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M/Pieces - Ligs Lawton Mouthpieces...

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,076
Hello,

I've just been playing a Lawton 6BB tenor mouthpiece for the last couple of hours and I've become curious to know more about Lawton mouthpieces. The one I've been playing has kindly been lent to me and will unfortunately have to go back. I've had a quick hunt on the web but can't see a Lawton website anywhere but sax.co.uk say that Lawton mouthpieces are still being made.

If I understand rightly Geoff Lawton died and his son, Jason(?) hand finished whatever blanks were left over. But what's the situation with the new ones that are being offered? Are they still made by the Lawton family? are they faithful to the originals?

Best wishes,

Chris
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
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3,587
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Surrey, UK
I'm a real Lawton enthusiast and have quite a selection for soprano, alto, tenor and baritone in a range of materials, designs and finishes.

My favourite tenor mouthpiece of all is a Lawton 8starBR and on alto it's a Lawton ICON 6starBB. Both of them were great already but have been "tidied up" by Lawrie Waldron of LAW mouthpieces.

I have spoken on the 'phone to Geoff Lawton a few years before he died and a couple of years ago to Jason, when I was trying to track down a particular model. Geoff was a great experimenter as well as a craftsman, so he had many prototype models and kept developing new designs. Jason is basically concentrating on a few standard models that are popular and producing them in small numbers.

There was an interesting interview in the journal of the Clarinet & Saxophone Society (CASS) a few years ago, where John Robert Brown chatted with Geoff Lawton. It is on JRB's website at: http://www.john-robert-brown.com/geoff-lawton.htm

The three basic designs of Geoff's are the BB (high baffle), the B (medium baffle) and the no letter (low baffle, large chamber). He made them in ebonite, stainless steel, nickel-silver and in bell-bronze. He must have made a lot of mouthpieces over the years, because there are always a few available used on eBay. Selling prices are usually in the range £150 to £250 but there is someone in the US who is constantly advertising a few models at around $700 each, but they never seem to get sold !

Happy to answer any more questions you have.

Rhys
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
I'm also a long time Lawton player - my first mouthpiece was a Lawton 7 for tenor. They're great, great pieces.

Jason Lawton is managing to supply a good range of mouthpieces, and is, I think, manufacturing mouthpieces, rather than just finishing off his late Dad's work.

I've had both Geoff Lawton and Jason Lawton ones, and can honestly say, whatever the folklore on US web sites would have you believe, that there is no difference in quality between the two types. Quite why anyone would pay the dollar equivalent of £470 for an old Lawton when you can get a brand new one for half that in your choice of spec escapes me.

Jon
 
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Chris98

Chris98

Senior Member
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1,076
Hi Rhys and Jon,

I couldn’t help but notice your enthusiasm for the Lawtons!

I tried it without any preconceived ideas of how it would sound, which is perhaps the best way to try something new, it was only afterwards that I started to do a little research. Initially I tried a RJS and didn’t like the tone at all, nasal and brittle, but then thought it might be worth while trying a different reed. I had a Java 2.5 lying about that didn’t work on my PPT, it quickly went mushy a dead sounding, but on the Lawton it was really, really nice. I’m tempted to try a V16 if I’ve still got one and a new RJS tonight just to see how it handles them.

I was impressed with the ligature, it just works and no fuss, and looking at the reed afterwards it was clear by the moisture outline how well it sealed against the table. I presume they all come with that ligature that slides on the rails?

Have either of you any experience with the B or ‘no letter’ models? I’m curious to know how the differ tonally.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
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3,587
Location
Surrey, UK
Yup, I really like the Lawton slide-on ligature and the reed cover that goes with it. As far as I know all Lawtons have that design, but they will work with other ligatures too.

What follows is personal opinion on the sound of the different Lawton models I have played. Generally I find them reed-friendly and play them with RJS, Vandoren Java or the new Legere Signature.

I've got 'no letter', B and BB models and also the ICON BB which is a slightly different design and made from a cast blank rather than machined from solid as the other Lawtons are.

For me, the normal BB model is too bright or harsh and not flexible enough, although I like the core sound. It's always very edgy and difficult to play with a softer sound. It's also very LOUD !

