SYOS Godwin Louis Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the Godwin Louis 6* alto saxophone mouthpiece from a fairly new company called SYOS mouthpieces in France.  This company hit the saxophone mouthpiece scene not too long ago and immediately caught the world’s attention by producing these really bright colored 3D printed saxophone mouthpieces made of plastic.

I must admit, that at first, I was very skeptical.  First, these bright colored sax mouthpieces looked like Legos to me.   Secondly, they are plastic!  I have been reviewing sax mouthpieces for about fourteen years now and if it’s one thing I know, it’s that sax players like their sax mouthpieces made of costly materials like hard rubber, gold plated brass, stainless steel, ebony, silver plated brass, sterling silver, WWII bombshell casing brass and anything exotic that they can claim makes their mouthpiece special, more resonant, metaphysically angelic and godlike.  Sax players do not buy saxophone mouthpieces made out of plastic!  No way!  I thought that this company was doomed to fail even as they got out of the gate.

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

But then,  I started seeing some really great sax players playing these SYOS saxophone mouthpieces on Youtube.   “What was going on?  Why are these really great players playing on a plastic mouthpiece?  And why are these mouthpiece bright green, bright yellow, bright red, bright purple, bright orange, etc….. How can this be happening?!”

I was stubborn!  I fought off the temptation for a year at least.  I finally threw in the towel while watching a video of Chad Lefkowitz-Brown playing on his SYOS tenor sax mouthpiece.  Chad just sounded too good on this plastic sax mouthpiece!  I contacted SYOS to see if I could review a few of these mouthpieces………

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS was pretty quick to respond and asked me which sax mouthpieces I would like to review.  I didn’t want to go down the custom sax mouthpiece road so I told them I would be interested in trying their Chad LB (short for Lefkowitz-Brown) and Tivon Pennicott models  which I have already reviewed if you follow the links you just read.  SYOS also threw in a Godwin Louis 6* red alto sax mouthpiece to try out.   I hadn’t heard of Godwin Louis before this review so if you haven’t either, you can find out more information about him at godwinlouis.com. (Hint: click on the videos tab on that site!  He sounds incredible on the video on that page…….)

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Before we get to the playing of the SYOS Godwin Louis alto sax mouthpiece, let me give you a few tidbits of info from the SYOS website on these sax mouthpieces.

First of all, you have two choices when you visit the SYOS website and order a sax mouthpiece.  You can order a “SYOS Signature Mouthpiece” which is basically what the mouthpiece that the player whose name is on the mouthpiece plays.

If, however, you want to be unique and are on a quest to find your own unique sound, you might want to pick the second choice of ordering a custom mouthpiece from SYOS which I have to say looks like a pretty cool process.  Here’s what you do on the SYOS website:

  1. First, you choose what saxophone you play. Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bari Sax
  2. Second, you choose whether you are a beginner, intermediate or professional sax player
  3. Third, you choose what type of music you play (you can pick more than one category)
  4. Forth, this is the coolest part, you choose your sound preferences.  There is a slider for tone that goes from very dark to very bright.  You can choose where in that tone spectrum you feel you would like to be.  There is also a slider to choose how powerful you want to be.  The slider goes from soft to powerful.   Now here’s the coolest part because as you are reading this you might be confused about how you might choose what you want or you might be confused about what your preferences are.  SYOS gives you a bunch of examples with sound clips!   How cool is that?  The following list of player are listed and rated for tone and power. Ben Webster, Chris Potter, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz and Wayne Shorter. (Can I just point out at this point,  how awesome Chris Potter must feel about being included in this list!)
  5. You click “Submit” and wait by your mailbox for your custom mouthpiece that will answer all your dreams to be delivered.

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is a quote from the SYOS mouthpiece website on the specifics of ordering a custom mouthpiece from SYOS:

Syos is the first custom mouthpiece maker to use a high-tech process to design its products. It is different from all the other brands who only make standard series of mouthpiece models. Syos gives you the possibility to have your custom mouthpiece created on-demand according to your needs and preferences.

