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M/Pieces - Ligs Tenor Sax mouthpiece review: Windcraft Etude Ebonite.

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
A few weeks ago I reviewed the Windcraft Etude Alto Sax mouthpiece, kindly loaned by Dawkes. Designed by Anton Weinberg, it was based on the Meyer G mouthpiece and I thought very highly of it - one of the best under £100.

This week I have been trialling the Tenor Sax mouthpiece and the following is my review:
The Etude Tenor is based on the Otto Link Tone Edge mouthpiece ( I've never played one) and is a normal size tenor piece.

When I was playing a few pieces I asked my musical wife of her dominant impressions of the sound produced. Her comment was "Vibrant and Dark" which feels very much my own experience - darker than most of the pieces that I have played. Regarding the darkness it did remind me of the Saxscape Xtra Dark mouthpiece, which Ken Barry describes as conveying a Selmer type vibe. It also compared well with my Barone Vintage - described as capturing a Stan Getz vibe. The Yanagisawa Ebonite is in the same zone of darkness, but seemed to lack the vibrancy that this piece possessed, and was more mellow.

Having tried a variety of pieces of music I did think that it was better suited to more traditional Jazz & Blues music - some Modal jazz and other 50's/60's music. It also sounded dynamic enough to play more Latin styles, but did not seem quite right with Rock and Funk. Classical music also sounded very good with it.

I used a Marc Jean Ligature, and tried several reeds - Rigotti Gold 2.5, Marca Jazz 2.5, Francois Louis Excellence 2.5 and Alexander NY 2. They all worked well and the Marca Jazz and Francois Louis Excellence made the most of the vibrancy to give a broader tonal pallette, which was very enjoyable. My favourite was the Marca Jazz which gave the set-up excellent volume for a small facing ( my guess is 0.085" or equivalent to an Otto Link 5*) as well as the greatest vibrancy and broadest tonal palette.

I really enjoyed playing the mouthpiece and think that it is easily one of the best mouthpieces under £100 (currently costs £49.95) -http://www.dawkes.co.uk/accessories/windcraft+ebonite+tenor+sax+mouthpiece+-amw602.html
It is billed as a step-up from a beginner mouthpiece (Intermediate?) but compares to the above pro pieces very well, especially with filed/jazz cut reeds, and a metal ligature.

Highly recommended, and easily accessible to absolute beginners as well as a good way to get a Link type piece at much less expense.

Kind regards
Tom
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Location
West Berks
Here's a user review of this mouthpiece. I'm not sure if I'm in the target audience for this product. I can't call myself an intermediate player. I've only got 10 months playing under my belt - and that's on alto. My teacher has currently got me learning ABRSM grade 3 pieces. I bought this mouthpiece a month ago to use with a borrowed tenor as the mouthpieces that came with it had tip openings that were too wide for me to handle. I'd never played a tenor before.

The more I play the Windcraft, the more I like it. Used with a Rico Royal #2, it's really easy to blow and I can play with a truly relaxed mouth. If I use a Rico Royal #2.5, it's noticeably more work at the moment, but boy what a tone. It could be Stan Getz playing long tones. I'm serious; it really does sound that smooth. I've never tried to subtone before, but it is easy to get that sultry breathy tone on it with the 2.5 reed. The only beginner mouthpiece I can compare it to is a Yamaha 4C that came with my recently purchased Yamaha 62 tenor. As the 4C has a smaller tip opening I thought it might be an even easier blow. To be honest, if there is a difference in effort between the two mouthpieces it must be quite small because they feel much the same to me.

At a smidge under fifty quid this mouthpiece deserves to be far more popular. It represents tremendous value for money. Tom is to be congratulated for his review and for bringing it to the group's attention.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Thanks for that, Paul! If possible try getting hold of a "Jazz" cut reed to try with it - Marca Jazz 2.5, Rico Jazz Select 2M and similar, and see how that sounds.

Which exams are you doing - Jazz or ordinary ABRSM grades?
Kind regards
Tom
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Location
West Berks
If possible try getting hold of a "Jazz" cut reed to try with it - Marca Jazz 2.5, Rico Jazz Select 2M and similar, and see how that sounds.

Spookily I ordered some Rico Jazz Select 2M last night because they appear to fall in between the 2's and 2.5's I have. They work well on my alto, so let's see how the tenor ones perform.

Which exams are you doing - Jazz or ordinary ABRSM grades?

I'm doing the conventional ABRSM grades. Mind you, there's both Gershwin and Kurt Weill on the syllabus which is jazzy enough for me at my present stage of development.

Regards, Paul
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
1,002
Location
Worcestershire
Ordered a Windcraft Etude Ebonite (tenor) yesterday (as well as the Bari Esprit II Alto mp from one of Tom's other reviews) and a selection of reeds.

Tom, your reviews are clearly having too much influence over me and giving me GAS.
But keep up the excellent work anyway.

