Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the new Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece.  Now, before I go further I must add a disclaimer:

Warning: This is one the most expensive mouthpieces on the market that I know of right now. (1695.00 US) If you do not want to be tempted by a mouthpiece that you can’t possibly afford: Do not read further! Do not listen to the sound clip below! does not accept any liability for any debt you may incur after reading this review. 

There, I have done my civic duty, now lets get on with the review……………

Bill Evans Signature Series 1AO Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The good thing about having a saxophone website and doing a lot of reviews,  is that I get to meet a ton of sax players online everyday.  A couple of weeks ago, one of these friends of mine emailed me and asked “Hey Steve, would you want to do a review of the new Bill Evans Signature mouthpiece?  I have one I can let you borrow.”  I immediately responded knowing that I would probably never buy one of these at the price point it is being sold at and said “I would love to!”  I guess would be similar to having a friend call me up and say “Hey Steve, Want to borrow my Lamborghini for a week and drive all around town?”  “Hell, Yeah!!!”

Bill Evans is a sax player I have been following since back in the 80’s.  I believe I first heard of him when he was playing with Miles Davis.   Since that time I have bought many if not all of his solo recordings.  I’ve always loved his playing!

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

When the Bill Evans’ saxophone mouthpiece was first released,  it caused quite a controversy on social media.  SOTW and Facebook were aflame with commenters that are seemingly defender’s of keeping consumer products within a certain range of affordability.  People were aghast that anyone would have the nerve to ask such a high price for a mouthpiece.   As people tend to do when they can’t have something, they started to find reasons why they didn’t want this new expensive mouthpiece.  Comments such as “why’s he asking so much for a mouthpiece and why is he wearing a bandana?  He’s hiding something!”  I won’t go into the rest of the assorted comments but let’s just say that none of the people commenting had even tried the mouthpiece that I could tell.

The mouthpiece is called the 1AO model which Bill Evans says stands for his “one and only”.  Here’s a quote from his website:

“1AO – I call it the “One and Only” because it’s the only mouthpiece I’ve played throughout my entire career.

In 1980, Michael Brecker spent many months painstakingly working with a craftsman creating a totally “handmade” mouthpiece. They meticulously refined all of the things Mike didn’t like in other mouthpieces : stuffiness, too open or too closed, too much high end or too much low end,  ease of playing in the altissimo, etc.

They created a mouthpiece that was extremely dynamic and freeflowing, truly one of a kind. In 1981, I was fortunate enough to try this mouthpiece and it immediately blew me away.  At that moment the love affair began and has been going strong ever since. With much enthusiasm and permission from Mike, I was able to buy this mouthpiece. I’ve been playing it ever since that first day I tried it in 1981.  Over time I made a few small changes to make it even better, and VOILA!

 It’s super refined design makes it very easy to get a good reed as well (as horn players, you know exactly what Im talking about). 

At every step of the manufacturing process this mouthpiece was meticulously attended to by the finest of tradesmen including : machinists, design engineers, polishers and platers.  It took over 4 years to complete this process.

I’ve tried most of the mouthpieces on the market today, and if something played better, I’d be playing it. 35 years in, I still haven’t played a better mouthpiece. Period. -Bill Evans

Every mouthpiece has been personally tested and hand finished by Bill  himself.

This mouthpiece is guaranteed lead free with 24 carat gold plating and is constructed of only the highest quality brass.”

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Just to clear things up, in the description above the “craftsman” mentioned was Dave Guardala.  Evidently, Mr. Guardala made Michael Brecker this perfect mouthpiece and Mike was nice enough to sell it to Bill when he asked if he could buy it.  Bill Evans had a few changes made to the piece over the years and now the 1AO is available to any who may wish to have it (and that have 1695.00……)

Also, notice in the quote above that Bill Evans hand finishes each mouthpiece himself which is quite impressive in my opinion.  I didn’t know that mouthpiece refacing was one of Bill’s hobbies…………

Now to the review, the Bill Evans’ 1AO that I am reviewing today has been played by at least two players that I know of and is used so there are some signs of use on it. Marks on the body from the ligature, slight scratches on the table and slight marks on the tip rail and side rails.