  • You are helped by an acoustic expert who will help guide you in your sound research.
  • You can test the mouthpiece(s) at home or in rehearsal without having to go in to a shop.
  • You can try your custom mouthpiece for 30 days, with the possibility of requesting adjustments on its shape to modify the sound, to get it even closer to your need.

Simply fill out the customization form on our online shop: you tell us about your saxophone level, the music you like, your favorite sound, which kind of sound you are looking for (bright? Dark? Powerful? Warm…) and we design your mouthpiece based on that. With Syos, satisfaction is guaranteed. If you have any question, we can answer you on the mouthpiece chat, or you can give us a call: we will help you define your requirements.

Here is a few comments about the material SYOS mouthpieces are made from in case you are curious:

We use ABS plastic to craft our mouthpieces: this material allows us to get the highest degree of precision, with an improved resistance and durability. And you can get that in 18 colors to build a perfect style on stage!

The plastic we use to make Syos mouthpieces has been certified non-toxic in laboratory (EN 71 and CE 1907/2006 standards). In fact, the same kind of plastic is used to make toys for children, which can be put in mouth without any risks. At the opposite, with the “ebonite” plastic, some sulfuric acid releases are observed when the mouthpiece is old, which gives it a yellow-green color.

And finally, here is a quote about the manufacturing process and how the minute details affect your tone which I found interesting:

For wind instruments, it’s the internal geometry of the bore that gives all the acoustic properties. We work at 1/100th millimeter to adjust the shape and the length of the baffle, the chamber section and size, the tip opening, the facing length… We study and compute the effect of all these parameters on the sound, to predict the timbre of each combination of them.

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece with Ligature

Ok, so let’s get to the sax mouthpieces I received. The first thing that surprised me when I opened the box was that all three sax mouthpieces were in a “Syos” drawstring bag just laying next to each other without any cushioning, wrapping, bubble wrap, velvet bags or anything like that.  They were just hanging out in there all loose and free.  That surprised me and made me a bit nervous about these mouthpieces.  What if when they were coming from France, the box fell off a shelf or was thrown into the plane, thrown out of the plane, fell off a conveyor belt, etc……

I checked each mouthpiece very closely and saw no signs of damage, nicks or abrasions.  They looked good to go.  Maybe I am being a bit paranoid.  It is just plastic, but it still seems like they should be separated and protected by something to me.

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS Godwin Louis alto saxophone mouthpiece felt really light as you would expect a plastic mouthpiece to feel.  The table had some texture to it that I could feel with my fingers.  Whatever process they use to make these sax mouthpieces does leave some texture marks on the mouthpiece.  You can see fine lines going across the table and fine lines going down the baffle as if the machine that cut the mouthpieces left these lines on the plastic.

The mouthpiece looks pretty well made.  The table, rails and tip look well made and even.  The baffle is a curved rollover baffle that follows a straight line down into the chamber after the curve.  As the baffle enters what SYOS labels a medium-large chamber, it has four parallel raised lines crossing the baffle as it angles through the chamber.

Everything looks neat, tidy and smooth.  There is also a nicely engraved S on the top of the sax mouthpiece and a signature on the side of the saxophone mouthpiece which I assume is Godwin Louis’s signature.

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Syos Godwin Louis alto saxophone mouthpiece comes with a SYOS ligature which fits the mouthpiece nicely when it has a reed on it.  I was a bit skeptical of this ligature but it actually holds the reed on the mouthpiece pretty firmly when the ligature is slid all the way down and is tight around the reed.

I will warn you that the ligature can move when you have to adjust the mouthpiece on the cork so I quickly realized that if I need to adjust the sax mouthpiece for tuning,  that it was best to grab it around the shank of the mouthpiece to move it on the cork.

SYOS Godwin Louis 6* Signature Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The first sax reed I tried on the SYOS Godwin Louis alto sax mouthpiece played surprisingly well and is the reed I used for the sound clip.  It was a Boston Sax Shop 3 1/2  reed. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try any Rigotti reeds on the Godwin Louis mouthpiece because I had a student come in for a lesson right after I recorded the sound clip below who tried out the mouthpiece and really wanted to buy it.  It has gone on to a loving home and as a matter of fact, that student came in for another lesson today and I thought he sound great on it!

