SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the Knoel Scott signature model 7 alto saxophone mouthpiece from SYOS mouthpieces in France.   I have already completed a number of Syos saxophone mouthpiece reviews here on the site and I thought all of these sax mouthpieces played excellently so I was excited to review this Knoel Scott signature alto saxophone mouthpiece as well.

The SYOS company hit the saxophone mouthpiece scene a few years ago and immediately caught the world’s attention by producing these really bright colored 3D printed saxophone mouthpieces made of plastic at a more reasonable price than conventional sax mouthpieces.  Although today’s review is a mouthpiece in the more mundane color of black, you can order SYOS saxophone mouthpieces in almost any color you can think of.

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you haven’t heard of Knoel Scott before this, you can learn more about him by checking out the SYOS website where there is a bio about him.  He is an original member of the Sun Ra Arkestra and although I hadn’t heard of Knoel Scott before, he might have been one of the first sax players I saw live in concert as I saw the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Syracuse Jazz Fest in the mid 80’s as a middle school student.

Below is a great video of Knoel Scott playing the SYOS Knoel Scott alto sax mouthpiece solo at what looks like a sax convention of some sort below:

Knoel Scott playing a SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Knoel Scott sounds fantastic in the video above. Unlike the blue SYOS alto sax mouthpiece he is playing, SYOS sent me a more mundane black Knoel Scott alto saxophone mouthpiece to review.  The mouthpiece is a 7 tip opening like the original model that Knoel Scott prefers.

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

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

These fine lines and textures do not seem to effect the seal or playability of the Knoel Scott alto saxophone mouthpiece I am reviewing today as all the reeds I tried on it sealed well and passed the suction test.

The Knoel Scott alto mouthpiece looks pretty well made.  The table, rails and tip look precise, clean and even.   The baffle is a low to medium baffle that heads in a straight diagonal line through the chamber and terminates at the rear of the chamber where the bore starts.  I don’t see any rollover to the baffle near the tip as I look at it with my eye which would make me think it is a low baffle but the height of the straight line of the baffle towards the chamber is more of a medium height as I write about below.

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Before we get to the playing of the SYOS Knoel Scott alto saxophone mouthpiece, let me share  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. Fourth, 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 Knoel Scott Signature Model 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 Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

SYOS describes the Knoel Scott alto mouthpiece chamber as a large chamber for an alto sax mouthpiece.  The baffle through the chamber most certainly takes some of the size out of the chamber but it looks to be about the size of a typical hard rubber Meyer alto saxophone mouthpiece chamber to me.

The side walls are scooped out slightly.  Everything looks neat and tidy.  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 reads “Knoel Scott”.

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS Knoel Scott alto sax 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 chose to record the sound clip below with a Vandoren Optimum alto sax ligature instead simply because that is what I am used to using on my alto sax mouthpiece reviews and I forgot to use the SYOS ligature.

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

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I tried a bunch of saxophone reeds on the SYOS Knoel Scott alto sax mouthpiece but my favorite was a Roberto’s 3 Soft alto saxophone reed that I recorded the sound clip below with.  All the 2 1/2 saxophone reeds I tried on this mouthpiece felt a bit too soft for me and I preferred the 3 sized alto sax reeds.

The Knoel Scott model alto saxophone mouthpiece was not as dark sounding as I thought it would be from looking at it’s baffle.  Although the baffle doesn’t have a rollover baffle the height and angle of the baffle is higher than it could be if it terminated at the beginning of the chamber instead of the rear of the chamber.

There does seem to be a slight roll to the baffle as it gets near the chamber and the side rails slope in a bit next to the baffle floor as it approaches the large chamber. This gives the chamber entrance a bit of a slight squeezed throat approach to the  mouthpiece chamber entrance.

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SYOS Knoel Scott alto mouthpiece had a midrange warm brightness to it.  It didn’t have much edge at all but had a soft roundness to the tone that was sweet and delicate in my opinion.  I associated the sound and tone of this Knoel Scott mouthpiece to Art Pepper for some reason. I used to listen to Art Pepper a lot when I was in my teens and something about the tone of this mouthpiece reminded me of him.

The tone was focused and direct and not as fat and spread as other alto mouthpieces I have reviewed but I thought it had a unique and pleasant tone that was really beautiful.

I would consider the SYOS Knoel Scott model alto saxophone mouthpiece to be a more medium volume saxophone mouthpiece.  When I pushed the Knoel Scott mouthpiece on the recording I felt like the top volume I could get was about a 6.5 out of 1-10 on the volume scale.

The intonation and articulation were great and I didn’t notice any issues at all. The mouthpiece was easy to sub-tone on as well.

As is my habit, I provided the clip without effects (dry) and one clip with added reverb just so you can hear how it might sound with some effects added.  I personally liked the sound clip with the reverb added the best……

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the Knoel Scott signature alto sax mouthpiece by SYOS, you can find them at  the SYOS website (Neffmusic also gets a small commission from each sale when you use this link to purchase a mouthpiece which helps support this website).

The SYOS website has a ton of artists and signature models available so if the Knoel Scott model isn’t your cup of tea, there are a ton of other alto sax mouthpieces to choose from.  Or, you can be courageous and go for a custom alto 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 165.83 EUROS (Approximately 189 USD as of today), which in my mind is a great price for a sax mouthpiece that plays this well.  The custom model sax mouthpieces are 249.17 EUROS (Approximately 284 USD), which is still a great deal for a custom sax mouthpiece that is made to your preferences.  From what I read on the SYOS website,  you can send your custom sax mouthpiece back for adjustments if you want tweaks made to it also.

If you have any other thoughts or comments about this review, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,   Steve

*For best results, it is best to listen to these clips with good speakers or headphones.

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Roberto’s 2 1/2 Hard Reed-Reverb Added

SYOS Knoel Scott Signature Model Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece-Roberto’s 2 1/2 Hard Reed-No Effects 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 link 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
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 very good, pleasant alto sound. I like almost any kind of sound a player
    with intent produces. So this is only my description of the sound and not a judgement
    of good or bad. I will say though Steve, you sound really good on this!
    Bright Moments, Bob

  2. I really like this “Bird” sounding mouthpiece but, so far, of the new mouthpieces released, my favorite for my taste is the 10 M FAN Showboat!
    Giuseppe.

  3. Avatar Markus Kantor says

    Steve what is this beautiful melody you play at 1:15 on the first clip? Great sound.

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