The mouthpiece comes with a red mouthpiece cap with Bill Evan’s name on it as well as a gold ligature with the Bill Evans’ name.  The ligature body looks exactly like a Selmer 402 alto ligature but gold. The screws are a different shape than the Selmer 402 but everything else about the design looks the same.

One point of contention is that the Bill Evans’ ligature on this piece seems too big.   Maybe one of the last owners cranked down on the screws and stretched it out but right now with the screws all the way closed, the ligature is barely tight enough to hold the reed on.  In fact, when I adjust the mouthpiece on the cork, the ligature would move on the mouthpiece.  Like I said, this isn’t new so I can’t speak for how they fit brand new but it would be nice to see them built a little smaller so they can’t stretch to be ineffective.

The baffle is a typical Guardala shaped shelf baffle but is rounded off at the ledge as it descends down to the chamber.  The sidewalls look straight to my eye.

The big difference between this Bill Evans’ sax mouthpiece and every other Guardala mouthpiece I have tried is the tip opening.  The Bill Evans’ mouthpiece feels like it is around a .105 tip opening which is a 7*. Every Guardala I have owned and played has been around a .115 tip opening.  The Bill Evans’ website is a bit vague when it comes to the tip size in that it says the tip of the 1AO is somewhere between a 7 and a 8. (I’m hoping whoever is working on the mouthpieces is a bit more precise than that!)

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Bill Evans Signature series 1AO  tenor saxophone mouthpiece threw me off at first.   I assumed that at a .105 tip opening that a harder reed would be the best bet on it so I tried a Rigotti Gold 3 Light…..too hard. 2 1/2 Strong……too hard. 2 1/2 Medium……too hard. Finally, I decided to try a Vandoren Java 2 1/2. I had one last new one that I found laying in the depths of my saxophone case luckily.  I put it on and it was perfect in my mind.  That is what I played on the recording below.

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The biggest difference  between the other Guardala type pieces I have played and this one is the tip opening. In my mind the .105 tip makes the Bill Evans 1AO much easier to play and more focused I think. I had no problems morphing between louder R@B type playing and jazz playing.  The mouthpiece can be played so that the tone is warm and round or you can push it to get more brightness and edge out of it. You can decide for yourself as you listen to the clips below.

The articulation was clean and crisp and the altissimo was a breeze.  The intonation was very good also. The tone was very even up and down the horn and between the registers.

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I’ve provided two samples of the same clip below.  One is a clip with added reverb and the other is a dry clip in a moderate sized room.  I think it’s important to add the reverb clip just so people can get a sense of what the sound is like with a little bit of that added affect since most studio recordings of Bill Evans and Michael Brecker have some reverb added.

I tried to add a variety of styles and sounds to the clip.  To be honest, when I recorded the clip, I pushed record and then played for awhile.  When I went to edit it, it was 30 minutes long.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had a hard time editing it down as I thought I played a lot of cool ideas on it.  In the end I got it down to about 6 minutes.  More than my usual clips but I got carried away a bit………Sorry!

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Bill Evans Signature saxophone mouthpiece is right up there with some of the best high baffle tenor mouthpieces I have played on. For me, I think this piece and the Shizhao Pilgrimage I reviewed a few weeks ago are my favorite high baffle mouthpiece I have played to date.   Like I have said numerous times already, these sell for 1695.00  so if you read this review, listen to the clip, look at your bank account and decide this mouthpiece is worth a try, you can purchase one on the Bill Evan’s mouthpiece website.

Now, that being said, after one of these review I always get emails “Steve, is it worth it?”  “Is it that much better than so and so mouthpiece?”  “Should I buy it?”  I can’t answer those questions for you, all I can say is that it is a very good mouthpiece.  I would even say great mouthpiece. I would take it hands down over any of the Guardala pieces I have owned over the years.  For me, it’s about being comfortable with that .105 tip opening.  This piece feels like home for me as far as tip opening which is nice.  That being said, I don’t have 1695.00 laying around somewhere waiting to get spent so I’m not off to order one tonight. (3 girls coming up on their college years so I have other stuff I should be saving for…….) I do fully acknowledge however that I would like to own one of these.  Maybe someday when I’m rich and famous…….

