Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing a Saxscape Arizona slim profile 7* (.104 tip opening) tenor saxophone mouthpiece that Ken Barry at Saxscape mouthpieces recently sent me to try out and perhaps review.

Within the last year, I reviewed a Saxscape Live model tenor sax mouthpiece as well as a Saxscape Fat Cat Classic and Downtown MB1 tenor saxophone mouthpiece that I thought were 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. You can see all of the Saxscape mouthpiece models I have reviewed so far here.

Here is how Ken Barry describes the Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor saxophone mouthpiece on his website:

The Saxscape Arizona tenor sax mouthpiece is the most tonally flexible darker model, based on the best qualities of highly sought-after metal Otto Link mouthpieces, and features a large chamber and complex faceted geometric baffle.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor saxophone mouthpiece is made of Delrin which is a polyoxymethylene thermoplastic.  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 Arizona slim profile tenor mouthpiece is a .1o4 tip opening which is a 7* tip opening.  It has a slim profile tenor sax mouthpiece diameter and shape to it.  Ken produces some tenor sax mouthpieces that have what is called a “slim profile” and other tenor sax mouthpiece models with a more “traditional” hard rubber profile. The diameter of the the Arizona slim profile tenor sax mouthpiece is very close to the diameter of an average metal Otto Link tenor sax mouthpiece.  I used a  Selmer 404 silver metal tenor sax ligature on it that I also use on metal tenor saxophone mouthpieces like metal Otto Link saxophone mouthpieces.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor sax 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 even, flat and well crafted.  The tip rail is nice and thin, and it’s shape perfectly matches the shape of the saxophone reeds I used on it.

The baffle of the Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor sax mouthpiece is very interesting and a “one of a kind” baffle. (I have never seen one like it before, and I have seen a lot of mouthpiece baffles over the years…..) The Saxscape Arizona baffle area has some creative geometrical shapes, angles and channels cut into it.  It looks to have a shelf baffle that then had a channel cut into the middle of it.  The cut out channel travels all the way down to the large chamber. On either side of the channel are geometric shapes that almost look like the wheel wells you see inside a U-haul truck to me.

The baffle ends at the mouthpiece chamber where it looks like the bottom of the chamber floor is lower than the rest of the chamber. The opening to the mouthpiece chamber looks to be a large sized chamber that is similar in size to a typical metal Otto Link sized chamber.  The roof of the mouthpiece chamber under the table is nice and thin and also looks to be cut-out quite a bit.

The sidewalls are straight until they get to the chamber where they are carved out to round out the chamber a bit.  Typically, scooped out side walls tend to help produce a fatter more spread tone and straight side walls seem to add more focus to the tone in my experience.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Delrin material the Saxscape Arizona mouthpiece is made of has a smooth feel to the touch and the mouthpiece is very light in weight.  I didn’t want to take the chance that my teeth might mark up the mouthpiece beak, so I put a mouthpiece patch on it and it has been on the mouthpiece ever since. The beak profile is similar to a typical metal Otto Link tenor sax mouthpiece beak profile and feels comfortable to me even with the mouthpiece patch on it.

I know that some people have contacted me worrying that the machine marks on the table would stop the sax mouthpiece from getting a good seal with saxophone reeds but this is not the case with any of the five Saxscape Delrin saxophone mouthpieces I have played and reviewed so far.  Each Saxscape mouthpiece has been very reed friendly and all the saxophone reeds have sealed well when performing the suction test.  Ken Barry is not only a great mouthpiece maker but he is also a great sax player, so you know he play tests each and every one of the saxophone mouthpieces that he makes and sells to his customers.  I am pretty confident that he test the seal of every mouthpiece he works on.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The part I dread most about reviewing saxophone mouthpieces, is trying to find the best reed for each saxophone mouthpiece I review.  For the Saxscape Arizona tenor sax mouthpiece, as with the other Saxscape mouthpieces I have reviewed, this job was pretty easy.

The Arizona tenor sax mouthpiece was very reed friendly! I tried Rigotti Gold 3 Light and 3 Medium saxophone reeds that all played excellently on the Saxscape Arizona tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  I also tried Boston Sax Shop 2 1/2 and 3 sized tenor saxophone reeds as well as Lupifaro Evo 2 1/2 and 3 strength saxophone reeds.  They all played great on the Saxscape Arizona tenor saxophone mouthpiece.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor sax mouthpiece had a balanced tenor sax tone that seemed to lean darker on the tenor saxophone tone spectrum to me.  The tone is thick and warm with just a hint of sparkle and brightness to the tone in the upper register.

