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Mouthpieces New "Phil-Tone" Sapphire Soprano Sax Mouthpiece

Tonykaye17

New Member
Messages
9
Locality
Devon
I wanted to put a word up about the Phil Tone Sapphire soprano mouthpiece. I posted some thoughts on another thread but Aldevis suggested that I start a dedicated thread for this piece.

First off, I have been mainly a tenor player and have only been playing the soprano properly for the last year so I'm relatively inexperienced on this horn. Please interpret my views in the light of this! I play a Selmer SA 80 ser. 2 and a Beuscher TT. On these I have owned and played a no name vintage large chamber piece refaced by Sakshama, A Drake Son of Slant and a Soprano Planet Missing Link. I found the Drake very free blowing and found control and intonation hard as a result, although I know many love this piece. The vintage large chamber was stuffy for me and again the intonation was challenging. I loved the Missing Link and that was my main sop piece until I got the Sapphire. The Missing Link is definitely a keeper. I have sold the others.

I ordered and received my Sapphire from Phil about a month ago. Phil is a really good guy and great to deal with. His turnaround is quick too. His refacing and tenor and alto pieces have a fan following on Sax on the Web but this is his first foray into soprano pieces. Phil will work with the buyer to vary the baffle on the Sapphire and other pieces to optimise the sound to the players requirements within the design concept of the piece.

I have loved this piece and haven't taken it off the horn since I got it. It's got a great full rich tone, but with quite a bit of flexibility (I'm not a fan of the more nasal tone of some soprano set ups). The intonation is really good on both my horns (it plays easily in tune on my TT as well as the Selmer which isn't true of other modern pieces that I have tried on it). Some have said that the barrel might be too long on vintage sops, but I haven't found that to be the case on my TT. The response is great and it plays beautifully and easily through the whole range of the horn, but gives enough resistance to give control (which I need on soprano).

Because of my inexperience relative to many on this forum I have put some edited comments from other, more experienced, players from a thread in SOTW below. I hope that these, together with my thoughts will give others a flavour of the piece. If you are looking for a full rich tone with control and flexibility on soprano, I think the Sapphire has to be a contender!

Tony

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...hpiece&highlight=Phil+tone+soprano+mouthpiece

Phil Tone
I was after something a little different, something non abrasive and pleasant to the ear with more subtle tones. Altering that is just a small shift in how the piece is made. The piece can also be made brighter and more punchy.

Dave Dolson
In a word, Phil's soprano mouthpiece is sweet. If I didn't already have some great mouthpieces with more open tips, I'd be clamoring to buy Phil's piece right out of the pass-around. I'm wondering how Phil's piece would play for me if he made it with a more open tip, say the .070 size that seems to work perfectly for me?

As far as playing Phil's piece goes, it was very responsive, had a great sound to it (not nasal or oboeish), the intonation was superb, and the sound was very focused. No spread in this piece.

DCTWells
I received Phil's newest creation for soprano in the mail yesterday. I've had a lot of fun playing this mouthpiece!

I compared three mouthpieces (Sapphire, a Riffault .055 refaced by Erik G and a Morgan Large Chamber piece in a .060 tip) and found the Sapphire to give me the best of these mouthpieces. I find the sound falls right in the middle, not as focused as the Riffault and not as spread as the Morgan. The intonation is just as easy to control as the Riffault, and I can push lots of air through the horn like on the Morgan. The Sapphire is a powerful piece, but not particularly "edgy" unless you really try to push it that direction. I could imagine using thismouthpiececomfortably in virtually any musical situation with no problems.

Sapphire Reflections
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13047844

Sapphire For Lovers
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13047845

BlownSi05
The tone is open and clear, but not overly bright or harsh. Very smooth and thick, but it can be pushed to get a little of that Wayne Shorter type of tone, i.e. his recording of "Beauty and the Beast" on the Native Dancer album. Shorter has a wide range of tonal qualities in his soprano sound. I would say that the Sapphire gives, to me at least, a solid middle ground between his very dark and hollow softer tones and his really bright and edgy louder tone. The piece is very easy to control and allows for some crazy swings in dynamics, always with a really solid core. This seems to be the most notable feature I have noticed on all of Phil's pieces. Of course the craftsmanship as usual is top notch.