Congratulations to Bill Evans for making an excellent well crafted mouthpiece!  Great Job!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you get a Bill Evans’ Signature Series saxophone mouthpiece be sure to come back and let us know what you think below……..Thanks!!

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Dry

Bill Evans Signature Series Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Added Reverb

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


  1. Avatar Tony Aguirre says

    I like it but still prefer the Florida Link or Hollywood Dukoff vibe for flexibility.
    Also with all choices out there these days you would think the prices of these an others would be sub $500. I still can’t get the nerve to spring for the TK Focus Tones and I love those

    • Tony,
      Yeah, these pieces are great but a great florida link has a special place in my heart also! Steve

  2. You sound great but I haven’t listened to you lately so I don’t know if you always sound like this. It sounds good but it might be you? Thanks K

  3. Avatar Ross McIntyre says

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve just read your review of The Bill Evans mouthpiece and I thought that you may be interested in this story.
    I was playing a Dukoff D* in the mid 80’s when Dave Guardala started ads in Down Beat.
    I enquired and was sent a Brochure from Dave. I still have the brochure and have been looking for it all morning but to no avail. It will turn up.
    In that Brochure , it is stated that Dave only made Tenor mouthpieces at 107 tho tip and nothing else as he thought that after years of modifying other pieces 107 thou was the optimum tenor piece.
    I had a surgeon friend who was going to New York that month go to Dave’s place and pick a Studio model up for me The only models were the Studio and the Traditional all at 107. When my friend got in the cab and gave the driver the address, the driver kept telling my friend all about the famous sax players that he had driven to this address. Dave was making the pieces in a shed in his back yard.
    I got the piece back and it was better than the Dukoff but chirped a bit and was a tad bright..
    Then Guardala put an ad in Down Beat about the Brecker piece. I bought 2 , one for a friend and one for me. They weren’t overly expensive. Dave sent them to the wrong address and they were returned to him. I got a call at 3.00am one night and it was Dave asking for my correct address. He didn’t realize the time difference from USA to Australia. He also told me in that call that 107 was tip optimum tip opening. I have since read an interview with Steve Goodson who also was told the same thing by Dave
    I was starting to modify pieces by then.
    I eventually got my Brecker ,The MB model, and as soon as I blew it I knew that this was the one. No chirping, extremely loud and full and the harmonics came out and sounded like normal register. This piece was 107 thou tip.
    I blew it against my Dukoff D8 (115 tip) and it felt the same but was marginally louder. I checked it and it was definitely 107 tho tip.
    I am sure that Dave would have done pieces at larger tip openings but I am pretty sure that all the original Traditionals, Studio and MB models were 107thou tip and not 115 as a lot of people think. I tell all of my clients that, if they are going to spend a fortune on an original Guardal Brecker, make sure that it is 107 thou.
    Isn’t it interesting that the Bill Evans mouthpiece is approx 107 thou tip. Makes you wonder who is making it. Just thought that I’d throw that in for the conspiracy freaks.

    I enjoy your reviews.
    Ross McIntyre

    • Thanks for sharing Ross. Good information to know. Steve

    • Avatar Roberto Manzin says

      Thanks Ross, your story confirms what I’ve been thinking for a long time. All the old Guardala mouthpieces I had were between .106 and .108 I had a very early Traditional that I sold and I now regret selling it, and it was .106. I still have a very early Studio sn 3xx and it is indeed .107. Also Brecker’s control, articulation focus and perfect tuning was leading me to think to something between .105. and .110; over .110 articulation becomes less fast and precise and tuning is generally more approximate. There are many other sources confirming the .107 opening of early Guardala mouthpieces. There are picture of Michael Brecker’s actual MPCs and they don’t look particularly open from the pictures, to my eye. In the 1990s I wasn’t playing Tenor but only Alto; a couple of Tenor playing friends regularly played Guardala Studio and Traditional and they told me the tip was definitely smaller than .110. I have played a bit of everything form .090 to .130 on Tenor but I now stay between .100 and .110, I find it is the best compromise to get all the important aspects under control and being able to play all the genres of music I encounter live and in studio.

