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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody.
I had the chance to try a "Bergonzi Master Series" 10* tenor piece (I've bought this for a friend) so I'd like to write down some lines about this piece... hope it can be useful.

I have to say I always love Aaron's creations... and I've always think he is a great craftsman, who has always in mind the needs of saxophone players.
In Drake (original) mouthpieces I definitely love the natural/neutral sounds (for me... it simply seems the mouthpiece amplify the sound I have in mind) and the overall response (they always have a good resistance which, to me, helps to keep the sound even through the all the register).

Aaron told me this piece is based on the personal Early Babbitt Florida blank, owned by Jerry Bergonzi... I (me and the friend I bought the mouthpiece for) was pretty curious about how Aaron had interpreted Jerry requirements.
Well... about the "Bergonzi": after a few minutes playing it, I realized Aaron truly followed a different philosophy for this mouthpiece (and I think also for the other "Master Series" models) than for his original creations.

Most of people will think the "Bergonzi" is something similar to his "Son of Slant" and the piece is made only for commecial purposes: I have to disprove.
The piece is made from a different blank (from all other Drake mouthpiece), it has a different chamber/baffle then its "Slant brothers" (SoS medium and large chamber)... it sounds so different.
The SoS features a dark organic sound with a very good attack, perfect balance of overtones and pretty neutral on the midrange frequencies... I think it's a extremely versatile piece, you can drive it into many sound directions.
Being "neutral" is something some people like, some people don't... I personally do like "neutrality".

The "Bergonzi" has a true vintage vibe, not only on the advertisement: it has a very strong character... more complexity on the midrange, smoother attack and a different focus.
These are the typical thing people look for in an "original vintage" mouthpiece... in an original vintage hard rubber Link.
It works with many kind of reeds so it's still very versatile (to me, not versatile as the SoS... but perfect for every kind of jazz gig... from small gigs to large big band sets)... you can still bring out a very good palette of sounds, you can bring out all the 60ies tenor jazz tones with great ease (the piece I tried was a 10* but Aaron makes it in 7*, 8*, 9* too) and beyond.
It's pretty loud... almost like the Son of Slant, probably somewhat more (due to more baffle).

Then, I found all the other good characteristics of Aaron pieces:
- it has a tad of good compression... the sound tends to remain "thick" and "elegant" even when you push hard or you overblow.
- it's plenty of definition: perfect balance of overtone (and no thinning out in the high register) and pretty the same attack in the low register and in high register.
[I've tried not thousands but many vintage Link... all of them have a strong character but in most them I found that the low register was a little too less definied... and the high register tended to bite a little too much... and to understand this I used many different reeds... I'm also sure that with some practise, this things would have been solved].

I think this mouthpiece is a great addiction to Drake mouthpieces catalog (and another expression of Aaron's mastery).. and it's one of the few mouthpiece on the market which provide a true vintage feeling/sound with the ease of a handcrafted modern piece.

I strongly recommend this piece to who wants a "traditional vintage hr Link sound", without spending an arm and a leg for an "original" vintage Link.
I think even vintage lovers can easily appreciate this mouthpiece... because it's made by a saxophonist for a saxophonist.
 

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I just got one of these in a 7*; its a great mouthpiece!
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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I sold Jerry that 10* EB and his 10* slant.

I would be very curious how that copy of his EB plays, since i spent alot of time playing that particular piece.
I know that piece very well, as it was my MAIN piece for a long while.
I will contact Aaron and get one in here soon. Looking forward to playing it.
Thanks for the post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
@hicapiej: I got a bunch of friends who are also curious about new products. So sometimes we arrange a collective purchase... and then (when the mouthpieces arrives, we like to share some impressions).

@10mfan: another friend of mine attended a workshop with Jerry a couple a months ago... I saw him play with his signature Drake and he alternated the EB 10*, the Slant 10* and Soloist 10* (!!!) (it's good if the "master" plays his signature piece not only on the advertisement).
He told me Jerry with the Drake played virtually like with the EB... the small differences could be the same differences between two diffent EBs 10*.

I think people don't like the SoS for its "neutrality" (I don't have a better word for the moment), they'll certainly appreciate the "vintage character" of the "Bergonzi".
 

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What makes you think it is made from a different blank?
Can you tell us more about the chamber and the baffle in comparison to his SOS or his NY?
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Mark I really hope you can get one in here and post your impressions. I can't think of anyone more qualified to examine and play-test this mouthpiece in question than you, and it would really give us an idea on how accurately Aaron is able to recreate these mouthpieces.

- Saxaholic
 

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Hi,
Thanks bro---but I'm not a fan of posting stuff like that.
I feel everyone is entitled to make whatever they make for mouthpieces, and some will enjoy them and others won't.
That's just human nature.

I'll be curious for my own interest to see if it's close to the piece I played for a long time. I'm still a believer that there's nothing better than a great vintage Link, for what I like to sound like on tenor.
I don't like Links for alto---but again, it's all subjective.

Just have fun on your own personal journey to find the sound you are searching for...thats what I tell EVERYONE.



SH*T---I play a Claude Lakey Symphony model on alto and love it more than any other mpc for me. GO FIGURE, WITH ALL THE MPC'S I GET THROUGH HERE, AND I END UP ON THIS HUNK OF PLASTIC! LOL

My opinion shouldn't matter to anyone else but myself. If I dont like the Drake piece much, I don't think it's right to say it isnt good,or isnt a good copy---- because someone else will play it and absolutley love it.

