Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a tenor saxophone mouthpiece from Gottsu mouthpieces in Japan.  I had received some emails from a few different fans of my site who were impressed with the Gottsu sax mouthpieces they had played and I decided to reach out to the Gottsu company and see if I could review some of their mouthpieces.  In response, they sent me this beautiful Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor saxophone mouthpiece to try out and perhaps review.

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz metal saxophone mouthpiece I received is simply beautiful.  It is an 8 tip opening which according to the tip opening chart on the Gottsu website is a .102 tip opening.  The mouthpiece really is a work of art.  The craftsmanship looks amazing.  The mouthpiece is silver and has  “Gottsu Jazz” engraved on the top and “Sepia Tone” engraved on the top of the shank. Japan is engraved on the bottom of the shank and the tip opening of 8 is engraved on the right side of the mouthpiece as you look at the table.

The table, tip rail, side rails and baffle look about as perfect as can be.  The tip rail looks really thin but super precise and even.  The side rails also look pretty thin and also look to be perfectly made.  The mouthpiece table looks to be almost exactly the width of my Rigotti Gold saxophone reeds and the tip rail match the shape of the saxophone reed tip perfectly.

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The baffle is a rollover baffle that is a medium baffle height.  The baffle is not flat side to side but has a side to side curve to it that looks to follow the whole length of the baffle until it terminates at the end of the mouthpiece chamber.  The chamber looks close in size to a metal Otto Link Super Tone Master chamber.  The curve at the bottom of the chamber does extend a little lower than the bottom of the bore circumference so it might be a tad larger than a metal Link but it looks close.  You can see an edge at the rear of the chamber where the bore starts when looking into the chamber from the tip side of the mouthpiece.

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz metal tenor sax mouthpiece is also similar in size to a typical metal Otto Link mouthpiece as my Selmer 404 silver metal ligature that I use on metal Links fits nicely on the Gottsu saxophone mouthpiece.  The only difference is that the Gottsu sax mouthpiece does not have that Otto Link ridge on the top of it.  The beak profile also feels very comfortable and similar in shape to the beak profile on a metal Otto Link saxophone mouthpiece.

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is a quote from the Gottsu mouthpiece website on the Sepia Tone Jazz metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  Although the quote is missing any real data you can at least sense how passionate the maker is about these mouthpieces:

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal was born for everyone who loves jazz. This new mouthpiece reproduces the sound of the good old days and provides you with power and response while being easy to play, producing a dark, soft tone. At Gottsu we believe that finding your own sound is the most important thing for any musician, and although it may take many years to obtain, Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal will be with you every step of the way. As a saxophonist who has experienced this process, I am happy to provide you with this excellent masterpiece. With Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal, you will be able to realize all of your emotional expressions and play as you wish. I promise you that this piece of art will give you great joy. Enjoy the infinite possibilities of music!!

Here is a comment by Tony Lakatos who plays on a Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz tenor saxophone mouthpiece (the quote seemed like it was edited by translation software and seemed a bit awkward so I edited a little to make more sense in English) :

“About 10 years ago, I was buying a Gottsu Bamboo Mouthpiece from the internet just because I was fascinated with the design and the amazing craftsmanship I saw on the pictures. This year,  I had the good luck to meet Mr. Masahiko Goto, the president of Gottsu Mouthpiece in the Frankfurt Musikmesse.  He gave me the chance to play his Sepia Tone Jazz Metal 8☆ mouthpiece. I fell in love with that mouthpiece the first minute and loved it even more when I had a chance to play it on the gig. The Sepia Tone Jazz Metal gives me a huge range of dynamics and control over the tenor sax. I love the vintage sound character, the powerful darkness with edge and high end. Beautiful craftsmanship, big round chamber with very rounded sidewalls, just like the classic professional mouthpieces that were made throughout jazz history.” Tony Lakatos

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Gottsu Sepia Tone metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece played incredibly well for me with a Rigotti Gold 3 Light reed.  At first, I was surprised by how easily it played as I thought the 8 tip opening was a .110.  I thought it felt smaller than a .110 tip opening to me.  It turns out that an 8 tip opening is a .102 when you look at the Gottsu tip opening chart on the Gottsu website.  A tip of .102 is smaller than I usually like but the Gottsu sax mouthpiece played great for me with that Rigotti Gold reed and felt very close to my preferred tip opening of .105 on sax mouthpieces with low to medium baffles.

I would say the tone is kind of in the middle of the range from dark to bright and you can lean either way easily depending on the style of music you are playing. The tone is clear, round and focused to my ear.  When I say focused, I feel like I hear a nice tight core to the sound as it come out of the horn and travels to my ears.  I usually associate tenor sax mouthpieces with this type of tone and focused core to the tone of Joshua Redman on Mood Swing which is one of my favorite recordings and a great example this type of focused tenor sax tone in my opinion.  Joshua Redman is kinda of in the middle between dark and bright as far as his saxophone tone on this recording and he has a nice core and focus to his sound in my opinion. (Other later recordings with the hard rubber Otto Link mouthpiece sound more spread to me…..but still awesome)

The intonation on the Gottsu Sepia Tone metal mouthpiece was excellent.  The tone was smooth and even throughout the range of the horn and I felt like the upper register was still full, round and fat sounding which is a very big positive in my book.