  4. Avatar Simon peat says

    I personally absolutely love you on this and I can tell you loved playing it! If I were you I would persuade one of your girls to forget college and buy one!

    • Thanks Simon! I can’t do that to my daughters. One wants to go to Harvard or MIT so I’m in trouble!!!

  5. Avatar Angelo Yodice says

    Hi Steve,
    As a professional player and mouthpiece reviewer would you kindly talk to us about the noticeable differences you may have notice, i.e.: articulation, tone, focus, brightness, power (except the price)between this piece and the Westcoast Sax MoFo piece you reviewed on June 18, 2016.

    Thank you!
    Angelo – L.I., N.Y.

    PS: Brian Powell say hello!

    • Angelo, The MoFo is louder, brighter, edgier and more focused than the Evan’s mouthpiece. No question! The articulation was great on both. The Evan’s mouthpiece is a bit less bright. I didn’t detect very much edge in the Evan’s tone. It was smoother and sweeter sounding I think. Both had a compact focused tone but the MoFo had more of a focused power than the Evans. If I was playing in a rock or blues band I would go with the MoFo. If I was playing in other styles and had to be more versatile but still wanted to lean towards the modern Brecker type sound I would go with the Evan’s mouthpiece. Hope this helps, Steve

      PS. Say Hi to Brian Powell!

  6. Hi! I usually play an original Guardala MBII, but it’s slightly damaged at the tip. It’s fixed and works but lost something..
    So I have been looking for a substitute, tried PMS but never liked them. If you compare this 1AO and Liu Shizhao Pilgrimage, what differences do you find in tone colour etc. A lot of MPC s works fine playing technically and rough but I am looking for the vibrant singing ballad quality like M Brecker…

    • Johnny, They both play great. The Pilgrimage was one of my favorite high baffle pieces to review but when I did the Bill Evan’s piece I was really torn between the two. I haven’t played them side by side and probably won’t as I have to send the Evan’s piece back tomorrow but to me the Pilgrimage really came alive with a big air column and open throat. The Evan’s piece was much easier for me to get in the zone with because of the .105 tip. I didn’t have to worry about enough air as my air was already there because I play .105 all the time. I think the Evan’s piece is sweeter sounding and maybe more of a focused concentrated sound. The Pilgrimage has a bigger sound, maybe a little brighter and edgy I think. Can you hear a difference in the sound clips? Steve

  7. Avatar Mike Krechevsky says

    Hi Steve- Love the clips. You sound fantastic. I have a question for you. My main horn is a Series I Super 20 (300xxx) After a lot of experimenting I eventually settled on a Wanne Shiva 9 (Around 118 I think). I won’t go into all it’s virtues for me but one thing I have found in general on older vintage horns (pre 1950 more or less) is they seem to play better and in tune with a large chamber mouthpiece (This was especially true on a 1941 Conn 30M which plays a full half tone sharp with a small chamber mouthpiece). The Guardala’s and their clones I have owned seem to play more effectively for me on horns that were manufactured after 1960.

    Have you ever looked into this? Would like to hear your thoughts.

    • Mike, I have heard this stated many times also. All I can talk about is my Selmer SBA which is from around 1952 I believe. I think the high baffle pieces play fine on my SBA. No problems or crazy intonation problems. I had a Conn 10M for a short time but I don’t remember trying a high baffle mouthpiece on that……… I also had a Mark VI but high baffle pieces were fine on that also. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. Steve

  8. Steve: Your playing is great and I’ve read & listened to many of your reviews.
    Bill Evans seems to be more a fusion player than a straight ahead player. Nothing wrong with that, but this mouthpiece seems to be more directed towards the fusion genre. Very powerful, bright & buzzy, but it sounded like it didn’t have much in the lower register especially when going for subtone. Were you satisfied with it in the lower register?
    I’m a Link STM no USA .104″ player (I did have it worked on by Ted Klum after I messed it up doing it myself) and prefer that sound. For loud situations I have a very vintage Berg Larsen .105/0 that gets a similar sound to Bill’s but has a bit darker sound. Guess I’m lucky since I only paid $60.00 for the Berg and $85.00 for the Link. Got them in the late 50’s so I’m very vintage too. The Evans mouthpiece sounds great for Bill’s style & genre. You sound great on anything you play!