The B model is a nice compromise between edge and warmth and quite flexible. Maybe not quite enough edge for rock and soul playing but good for most sorts of jazz.

The 'no letter' model has a bigger sound and more warmth but it is harder for me to get brightness.

The ICON is usually only in the BB model, but its internal design is quite different from the standard BB model which has a high, flat baffle and a sharp-edged bullet shape into the chamber. The ICON is still a high baffle piece, but falls away quicker and in a smoother shape. Actually, the ICONs seems to come with slight differences and I guess that Geoff kept experimenting and modifying as he went. Anyway, for me the ICON has brightness, but also flexibility and a bit of warmth. It's the model I choose to play for rock and soul where there are loud guitars, drums etc to compete with. There aren't so many of them about and they command higher prices 2nd hand than the other models, but are worth looking out for. Mainly for tenor, but I have got an alto ICON too.

Rhys
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
I agree with Rhys - I've got or had plain letter, B and BB Lawtons. Plain letter brightens up a bit with a brighter reed but is basically a darker sound. B model is a good compromise. I find that with a RJS the BB is too bright, but more useable with a less bright reed.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
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1,606
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Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
I tried out a couple of Lawton mouthpieces at Sax.co at Crowborough recently for alto and Sop and was most impressed by there ease of playing and clear volume. I also really liked the ligature system, so simple, strong and easy to use. Only reason I didn't buy them was I found the Otto link tonemaster (for alto) and the metal Yanagasawa (for Sop) were just that little bit sweeter in sound and dynamics.
Cheers
Jimu
 
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Chris98

Chris98

Senior Member
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1,076
Hi Jon and Rhys,

Thanks for the info on the various versions and less common versions.

Tonight I went straight ahead and prepped a new V16 2.5 reed and it played really well on the Lawton, I find the V16's to be just that bit harder than the same strength java. I also tend to think of the V16's being a little less percussive and with more body, which is certainly how it responded.

I feel I have to work a bit more with the Lawton than the PPT, not in an exaggerated way and it was very natural but I realised I was adapting more for some notes. I'm not feeling as flexible both with dynamics and tonally, but that might be just getting used to it - having said that, there is something very compelling about it. I know now that this particular piece would be lovely to own but would unlikely be my main piece, I think the bright tone would become tiring everyday. I'd love to try a 7*B or 7* one day. It will be sad to hand it back, but I'm really grateful to have had the chance to try it.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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I've got a 9* LW for tenor. Not sure where that stands in relation to the others. Although it's very nice, I don't play it that often cos it's a bit mellow for my usual stuff - but it's good for ballady things. I generally use a Jazz Select 3M or LaVoz MH on it.
 

rhysonsax

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Surrey, UK
I've got a 9* LW for tenor. Not sure where that stands in relation to the others. Although it's very nice, I don't play it that often cos it's a bit mellow for my usual stuff - but it's good for ballady things. I generally use a Jazz Select 3M or LaVoz MH on it.
9star (Lawton spells out star rather than using * on the marking) would be a very open (0.125" tip opening), 'no letter' (i.e. low baffle, large chamber) with a Long Window (i.e. cut-out beneath the reed is extended more than on standard mouthpieces).

I would really struggle to play a medium or hard reed on such an open mouthpiece, so maybe that would contribute to a breathy sound.

Rhys
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Ta. Sorry, what I meant was: I don't know where that stands in relation to the other Bs and BBs regarding baffle height and consequent sound. BTW it's not breathy, just mellow (compared to my usual ones - Guardala MBII or metal Runyon Quantum 16 with the same reeds - except the latest lot of Select 3Ms are proving a tad soft on the MBII).
 
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rhysonsax

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Location
Surrey, UK
Ta. Sorry, what I meant was: I don't know where that stands in relation to the other Bs and BBs regarding baffle height and consequent sound. BTW it's not breathy, just mellow (compared to my usual ones - Guardala MBII or metal Runyon Quantum 16 with the same reeds - except the latest lot of Select 3Ms are proving a tad soft on the MBII).
Sorry, I should have said that a wide open piece with those sort of reeds would be breathy for me !

