Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a Saxscape Fat Cat Classic 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece that Ken Barry at Saxscape mouthpieces recently sent me to try out and perhaps review.  Earlier this year, I reviewed a Saxscape Live model tenor sax mouthpiece that I thought was superb and when Ken asked if I would like to review some of his other tenor sax mouthpiece models I immediately jumped at the chance.

The Saxscape Fat Cat Classic mouthpiece model is on the Saxscape website but all the mouthpiece description says is “Well balanced, compact, fat sound!” That’s it!  Five words!  With that brief description, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from this mouthpiece but was looking forward to trying it out nonetheless.


Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxscape Fat Cat Classic tenor saxophone mouthpiece is made of Delrin which is a polyoxymethylene thermoplastic.  Yes, I know I lost most of you already with the scientific wording, sorry!  From what I can gather from google, Delrin is a plastic that has been cleared as food safe by the FDA.  I have also read that it is a very tough and stable material.

The Saxscape Fat Cat Classic tenor mouthpiece is a .105 tip opening which is a 7* tip opening. It has a traditional hard rubber tenor sax mouthpiece diameter and shape to it.  Ken produces some tenor sax mouthpieces that have what is called a “slim profile” and other mouthpiece models with a more “traditional profile”. The diameter of the the Fat Cat mouthpiece is very close to the diameter of an average hard rubber Otto Link tenor sax mouthpiece and I used a  generic metal ligature on it that is made for hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpieces.

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxscape Fat Cat Classic tenor saxophone mouthpiece looks great to the eye.  Much of the mouthpiece seems to have some kind of machined pattern in the Delrin which gives it a modern look.  The tip, rails and table look relatively even and well crafted.  The shape of the tip matches the shape of the saxophone reeds perfectly.

The baffle of the Saxscape Fat Cat looks to be a rollover baffle that rolls over gradually for about a quarter of an inch and then declines to the chamber opening in almost a straight line descent.

The baffle ends at the chamber where it has a short drop off to the bottom of the chamber. The opening to the chamber looks to be a medium-small size opening to me. (I would consider a Selmer Soloist to have a small size chamber opening) The raised baffle floor at the entrance to the chamber and the straight sidewalls make it much smaller than a typical Otto Link chamber entrance.

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Delrin has a smooth feel to the touch.  I didn’t want to take the chance that my teeth might mark up the beak so I put a Forestone mouthpiece patch on it and it has been on the mouthpiece ever since without moving. The beak profile is also similar to a typical hard rubber Otto Link mouthpiece and feels comfortable to me even with the patch on it. The beak does feel higher to me than the slim profile Saxscape mouthpieces.

I know that some people have contacted me worrying that the machine marks would stop the mouthpiece from getting a good seal with reeds but this is not the case with any of the four Saxscape Delrin saxophone mouthpieces I have played.  Each mouthpiece has been very reed friendly and all the reeds have sealed well when performing the suction test.

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The part I dread about trying saxophone mouthpieces and reviewing them is always finding the best reeds for each mouthpiece.  For this mouthpiece, I ended up recording sound clips with a Boston Sax Shop 2 1/2 reed and a Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong reed.  I also tried a BSS 3 reed and a Rigotti 3 Light and 3 Medium reeds which worked great also but just felt a little too hard for me.  In the end, I preferred the less hard 2 1/2 reeds on the Saxscape Fat Cat mouthpiece.

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxscape Fat Cat Classic tenor saxophone mouthpiece had a focused tenor sax tone that leaned to the darker and warmer sound of a tenor sax tone in my opinion.  The Boston Sax Shop reed seemed to strengthen that core and focus in my opinion and I thought it was a bit darker than the Rigotti Gold reed.  The Rigotti Gold reed seemed to give the tone a bit more buzz and brightness compared to the BSS reeds I think.

The intonation was really great!  My Selmer SBA tenor saxophone (from the 50’s) can tend to be a bit sharp on certain notes with higher baffled and smaller chamber mouthpieces but the Saxscape Fatcat mouthpiece was very easy to play those notes in tune.