    • Thanks George. The Evan’s piece is definitely great for fusion but I wouldn’t count it out for other styles also. The low end was cool with me. Not as rich and textured as a great link but still a full fat sound I think. There are trade offs with any mouthpiece. This one gives lots more power and highs but you lose some of that link character and texture……..

  9. Bill Evans sent me this email earlier today:

    Hi Steve,
    I just read your review….:-)
    Nice to meet you. ( Im touring the european summer festivals at the moment )
    I might add the main reason it costs so much is because it takes hours on a high end machine to make…as opposed to 10 minutes like most others. Time is very costly when making these. This mouthpiece is made for the musician. NOT the machine. I learned a lot in the process. Most mouthpiece manufacturers send me ( Im not asking for them) their pieces to try. Most are terrible to be honest , Or I would be playing them. I thought I would add a little info..all the best !
    Bill Evans

  10. Avatar Mike Krechevsky says

    Thanks Steve. I have a 86xxx MVI and it seems to handle the Guardala style mpc’s fine; So perhaps it’s the geometry of the vintage American horns? One thing I have tried to good effect (at the suggestion of my tech), is to drop a wine cork in. It appears to break up the turbulence from the increased velocity created by the big tip; small chamber, high baffle combo especially on low Bb and B. However it does not solve the intonation issue on the Conn 30m so if I were to keep it I would likely have a custom neck built. Fortunately for my wallet, I love my Super 20 hahaha.

  11. Avatar Tobias Schoenauer says

    Hi Steve, great sound….

    i am playing original Guardala (MB, Studio) an they all have a larger tip opening is about .115 plus minus a little bit (with lasermeasuring device). They are all free blowing, have body in the sound … but i can use harder reeds on it. The 2 1/2 reeds normal fit perfect and offer especially free blowing. Before I have used for a time Rico Select Jazz 4S to getting the high notes and switched than to V16 strength 3 and this offers a true dark sound and is still free blowing.

    With a little smaller tip opening as the Bill Evans mpc has, in my opinion you should be able to use harder reeds (better altissimo), so that it sounds darker but is still as freeblowing feeling as a 2 1/2. Thats curios….

    If you listen to the Soul Bop Band Live Ablum “some skunk funk” and compare this to the original brecker brothers Album you can hear the differnces between Bill Evans (also a real great player… i would give something if i can play like him) and Mike Breckers sound. I hear the sound of Mike Brecker more cutting through …. (thats a benefit in my opinion)…. i would never buy a guardala type of mpc to play classical music… that would not work.

    Is it possible that the Bill Evans mouthpiece has some thin goldplating? All pictures i have seen about this mpc the plating looks not thick?

    Bill Evans is a great player …. and he will sound very good on every mpc that he plays.

  12. Avatar Heiner Musiol says

    Great review with fine playing (as usual). Thanks for the opportunity to compare it to other pieces at your site. Since I mostly play Link NY Double Rings these days (a 5* Transitional and 4 that Erik Greifenhagen opened to a 0.105), I switched from the BE Signature to your review of a Florida Link Double Ring you did in 2013 and back. It’s fun to hear how each mouthpiece invites you, in a way, to instinctively play stuff that suits it fine.
    The BE has a great projection and focus and breaks up very nicely in the upper mids and treble range. I’m sure if anybody did a graphic fingerprint with a high resulotion oscilloscope, the BE would show a slightly higher attenuation of the lower mids and lower partials than the Double Ring you recorded. Vice versa, the Double Ring would show this attenuation in the upper mids and upper partials.
    Of course it’s three years, different reeds, reverb, ligature, embouchure, you name it.
    I personally prefer the sound of the Double Ring, but if I played funk or fusion (which I don’t) the BE might be my ticket because it’s so rich in the treble range without being shrill. I have a Guardala Crescent 3-digit that really comes close to the BE in sound because it’s much more balanced than a MB or a King.

