Walsh says

    I know that you are a great player. I heard you demonstrating other mpcs. This is the best you have ever sounded. Love the warmth of the piece. Wonder what the large chamber sounds like.

  3. Avatar Jerry Pritchard says

    Steve, I loved your sound on the first cut with the softer Rigotti reed. Full, focused and resonant in all registers. Didn’t like the 2nd cut with the Rico Select Jazz unfiled reed, where there was an annoying chirp or chiff on most attacks. A rough, delayed response. But, as always, you play wonderful lines and sound so good on any mouthpiece you play.

  4. Steve
    Top clip was #1.
    Was the most enjoyable to my ear.
    Are you also going to demo the larger Van?
    Please do.

    Respectfully,

    TLT

  5. Avatar Richard Petrarca says

    Thanks Steve, sounds great. other than price, how would you compare the T7 metal to a navarro maestra metal….with similar tip openings?

  6. Jerry,
    Yeah, it’s funny as different people have such different tastes. I put up clip one and a few people on SOTW posted they didn’t like it at all because it sounded too buzzy and bright. I put up clip two with the darker and harder reed just so those people could hear how the mouthpiece sounded with that darker reed. I then got listener’s who loved clip two far and above clip one.

  7. Richard,
    I would say the T7 metal medium has more in common with the Navarro Bahia than the Maestra. The Maestra has a fatter darker and warmer sound from what I remember. Steve

  8. Avatar Tom Cousins says

    Was wondering if you have tried the T6M or T6L?

  9. Tom, No, I didn’t try the T6M or the T6L but Vandoren products are so consistent and have such a good reputation, if that is your tip preference I’m sure you would dig them. I believe you can try them through WWBW and if you don’t like them return them. Steve

  10. Avatar Tom Cousins says

    Thanks, Steve. I use an A7S ebonite Vandoren V16 on my alto and really like it. I’m going to give the T6L metal a try on my tenor. I’m impressed with the Vandoren products and they are very reasonably priced. Your lessons and comments are very much appreciated.

  11. Avatar Beth Patel says

    Your reviews are awesome. I have been doing quite a bit of research on tenor saxes and of course that leads to research on mouthpieces, reeds, etc… I haven’t even started learning how to play yet, but can’t get enough of your reviews. Looking forward to visiting your site often and learning. Thank you!

  12. Thanks Beth. I’m glad you like the site. Steve

  13. Hi Steve first let me thank you for the reviews.
    To my ears ( and I have been listening to jazz tenor players for decades) the Vandoren 7 medium chamber with the 3 soft (clip 2) was by far the best 50s jazz sound. I hear a little bit of Dexter there!
    I play a Vandoren v16 T75. Lucky to own 1965 mk6 and a silver plated 1952 SBA.
    Just bought a 1969 King super 20m it was silver plated decades ago. I love it but it is a little bright using my T75, am I right in thinking this needs a larger chamber mouthpiece and what is your opinion on using the T7 medium chamber on this?

  14. Del,
    I’ve actually never played a King tenor so I have no experience with it. The medium chamber would definitely take some of the brightness away that the T75 is giving it I think. Steve

  15. I tried a metal V16 T7 medium chamber when they came out but I didn’t buy one because I preferred my FL STM 7, however, I didn’t try the small chamber and I haven’t read any reviews.

    I was wondering if anyone knows whether the new V16 T7 small chamber also has the scooped sidewalls and the thicker body that the medium chamber has? Because if it does, it might have a slightly darker sound than the old T75 while retaining some of the good qualities of that mouthpiece.

    I’ll have to order one and find out. Thanks, Steve for all your reviews and insight into mouthpieces.

  16. Steven, I have been told that the new V16 T7 small chambers are exactly like the old V16 pieces liked the T75. Which means it has straight sidewalls. I don’t know this for a fact but this is what I have been told by someone at Vandoren. That is why I didn’t review one because I already reviewed a T75. Steve

  17. Hi Steve, I used to play a T75 and a T95 which were a dream to play but I found they tended to be swamped in a noisy playing environment, they just didn’t have enough projection for me. Did you have that experience, it could just be my rotten technique? Anyway how do these compare in terms of volume and projection?

  18. Jim,
    I found the complete opposite. The straight side walls and small chamber gave me a focus and power that cut through in a lot of situations. That being said, I almost always played with a monitor. I found that more spread or fat sounding piece would get lost in the mix but the T75 did well with me. I had a harder time with the T95. The more open tip seemed to make the sound more spread and hollow to my ears and when playing in loud venues it was hard to hear the core of my sound. I think the new T7 is more spread because the sidewalls are scooped out. A bit fatter sounding but loses some of the focus and core of the T75 in my opinion. What are you playing on now that works for you? Steve

  19. Hi Steve,
    I rarely played with any sound re-inforcement and had no problems with small bands in smallish venues but everything seemed to vanish with a reasonable crowd, a monitor would have made a big difference I think. This set me off looking at pieces that were inherently louder, and richer in harmonics. Like you I don’t find the T95 gave anything useful, I spent a lot of time working on my tone but gave it up as a bad job in the end. I’ve been through Bergs, which were nice but again needed to be miked up, and Lawtons which didn’t work so well when I switched to Super 20. These days I’m playing RPCs, a 120 roll-over which has a great sound but has serious tuning problems, and a 115B which has great tone and plenty of punch but the brightness needs to be controlled at the top and the bottom end takes a bit of effort. The 120 plays easier but the tuning problem is too bad. The RPCs were bought used so not made to my spec. As you’ll have guessed I’m looking around, maybe at a Robusto maybe something else. Might give the T75 another go and then try a T7. Sorry this is so long.

  20. Hi Steve,
    I know it’s been a while since you reviewed this. At the time, you also had a T8 with a longer facing than the T7. You were interested to see how the different facing affected the reed response. What were your findings? Was their much change in the tone or ease of articulation?
    Thanks, Brian

  21. Hi Brian, I honestly don’t remember. If I didn’t write my thoughts on it in the review then I can’t be certain. In general, longer facings make the reed play easier and feel softer than on a shorter facing. I usually find the low notes to be easier and fatter on longer facing and the high notes and altissimo register to be easier on shorter facings in comparison to each other. Obviously, you can get both on whatever facing you have but when I have compared them to each other that is what I remember. It also seems like shorter facings are more focused and longer facings are more spread sounding. These are all general findings I have noticed and of course it might change depending on the specific mouthpiece and facing details. Steve

  22. Hi just wondering if theres a lot of a difference in sound between a T6 and T7 medium chambers? Does the tip opening of a mouthpiece affects the sound? Newbie here 🙂

  23. Joseph,
    Tip openings can have an affect on sound if the baffle is the same on both mouthpieces. I’m not sure if that is the case with the T6 and T7 but I would guess that it is. If that is true then the reed on the T6 would be closer to the baffle and would give a more focused brighter sound than the T7. The T7 might be a little bit darker and a little more spread because the baffle is farther from the reed. I like the 7 or 7* tip openings just because I feel like I can get more air through the mouthpiece and play louder while still getting a good focus to the sound but that is just me. The important thing is what you feel the most comfortable with tip opening wise. I think WWBW has a return policy so you could order one of each and try them and then send one back and keep the one you like more. If you do that, please come back and tell us about your experience as I would be curious to hear about it. Good luck, Steve

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