Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the Avel Sound Concept (ASC) Foehn model tenor saxophone mouthpiece made by Max at Avel Sound Concept Mouthpieces.  These are really reasonable priced, quality hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpieces that, as you will soon hear, play incredibly well…..  The hard rubber ASC Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece I am reviewing today has a 7* tip opening.

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here is how the Avel Sound Concept website describes the new ASC Foehn hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece:

The Foehn is a dry, warm, down-slope wind blowing in the Alps.

This hard rubber piece has a medium-large round chamber and a customizable rollover baffle. It is a crossover between a Slant Sig and an EB. It has a medium sound with lush lows and powerful highs. This piece is fitted with a very responsive facing curve for projection and the right amount of resistance to push against for better control of the altissimo register. This piece is at ease in a variety of situations from big band to pop music.

Yeah, if you are like me, you probably don’t know what to do with the “The Foehn is a dry, warm, down-slope wind blowing in the Alps.”  Let’s just skip over that part of the description to the part sax players understand; hard rubber, medium-large round chamber, rollover baffle, lush lows and powerful highs, very responsive facing curve, etc……..

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Avel Sound Concept Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece came well packaged and protected.  The Foehn mouthpiece is made of high quality hard rubber that is really shiny.  The shine of the mouthpiece was so brilliant that it made me question whether it was some sort of plastic or resin but Max assured me that it is indeed pure high quality hard rubber that he works hard to make shine.

The ASC Foehn mouthpiece tip, rails, table and baffle all look great.  The tip rail is thin and even and the tip matches up with my tenor saxophone reeds nicely.  The side rails are thin and even as well.  The sidewalls on either side of the baffle look to be straight for about an inch and then are scooped out as they near the chamber of the mouthpiece.

The roof of the chamber is a medium thickness and the chamber is what I would describe as a medium to medium-large chamber when compared to a typical large sized hard rubber Otto Link tenor mouthpiece chamber (ASC describes the Foehn mouthpiece as a medium-large chamber).

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The baffle of the ASC Foehn tenor saxophone mouthpiece is a pretty substantial rollover baffle.  The baffle travels at a medium high height for about an inch before it scoops down into the chamber.  For comparison, the baffle of the Foehn mouthpiece is higher and longer than a couple of Otto Link Early Babbitt Connoisseur tenor mouthpieces I have sitting on my desk right now.  The baffle is scooped from side to side as it travels down to the mouthpiece chamber.  Just from inspecting the generous baffle, my guess is that the ASC Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece would play with a nice amount of brightness and power.

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Although the chamber in the ASC Foehn mouthpiece looks a little rough in the photos, it feels smooth to the touch.  I think it just has that look from the work performed while making it and the interior of the mouthpiece was not shined up like the exterior of the mouthpiece was.

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece beak of the Avel Sound Concept Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece has a low profile to it that I really liked.  It feels very comfortable for me when compared to how a hard rubber tenor sax mouthpiece with a high beak profile feels.   Something about a lower beak profile on a hard rubber mouthpiece always makes me feel like the tone is a bit brighter and more powerful.  I believe this is because the vibrations more easily travel from the mouthpiece, through the narrow beak, and to my teeth and then ear.

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece played great for me with a BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 reed.   That BSS 2 1/2 reed is usually too soft for me with 7* tip opening mouthpieces but the ASC Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece has a shorter facing curve of 47 which makes a softer reed feel a bit harder.  I actually like shorter facing curves of 47 for certain tenor sax mouthpieces because of this reason.   I have a number of other tenor sax mouthpieces with this shorter facing curve of 47 and it allows me to use a softer reed while still getting enough resistance when blowing that the reed feels harder and the tone more substantial.  My JVW (Jon Van Wie) Otto Link, Lamberson J7 and Retro Revival “Super D Double Ring Replica tenor sax mouthpieces all have shorter facing curves of 47 which I really love on those tenor mouthpieces.

