Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a new alto saxophone mouthpiece called the High Roller from Westcoast Sax.  Matt Lee at Westcoast Sax was nice enough to send me a sample High Roller alto sax mouthpiece to try out. This metal alto sax mouthpiece is a high baffle mouthpiece with an 8 tip opening which is a .085 tip opening.

Matt makes these beautiful mouthpieces in 24K gold, rhodium (silver color) and in a vintage finish which is a FDA Compliant Clear Coat Epoxy Resin over the brass (which is what I am very excited to be reviewing today).

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece with Clear Coat Vintage Finish

Matt Lee has done a great job with this new High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece.  I think the vintage finish looks authentically vintage and great!  The table, baffle, side rails and tip rails all look clean, precise and perfect to my eye.  The 24K gold plated mouthpiece photos below look gorgeous also.

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece with 24K Gold Plating

In the past, Matt Lee has designed and created some great Westcoast Sax mouthpieces that I have reviewed here on the site (Past Westcoast Sax Mouthpiece Reviews).   It was news to me when I saw Matt working on mouthpieces himself a few months ago and offering his refacing services on Facebook.  I had no idea that he even had that skill set!  I called Matt up about it and he said he had been refacing and designing mouthpiece since 2014 and was now using his own facing charts that he developed based on mouthpiece design and tip openings.

I’m always a bit skeptical about new mouthpiece craftsman and refacers who appear on the scene but after talking to Matt on the phone for over an hour about his mouthpiece journey and now playing this alto mouthpiece he has worked on, I am pretty confident that Matt knows what he is doing in regard to facing curves because this High Roller alto sax mouthpiece plays great!

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here’s a description of the Westcoast Sax High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece from the Westcoast Sax website:

The Westcoast Sax High Roller Metal Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece displays a vibrant sound with plenty of fullness from top to bottom. You will find this mouthpiece extremely versatile and expressive. The High Roller is a great option for the saxophonist that appreciates precision control, projection, and a warmer contemporary sound. The High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece comes in a (24K Gold, Rhodium, or Vintage Finish (FDA Compliant Clear Coat Epoxy Resin) and equipped with responsive rails, rollover baffle, and medium chamber. Matt Lee personally designs each and every saxophone mouthpiece. All WC Sax mouthpieces are CNC Made with (5 Axis Technology) for consistency and accuracy. The High Roller is proudly made in the USA. Each mouthpiece is play tested and checked before shipment.

  • Mouthpiece Includes: H-Ligature and Cap
  • Available in 24K Gold, Rhodium, or Vintage Finish (Clear Coat)

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece has what I would consider a high long rollover type baffle.  I have had readers of my blog comment that a true rollover baffle is one that has a rollover at the tip area but I call a baffle a rollover if I see a long rollover that runs longer on the baffle also.  The baffle ends with a crescent shaped opening to a medium chamber.

In the past I have reviewed two Westcoast MOAM alto mouthpieces, a MOAM .081 and a MOAM .085.  I don’t have those MOAM alto mouthpieces here in my collection anymore but based off of my memory, I believe the new High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece is a bit warmer than the brighter MOAM mouthpieces while still keeping the focus and power that the MOAM mouthpieces had.

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I found the Westcoast Sax High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece to be an incredible focused mouthpiece that had a lot of flexibility as far as volume.  I could play it at a soft volume and it sounded sweet and complex but I could also push it for a loud projecting volume that was powerful.  Many times, alto sax mouthpieces like this will get a lot brighter in relation to how loud you play them but I felt like the High Roller stayed in that “medium bright” tone without getting overly bright.

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece with 24K Gold Plating

I ended up using a Vandoren Java 2 1/2 saxophone reed on this mouthpiece that, to my mind, is about as perfect of a reed as I could find.  The .085 tip opening is a bit more open than my preferred alto mouthpiece tip opening of .080 but with the Java 2 1/2 reed the .085 tip opening felt perfect.   I was actually surprised when Matt told me it was a .085 as it played so easily that I thought it was around an .080 tip opening.

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto 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 to brighter sounding mouthpieces just so people can get a sense of what the sound is like with a little bit of that added effect since the added reverb tend to soften the edge a bit.  I personally enjoy the clip with reverb more but I thought the dry clip would be useful to those who want to know what the mouthpiece sounds like for me with no effects at all.

