Resource icon

Reviews D'Addario Tenor Mouthpiece

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
534
Location
London
#1
Here's a quick demo of the 4 D'Addario tenor mouthpieces (and for good measure, the two alto that I picked up at the same time).

All done with various Select Jazz reeds between 2H and 3S dependant on the tip openings. The 6s sounds a bit brighter on this recording, but I think with a more careful reed selection that the tonal differences between tip openings can be minimised.

I think the tenors are excellent. Slightly brighter than imagined they might be which I think is good. After learning that Jeff Coffin has had input I am not surprised. Great job D'Addario! At £155.00 a piece they are a really great option for anyone at any standard.

(and I'm liking the altos more and more as I play them with Select Jazz reeds).
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
11,626
Location
London
#2
aldevis submitted a new resource:

D'Addario Tenor Mouthpiece - review of the new D'Addario Tenor Mouthpiece

D'Addario finally released a tenor mouthpiece.
After the excellent alto a couple of years ago (reviewed here), I was very curious about it. D'Addario UK kindly sent four mouthpiece for cafemembers to try.
Thanks again Tom

Note:
D'Addario uses a different numbering system.
D'Addario/thous/Otto Link:
6/100/7
7/105/7*
8/110/8
9/115/8*


This gave me the rare opportunity of testing the same model in four...
Read more about this resource...
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
534
Location
London
#3
I've had a few further thoughts since I posted the above clips, principally about the flexibility of these new Select Jazz tenor mouthpieces.

I have found that they are extremely reed-friendly. I have been able to choose reeds very easily that suited each of the four tip openings and managed to get all four pieces feeling and sounding very similar. I could take a little edge off the #6 in comparison to the above sound clip and retain the clear sound of the more open ones. I was surprised that with the right reed the #9 felt almost as easy to play as the #6, and that it was easy-peasy to find the right strength, if I stuck with Select Jazz reeds (maybe that's a no-brainer, but hey :doh:).

Remarkably I found that I could comfortably play the #7 tip with everything between a Select Jazz 2M and a 3M; and I mean comfortably. The softer reeds did not close up and the harder ones still vibrated well. I think this is a considerable step forward in mouthpiece design and something I really have not experienced before. Usually, even on a well faced mouthpiece, the window for comfort is still relatively small when choosing reeds - or so it seems to me. Not so on these D'Addarios, so it really is a question of choosing your most comfortable tip and adjusting reed strength for tone quality.

Tone-wise they fill a gap for me, since they give more brightness to the sound than I normally get from the 'Traditional' type tenor piece. I gave up playing high-baffle pieces a long time ago, but I still like bit of edge that I find myself having to work very hard for it with most ebonite pieces.

I will definitely buy one of these.
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
534
Location
London
#6
While the D'Addario tenors wend their way to @GJ77 (should be with you any moment according to tracking), here is a slightly more considered set of clips of the 6,7, & 8, and a reference clip of my go-to Navarro Maestra 7* to put this all in perspective. I left the 9 out because when I play it, it sounds just like the 8 (but very slightly less focused) and is not within my comfort zone tip-wise. I really like the 6 as much as I do the 7, it's mega-comfortable to play and has a great, slightly tighter focus.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
11,626
Location
London
#7
Interesting.
The FG comparison makes sense with another FG inspired piece that I find similar (Navarro's)
The more I think of Coffin/Mintzer, the more it makes sense that this is the sound direction of the D'Addario piece. On tenor you can't please everyone, less than other saxophones. I think that it was a good idea focussing on a versatile piece in a precise direction.
 

GJ77

Senior Member
Subscriber
Messages
580
Location
Dunmow, Essex.
#8
I picked up the mouthpieces this afternoon and got to have a quick blow on the 8. First impressions are very good...perhaps a little brighter than I'm used to but very easy blowing and still with character.

I'm away in Manchester until Friday now and will post something more detailed at the weekend before sending them on.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,589
Location
Betelgeuse
#9
Well, I've played them every day this week, and started to come to some conclusions. I've played them all, but tended to play the 8 an 9 most, as I generally prefer a wider tip opening/softer reed combination. I found the 6 and 7 fine to play, but for me they just felt a bit too narrow. If I slapped on a harder reed and played a lot, I am sure I'd get used to them.

