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M/Pieces - Ligs Lawton Mouthpieces: Researching the History

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
I have collected a lot of Lawton mouthpieces, about 25 in total for SATB saxophones and think they are excellent. There are some interesting designs and all the ones I have seen have been beautifully made.

The history of some other famous mouthpiece brands and makers has been well researched and covered in books, magazine articles, websites and probably academic papers. I would like to do something similar for Lawton mouthpieces, covering topics such as:
  • Models and variants
  • Design concepts and facing specifications
  • Markings (on the piece and on the boxes)
  • Materials and finishes
  • Manufacture and collaborators
  • Pricing when new
I spoke on the phone to Geoff Lawton in about 2000 and have got a couple of published interviews with him, as well as some Lawton advertising material, going back as far as the mid 60s when he made tenor and bari mouthpieces under the Lawton-Barton brand.

I think there is quite a lot of speculation and rumour on the internet (you don't say!) and so would like to collect trustworthy information from sources such as:
  • Information leaflets, brochures, catalogues
  • Advertisements
  • Interviews
  • Articles
  • Websites
  • Personal recollections and first hand anecdotes
It would be great if any members of the forum could help me in my research, either by posting on this thread or sending me a private message (start a conversation) or an email.

I hope to be able to develop a timeline of Lawton mouthpiece history and produce some article that I will of course share with forum members.

Thanks in advance

Rhys
 

Tomasz

Member
Messages
544
This would definitely make interesting reading for me. I'm sure that there would be plenty of others, too.

Lawton mouthpieces weren't on my radar for many years until quite recently, when I acquired a Lawton HR alto mouthpiece quite by accident.

It is, quite frankly, superb - the best alto mouthpiece that I possess.
 

Chilli

Barista
Messages
393
Excellent idea, although I doubt anyone has more knowledge than you already have regarding Lawtons.
I suppose you have the leaflet describing all mouthpieces (pictures, measurements, etc.).
Other than that, I can"t add much other than my own (very positive) experience playing these mouthpieces.
 
OP
rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
Excellent idea, although I doubt anyone has more knowledge than you already have regarding Lawtons.
I suppose you have the leaflet describing all mouthpieces (pictures, measurements, etc.).
Other than that, I can"t add much other than my own (very positive) experience playing these mouthpieces.
Thanks @Chilli . I keep learning things I didn't know or finding out that "facts" I was confident of aren't true.

I have three copies of a Lawton leaflet showing models and specifications: one is in colour from the realy 80s, one is black and white from late 90s and the third is a scanned version of a B&W sheet that I found on a German music shop's website that is probably from around 2000. But none of those leaflets seem to have a date on them so I would like to collect more.

Rhys
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,659
That's the one I've got as well. What I do know is it goes back to at least 1980, as I got my colour original in that year, with my first Lawton mouthpiece. My parents, incredibly generously bought it for me as a first tenor mouthpiece when I was 15.
 
OP
rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
The only one I know of is this one: Lawton_brochure.pdf - Box
That's probably the same as one of yours. As you said, no date...
Thanks @Chilli . That is very similar to mine, but the wording and some of the detail has been changed over time, for example about materials and finishes.

Is that brochure originally in colour or Black and White and do you have any information about the approximate date ?

Rhys
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
Good luck on your project Rhys. Did Wesley Magoogan play a Lawton on his alto?

Greg S.
No - it was a Link Super Tone Master.

I bought it from Wesley on eBay. Or at least I thought I did. When it arrived it didn't play very well in tune and I put it aside. A while later I realised it was actually a tenor STM rather than his alto STM. He did refund me for the sale and took it back ...

I guess that is my brush with saxophone fame.

Rhys
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,958
No - it was a Link Super Tone Master.

I bought it from Wesley on eBay. Or at least I thought I did. When it arrived it didn't play very well in tune and I put it aside. A while later I realised it was actually a tenor STM rather than his alto STM. He did refund me for the sale and took it back ...

I guess that is my brush with saxophone fame.

Rhys
Thanks for the response - I remember your situation when you purchased the mouthpiece because you asked forum members to measure their STM mouthpieces. I realized Wesley played Otto Link STM on tenor and this is evident from some of the videos I've seen but the mouthpiece he plays here on alto appears to be a bit different (?). The Lawtons and Otto Link STM use the single bottom nut on their ligatures which sets them apart from other mouthpieces.


A close up view at about 2.20 minutes.

Greg S.
 
OP
rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
Thanks for the response - I remember your situation when you purchased the mouthpiece because you asked forum members to measure their STM mouthpieces. I realized Wesley played Otto Link STM on tenor and this is evident from some of the videos I've seen but the mouthpiece he plays here on alto appears to be a bit different (?). The Lawtons and Otto Link STM use the single bottom nut on their ligatures which sets them apart from other mouthpieces.


A close up view at about 2.20 minutes.

Greg S.
About 2:20 into the video you can see the mouthpiece fairly clearly. The lig is definitely a Link STM but I agree that the shank looks a bit different. I am still pretty confident it was just a standard Link metal.

Rhys
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
You've probably seen this interview that was done for CASS in the 90s:

John Robert Brown
Thanks @Pauly

Yes, that is a good source for me. The full interview gives a good impression of Geoff Lawton the man, as well as some detailed facts about the mouthpieces and their development. I am thinking about approaching John Robert Brown to see whether he has any additional material that didn't make it into the published interview.

I am also looking for information on Lawton from Leslie Evans who was a saxophone teacher and writer from at least the 60s to 90s and wrote a column on Reed Instruments in the old Crescendo magazine.

Rhys
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
I've found online a picture from an older Lawton advertising leaflet. http://instagr.am/p/BJLLFtIDswW/ View: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJLLFtIDswW/?taken-by=pepperadamsblog


This has his first address, when he worked from his garden shed, and a handwritten price quoted in £ s d , so presumably before British decimalisation on 15 February 1971.