The new sapphire soprano piece is just a continuation of Phil's excellence in craftsmanship and knowledge of sound.

Dr G
Phil has one sweet sop 'piece here. I shared this with him today:

This 'piece is great stuff. I've continued A/B/C'ing it with my Link/Tenney and Lamberson, and I really like a lot of its qualities. It has a rich sonority with my Borgani sop, and is especially comfortable for me to play compared to the small beak of the Lamberson. I've been playing the Fmaj7 for so long, that I have to alter my blow for the Sapphire, but once I do, the sound is amazingly full. Similarly for the palm keys - it's a different animal, and as soon as I adjust to it, it becomes quite a natural piece. It is very efficient - I get a wider dynamic range on it that on the Link/Tenney. Articulation is excellent.

Bottom line: This Sapphire has all the positive qualities of my Lamberson Fmaj7, plus better comfort for extended playing, and a richer voice that I love.

DJM0226
Philtone Sapphire Passaround .065: Phil's Sapphire is a special piece! Really hit the spot for me. Reminded me of the first time I played my Philtone Rift alto. It does share many similar qualities: good focus, projection, but still warm, flexible and full! Good intonation and response on my setup. The Sapphire takes what I like about the Lamberson and what I like about the Tenney Link and combines them into one piece! One piece to rule them all!
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
751
Locality
London
I wanted to put a word up about the Phil Tone Sapphire soprano mouthpiece. I posted some thoughts on another thread but Aldevis suggested that I start a dedicated thread for this piece.

First off, I have been mainly a tenor player and have only been playing the soprano properly for the last year so I'm relatively inexperienced on this horn. Please interpret my views in the light of this! I play a Selmer SA 80 ser. 2 and a Beuscher TT. On these I have owned and played a no name vintage large chamber piece refaced by Sakshama, A Drake Son of Slant and a Soprano Planet Missing Link. I found the Drake very free blowing and found control and intonation hard as a result, although I know many love this piece. The vintage large chamber was stuffy for me and again the intonation was challenging. I loved the Missing Link and that was my main sop piece until I got the Sapphire. The Missing Link is definitely a keeper. I have sold the others.

I ordered and received my Sapphire from Phil about a month ago. Phil is a really good guy and great to deal with. His turnaround is quick too. His refacing and tenor and alto pieces have a fan following on Sax on the Web but this is his first foray into soprano pieces. Phil will work with the buyer to vary the baffle on the Sapphire and other pieces to optimise the sound to the players requirements within the design concept of the piece.

I have loved this piece and haven't taken it off the horn since I got it. It's got a great full rich tone, but with quite a bit of flexibility (I'm not a fan of the more nasal tone of some soprano set ups). The intonation is really good on both my horns (it plays easily in tune on my TT as well as the Selmer which isn't true of other modern pieces that I have tried on it). Some have said that the barrel might be too long on vintage sops, but I haven't found that to be the case on my TT. The response is great and it plays beautifully and easily through the whole range of the horn, but gives enough resistance to give control (which I need on soprano).

Because of my inexperience relative to many on this forum I have put some edited comments from other, more experienced, players from a thread in SOTW below. I hope that these, together with my thoughts will give others a flavour of the piece. If you are looking for a full rich tone with control and flexibility on soprano, I think the Sapphire has to be a contender!

Tony

I agree, the Phil-Tone soprano Sapphires are great pieces. I have two here at the moment, a .070" and a .065" courtesy of Dick Hamer at South Wales Woodwind. I prefer a .060" tip and have ordered one from Dick.

I think they have a really perfect balance of tone, with a little more edge than my Navarro Maestra and the PPT. Most impressive is that even though the two I have here are too open for me, they blow perfectly right into the altissimo and retain excellent intonation throughout on my Selmer S3 which can be a tricky instrument in the palm keys.