General impressions first. All four were very, very easy to play. They were also very reed tolerant, and despite the differences in tip opening I was able to play all four with the same reed. I started using a Legere Signature plastic reed in 2.5 strength. I happned to have a Rovner lig which fitted perfectly, which I used throughout. It did its job of holding the reed in place. I found all four mouthpieces had a very fast response and provided a good, pretty consistent tone. I was able to blow all the bottom end notes softly, and play up into the altissimo range really, really easily. Of all the mouthpieces I've had over the years, these have the easiest altissimo.

I went on to play the 8 and 9 a lot, using a Jazz Select 2m reed, which suited them very well. I felt the two were very similar in feel and projection. The 9 gave a smidge more power, the 8 was very slightly easier to play. On balance, I preferred the 9. This is still a fair bit narrower then the tenor piece I have been playing for the last couple of years (Berg Larsen 130/0 modified to 125 and customised by Kay Siebold) and is still an easy blow. Much to my surprise, it also has pretty near the same amount of volume available as the massive Berg.I also prefer the tone of the D'Addario. It is still fairly bright, but is sort of fatter, with more substance to the mid tones. Low end notes are lovely and rich. High notes and altissimo don't thin out. It's also adaptable, and can be backed off to a soft, gentle tone, or a more racous sound can be belted out. It also had an unusual and very welcome attribute - I was able to adjust to playing it alsmost immediately. As soon as I started to blow it I was comfortable playng it - there was no real period of adjustment or getting used to it. I was able to just get on and play some tunes.

In all, I was really, really impressed by these mouthpieces. They don't look flashy or anything, they just get on with the job, which is letting the player make a bit of music.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,400
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
#10
I've had them for just over a week, thanks to Jon for kindly making a detour to drop them off on his bike in the pouring rain.

I tried them all with several reeds, including ones I had round that don't work for me normally when using my usual RPC with a 105 tip on a Hanson ST8. These were Java 3, V16 2.5, RSJazz 3m and 2s. I found much the same playability on all four D'Addarios as I did with the RPC . The Java sounded stuffy on most but OK on the D'Addario 9, V16 was OK , RSJ2s was OK and the RSJ 3s was too hard for me to play comfortably. This probably says more about me and reeds than the test mouthpieces (I have the same trouble with alto reeds).

It was different with my usual combination of RPC and Daniel's 2 or 2.5. All of the mouthpieces played really easily and I felt at home with them all straightaway. I could get a good range of dynamics on all of them. The tone on all was full at the bottom and middle but thinned out a bit at top F# (which again may be me not giving it enough support but didn't matter as I rarely need to go up that high). The 6 and 7 sounded better to me using the 2.5 and the 8 and 9 were better with the slightly softer 2, which is probably to be expected.

I found the 6 and 7 a bit too bright for my own taste. The 9 had quite a bit more power than I am used to and although it was very nice, I felt really happy with the 8. I could push it hard or play very pp. Not being a long term tenor player - I've only been playing it seriously for about 18 months - this was quite a revelation. I can't find the tip opening figure for the 8 but I guess it's a bit more than the 105 of the RPC. To give it a real test I played the 8 all evening on Saturday at an on stage charity variety show and it didn't disappoint. From being under the singer, through some big band numbers like Nestico's Good News, to being heard above the band riffs when soloing on Mercy, Mercy, Mercy , I felt completely comfortable and my lip didn't tire.

As with the alto, which I so liked that I bought a 6, D'Addario seem to have pulled off the trick again of producing reasonably priced but very good machine milled mouthpieces. I shall definitely get an 8.

The quartet go on to Nick W now, once he is back from East coast cruising and boozing.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,589
Location
Betelgeuse
#11
For info, tip openings are:


Select Jazz Mouthpieces - Tenor Saxophone - D6M (.100” or 2.54mm)

Select Jazz Mouthpieces - Tenor Saxophone - D7M (.105” or 2.66mm)

Select Jazz Mouthpieces - Tenor Saxophone - D8M (.110” or 2.79mm)