I'm not familiar with Instagram, so don't know how to track the originator of the picture and see whether I can get a copy of the whole leaflet, front and back.

I'm gradually accumulating some information, but it's a slow process.

Rhys
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,356
I've found online a picture from an older Lawton advertising leaflet. http://instagr.am/p/BJLLFtIDswW/ View: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJLLFtIDswW/?taken-by=pepperadamsblog


This has his first address, when he worked from his garden shed, and a handwritten price quoted in £ s d , so presumably before British decimalisation on 15 February 1971.

I'm not familiar with Instagram, so don't know how to track the originator of the picture and see whether I can get a copy of the whole leaflet, front and back.

I'm gradually accumulating some information, but it's a slow process.

Rhys
I assume that pic was posted bythe guy who runs the Pepper Adams blog - The Master: Pepper Adams Blog and PepperAdams.com Gary Carner who's written a book about him, I can't see any contact details for him apart from Google+ and Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pepperadams.comofficialsite/
 

Jacques5646

Right of the avatar !
Messages
42
I have collected a lot of Lawton mouthpieces, about 25 in total for SATB saxophones and think they are excellent. There are some interesting designs and all the ones I have seen have been beautifully made.

The history of some other famous mouthpiece brands and makers has been well researched and covered in books, magazine articles, websites and probably academic papers. I would like to do something similar for Lawton mouthpieces, covering topics such as:
  • Models and variants
  • Design concepts and facing specifications
  • Markings (on the piece and on the boxes)
  • Materials and finishes
  • Manufacture and collaborators
  • Pricing when new
I spoke on the phone to Geoff Lawton in about 2000 and have got a couple of published interviews with him, as well as some Lawton advertising material, going back as far as the mid 60s when he made tenor and bari mouthpieces under the Lawton-Barton brand.

I think there is quite a lot of speculation and rumour on the internet (you don't say!) and so would like to collect trustworthy information from sources such as:
  • Information leaflets, brochures, catalogues
  • Advertisements
  • Interviews
  • Articles
  • Websites
  • Personal recollections and first hand anecdotes
It would be great if any members of the forum could help me in my research, either by posting on this thread or sending me a private message (start a conversation) or an email.

I hope to be able to develop a timeline of Lawton mouthpiece history and produce some article that I will of course share with forum members.

Thanks in advance

Rhys
Rhys,
Not so sure to contribute much to the history of Lawton mouthpieces. In any case, thanks for working on it.
I'm presently playing on a fantastic Bari 6 STAR B and contemplate trying to find a BB, for brighter output. Somebody on the net is selling a M100 Lawton. Any idea of what it stands for ?
Thanks in advance
Jacques
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
Hi @Jacques5646 ,

In the early 1960s Geoff Lawton made mouthpieces with a colleague and they were branded "Lawton-Barton". They looked quite like the later Lawton mouthpieces on the outside, including the slide-on ligature, but internally had a square throat and straight sidewalls. They were only available for baritone and tenor and had "Lawton-Barton" in script marked on the top of the mouthpiece.

In 1965, after the death of Barton, Geoff rebranded his pieces as just "Lawton" and the internal design changed a bit. I think the material and finish also changed at that time.

Both the Lawton-Barton and very early Lawton mouthpieces had the tip opening marked on the table in a circle in thousandsths of an inch, so 100 stands for 0.100 inches tip opening. All of the Lawton-Barton and early Lawton pieces I have seen are marked with an "M" - I can only speculate that it stands for "medium chamber" (as for some other mouthpiece makes) but I'm not sure about that.

From 1967 onwards the Lawton sizes were stamped on the side of the mouthpieces rather than on the table.

I have Lawton-Bartons for tenor and baritone and they play well but I don't think they are as good as later Lawtons and so are mainly of historical interest to me. They had a single design of baffle and chamber and I would describe them as only moderately bright - probably less bright than the later Lawton B and much less bright than the BB model.

I paid maybe £150 to £200 for my but I have seen Lawton-Bartons advertised recently for much higher prices.

Hope that helps.

Rhys
 

Jacques5646

Right of the avatar !
Messages
42
Hi @Jacques5646 ,

In the early 1960s Geoff Lawton made mouthpieces with a colleague and they were branded "Lawton-Barton". They looked quite like the later Lawton mouthpieces on the outside, including the slide-on ligature, but internally had a square throat and straight sidewalls. They were only available for baritone and tenor and had "Lawton-Barton" in script marked on the top of the mouthpiece.

In 1965, after the death of Barton, Geoff rebranded his pieces as just "Lawton" and the internal design changed a bit. I think the material and finish also changed at that time.

Both the Lawton-Barton and very early Lawton mouthpieces had the tip opening marked on the table in a circle in thousandsths of an inch, so 100 stands for 0.100 inches tip opening. All of the Lawton-Barton and early Lawton pieces I have seen are marked with an "M" - I can only speculate that it stands for "medium chamber" (as for some other mouthpiece makes) but I'm not sure about that.

From 1967 onwards the Lawton sizes were stamped on the side of the mouthpieces rather than on the table.

I have Lawton-Bartons for tenor and baritone and they play well but I don't think they are as good as later Lawtons and so are mainly of historical interest to me. They had a single design of baffle and chamber and I would describe them as only moderately bright - probably less bright than the later Lawton B and much less bright than the BB model.

I paid maybe £150 to £200 for my but I have seen Lawton-Bartons advertised recently for much higher prices.

Hope that helps.

Rhys
Rhys,
It does help ! Many thanks for the quick answer. Have you any experience comparing the M100 response to a "B" or "BB" versions fo the later "Lawton only" models ?
 
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