Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a hard rubber 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 a beautiful Gottsu Sepia Tone Jazz Metal Tenor saxophone mouthpiece that I reviewed  last year which I loved!

Gottsu recently sent me two more beautiful saxophone mouthpieces to review.  They are the hard rubber Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble tenor and alto saxophone mouthpieces.  The alto saxophone mouthpiece is a 7 tip opening and the tenor saxophone mouthpiece that I am reviewing today is a 7* tip opening.

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble saxophone mouthpiece I received is beautiful as you can see in the photos.  It is made of hard rubber with a colored marble like design to it.  It is a 7* 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  has  “Gottsu VI” engraved on the top and “Sepia Tone” engraved on the gold band of the shank. Japan is engraved on the bottom of the gold band and the tip opening of 7* is engraved on the right side of the mouthpiece as you look at the table.

The table, tip rail, side rails and baffle look great to the eye.  The side rails are a bit thicker that the rails of the Gottsu Jazz metal tenor sax mouthpiece I reviewed last year.  The tip rail looks  thin, even and balanced.   The mouthpiece table is a little bit wider and longer than my Rigotti Gold tenor saxophone reeds and the curve of the tip rail lined up with the shape of the Rigotti saxophone reed tip nicely.  The side rails do flare out a bit as they head towards the tip rail which means you can see the tip rail extend out on the sides of the reed near the tip of the reed.  This might be a concern if the side rails were really thin but because they are wider rails the reed still seals well when the  mouthpiece seal test is performed on it.

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The baffle is a rollover baffle that I would consider a medium rollover 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 similar to how the baffle looked in the Gottsu metal jazz mouthpiece.

The chamber looks close in size to a typical hard rubber Otto Link sized 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 hard rubber Link chamber but it looks pretty 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.

The inside of the side rails are scooped out nicely and the scooped shape continues into the round chamber as you look into the chamber from the tip.

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble tenor sax mouthpiece is also similar in size to a typical hard rubber Otto Link mouthpiece as I used a generic metal ligature that I use on hard rubber Otto Links as well as the Boston Sax Shop Superlative ligature that I reviewed a few weeks ago on the Gottsu VI marble tenor saxophone mouthpiece.   The beak profile also feels very comfortable and similar in shape to the beak profile on a hard rubber Otto Link tenor saxophone mouthpiece.

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is a quote from the Gottsu mouthpiece website on the Gottsu Sepia Tone VI marble tenor saxophone mouthpiece:

Sepia Tone VI Marble

Baritone / Tenor / Alto 

Sepia Tone VI is the standard Gottsu model, and the most popular in Japan. The “VI” label stands for “Vintage”; it is only coincidentally also the roman numeral VI.  The features of this model are its dark, focused sound and ease of blowing. With the Gottsu Sepia Tone VI, you are free to make your own sound.  

I made this model to give musicians nostalgia while playing it.  The style is designed to reflect the vintage jazz era.  Although other styles and sounds are fun to explore for a while, this mouthpiece will be the favorite that you always return to. 

The reason I decided to implement 5-axis center machining at Gottsu was because of this model.  I really wanted to make the best hard-rubber mouthpiece in the world, so I spent many hours studying the programming in order to fix errors by myself.  That is how I started to create this Sepia Tone VI model.  

—Masahiko Goto—

Types:  Baritone, Tenor, Alto, Sopran

Material:Hard-rubber

Chamber shape:Round 

Baffle:Roll-over baffle 

Features and Tone:

Dark sound,

Freedom of expression,

Easy blowing,

Easy to control   

StyleJazz 

Natural wooden reed recommended 

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Gottsu Sepia Tone VI marble tenor saxophone mouthpiece played great for me with Rigotti Gold tenor saxophone reeds. I decided to record some clips with a Rigotti 2 1/2 Strong reed, Rigotti 3 Light reed and a Rigotti 3 1/2 Light reed just so you can hear the differences in sound that the different reed strengths produced for me.  I would say that the Rigotti 3 Light reed felt the most comfortable to me.

The tone of the Gottsu Sepia Tone VI tenor mouthpiece is kind of in the middle of the range from dark to bright but I did find it leaning to the dark side in my opinion.  With the softer Rigotti 2 1/2 reed I felt like the tone was brighter and more focused sounding.  With the harder reeds the tone of the Gottsu VI mouthpiece seemed richer and more complex to me but also more spread sounding.  The harder reeds made the tone less focused and pure and more spread and rich in character if that makes sense.