This clip is a bit longer than some of my other mouthpiece clips but that is just because I had so much fun playing this mouthpiece.   I tried to play a mix of different elements and styles as well as my go to Phil Wood’s solo from “The Summer Knows” that I have been playing on a lot of my alto sax mouthpiece clips lately (I learned this solo back in High School over 35 years ago!).  I love that solo and figure that hearing the same lines and phrases on each clip might make it easier to make a decision on which alto sax mouthpiece you like the most.

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The altissimo on the Westcoast Sax High Roller was excellent.   I am a bit out of shape on my alto sax altissimo as I haven’t been playing much alto over the last few months but I tried to squeeze out a few altissimo notes for those of you who like those.

The tight core and focus of the tone make it really easy to manipulate the sound with bends, scoops and vibrato.  The focused core tone has an intensity and energy to it while still being a bit warmer and smoother than comparable alto mouthpieces that can be quite edgy sounding when pushed to full volume.  If you add just a few effects like reverb to this alto tone you have a warm contemporary alto sound that would be killin’ for smooth jazz and modern alto soloing in my opinion.

The other great quality about this mouthpiece is that it doesn’t get too bright when pushed in my opinion.  I was adding some edge on the “Sanborn” sounding lines by hardening the bottom lip of my embouchure but if I kept that bottom lip nice and fat, then the tone sounded fatter and warmer.  The High Roller has the volume to cut through on a gig but I could still play a jazz gig on this alto mouthpiece in my opinion.  Check out the jazz lines in the sound clip and decide for yourself.

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Congratulations to Matt Lee and Westcoast Sax for creating the High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece! If you are interested in the High Roller you can call Matt at: 951-805-5611 or Email: WestCoastSax@Yahoo.Com.  You can also order directly from the Westcoast Sax websiteWestcoast Sax Facebook page or Matt Lee’s Facebook page where he also has more audio samples and videos of this alto sax mouthpiece as well as the other mouthpiece models he offers.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you get a Westcoast Sax High Roller alto saxophone mouthpiece be sure to come back and let us know what you think in the comments below……..Thanks!!

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Added Reverb

 

Westcoast Sax High Roller Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Dry

Disclosure:  I received the sample mouthpiece mentioned above for free in the hope that I would try it and perhaps review it on my blog. Regardless, I only review mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also.     Steve
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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 Michael Caldwell says

    Great Review as always. I was wondering how this would compare to a 10mfan showboat. Brighter, darker? Was wanting something doesn’t have a lot of resistance. It seems like the High Roller might be a bit brighter.

  2. Michael, I believe the High Roller is brighter and more focused than the 10mFan Showboat. The resistance of the High Roller is perfect in my opinion with that Java 2 1/2 treed I tried it with. Steve

  3. Avatar Michael Caldwell says

    Thanks for your input.

  4. Steve: Nice sound and sub tone. How do you think it compares to the New Meyer Vintage HR mcs. To my ears this mpc does not sound as bright. It has a nice mid sound. Even when you push t the mpc does not sound over bearing.

  5. Larry, I really like this High Roller alto mouthpiece. I thought it would be a lot brighter but it is really manageable. Has a great core to the sound. It’s very different than the new NY Meyer mouthpieces. Totally different sound in my opinion. They have a more traditional sound and tone and this piece has a more focused modern tone. Steve

  6. Avatar George Baker says

    For being ‘in shape’, or ‘out of shape’ you sounded fantastic! It was surprising the ‘colors’ you could get from this mouthpiece. You had the ‘edge’, yet with warmth. Its even making this GOM (grumpy old man) spend some money. Like I need another mouthpiece 🙂 You could tell you really had a good time playing it. 🙂

  7. Thanks George. You are right. I’m not really a high baffle mouthpiece guy on alto but I really dug this piece a lot! Steve

  8. Avatar Michael Caldwell says

    I ended up buying the gold plated. Took me a bit to figure that I needed a softer reed to get the sound I wanted. Currently using a Rovner ligature on it. Probably the best part for me is the big low end. My Yani has a big sound down low, and now it’s even bigger. You can very the volume a lot on it, and like you said. You can get an edgy sound, but this piece can sound quite sweet, depending on how you control it. I tried the Wanne Gaia II and it had some issues I didn’t like. It seemed to get much brighter in the palm keys and had a tendency to squeak easier than I wanted to deal with. Some of that I would put up to me not being used to it, but some of it I’d put up to the thin rails. The High Roller does have fairly thin rails, but for me, it’s much more balanced and bit easier to control than the Wanne seemed. The more I play it, the more I like it.

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