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Avel Sound Concept Foehn tenor saxophone mouthpiece played great for me. I found the ASC Foehn mouthpiece to have a beautiful brightness to the core sound that gave the high register a ringing and singing quality to the notes. I assume this brightness in the sound is the effect of the high rollover baffle and medium chamber.

The ASC Foehn mouthpiece had plenty of power and brightness when pushed as you can hear in the louder parts of the sound clip where I play more aggressively.  I believe some of the brightness and crispness is due to the ability to use a softer reed on the Foehn’s shorter facing curve.  The softer reed sounds crisp and the shorter curve gives it enough resistance so it doesn’t sound like a wet noodle like on other tenor mouthpieces with a longer facing curve on them.

Sometimes, like on my JVW Otto Link, the shorter facing curve can make the low register not as lush and thick sounding as it might with a longer facing curve but the ASC Foehn seems well balanced in that the low notes sound thick and full.  You can hear how the Foehn sounds so good playing on a ballad or laid back jazz tune.  The soft reed allows the low notes to have a lush and fat quality to them that makes them sound great to my ears.

The intonation of the Foehn tenor mouthpiece was excellent and the scale and range of the saxophone sounded smooth and even to me as I played.    The altissimo register was easy to play and I found the ASC Foehn mouthpiece to be expressive and easy to control.

I have included a long sound clip below with no effects and another short clip with reverb added so you can hear how the ASC Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece might sound on a live gig in a big hall or with reverb added to it while recording.

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

If you like the sound and look of the Avel Sound Concept Foehn tenor saxophone mouthpiece, you can find them on the Avel Sound Concept website.  Believe it or not, at the time of this review, these are only $185 on the ASC website.   I always receive emails asking me what is a great mouthpiece that is also affordable and the Avel Sound Concept Foehn tenor sax mouthpiece fits that description perfectly.   I would have no problem playing this mouthpiece on a loud gig, with a big band or even with a sax quartet.  This is a great deal for a hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpiece that plays this well and sounds this beautiful in my opinion.

If you are lucky enough to play a Avel Sound Concept Foehn tenor saxophone mouthpiece or have any other thoughts or comments, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,  Steve

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 1/2 Reed

Avel Sound Concept ASC Foehn Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece-BSS (Boston Sax Shop) 2 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. 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. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for reviewing my ASC Foehn 7* tenor mouthpiece. You sound amazing on it and your photos are much better than my marketing material!

    With regards to the first sentence of the description on my website, it’s just to explain the origin of the name. My mouthpieces are all named after a wind around the world.

    Cheers,
    Max- ASC

  2. Hi Steve,

    I’ve been playing Max’s pieces on sop/alto/tenor for some time; they are indeed the best ‘bang for buck’ I’ve ever experienced. I play all styles with them and feel comfortable getting all I need out of them in each individual musical situation (I don’t like swapping out pieces for different musical styles). Max at Avel Sound Concept is also the easiest human with whom to communicate about your needs and his refacing work is outstanding as are his original mouthpiece designs. As always, you sound incredible on this and all the pieces you review! I’ll leave a link to a short bit of a recording on one of Max’s refaced pieces; he’s done many for me and all of his work is incredible. Thanks for reviewing the Foehn! DC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmfgQxQ_Sbk

  3. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    Thanks Steve. It has THAT sound! Also pretty warm core since the warmth even sticks out of my iPhone tinny speakers. I will listen to it on headphones / proper speakers later to have better understanding of the tone. I always thought I wouldn’t be happy with short facing tone which tends to not be as lush as let’s say 50 mm but I guess I’m wrong! This one sounds pretty balanced to me. Also would be hard to get that wonderful well-defined bright yet thick core of the tone without the shorter facing I guess. Great job Avel! I think if this can be in par with your Lamberson or JVW for tonal concept, that’s a real compliment by itself. Cheers.

    • Thanks Arya! I am goad you like Steve’s recording on my design!