  13. You played masterfully as usual. Loved it. Tone exceptional. The sound of a master. Loved it. Iwas listening to another mouthpiece today. The Jody Jazz Giant. I cant compare them ,but the BE would be my choice. Thank You Steve. As usual listening joy. Peace, Anthony

    • Haven’t tried the Jody Jazz Giant so can’t comment on that. The Bill Evans piece is great if you can afford it!

  14. Ha, Steve, first I heard about this mpc on facebook and was laughing about the price, and the whole thing. Now, after hearing your sound snippets I must say, it’s very convincing what I hear. Did you purchased it? I’m still using my Guardala MB 2 handmade which I bought around 1989 but this one makes me think..
    There is very rare information on the net and buying these things from germany blindfolded with no real return policy and all the Guardala stories in mind- uuh. Any expieriences here by anybody? greetings from germany – Jan

    • Hi Jan,
      No, I didn’t buy this one. I was hoping Bill Evan’s would contact me and offer a reduced priced mouthpiece for my hard work but then I woke up……..These are too high priced for me at this time. I have three girls getting ready to go to college so I have to count my pennies. I have heard from many people that have bought one and liked it though. Steve

  15. Hi Steve,
    Great review as usual. Every time you use Bill Evan’s with an apostrophe, you used it incorrectly. When you use Bill Evans as an adjective, leave it as it is. If you are using the possessive, it would have to be either Bill Evans’ or Bill Evans’s. Take care.

  16. Steve,

    You have such a great sound on everything you play! I hope you WILL eventually be able to get one of these to call your own, it totally sounds like it’s YOURS! I ordered mine yesterday from Roberto’s, supposed to arrive on Monday, I’ve NEVER looked forward to a Monday so much lol! I hope you have very happy holidays!

    • That’s great Adam. I hope it plays better for you than you even imagine and that will be very happy with it. Let us know. Steve

  17. Hi Steve,
    I was able to take a private lesson with Bill at his home a few years ago and spent about 4 hours with him. He was very gracious as a teacher and didn’t hold back on sharing his knowledge like I’ve experienced with some other top name players I’ve studied with. He let me play his original Guardala which these new ones were cloned from. In fact these clones weren’t even in the works yet. My honest opinion is that, while you sound good on this piece, it sounds nothing like the one I played. As soon as I played it my jaw dropped. It was the greatest mouthpiece I’ve ever played or have played since. Huge, fat, WARM, in-tune sound from top to bottom. It really almost played itself, and he had a ripped, beat-up Rovner lig on it. It didn’t matter, this mouthpiece was perfect! We talked about copying the mouthpiece, which he really wanted to do because with a career like his traveling all over the world he knew if it got damaged or stolen he couldn’t replace it. I was friends with mouthpiece guys like Barone and Bob Ackerman and they were eager to copy it, but Bill, understandably, didn’t want to let it out of his sight for a month while it was being cloned. I’m glad he got it together to do it. To my ears your demo clip sounds like a lot of other Guardala high-baffle Brecker copies, a bit brittle and lacking in warmth. I recently had a Nadir PMS copy which sounded pretty much identical to your clip. Got it used for $200, but sold it for lack of FAT. As for Bill’s $1600 price, it’s certainly astronomical, but when you’re in in business and footing the production bill you can charge what you want. All the power to him if he can get that price, but I would never spend that much on any mouthpiece. After all, it’s the player, not the mouthpiece. Bill is a top tier saxophonist and I’m sure he can get his sound on any mouthpiece. Thanks for all your efforts on demoing the flood of expensive, modern mouthpieces out there. It’s very helpful as most of these designer mouthpiece guys offer no trial period and don’t take returns. I would like to make a point and I’ll name names: Navarro, 10mfan, MACSAX, Klum and a host of others. You create these “works of art” that you want anywhere from $350-$800 or more for and you don’t include a lig designed specifically for the piece to bring out it’s best. That’s just wrong! Case in point: I have a Navarro Bop-Boy 8 in red marble, $600 mouthpiece. Came with no ligature. I have about 50 HR ligs in my collection, Rovners, Selmers, Francois Louis, Harrison, Ishimori and many more. Not one of them fits this mouthpiece! They are all loose until you put them way down at the end of the piece and the mouthpiece looses all control when you do that. Oh, one of my Rovners fit, but deadens and kills the sound to something you would never play in public. Really ridiculous and makes me think these guys are all about money. Best of luck to you.

