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Discussion Starter #1
A follow up review of 3 more Saxscape mouthpieces.

Saxscape SL, Xtra Dark, and Fat Cat reviewed

I'm sure everyone would appreciate any feedback from anyone with experience with these mouthpieces.

Unrelated to the reviews - I'll be switching the focus of the blog to saxophone performance (technique and improvisation) with continued occasional reviews, so stop by next weekend to see the first new article.
 

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Thanks for the review. I really like Ken's mouthpieces. I have a Fat Cat right now that I love.
 

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Nice reviews, and tenor playing! I have an xtra dark prototype that I can't put down right now. You captured it when you said it is a dark piece with a little something to it. Love the altissimo response, and how easy it is to play. I can really hear myself better on this piece than any other I have played.
 

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I've made a lot of positive comments about the FatCat prototype I'm using, interesting that it seems like there are a lot of similarities as far as the positive qualities you noted in Ken's mouthpieces. Response and flexibility come to mind.

My FatCat experience is a bit different than yours, as I don't find it lacking resistance and it seems pretty robust in all registers. Besides possible difference in physiology and setup, mine is a prototype and I was also playing a smaller chamber metal Yani before which had almost no resistance. You're getting a pretty bright tone on there... that still a 3 1/2 reed?

Of course, your sound is fantastic on all three. I really liked your SL clip, maybe even better than your tone on the Naima. I probably liked the XDark 2nd best..

And I also have the same experience on my Saxscape as far as hearing myself a lot better.

Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Shawn, it was my normal 3 soft which works usually works fairly well on those tip openings. I wouldn't have wanted a reed size up though, it would have been too hard. Maybe just a harder gradient of the same strength reed.

As far as sound goes I agree with you on the Xtra Dark. I'm not a big fan of a super dark sound and it definitely doesn't fit my playing style, but that mouthpiece does feel amazing to play.
 

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Nice reviews and nice playing, thanks.

For anyone who is interested, Saxscape has been selling a large number of "prototype" versions of some of his tenor models in one day auctions on eBay over the past several weeks (or longer). Most models are Xtra Darks or Fat Cats in .102" tip openings. I got a couple of the Xtra Darks. They play great and the current winning bids on them are typically under $100, a pretty much once-in-a-lifetime deal in my opinion. I have no idea how much longer the auctions will last, but definitely worth a look if these intrigue you at all. Here's the seller link: http://shop.ebay.com/saxscape/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686
 

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Recently tried a slim-profile NF 108. Played fine - kinda' reminded my of a Lamberson SB, but altissimo wasn't there for me, and I didn't like the plastic it was made from - a weird softness/slipperiness to it, and it wasn't machined very cleanly...
 

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Recently tried a slim-profile NF 108. Played fine - kinda' reminded my of a Lamberson SB, but altissimo wasn't there for me, and I didn't like the plastic it was made from - a weird softness/slipperiness to it, and it wasn't machined very cleanly...
The couple I got also had minor machining issues. I'm guessing that this is what made them "prototypes," really seconds, but I don't know that for sure. The issue I saw is that the outer side on one side only isn't smoothly rounded. It's a cosmetic issue only, and a minor one. The chambers are rough too, but he explains that in the auction listing, and I suspect the production/first quality ones are the same. I don't play altissimo but one of the things that I liked best about them was how strong and full the palm keys sounded. To each their own, but again, for $75-$100, well worth a try. I might also comment not to take the "Xtra Dark" designation too seriously - for me at least, they don't play that dark and are definitely not in the least stuffy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Rackety, The models I played on were cosmetically good looking, I didn't inspect the chambers in much detail though.

I also agree that the "Xtra Dark" isn't stuffy at all. Dark, but clear and beautiful.
 

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Rackety, The models I played on were cosmetically good looking, I didn't inspect the chambers in much detail though.

I also agree that the "Xtra Dark" isn't stuffy at all. Dark, but clear and beautiful.
Just to be clear, mine are "prototypes" which he characterized in the eBay listings as possible seconds/b-stock, and, as clearly pictured in the listing, have "prototype" etched on the table, so I was not at all surprised or concerned by the minor cosmetic issues. Someone who is concerned could shell out the extra bucks (I think around $250 new) for a production piece. For me, the trade-off in price was very well worth it.
 

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I have been breaking myself in on a SL 110 for the past few months. It works very well on my vintage Mark VI. It has plenty of power and projection. I did add to the baffle slightly about 1/4" back from the tip. This did not change the "Linkish" tone that I could notice but did add some punch. I find it to be pretty reed friendly at size 2.5-3.0 and RR, RJS and Alexander NY all seem to work well with only subtle differences in tone and response. My main piece for a long time has been an RPC 115 high baffle. The SL compares very well with the RPC in playability, intonation, projection and I find myself using it more and more in practice sessions. From feedback on gigs, my RPC is regarded by my colleagues as on the "dark" side which is probably why it compares with the SL. One more thing, I find the SL to have slightly but significantly more focus than the RPC while the RPC has a bigger "bottom" and is more spread out. The latter can be modified somewhat on both by ligature placement and reed cut.
 
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