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The intonation with the Gottsu VI marble hard rubber tenor mouthpieces was very good.  Nothing unusual to report but just that the intonation was as it usually is on my SBA (Super Balanced Action) tenor saxophone.

I felt like the max volume I could get out of the Gottsu Sepia Tone VI tenor sax mouthpiece was similar to what I can get out of a great hard rubber Otto Link.  I would say that between 1-10 my max volume on the Gottsu was about a 7.5 or 8.  That is common with this type of mouthpiece for me and usually I will experience more volume with a mouthpiece with a higher rollover baffle like an EB Otto Link.

Due to the darker more “spread” nature to the tone, I don’t think I would want to play this mouthpiece on a loud “top 40” type gig where you would have to cut through the band.  I don’t think it would give me enough volume and the tone does not have as many highs and brights in the sound to help it cut through as other pieces I have reviewed.

The Gottsu Sepia Tone VI marble hard rubber tenor mouthpiece is a great choice for players that want a mouthpiece that is great for jazz playing and leans to the darker side of a tenor sax tone.  It has a full bodied tone that is rich in character (especially with the harder reed on it), and is a great mouthpiece to play jazz standards on.

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the Gottsu Sepia Tone VI marble tenor saxophone mouthpiece, you can find more information about them on the Gottsu website. I don’t see any way to purchase a mouthpiece on the Gottsu website though.  I think you have to click on the Store tab and then choose a distributor to contact to buy a mouthpiece.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any US distributors of these Gottsu tenor sax mouthpiece right now on the Gottsu website so if you are in the US and are interested in trying one of these mouthpieces out, you might have to reach out the Gottsu company through their website for more information.

I just want to thank and commend Masahiko Goto at the Gottsu company for doing a great job on this Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble 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 VI marble 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 VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed-No Reverb Added

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-No Reverb Added

Gottsu Sepia Tone VI Marble Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 1/2 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 Bob Rockwell says

    THAT is a good sounding MP! I had the same reaction when you played the metal MP.
    Great reviews as always Steve. These Gottsu MPs have an æsthetic of high quality. These are for grown ups.

  2. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    Sounds like a good bebop character. The core of the tone has a nice presence with a slight complement of smokiness on the soft notes. The harder reed definitely work better on high notes to not sound too thin. I personally would like if the rollover was a bit shorter (closer to the Link). Thanks Steve.

  3. Thanks Bob! I agree! I still have the metal piece I reviewed as well. I hope Gottsu will send me more mouthpieces to review although I read today that shipping from Japan to the US is shut down because of Covid. Not sure if that is true or not…….

  4. Sounds like a good bebop character. The core of the tone has a nice presence with a slight complement of smokiness on the soft notes. The harder reed definitely work better on high notes to not sound too thin. I personally would like if the rollover was a bit shorter (closer to the Link). Thanks Steve.

    Thanks Arya! I appreciate you taking the time to listen and post your impressions. I always appreciate your ear and opinions. Steve

  5. No , Steve It’s not true . Japan is still shipping items .I recently bought 2 Purple Logo Yamaha’s off of Ebay . A YTS-62 and a YAS-62 in EXTRA mint condition . FedEx took 5 days .

  6. Avatar Jeff Newton says

    I had to look no further than two LMS to find a twice played, as minty as mint can be, 1987 YSS-62 Purple Logo soprano in 2014. a mint city 1924 Conn NW alto last year and a looks like it had never been played with new overhaul 1924 Conn NW tenor 3 months ago. Buy local if possible!

  7. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Hi Steve, do you think you will also review this beautiful Gottsu mouthpiece (inspired perhaps by the 1931 Master link and by the 1935 Four **** Model Ottolink?) “TENOR Master 2018”:
    https://www.gottsu-japan.com/home-english/products-en/master-en/ ?
    In my opinion the sound of this model, listening to the sound clips on the Gottsu website, looks a bit like the sound of the metal Vandoren V16 large chamber.
    Personally I prefer medium chamber mouthpieces, which are a little brighter in sound.
    I would be curious to hear the sound you would produce, with this Gottsu TENOR Master 2018, with your powerful sound projection and with the compact sound of your Mark VI sax…
    I think the 1940 Ottolink Tone Master was brighter:
    https://theowanne.com/knowledge/mouthpiece-museum/otto-link-mouthpieces/
    I would like, therefore, if Gottsu also produced a model inspired by the 1940 ottolink Tone Master which, according to my photographic research, should be the mouthpiece used by Coltrane for the records whose Coltrane sound I prefer, I guess in “Blue Trane” of the Blue Note, for example.
    I think that Coltrane had always looked for a rather bright sound with the mouthpieces available at the time: in fact he put a wedge in the mouthpiece in order to make the sound brighter.
    I guess if he were alive today he would have a big choice and who knows what sound he would give us!
    Giuseppe.