    • Thanks for the info Howard. Maybe you can’t tell from the clip but the Evans piece is much fatter than any Guardala I have played. My only question was whether that fatter sound with less edge would have a hard time cutting through the mix on a live gig. Obviously Bill doesn’t have that issue so probably not……..

  18. Avatar Kai Liedtke says

    The Bill Evans piece is not brittle or lacking warmth. There’s no comparison between this and the PMS- or other Guardala-copies (I tried most of them). It’s really freeblowing, focused, clear and bright/warm. I would say it’s better than any Original Guardala I have played (MBI, MBII, Studio, Crescent, Artist, BM, King). But in the end – of course – it’s the player.

  19. Update: I bought the Bill mouthpiece in December, and have been playing it steadily since then. It hurt to spend that kind of money, but I’m not sorry I bought it. I absolutely LOVE this mouthpiece! I take lessons via FaceTime with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy soloist Karl Hunter, and he says it’s what I sound best on! That’s good enough for me! I have no other mouthpiece that plays everything I want to play with such ease and fluidity, and I love the sound I get with the piece. If you can afford one, I want to assure you that I think you will absolutely fall in love with it! Best wishes!

  20. Avatar Mark Hollingsworth says

    I have a Guardala original ‘Traditional’ I got around 1982-83.
    I went to his house (?) to try some. I also tried another with higher baffle that was very, very nice- super easy altissimo- but brighter than I was trying to get. I tend to be a bit bright already and the Traditional had a ‘fatter’ sound for me. Certinaly I have no trouble cutting through a mix still.

    It would be interesting to see how the Evans MP would compare.
    I don’t have the $$ for it and I’ve been playing this since I got it in the early 80’s so it would take time to get used to something else.

    • Wow Mark, That’s a long time to play a mouthpiece. 35 years! What is the baffle like? A smooth rollover or does it have an edge on it? Thanks, Steve

  21. Avatar Mark Hollingsworth says
  22. I would would appreciate your professional comments about the Bill Evans Signature mouthpiece compared to the Mo-Fo by WestCoastSax.

    • Angelo,
      The Bill Evans mouthpiece has a rounder fatter tone to it than the MoFo. The tone is also smoother around the range of the horn. The MoFo has more edge and is brighter. It can be quite a bit louder than the Bill Evans piece in my opinion. That being said, I know they came out with a 2nd edition of the MoFo after I reviewed the original one that is supposedly fatter and rounder sounding from what I have heard but I don’t know how this compares to the Bill Evans piece as I haven’t tried it. Steve

  23. Avatar Mark Hollingsworth says

    Here is what the MP sounds like.

  24. Avatar Plamen Penchev says

    Liu or Bill….a have to decide…I like them both.tried Bill at robertos ny… is huge …it is a power in high and middle reg on the horn….didn’t like the low sound. it was thin and bizzy somehow.heard Liu’s pilgrimage on your site…I’m impressed.soo good.never tried it….don’t don’t matter.l just need to be satisfied.I have Dukoff 10D,play it for 15yrs….but it is time for a change…..any thoughts??thanks.

    • Plamen,
      Honestly, they are both great. I have the Liu Shizhao. If the Bill Evans piece was at a more average price point I would have probably have bought one also. i thought it played great! Good Luck in your decision. Steve

  25. I too played Bill’s original Guardala on a few occasions and I agree it was fantastic. Bill will sound great on anything. I had a Theo Wanne modified Link with the epoxy baffle that Bill tried. Needless to say he sounded great on that too. The BE mouthpiece is about as close as you can get to the original. Bill is one of the greats of our time. He is also an extremely honest person. He told me that when he started this project that he would not release the mouthpiece until it was a perfect copy. The power and body the BE mouthpieces produce is huge. I had an original Guardala Studio that was handpicked in the late 80’s that sounded like a toy after playing the BE mouthpiece. I’m not kidding. Of course everyones taste is different but after hearing Bill play live many times there is nothing like it. A true monster.