Will report how I get on with the mp in due course.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
I'll have to do a review of Imported Tenor Sax mouthpieces next (Phil-Tone Eclipse and Equinox; Saxscape Live, Downtown & Hudson, Mouthpiece Cafe House Blend, Claude Lakey Apollo & Phil Barone Vintage) and up the ante!
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
1,002
Location
Worcestershire
Er no Tom those sound FAR too expensive thanks!

A question though if I may: My Wincraft Tenor Etude came today (ordered 2 days ago). I just wondered what packaging yours came with? i.e. Was there a box or a leaflet, and are there any markings on the mouthpiece?

Mine came in a clear plastic tube with no graphics or writing on it at all (the tube that is), and the mouthpiece itself just has a Windcraft logo and nothing to say what it is.

Gave it a good blow tonight - fits fine. My chops are too novice to give much meaningful feedback but it seems fine. Doesn't feel startlingly different to my Yam 4c to me so far but give me time :)
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
That was exactly how my mouthpiece arrived when I had it on loan. I have to say that I generally find the Yamaha 4C mouthpieces quite neutral sounding and on the brighter side. You may find a "Jazz" reed gets the best out of the Etude, and peoples sound will inevitably develop with time. What reeds do you cyrrently use?

Kind regards
Tom
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
1,002
Location
Worcestershire
Thanks Tom,
I'm experimenting with various reeds, but mainly because of the issues with tinny tone and the unstable fluffy middle D on the old King. It doesn't really give the mouthpiece a fair chance to shine. Generally I've been using standard Rico 2s but just for the middle D and tinny tone I sometimes play a 1.5 (or even a 1 on the old Berg Larsen 110 mp) which help a bit with those issues. Before realising that softer reeds were useful I ordered some Rico Jazz Select Filed 2H and some Gonzales Jazz Local 627 2.5 reeds to experiment with but am finding these very difficult with the middle D. Maybe some softer "Jazz" reeds might be worth a try until I find a better solution to the horn's (or my) issues (or just buy a new tenor!)
Thanks again for the suggestion :thumb:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Its possibly a sax problem, some leak or so especially as the D has all main keys closed - a leak is a strong possibility. I have to say I really struggle with Gonzalez reeds - just been trying some 627 2.25 reeds on alto and just too inflexible. Marca Jazz are suberb Jazz reeds on Tenor (and soprano and alto too!).
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Location
Sturton by Stow, Lincoln
Ooooh Tom what are you doing to the bank balance?

Ok, so as you know I have just purchased my BW Bronze Series Alto & Tenor. Windblowers automatically upgraded the mouthpieces to Yamaha 4C on both.

With my Yani Tenor, I have the S80C and Rico Metalite which are the most dominant two of my three mp's I use.

I was thinking to get matching Rico Metalites for the alto and soprano with the money I saved from my original purchase. Your review now has me wondering whether I would be better to chunk up to the Windcraft choices?

Oh, and I had just ordered some Rico Jazz Select 2M this morning along with pad saver kits for my two new beasts.

What is your valued opinon please?

Cheers

Mel
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,215
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Hi Mel!

On Alto I had the Rico Metalite for a few weeks. Very similar to the Vandoren Jumbo Java and I found it just too bright and a lacking a nice tone - so sold it on. The Alto pieces I would recommend at under £50 are: Runyon 22 - Charlie Parkers original mouthpiece, made by Santy Runyon, who was one of his original teachers (about £30 from East Coast Wind and sax.co.uk); Clark Fobes Debut, hand finished piece, (available at Howarth for £36); Bari Esprit II, available from Ackerman Music and others - costs £14 and is superb; Windcraft Etude from Dawkes at £44.95 or so - excellent piece. I prefer all of them to the Yamaha 4C, which is OK but lacks depth from my experience. A white Runyon 22 would look cool on your Bronze BW!

There is a Bari Esprit soprano which I have and rate highly, too - warmer than the Yamaha. I used to play a Rico Graftonite (Royal) B7 which I also liked. As the soprano is small it does need a top quality made mouthpiece in my opinion, and there are not as many cheaper ones out there, and Windcraft don't make one - not cost-effective/financially worthwhile, apparently.

Hope my opinion has some value!
Kind regards
Tom
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Location
Sturton by Stow, Lincoln
Hi Mel!

Hope my opinion has some value!
Kind regards
Tom


It absolutely does, otherwise I wouldn't have asked the question! I've got myself a Soprano Rico Graftonite B7 on its way now. Was a challenge to find, and didn't manage to find the Bari Esprit for it at all. Anyways, will see how I go with this. It hasn't broken the bank.

On the alto recommendations, would you mind adding which lay on the Runyan 22 you would recommend for my Bronze?

Thanks again Tom

Mel
 

Jez Watson

Member
Messages
283
Location
UK
i have both Windcraft Etude pieces for alto and tenor, i am mainly a tenor player, the Etude for Tenor i can confirm is a 6, i have just ordered one and asked for Anton to open it up to a 6*, will see how that goes in comparison, they are great value.
 

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