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I start the sound clip with some slower notes that I feel convey the focused core to the sound.  The notes seem to have a warmth and smoothness to them that I really like.  Right before the 2 minute mark I go into a little bit of ‘Round Midnight and just love the texture and rich character of each note.  The articulation was clean and crisp also which is a testament to the excellently crafted tip rail.

At the 3:30 minute I go into a louder more full volume bluesy type of line with altissimo like I go into on most of my mouthpiece review sound clips.  The Gottsu sax mouthpiece gives more volume but keeps that core focused sound in my opinion.  It does get a little brighter with the volume but doesn’t get thin or super edgy which I am not a fan of.  The altissimo notes really sing out and have some nice power to them when pushed.

One thing I found interesting about the Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz metal tenor mouthpiece is how much I like the first sound clip with reverb. To me, it just sounds killer with that little bit of added reverb added to the mix.  I personally think this is because the Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz mouthpiece has that solid core to the sound while still having a richness of character to the tone.  The reverb expands on that tone and softens it up a tad but the rich core sound is still heard clearly right in the middle of each note.  I think it sounds great!

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece, you can find more information about them on the Gottsu website. I might be mistaken, but I don’t see any way to purchase a mouthpiece on the Gottsu website though.  I think you have to click on the Info tab and then choose a distributor to contact to buy a mouthpiece.  Unfortunately,  I don’t see any US distributors at this time on the Gottsu website.  I do see that Tenormadness.com has the Gottsu Hibiki tenor sax mouthpiece, so maybe it’s only a matter of time before they get the Sepia Tone Jazz Metal tenor sax mouthpiece as well.

I just want to thank and commend Masahiko Goto at the Gottsu company for doing a great job on this Gottsu Sepia Tone Metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece and for sending it to me to try out for this review. It really is a well crafted and beautiful saxophone mouthpiece that plays exceptionally well.

If you have played or end up playing a Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece or have any other thoughts or comments about this review, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,   Steve

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Reverb Added. (I love this clip with the reverb!!  One of my favorites. I picture playing in a big cathedral or church somewhere…….)

Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-No Reverb Added

Disclosure:  I received the sample mouthpiece reviewed above for free in the hope that I would try it and perhaps review it on my blog. Regardless, I only review sax 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 Mario Malette says

    Hi Steve
    Sounds really good.
    Great tenor natural rich sound.
    Not too bright,and not too dark.
    Just loved it!!
    Mario Malette from Ont. Canada

  2. Thanks Mario. Hope you are doing well. Let me know if you end up trying one. Steve

  3. Avatar Bob Rockwell says

    Sound killing on that Steve! I can hear you are comfortable on it- sound really free.

    Best vibes, Bob

  4. Thanks Bob! I appreciate the positive feedback. Let me know if you ever try one…… Appreciate you stopping by. Steve

  5. Avatar Grant Koeller says

    Sounds great, just like a metal Otto Link super tone master.
    Thanks for the really great reviews!!
    King Koeller

  6. Avatar Nick Palise says

    Steve, first you sound great as a great player would. It seems almost any mouthpiece you play sounds good, but this one I can identify with. Tone, ease of transitioning from low to high to the altissimo. The difference in style was very obvious to play one piece and a number of different groups. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Avatar Mats Granath says

    Wonderful sound!! I will definitely try to get my hands on one of those Gottsu’s. One question about the tip opening; How come ‘102 equals an 8 opening?? I always thought it was something like this: ‘100=7,105=7* ‘110=8 and so on…so to me ‘102 would be very close to a 7 tip opening?

  8. Yes, typically .100 is a 7, .105 is a 7*, .110 is an 8. Certain makers like Morgan mouthpieces call .100 an 8 and .105 an 8*. It looks like Gottsu is doing this also for some reason. I have no idea why. Steve

  9. Sounds great Steve. I’ve been playing the Gottsu Hibiki 7* for months now and love that one. I had never heard of Gottsu and came across it at Paul Maslin’s shop in Chicago. Dying to try the Sepias Tone. Hope they get it in the states soon. Thanks for the review!

  10. John, it’s too bad Gottsu’s pieces cannot be sent to some local sax shops. Probably a lot of musicians would like to try one before buying. I know I will not buy without trying it first. Any possibility of paying, trying and return if it doesn’t work for me. Possibly the wrong tip opening? Respectfully, Nick

  11. Nick Palise I agree. I happened upon a used one in Chicago. I know Tenor Madness carries the Hibiki and I think they have a try and send back policy. I really love the piece and the craftsmanship is immaculate. No one in the Chicago scene was playing one and I guess it is because they are hard to find.

  12. Hi Steve, you sound great on this piece, I was just wondering if you’d be able to comment on how the Gottsu compares to the 10mfan Classic and Robusto?

    Cheers,
    Finn

  13. The Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz mouthpiece has a darker tone but is really focused in my opinion. The Robusto is brighter and can be louder for me than the Gottsu. I would say the Robusto is fatter sounding while the Gottsu is more focused I think. The Classic is closer to the Gottsu in tone as far as being less bright but it is still more spread than the focused core of the Gottsu I think. This is all based on my memories of the pieces and I haven’t tried these side by side. I would suggest listening to the clips and trying to see what differences if any you can hear between these three mouthpieces. Steve

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