In the past I have really only rated two makers of soprano mouthpieces (outside of Vandoren which I use for classical) - Joe Giardullo of Soprano Planet and Ed Pillinger - but Phil-Tone has really shown that he has the eye for detail to get the soprano piece right, no mean feat on such a small piece. Blows other high priced mouthpieces right out of the water.
 

saxflutist

Member
Messages
59
Locality
London UK
I completely agree on the positive evaluations of the PT Sapphire.
A PT Sapphire 7 has been my main tenor mouthpiece for about 3 years and no plan to change. I have played many great mouthpieces ( I admit, more metal than HR) but this works really best for me. Superb tone, flexibility and reed-friendliness are the highlights, in my opinion.

Of course mouthpieces are subjective matters, and many players' needs and preferences change over time!
 

saxflutist

Member
Messages
59
Locality
London UK
Sorry - I just realised that this thread was about a Soprano mouthpiece, not tenor!!:confused2:

Now I must get a Sapphire for soprano too!!!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,022
Locality
London
Sorry - I just realised that this thread was about a Soprano mouthpiece, not tenor!!:confused2:

Now I must get a Sapphire for soprano too!!!
You are right. Better more than one, for a fair comparison.

I am sure that you noticed that we seldom go off-topic
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,022
Locality
London
Note: under articles and resources I reviewed the Tenor Sapphire. It would be great if you added your comments
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,022
Locality
London
Yeah that's right! I'd do anything to improve my flute tone that suffers from years of neglect...
I thought that we own flutes only to set them up at big band gigs.
From time to time, we pick them up and pretend we play (don't forget to blame trumpets for being too loud, afterwards)
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,951
Locality
Manchester, UK
I thought that we own flutes only to set them up at big band gigs.
From time to time, we pick them up and pretend we play (don't forget to blame trumpets for being too loud, afterwards)
Yes I've seen that recently in an an otherwise rather good big band playing Stan Kenton charts. Four sax players with flutes to their mouths, at most two of them actually playing.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,022
Locality
London
Yes I've seen that recently in an an otherwise rather good big band playing Stan Kenton charts. Four sax players with flutes to their mouths, at most two of them actually playing.
The amazing thing is that even a single player can be out of tune with himself.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,951
Locality
Manchester, UK
The amazing thing is that even a single player can be out of tune with himself.
I have more problems in that department with sax than with flute. Problem with the flute is that half the notes dobn't sound at all and I can't tell what I'm doing differently. Clearly what I need is a really expensive head joint (feeble attempt to steer back on topic)
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,022
Locality
London
Clearly what I need is a really expensive head joint (feeble attempt to steer back on topic)
Only flutes with silver keywork actually make a difference.

This said, the easiest flute I ever played was a student Yamaha with a headjoint purposely made by Cooper for the owner (a sax player, friend of him)

purposely edited, after linguistic remarks in following posts:

This said, the easiest flute I ever played, better still, was a student Yamaha with a head-joint incidentally purpose-built especially for the owner (a sax player, friend of him) by Cooper.
 
Last edited:

saxflutist

Member
Messages
59
Locality
London UK
Has anyone compared - intentionally or not! - a PT Sapphire for soprano with a Theo Wanne Gaia?
I play tested a TW Gaia 8, some time ago, and it was too open for me but I liked the piece especially for its huge sound in the lower octave and was planning to order a 7 (.065), but now am intrigued by the Sapphire.
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
751
Locality
London
Has anyone compared - intentionally or not! - a PT Sapphire for soprano with a Theo Wanne Gaia?
I play tested a TW Gaia 8, some time ago, and it was too open for me but I liked the piece especially for its huge sound in the lower octave and was planning to order a 7 (.065), but now am intrigued by the Sapphire.

Yes indeed. I bought a Gaia soprano 6 a couple of years ago but sold it last year.
Short answer, the Phil-tone is far and away the better piece for me. Go Phil-tone.
Long answer, the Gaia was extremely well made, played huge in the lower register, but to my mind the facing is too long and too weak to adequately support the palm key register, particularly on my Selmer S3 which is designed for smaller bore pieces.
The Phil-tone is, to a glance, more similar to the conventional Selmer soloist construction, but the one I have just plays fantastically well top to bottom with a bit of edge on top of a solid tonal core.
IMO there should be no comparison: as a serious srano player the PT wins hands down.
 
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