Select Jazz Mouthpieces - Tenor Saxophone - D9M (.115” or 2.92mm)
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,400
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
#12
Thanks Jon. I see now it is actually printed on the box in mm, although I had to look hard to see the decimal point. Grateful to you for giving the equivalent in measurements I understand instantly! But it confirms what I thought that the 8 is a bit wider than my RPC.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,515
Location
Minster On Sea
#13
Good aren't they?
My usual mouthpiece is a PPT 9* - I have a 10* but keep going back to the 9* - and the overall sound across the range of the D'Addarios is not a million miles away from this. Not screamingly bright but not at all dull. My taste in tenor mouthpieces has mellowed a little over the years and I no longer go for too much ear burning (as represented by a Runyon Quantum 16 with spoiler). Interestingly, the alto's gone in the other direction.
They seemed very unfussy about what reeds were strapped to them - I tried Jazz Select from 2M to 3M, La Voz med and Alexander Superial Classique 3. All worked fine with relatively little alteration to the basic sound apart from the obvious - softer reeds sounding brighter on the narrower tips and vice versa.
All were very easy to control from ppp to fff and into altissimo.
Compared with the PPT they're a bit cleaner sounding (I know what I mean even if you don't :)) but the difference is really quite small and, if I didn't have the PPT, I'd be very happy to use one. I can certainly get what I would consider to be a "good tenor sound" out of them - loud, bright (but not too bright) and nice and fat.
 

nigeld

I think I need a different ligature
Subscriber
Messages
3,672
Location
Bristol
#14
I am not an experienced player. (About 3 years.)

I tried the D’Addario Tenor mouthpieces in sizes 6, 7, 8, and 9. They get darker are the tip opening increases, so 6 is the brightest and 9 is the darkest.

I found them all very easy to play - I could just put them on the horn and they worked, even the 9, which is very wide for me. No squeaking, squawking or any of the other difficulties that can occur with a new mouthpiece. Also, strangely, I could play all of them using the same strength reed, with no difficulty playing top to bottom.

I used the same D'Addario Select Jazz 2M filed reed on all of the mouthpieces and on my own mouthpiece for comparison, with a Rovner Dark fabric ligature. This is the strength I normally use on my 7* (0.105") tenor mouthpiece.

The 6 is too bright for my taste, and it seemed to lack the depth of the 7.

The 7, which has the same tip opening as my current mouthpiece, was my favourite, though it was brighter and louder than I am used to. It reminded me a bit of the Yamaha YAS280 alto sax I owned - good fun, easy to play, eager, bright, ready to go, saying “play me, play me”, but also just a little bit brash and unrefined for my taste. Some people will like this sound, but I prefer something smoother. I would struggle to play this mouthpiece in a quartet - I would find it difficult to blend; but if I wanted to stand out in a band solo, it would probably be better than my current mouthpiece.

The 8 was like a slightly smoother version of the 7, but it seemed to me to lack the edge and excitement of the 7. No more refined, and less fun.

The 9 was the darkest and smoothest of all, but the tip is a bit too open for me. Tonally it was not too far from my Aizen, but I prefer the Aizen for sound and comfort.

My current jazz tenor mouthpiece is an Aizen LS 7*. For me, the D’Addario 6 and 7 felt easier to blow than the Aizen, but I prefer the Aizen sound to any of the D’Addario mouthpieces - the Aizen is less bright, more smooth, and it feels more subtle and has more depth (whatever that means!). The Aizen costs a bit more than the D’Addario mouthpieces, but I would not consider them to be competitors because they sound so different. However, the D’Addario 7 can provide more volume and projection than the Aizen, so as I said, I would regard it as a good replacement if I wanted to stand out more.

So in summary - these are good mouthpieces if you are looking for a bright sound with good projection.
 
Last edited:

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
534
Location
London
#15
I've been finding my D'Addario tenor 7 quite flexible, and actually a bit less bright than it feels from the driving seat. I've been recording it a bit and I am always surprised by how it sounds. I think this means that the D'Addario gives a lot of acoustic feedback, which in a live situation with a band is very useful on tenor. But obviously, this is not a mouthpiece for a classical quartet.

I attended the D'Addario launch event a week or so ago and was very impressed by Kevin Garren who is in charge of mouthpiece design and production for D'Addario. Not only is he a very impressive alto player, he is extremely open and knowledgeable - a real breath of fresh air in fact because I have met some executives from other companies who are uncommunicative and cagey So, kudos to D'Addario!

Iain Ballamy, whose musicality I love, played the #9 tenor piece (with Select Jazz 2 soft filed reeds), but did not sound entirely comfortable on it and admitted that he would like to experiment further. He still played wonderfully of course

Kevin reaffirmed my impression of the D'Addario alto pieces as being worth a second look. He explained that he had developed the alto pieces in conjunction with Will Vinson (my current favourite alto player) and that they mostly used Hemke reeds on those pieces during testing. As I have posted before, I find the alto pieces work much better with D'Addario/Rico-type reeds than with other brands.

There will be a classical alto piece released this year. They are planning a brighter version of the alto, a darker tenor, and a Selmer-Soloist-type soprano piece.
 
Top Bottom