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M/Pieces - Ligs Berg Larsen 110 1 mouthpiece old (possibly ebonite?) - anyone know them?

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
I'd be intrigued to learn if anyone has come across or knows the reputation of old Berg Larsen mouthpieces.

One came with my Late 1920s King tenor when I bought it over 30 years ago. (The mouthpiece is probably a fair bit older than 30 but I'm guessing not as old as the sax!)

It seems to have the markings...

110
1
^
sms

...on it (as best as I can see).

Can anyone offer any insight at all? I'm a complete newbie. Had the sax 30 years, been playing it 5 weeks!
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,372
Bergs can be great mouthpieces, especially the older ones. At that time they were basically made from ebonite (hard rubber, black that ages to brown) or stainless steel.

The Berg Larsen website Berg Larsen Homepage gives lots of information about the models and variants available. This website is also good on the history: KNOWLEDGE - Mouthpiece Museum - Theo Wanne

The markings on yours mean the following:

110 = tip opening of 110 thousandths of an inch (0.110") which is quite wide, especially for a beginner. Bergs are famous for not being that accurate in terms of real tip opening matching the marked value.
1 = Bright chamber (from 0 = brilliant to 3 = mellow). This will give an edgy sound good for battling guitars in a rock situation.
SMS = French facing (shorter and steeper than the M facing). Again, the marking sometimes doesn't match reality and the facing length doesn't make a great difference in my experience.

Can you tell whether the mouthpiece is in original condition ? They are often modified by mouthpiece technicians (or amateurs) trying to improve the playability or sound.

In summary, you have got a good professional mouthpiece that would be quite challenging for a beginner to blow and would work better for rock playing than for classical.

If the mouthpiece has its original ligature and/or box, those would help people to tell you more about its age and value. If you post pictures here, maybe we can help.

Welcome to the Caff and good luck.

Rhys
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
Wow thanks Rhys, way more info than I'd hoped for but I really do appreciate it.
Definitely sounds like ebonite then. Yes it has a metal (brass coloured) cap and a metal lig (with a no. 2 on it) both with the Berg Larsen mark on them.
I squeaked like crazy whenever I tried to play it so I asked in a shop and they said (as you have also done) that its a pro mouthpiece and not one for a beginner to try to learn on. They sold me a Yamaha 4c which immediately improved my playing several fold. Not too bothered about the value of the Berg Larsen (although its always nice to know I guess) as I'll definitely keep it and aim to be able to play it some day. I'm not sure I'd know what to look for re modifications.
The old King is having a service to fix a few issues with fluffy notes so I'm looking forward to trying both mouthpieces on it again soon! :)

Many thanks again! :thumb:
 
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