The harder Rigotti Gold 3 Medium tenor saxophone reeds seemed darker to me in tone that the BSS 2 1/2 sax reeds which were softer.  The softer saxophone reeds sounded a bit brighter to me especially in the upper register of the saxophone.

The low notes were full and thick with a tone that reminded me of a Florida Otto Link type tone down low but with a bit more focus to the notes in my opinion. The low notes could be played with a sub-tone which made them lush and rich sounding or you could play the low notes with a regular airstream and get a clear, full and round low Bb that filled up every corner of the room.

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

The evenness and smoothness of notes throughout the range of the horn was nice when playing fast lines also.  The character and thickness of tone seemed to blend well as I played faster lines throughout the range of the saxophone.  I think you can hear this smoothness in the fast technical lines I play on the sound clips below.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The altissimo register of the saxophone was easy to produce on the Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor saxophone mouthpiece and the notes were easy to control and manipulate. Many times, that higher range of the saxophone, can become too bright and edgy on certain notes but the Saxscape Arizona tenor sax mouthpiece was easy to control up in that higher range and it retained a nice warm and round sound to the tone.  With both the Rigotti and the BSS reeds, I felt like the altissimo register tended to be a lot warmer than it is on most other tenor sax mouthpieces with baffles.

The unique baffle and straight sidewalls provide a bit more added focus than a typical Otto Link style mouthpiece design so that you can get volume and power out of the Saxscape Arizona tenor mouthpiece when you push it while still playing with a dark and warm tone.

Although the tone in the upper register does get a little brighter when pushed, it still stays in that darker category of tenor tone to my ears. Nevertheless, that little bit of added brightness can allow it to cut through in a live performance which makes it a very versatile tenor sax mouthpiece in my opinion.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

On the sound clips below, I try to give a good range and variety of saxophone sounds and textures so that you can hear the Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor saxophone mouthpiece perform in different styles.   I have included one sound clip with a Rigotti Gold 3 Medium saxophone reed and another with a softer BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 saxophone reed.

As has been my habit lately, I have added some slight reverb to the clips for those of you who like to check out the sax 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 sax mouthpiece might sound in a room with natural reverb like a garage or in a recording studio with some effects added.

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

In my opinion, the Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor saxophone mouthpiece is a great tenor saxophone mouthpiece for those of you looking for a sax mouthpiece with a tone that leans a bit to the darker side of the tenor sax tone spectrum but is still versatile for modern playing. It can be easily swayed to either side of the tone spectrum by manipulating your embouchure and air.  It has a nice focused and thick saxophone sound that would sound great over jazz standards or in a more pop setting where you don’t have to be overly bright to cut through the mix.   I think Ken Barry at Saxscape mouthpieces has done a great job with the Saxscape Arizona slim profile tenor sax mouthpiece.

Ken has recently revamped his website at Saxscape so make sure you check it out if you are interested in the Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile tenor saxophone mouthpiece. If you are interested in one, you can contact Ken Barry to get one.  Besides his website, you can also contact Ken Barry by phone or text: 570-350-5843, or by emailsaxscape@gmail.com  or on Facebook.

If you try a Saxscape Arizona slim profile 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 Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Rigotti Gold 3 Medium Reed-No Effects Added

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Same Clip as above with some Reverb added

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 Reed-No Effects Added

Saxscape Arizona Slim Profile Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-Same Clip as above with some Reverb 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. Hey Steve,

    That’s one of the nicest sounding mouthpieces I’ve ever heard you play! It sounds so stable and even, and as described has a warm body with a sparkle on it! On this end it feels like a very good metal link, some thing that is hard to find! The articulation is clear, pitch feels stable yet malleable.

  2. Thanks for your great review Steve, really glad you dig the piece!

  3. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    This is a great path of innovation from Ken. I think Ken’s knowledge in mouthpiece making needs more praise from the sax community, and his pieces have been affordable rather than many that streamlined their business with lots of ads and charge so much and not necessarily knowledge-wise they are ground breaking! It’s amazing to fit a large chamber in a slim profile! I thought it’s the tendency of medium chamber to have good intonation and fuller high notes so this is very interesting! Bravo Ken!

  4. Nice nice review, but of course, I have four of Ken’s pieces and they are all players. I’ve had my eyes on this one. Great work Steve and Ken.

  5. Thanks very much Arya and Ted, appreciate your kind words!!

Speak Your Mind

*

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