Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece Review

Today I am reviewing another great mouthpiece by Rafael Navarro.  This is a hard rubber “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy model.  I have reviewed most of Rafael Navarro’s tenor models in the past.  In the beginning,  he was kind enough to send me a bunch to review but after a while he started getting busier as his business picked up.  At a certain point,  I really wanted to review the Bob Mintzer “Bebop Special” and “Bop Boy” but every time I talked to Rafael he didn’t have any available for me to review. I finally tracked down a Bebop Special a year or two ago but the Bop Boy has been more elusive for me to get my hands on.  Persistence does pay off however as I finally found one last week!!

Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

This is a hard rubber Bop Boy with a 7** tip opening which is the perfect tip opening for my tastes as I prefer tips around .105-.115.  It appears to be in mint condition to my eyes as I don’t see a mark on it and the table, rails and tip look perfect to me.

The Bop Boy has an almost Guardala height rollover baffle in it that then descends down into the back of the chamber of the mouthpiece.  The baffle looks pretty flat as I look at it from the tip but when it starts descending into the chamber it has a scooped shape to it as it meets the rounded curve of the round chamber walls.  The roof of the chamber underneath the table looks to be expanded outward also making the chamber bigger.

Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

Now,  you would think with a baffle that high that the Bop Boy would be incredible bright but I did not find that to be the case at all.  Yes, it has some brightness and edge when pushed but much darker and fatter than I had anticipated especially when played at lower volumes.  I would consider this another middle of the road type mouthpiece that straddles that line between a hard rubber Otto Link and a Guardala type concept.  The Bop Boy joins these two extremes and attempts to meet somewhere in the middle.

Even though I have reviewed quite a few of these middle of the road type mouthpieces in the past, there can be a variety of differences between each of them.  One will lean to the bright side, one might lean to the dark, one might be more spread, one might be more focused, etc………  These differences are what each player must wrestle with to find his mouthpiece and sound.

Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

I ended up on a 3 Medium Rigotti Gold reed for the clip below.  I didn’t try a D’Addario Select Jazz but now that I’m writing this review I’m wondering what that would do to the sound.   In general,  I find that the Select Jazz reeds tend to darken the tone and take some of the edge off of the sound of the Rigotti Gold reeds.  I’ll have to try those out at a future date.

As I start the sound clip,  you can hear that the mouthpiece has a spread darker almost more classical sound to it.  At the :52 mark I put some more air into the piece and it gets a bit more powerful and brighter.  At 2:14 I put more air through it and it gets even more focused and even brighter.  It seems that at softer volumes the Bop Boy has more of a spread sound to the tone but when pushed like at 3:14 it becomes more focused to my ears.  At 3:47 I start messing with perfect fourths a bit (I’ve been practicing them for the last few months………)

The point of my detailed description of the sound clip above is that the Bop Boy can be played in a variety of ways to produce a variety of tones.  At 3:14 I am pushing it at about 85% but this mouthpieces can be pushed even further if you so desire.

Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

The intonation on the Navarro Bob Mintzer Bop Boy was terrific in my opinion and the mouthpiece played really smooth and evenly throughout the range of the saxophone also.

The altissimo was especially easy on this mouthpiece as you can hear from the sound clip below.  I really liked the balance of the dark spread sound that could get more focused and bright when pushed!    Seems like a good candidate for a mouthpiece that you could play a solo on “It Had to Be You” and then rip into “Respect” for the next song of the set.

Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece

The Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy Tenor Mouthpiece was a complete joy to play. If you like the sound of the clip below and the mouthpiece catches your interest then give it a try. You can contact Rafael on his website.

Tell him Steve sent you………….

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

Rafael Navarro “Bob Mintzer” Bop Boy 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. Hey Steve,

    While you always sound great and you always sound like yourself on every mouthpiece you review, on this one it’s uncanny how much you sound like Bob Mintzer. I don’t know if the mouthpiece itself is responsible for that, per say, but your sound here has almost exactly the same distribution of overtones across the spectrum as Mintzer’s. To my ear, there are quite a few highs and quite a few lows, but a good-sized dip in the mids. Geekyness about tone aside, you sound fantastic on this!

    Craig

  2. Wow
    Sharp and clear sounding, very focused. I love this sound!

  3. Avatar Jim Ramsey says

    How would you compare the Bop Boy to the Bebop Special? Also how does the Bahia compare to these two? Thanks – Jim

  4. Jim, The Bop Boy is more focused and brighter than the Bebop Special. The Bebop Special is more spread and a bit darker although it can get brighter when you push it but not as bright as the Bop Boy. The Bahia is brighter than them all and more focused also. That is my opinion. Hope this helps, Steve

  5. Avatar Jim Ramsey says

    Thanks for your feedback Steve! I just got a Bop Boy and I am having a hard time finding a ligature to fit. A standard HR tenor Selmer lig and a Francois Louis are too small…..Any suggestions?

  6. Hi Jim,
    I just used a generic metal ligature on the Bop Boy I have and it worked fine. I don’t remember if I tried other ligs on it. I’ll have to get it out and try some others and let you know. Let me know what you have success with. Steve

  7. Hi,
    I have a Bop Boy 8 and i use a Rico Olegature on it and Jazz Select 2M filed. And as you say Steve you can get smooth sounds when not pushing and when you do push some air you can get it to be powerful and focused.
    It’s a real joy to play this mouthpiece. You get it all covered with this piece.
    Andreas

  8. Avatar Howard Brown says

    I have a red marbled Bop-Boy 8 and, like the comment above, it’s been very difficult to find a ligature that fits correctly and I have about 75 tenor ligs of all brands. The body of the mouthpiece is fat at the back and narrows quite a bit toward the tip. Standard ligs don’t grab at the front. I invested $90 in an Ishimori that was supposedly made for it and that doesn’t fit either. This is a problem with Navarro’s pieces. Each one has a different shape. I was just out at Liberty Music in Mountainside, NJ and they just got in a Be-Bop Special 8. We could not find a lig to fit this piece. The body was so fat we had to use a bari lig just to try it and it worked poorly. My opinion is that if these designer mouthpiece makers want to get $500 plus for their mouthpieces it absolutely should come with a lig designed for the piece.

  9. Howard, I still have my HR BopBoy. I’ll pull it out and see what ligature works for me. I don’t remember having ligature problems but maybe I forgot about that………Steve

  10. Avatar Paul Thomas says

    If it’s any use, I use a Silverstein size 10 ligature on my Bop boy (8 tip). Not the cheapest, but it dos the job perfectly.

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