The Godwin Louis alto mouthpiece played easily right out of the gate with the BSS 3 1/2 saxophone reed.  It had a thick tone that actually reminded me of a tenor saxophone tone.  It just had a thick fatness to the tone that I think is uncommon for an alto sax tone.

The intonation was great and the notes throughout the range of the horn were even and smooth.  I don’t play much altissimo on the alto but the Godwin Louis alto mouthpiece played great in that range also.

You can hear me push the volume louder a few times in the sound clip and in my opinion the Godwin Louis mouthpiece stays fat and kind of in the middle of the dark to bright spectrum in my opinion.  At the very end of the clip, I try a little bit of a Sanborn kind of sound and you can hear how it does it but with more of a fat, thick middle of the spectrum kind of tone quality that is really nice.

On the SYOS website, the Godwin Louis alto sax mouthpiece looks like it is rated at about a 3 out of 10 for brightness and a 7 out of 10 for power.  This doesn’t surprise me as I could get loads of power out of the SYOS Godwin Louis alto sax mouthpiece but it didn’t get overly bright when pushed.

If you like the sound and look of the SYOS Godwin Louis signature alto saxophone mouthpiece, you can find them on the SYOS website.  The SYOS website has a ton of artists and signature models available so if the Godwin Louis model isn’t your cup of tea, there are a ton of other alto and tenor sax mouthpieces to choose from.  Or, like I wrote above, you can be courageous and go for a custom sax mouthpiece made specifically for you.  The amazing thing is that SYOS has a 30 day return policy which is unheard of in the sax mouthpiece industry.

The other great thing about the SYOS saxophone mouthpieces is the price point.  As of today, the signature model sax mouthpieces are at about 185 USD, which in my mind is a great price for a sax mouthpiece that plays this well.  The custom model sax mouthpieces are 277 USD, which is still a great deal for a custom sax mouthpiece that is made to your preferences.  SYOS HAS AGREED TO GIVE READER’S OF THIS REVIEW 5% OFF THE PURCHASE OF A MOUTHPIECE IF YOU USE THE COUPON CODE NEFFSYOS WHEN YOU CHECKOUT ON THEIR WEBSITE. (Neffmusic also gets a small commission from each sale using this coupon which helps support this website)

If you have played or end up playing a SYOS Godwin Louis Signature alto 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

SYOS Godwin Louis Signature 6* Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Boston Sax Shop 3 1/2 Reed-Dry Recording with No Reverb

 

SYOS Godwin Louis Signature 6* Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Boston Sax Shop 3 1/2 Reed-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. I also receive a small commission when you purchase from the SYOS website using the 5% off coupon code NEFFSYOS above that helps to support this site.   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. Are you aware that these mouthpieces don’t pass the “seal” test due to a irrregular textures on the table the read doesn’t create an airtight seal I agree they play great but wonder does that mean that the years and years of dogma about an airtight seal is just totally wrong

  2. Mike, I received three mouthpieces from SYOS and all three passed the suction test for me when preparing for the review. I played all three for about two weeks with various reeds with no issues. A few others have reported issues getting suction with these pieces but I can only review the pieces in front of me. They played great for me and passed the suction test! If they did not, I would have reported that in the review.

    That being said, I will say that I don’t think mouthpieces getting an airtight seal is a dogma that is totally wrong. Every mouthpiece I have tried that hasn’t gotten a seal has had some deficiencies in one way or another as far as playability. I am willing to be proven wrong if someone wants to send me a great playing piece that doesn’t seal…….

  3. I own both a tenor Dan Forshaw 7* and a soprano Tivon Pennicott 7* and I’m very pleased with their responsiveness and playability. True, color schemes make them weird to play but once you get over the bright colors and lightness, they’re fine. Am I playing them all the time? Absolutely not! Tend to use them after I had sometime without practice, their colors feel like a summer ratatouille after a long, dull winter. Thanks for the review Steve.

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