  26. After playing mine for a year now I can say that for me it works better than everything else. I loved it when I tried it straight away but when I gigged on it I was disappointed. I found it brash and brittle sounding without the tonal body and core to the sound that I was expecting. Steve kindly sent me an email and advised me to practice on it for at least 2 weeks before I took it to a live gig. This worked, and changing from Vandoren ZZ to Rigotti has made this into a very versatile mouthpiece that I can use for every musical situation. I would say however that other pro sax players that have tried it have had difficulty with it, so I wouldn’t advise buying one at this price unless you have tried it first. Bill uses Vandoren Red Java 2 1/2 and it certainly works best on softer reeds. I had the opportunity to try 2 of them and they were identical so Bill’s succeeded in copying it perfectly. It’s just a shame that they can’t bring the price down a bit so more players can use them but it is a high quality product.

  27. To me Pilgrimage by Liu Chizhau is a better choice than Bill’s.I played them both.Pilgrimage has very special(to me)fat and the same time kinda bright sound……free blowing and great dynamic…I use Robertos medium 2 reeds.altissimo on this piece is a are not the problem in my case….
    Just satisfaction.great thing is that Liu can make custom piece like personal order.I’ll do my personal piece soon…..Thank you Steve for
    Bringing Pilgrimage here….cheers everyone.

  28. I’ve never played a Pilgrimage but the Bill Evans is my main mouthpiece. I’ve just listened to Steve on the Bill Evans, then him playing the Pilgrimage. He sounds great on both but I have to say that he sounds way better on the Pilgrimage IMHO.

  29. Got Pilgrimage 2 months ago it is. A great piece.I’m going to NY after 2 I’m going to play Bill’s signature at Robertos and Pilgrimage for about a week.I’ve played Bill’s before,but didnt like it somehow….just can’t wait…..

  30. Hi Steve.what vandoren 2.5 you played on Bill’s signature?green?they say that Bill plays red java 2.5??

  31. Avatar Plamen Penchev says

    Just got Bill’signature mp.after 3 days in comparison with other brands at Robertos in NY.I have Pilgrimage too.
    I’m so satisfied with both.
    Thank you Steve.

    • Wow! That would be a hard battle for me to judge between. I’m curious which you would pick over the other and why? I didn’t have them at the same time so couldn’t play them side by side………

      • Avatar saxmaniak2003 says

        They are just be honest Bill’signature is more versatile to me.and a more dynamically now I have them both. I’M  Happy. 

  32. Avatar John Voegtly says

    Hi Steve, I’m 79 years old & have always been a part time professional sax player. New to your site & the mouthpiece delemna that sax players seem to have searching for the perfect piece. Right now I’m playing between a Wanne destroyer & a Vigilante Detroit rock. Have you ever tried either ? I also have a G. studio that I purchased I think in the early 90’s. I love Rigotti gold reeds. They are the greatest. one last thing. To your knowledge are there any stores that will ship these expensive mouthpieces out of state to try out. I live in Pittsburgh. Best wishes to you in all your musical endeavors. John

    • John, The only store I know that ships mouthpieces out to try is WWBW. I don’t think they carry the Bill Evans or the Vigilante. I haven’t tried the TW Destroyer or the Vigilante Detroit Rock. I reached out to Jen at Vigilante a couple times asking if I could do some reviews of her pieces but she never had any extras she could send me to review. I did do a couple reviews of some Vigilantes later that I borrowed from someone though. If you do a search you can find them on my site. Steve

  33. Avatar George Anthony Jefferson says

    Hello, My name is George Jefferson. I’m 55 years old and I have been playing the sax for 25 years. I had a stroke 2 years ago and playing the sax has made life easier. I’m 90% recovered from just playing. I’ve heard some of the demos and this mouthpiece sounds great! I wish I could afford one. Are there any discounts for the handicapped??

    • Hi George, I only review sax mouthpieces. I do not sell them. At the end of each review is contact info for the individual or company that makes the mouthpiece I am reviewing. You would have to contact them to see if there are any discounts. It’s great to hear that you are 90% recovered. My Dad just had a stroke at 79 and he also is 95% recovered I think. I wish you a continued recovery and good health! Steve

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