Lawtons without the B or BB marking are 'plain' or 'no letter' and are the darkest/warmest sounding so that would be your "mellow". Here are the descriptions from Geoff Lawton's leaflets:

  • Plain Numbers. Large chamber, low baffle for a big dark tone, ideally suited for Orchestral, classical and Jazz playing.
  • Model B. Medium chamber and baffle for brilliant full tone. Specifically designed for projection (big band work and Jazz playing)
  • Model BB. Medium chamber and high baffle for maximum power and edge. Ideal for Jazz rock and producing harmonics

Rhys
 

dooce

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1,415
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Daventry
The 2 best mouthpieces I ever had have been as result of going into a sax-shop and being told what I should be using by someone who knows that of which they talk. The first was a Lawton 7B, bought with my Conn 10M, and while I had the Conn I never played anything else. It never worked as well with the Cannonball though, and when I was trying it in Woodwind & Reed, hearing I was struggling with it, the lovely bloke who runs the sax department whipped out a Link STM and it transformed the beast. I took it home but it took me weeks of playing the 2 back to back before I accepted that, for whatever reason, he was right and I sold the Lawton. For about 100 quid more than I paid for it - which was nice.........
 

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
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England, UK
I was lucky enough to be given a Lawton 6B tenor m/p by a chap in my band. He said I could borrow it and when I played a solo break on it he said it improved my sound no end so I might aswell keep it providing I used it (Which I do on a weekly basis!)
I really like Lawtons and it has to be the best metal I have played on. I do have a m/p patch becuase of exposed enamel on my front tooth, which bloomin hurts sometimes! (Getting it filled on fri!)
I find that sometimes it plays up in hot weather but prob down to my playing more than anything so I have to manage this a bit better!
 

milandro

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2,489
Location
the Netherlands
I have acquired a tenor Lawton 8b when buying a 1976 Mark VII tenor. It has been used a lot and has lost lots of its plating and has some deep teeth marks (the horn had lost all lacquer too ........clear indication of much playing!).

Anyway, it has to be said that this size is a little uncomfortable for me (that's why I am selling it) , just a tad too open, but it is a great mouthpiece with bags and bags of power. The sound is not unlike my Ponzol M1 105 (although a completely differently made mouthpiece ) , well, perhaps a little brighter. I have to say that the best ligature in the world has to be the built in Lawton system which I wish all mouthpieces would have!
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
Hi Milandro

Are you referring to the one you posted about on SOTW which looks like it's been hit by a shotgun blast? If so, how much would you sell it for? I might just be interested.
 

peterpick

Member
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353
Location
Lewes, East Sussex
i do love a lawton. but in ebonite. i use one on soprano (an 8 at the moment, no 'b') and like to have one available for alto. so i'm looking for a tenor piece, perhaps 7b. but in ebonite. although controllable, the metal lawtons do have a tendency to be a bit shrill.. my taste, of course. i have a couple of metal ones for alto - incidentally lawtons are great at playing through the problems on slightly dodgy saxes, i wonder why that is.... perhaps not the best thing to test your new purchase with, in that case.... i'll tell you another irrelevant thing - i really like keilwerth mouthpieces. in this i confidently expect to be unique.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
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3,587
Location
Surrey, UK
i do love a lawton. but in ebonite. i use one on soprano (an 8 at the moment, no 'b') and like to have one available for alto. so i'm looking for a tenor piece, perhaps 7b. but in ebonite. although controllable, the metal lawtons do have a tendency to be a bit shrill.. my taste, of course. i have a couple of metal ones for alto - incidentally lawtons are great at playing through the problems on slightly dodgy saxes, i wonder why that is.... perhaps not the best thing to test your new purchase with, in that case.... i'll tell you another irrelevant thing - i really like keilwerth mouthpieces. in this i confidently expect to be unique.
Hi @peterpick

Just by coincidence I spotted this ebonite Lawton 7 Star B tenor piece on eBay. Saxophon Mundstück Tenor Saxophon Lawton 7 star B Kautschuk. | eBay

I'm nothing to do with the seller, but the piece looks OK and the ebonite models don't appear for sale very often.

Rhys
 
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