      A 50mm facing length is rather long. I would only consider this on a high baffle piece or on an elliptical curve with a high ellipse factor.

  4. Avatar Giuseppe C. says

    From what I hear it is a great mouthpiece.

    Perhaps, if it were also available in tip opening 5 *, the sound could have more projection; as Dexter Gordon said about his mouthpiece:

    “… Actually this present mouthpiece of mine is relatively small. It’s just medium size a five-star. It’s been straightened out a little bit, but it’s not a big mouthpiece. It’s blows very free and gets a nice substantial sound. Most people are surprises because they think it’s much a much larger mouthpiece than it is. They think it’s maybe an eight or nine or something like that, but it’s not. So that’s why i say it’s projection that counts … “.

    (I report, with copy and paste, if legal, what is taken from the site:

    “https://www.saxontheweb.net/threads/rs-berkeley-legends-%E2%80%9Cdexter-gordon%E2%80%9D-thoughts.365884/page-2

    extrapolating, if legal, a comment from user Nicolas Trefeil who in response to user mrpeebee reports a statement made to him by Dexter Gordon, as Trefeil writes:

    “… Nicolas Trefeil
    Registered
    Joined Aug 22, 2013
    9 Posts
    # 34 Oct 3, 2020

    mrpeebee said:
    Yes, it’s hard to find consistent and reliable data about mouthpieces used by great players. If I remember well I did read about Dexter’s 8* Otto Link in ‘Dexter Gordon – A Musical Biography’ by Stan Britt, but I could also have grabbed it from the liner notes on one of the many LP’s I have from Dexter.

    Here are some links:
    – Dexter’s biography: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1282114.Dexter_Gordon
    – Nicolas Trefeil setup of tenor players: https://www.nicolastrefeil.com/tenor-sax-player-s-setup
    – Old SOTW thread from 2011: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt…tups-Help-needed-from-SOTW-members-quot-quot/

    Nicolas Trefeil (see above for the link) states that Dexter used a Dukoff BD Hollywood metal 5* slightly refaced with La Voz Medium reeds.

    I’m not sure how reliable that is, because he is also not accurate about the mouthpiece Dexter used in the mid 40’s. That was an Otto Link Tone Master 6 (not a Four ****) which Dexter traded with Illinois Jacquet (who got Dexter’s refaced TM 4) when both played with Lionel Hampton in the early 40’s. That’s what IJ has stated on several places (also in the above mentioned biography of Dexter).

    Hello MrPeebee. I try to give good information on my web site, I can make some mistake, but the information from my website about Dexter Gordon mouthpieces is given by Dexter Gordon himself.

    “Actually this present mouthpiece of mine is relatively small. It’s just medium size a five-star. It’s been straightened out a little bit, but it’s not a big mouthpiece. It’s blows very free and gets a nice substantial sound. Most people are surprises because they think it’s much a much larger mouthpiece than it is. They think it’s maybe an eight or nine or something like that, but it’s not. So that’s why I say it’s projection that counts.”

    -from an interview in Crescendo Magazine of December 1962. (The picture of the article is showing him with is Conn and Dukkof mpc). He also says about the reed: La Voz, medium strenght

    Dexter Gordon say also in this interview that before the mpc is playing now, he played an Otto Link especially made for him during “The chase” era (1947) and until it got stolen around 1952.

    All the best.
    Nicolas Trefeil …“).
    Giuseppe.

    • Hi Giuseppe,

      I also make them in 5* under the Custom option.

      Regards,
      Max – ASC

      • Avatar Giuseppe C. says

        Hi Max,
        First of all congratulations for the excellent sound, from how I perceive it via computer, of the mouthpiece.
        What is the cost of the custom model?
        Can you point me to a dealer in Rome where I can possibly (try) and / or buy it?
        If the dealer is not there, do you send cash on delivery, since I do not use bank means but only cash?
        Thanks for the info.
        Giuseppe.

Speak Your Mind

*