Too much negativety going around and lots of people like to bash the other guy for different reasons. I dont like that crap. The only opinion that really matters, is your own.

LIVE AND LET LIVE---ENJOY YOUR OWN JOURNEY.




I will get a Drake 10* in and I look forward to trying it.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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Hi,
Thanks bro---but I'm not a fan of posting stuff like that.
I feel everyone is entitled to make whatever they make for mouthpieces, and some will enjoy them and others won't.
That's just human nature.

I'll be curious for my own interest to see if it's close to the piece I played for a long time. I'm still a believer that there's nothing better than a great vintage Link, for what I like to sound like on tenor.
I don't like Links for alto---but again, it's all subjective.

Just have fun on your own personal journey to find the sound you are searching for...thats what I tell EVERYONE.



SH*T---I play a Claude Lakey Symphony model on alto and love it more than any other mpc for me. GO FIGURE, WITH ALL THE MPC'S I GET THROUGH HERE, AND I END UP ON THIS HUNK OF PLASTIC! LOL

My opinion shouldn't matter to anyone else but myself. If I dont like the Drake piece much, I don't think it's right to say it isnt good,or isnt a good copy---- because someone else will play it and absolutley love it.

Too much negativety going around and lots of people like to bash the other guy for different reasons. I dont like that crap. The only opinion that really matters, is your own.

LIVE AND LET LIVE---ENJOY YOUR OWN JOURNEY.




I will get a Drake 10* in and I look forward to trying it.

Great post, 10mfan! This could be used as a standard of conduct for many around here.
 

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Great post, 10mfan! This could be used as a standard of conduct for many around here.
I agree with you both.Talk sax gear,with sense and dont down folk.Its a big ask but i do it
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What makes you think it is made from a different blank?
The external shape is different (Bergonzi: higher beak, longer, it looks "fatter"; SOS: lower beak, it looks "less fat", shorter).
Same story for the baffle/chamber design.
If you are curious, I took some pics... Bergonzi vs. SoS.
 

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The external shape is different (Bergonzi: higher beak, longer, it looks "fatter"; SOS: lower beak, it looks "less fat", shorter).
Same story for the baffle/chamber design.
If you are curious, I took some pics... Bergonzi vs. SoS.
It is much more difficult to see if you can't put the photos side to side and in the same angle. So your expierience is appreciated.
Is the facing as usual? I feel pretty comfortable with the facing curve he puts on his mpcs, better than on some other mpcs.
The beak is higher? Higher than on a Link? Would you say the Tenor NY is the lowest beak, then comes the SOS and then the Bergonzi?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
It is much more difficult to see if you can't put the photos side to side and in the same angle.
I took photos... side to side and from the same angle. ;)
I'll post them asap.

Is the facing as usual? I feel pretty comfortable with the facing curve he puts on his mpcs, better than on some other mpcs.
The piece I tried was a 10*, other Drake's I own are 8* (0,115").
Aaron rarely does very open tip opening for his "original" pieces.
I don't know actually if the facing (on the 10*) is based on his typical facing curves or he devoloped different facing for the most open pieces.
Despite this, the facing "quality" is top notch as usual.

The beak is higher? Higher than on a Link? Would you say the Tenor NY is the lowest beak, then comes the SOS and then the Bergonzi?
The beak is higher like on "traditional" Links (except the Early Babbit "Elkhart blank", the "lower beak" EBs).
The SoS (both) has a slight lower beak than Otto Links. (The highest beak I found was on the Vandoren V16).
The Jazz/NY Jazz (and the other "slim" Drakes) has a beak a little lower than the metal Links.

The beak height has a large influence on the tone production...
"Higher beak" means you'll play with mouth more open and a different position of the larynx... then the air stream will follow a different "course": different sound, different focus... different feelings.


OT: just for information:
http://fotoalbum.virgilio.it/tzadik/bocchini_sax_tenore/ (Son of Slant medium chamber, Jazz, Link "Early Babbitt remake")
http://fotoalbum.virgilio.it/tzadik/drake_sos_chambers/ (Son of Slant medium chamber, Son of Slant large chamber)
http://fotoalbum.virgilio.it/tzadik/drake_jazz-son_of_slant/ (Son of Slant medium chamber, Jazz)
 

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The crescent moon shaped EB baffle of the Drake Bergonzi would make for some brightness, which would be more or less desirable, regardless of the beak height, no?

The Mpc Guys Primo comes to mind, which I tried and sent back, too bright imo, but a 7* tip.
This one looks similar.

Maybe one has to go up in tip size on this one, to compensate for the baffle to get a full round sound?
What do you think?
 

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Hey Guys,

This is Cavan from Drake Mouthpieces. It is nice to see this thread about the new Bergonzi Masters Series mouthpiece. I just wanted to chime in real quick with a link to a recording of this mouthpiece. Jerry just sent us a new CD on which he is playing the mouthpiece. Here is the link, just scroll down the page a little to play the solo excerpt. Enjoy! http://www.drakemouthpieces.com/Masters_Series.html

We will also be posting a video shortly that Jerry is making about this project - which has been over 2 years in the making.
 

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Thanks!

I couldnt find a phone number to contact him.
Tell him I say hello, and I look forward to talking.
All the best, Mark
 
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