  8. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Good mornng Mr. Soup,
    may I ask how much is a Yamaha YTS 62 “purple logo” tenor in perfect condition, like new, quoted today?
    I bought a new one in 1987, and I would be curious to know its quotation on the market, just out of curiosity (the repairman who rewraps it is always amazed at how it has remained in a perfect state and, every now and then, asks me if I want to sell it; but I don’t sell it!).
    Thanks in advance for an answer,
    Giuseppe.

  9. Giuseppe, I’m open to reviewing it if they are willing to send me one. It is up to them, not me. All I can do is ask. PS. I play a Selmer SBA tenor sax not a Mark VI. Steve

  10. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Thanks Steve for the reply; it was implied that you can only try them if they send them to you but I did not know if it is you who ask them to send you the mouthpieces or they ask you if they can send them to you on their own initiative because it is in their interest to advertise a product that you, with your skill, emphasize …
    I hope they send them to you, especially the Tenor Master 2018.
    I know you should try it first, but do you think my observations, based on the evidence of the informational characteristics I sent the strings of, might be right?
    Best wishes from Rome and, like me, you too in Vermont use a good mask … here, in Italy, it’s bad!
    Giuseppe.

  11. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Sorry, I forgot: I thought you had both a Selmer Mark VI and a Super Balanced Action tenor …
    However it has a beautiful centered compact sound!
    Giuseppe.

  12. I have never tried a “1935 Four **** Model Otto Link”. I have heard from others that they are “dead” and about as good as a “door stop” but that was years ago before the vintage mouthpiece craze from just a couple players I knew.

  13. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    I wasn’t referring to the Four **** and previous Master link models but to the later 1940 Tone Master that Coltrane used in the records I like best.
    As Theo Wanne’s Mouthpiece museum says, the Tone Master had a bit more projection than the previous models and they played better with small tip openings, with some exception, 7 or 8. With this model played John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Georgie Auld, Buddy Tate, Charlie Barnett, Benny Carter on alto, Vido Muso, Jimmy Heath…
    I am very interested in the Tone Master, although it is possible that Coltrane has found a particularly good one. And then, played by Trane … all mouthpieces were good!
    I listened to the very good Toni Lakatos playing with the Tenor Master Gottsu and this seems to me to resemble the Vandoren V 16 Metal large chamber; do you agree?
    Please be good, don’t answer me like that House that sold mouthpieces: too many questions …
    Giuseppe.

  14. Sorry, you mentioned the 1931 Master Link and 1935 Four **** Model so I thought you were talking about those.

    Hi Steve, do you think you will also review this beautiful Gottsu mouthpiece (inspired perhaps by the 1931 Master link and by the 1935 Four **** Model Ottolink?) “TENOR Master 2018”:
    https://www.gottsu-japan.com/home-english/products-en/master-en/ ?

    The earliest Otto Link I have played is a Double Ring but even this one was refaced so I don’t know how much different it is than it was originally. Never played an Otto Link 1940’s Tone Master unfortunately. Steve

  15. Avatar Jeff Newton says

    I’m not sure if the offending mouthpiece(s) is / were the particular Link you’re interested in, but I have it on good information (first hand knowledge) that Frank Wells in Chicago worked on Coltrane’s mouthpieces; Dolphy’s too.

  16. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    And so I, too
    Thanks,
    Giuseppe.

  17. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    Thanks to Mr. Newton for the kind information about the work of Mr. Wells in Chicago,
    Giuseppe.

  18. Avatar Paul McGinley says

    It’s interesting to hear the reeds you used but why not include the tip opening?

  19. It’s interesting to hear the reeds you used but why not include the tip opening?

    Sorry, you must have missed it. In the 2nd and 3rd paragraph of the review, I write that it is a 7* which is a .102 tip opening. Steve

  20. Avatar Jeff Newton says

    You’re welcome. That was in 1977 or so….

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