The evenness of notes throughout the range of the horn was nice and smooth when playing fast lines also.  I felt like the fast lines had a bit of a warm velvety sound to them that I really dug also.

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

On many mouthpieces that are darker, the altissimo range can sometimes be harder to produce but the Saxscape Fat Cat Classic mouthpiece performed really well up in that higher range of the horn.  I think that smaller chamber opening helps to direct and focus the sound so that it is easier to hone in on those altissimo notes.  I have had a similar experience with Selmer Soloists also.

As the name suggests, the Fat Cat mouthpiece although focused , also has a nice fat round sound to it that I really enjoyed.  It seemed like I could really hear that fatness when I played out into the room but as soon as I turned to the wall,  the tone immediately sounded like it had more core and focus as it made the short bounce back to my ears.

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

On the sound clips below, I try to give a good range and variety of sounds and textures so that you can hear the Fat Cat mouthpiece perform in different styles.  I perform my usual favorites so you can compare these clips with other clips on the site.

As has been my habit lately, I have added some slight reverb to each of the clips for those of you who like to check out the recordings with reverb added also.  I try not to put a lot of reverb on the clip but just enough to thicken the sound a little bit.  The reason I think reverb is good to add to the clips is that you can get an idea of how the mouthpiece might sound in a dry room and how it might sound in a room with natural reverb like a garage or bathroom. (I love playing in my garage!!)

The first two clips are with the Fat Cat Classic tenor mouthpiece with the Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong reed.  I put the sound clips with reverb first because I really dug them but if you don’t like reverb you can just listen to the dry clips.  It’s interesting because I usually don’t like reverb on darker sounding mouthpieces but I really like the reverb on these clips. I think the reality is that I don’t like reverb as much on spread mouthpieces but the Saxscape Fat Cat mouthpiece is focused enough and the core sound concentrated enough that the reverb sounds great when it fattens it up even more.

As I listen to the clips, I do enjoy the reverb a bit more on the Rigotti Gold clips so maybe it is the added brightness I like with the reverb as well.  I’m not sure as I write this.   Take a listen yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below……..

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

In my opinion, the Saxscape Fat Cat Classic is a great tenor saxophone mouthpiece for those of you looking for a sax mouthpiece with a warmer dark tone that also has a nice focused yet fat sound.   I think Ken Barry at  Saxscape mouthpieces has done a great job with the Fat Cat tenor saxophone mouthpiece.

Ken has recently revamped his website at Saxscape so make sure you check it out if you are interested in the Fat Cat tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  He also has many other models of saxophone mouthpieces on his site that you can check out as well that I hope I can also review in the future (I have a Downtown MB1 and a Florida model also on my desk as I write this).  Besides his website, you can also contact Ken Barry by phone or text: 570-350-5843, by emailsaxscape@gmail.com  or on Facebook.

If you try a Saxscape Fat Cat Classic tenor saxophone mouthpiece or have any thought or comments on this review,  I would love to hear what you think in the comments below. Thanks,   Steve

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed-Slight Reverb Added

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed-Dry Recording With No Effects Added

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Boston Sax Shop 2 1/2 Reed-Slight Reverb Added

Saxscape Fat Cat Classic Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Boston Sax Shop 2 1/2 Reed-Dry Recording With No Effects Added

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
Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on LinkedinShare on Pinterest
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. For me, that is a perfectly balanced sound. It’s got a nice buzz, it’s focused and full all at the same time. The heavier reed makes the sound a little drier, not worse just a little different. Nice.

  2. Hi Steve,
    Ken made me one of these some years ago, and I sniped someone else’s off eBay. Ken has a great sound concept. I love this piece on any horn that I play. All his pieces( I have the FatCat, Slant, Hudson) are reed friendly and those Boston Sax shop reeds are nice on it. Thanks for the review.

    Always the best,
    Ted

  3. Great piece. One of the best sounding pieces I have heard you play. Gets all the sound right down the middle.

  4. Avatar Bob Rockwell says

    Hi Steve-I must say that this mouthpiece sounds really in the vintage bag. The Rigotti gives
    it a kind of Fat Head Newman sound. The Boston Sax Shop reed makes it sound more
    neutral, general business. Really good for different situations. Thanks for the review.
    Best Vibes, Bob

  5. Hmmm great sound, all registers, balanced clear on the vintage darker side of things…. Well impressed with both reeds… Never heard of them… Impressed 🎷👍

  6. I picked up one of the 7* Fat Cat early production, or prototype models about 7 years ago, I think. It definitely warmed up the sound of my Selmer SA80 II tenor and I love that it can work in concert band as well as jazz ensemble ,, though it may not quite have the ability to compete with electric guitars it can cover alot of musical territory as is. And indeed, the sound is round, but with some core and just a bit of edge when pushed. Intonation wise it works great on the Selmer, and on my JK ToneKing Special. Is OK on the old Martin, intonation wise also. The Delrin material will not turn brown/green or get funky with age like HR, either. I find it works well with a number of ligatures, including Rico-H, Rovner metal and fabric.

  7. Avatar Murray Middleman says

    Dear Saxophonists,
    I go back & forth on which mouthpiece sounds best , and gives me the right tone , flexibility and authenticity to sound like a pro Tenor player , in the tradition of the greats like Dexter , Getz , Coltrane, Rollins , Griffin , Eddie LockJaw Davis . The SaxScape Slant .115 is my choice . It is very full , very warm . All the notes from low to high , pop out with confidence . And It blends well in a sax section , with ease .
    I will stick with my SaxScape . I highly recommend Ken Barry and his SaxScape mouthpieces .
    He really know his stuff from a player’s perspective! ! Try his pieces .
    Happy Holidays, Saxophonically yours ,
    Murray Middleman

  8. Avatar paul fessenden says

    These are amazing mouthpieces! I saw your review on the Live mouthpiece and also heard Danny Walsh playing on them. For the price, I had to try it out. I bought a Live 110 and it just killed right out of the package so I bought a second one. Same thing and played great. Decided to buy a Downtown model. Same thing. Played killing out of the package. I then bought another prototype Downtown model on E-bay for $102.00. So I have 4 of them now. These are very reed friendly and even after filing reeds you can still get stubborn ones to work better. I’ve been playing Saxscape mouthpieces for about a year and have had no problems. I highly recommend them. I just wish Ken would make alto mouthpieces. He says he will, I hope.These mouthpieces are very free blowing.

  9. Thanks so much for your kind words, glad you like the Fatcats! Got altos in the planning stages for now, hope to have news on them before the end of the year.

  10. The mouthpiece sounds great. I tend to like the darker sound of the BSS reed on your clips. I also liked the sub tone better w/the BSS reeds. A generic ligature? Just goes to show you that you don’t need a fancy schmancy lig to sound great on.

  11. The mouthpiece sounds great. I tend to like the darker sound of the BSS reed on your clips. I also liked the sub tone better w/the BSS reeds. A generic ligature? Just goes to show you that you don’t need a fancy schmancy lig to sound great on.

    Larry, I tend to like a generic ligature because I feel it is the basic sound of the mouthpiece with no change from the ligature. I have many other more expensive ligatures but feel like they change or color the sound a little bit and I don’t want that influencing the sound clip. I do sometimes make exceptions but in general I have been using a generic ligature on hard rubber tenor mouthpieces and a Vandoren V16 Optimum ligature on alto hard rubber mouthpiece. I feel like those two ligatures are pretty neutral sounding. Steve

  12. Avatar lweintraub1 says

    Steve: I pretty much agree. On my metal FL Link 8* I use there Silver Selmer Lig for metal Mpcs. On alto it’s an old Rovner dark. Although I used to use an old Selmer Brass gauge lig w/the 2 screws. I feel that the Rovner takes some of the edge off my alto mpc which is an old White Brilhart 3* Tonalin.

    Have a nice Holiday Steve,

    Larry W

  13. Avatar Raul Chavez says

    Nice sound, i like this mouthpiece.

Speak Your Mind

*

Visit us on FacebookVisit us on TwitterVisit us on YouTubeVisit us on Linkedin