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Discussion Starter #1
I have 2 Alto Brilhart metal mouthpieces, and have questions regarding their differences.

One is marked "Brilhart" and has number 5 on it. No other writing. ( left hand m-piece in picture)

The other has "Designed by Arnold Brilhart" 3025 5* " writing on it.( right-hand m-piece in picture)

The top black plastic(?) part of the mouthpiece where the upper teeth rest is different, as well as the overall profile shape of the mouthpiece.
On the first one listed above, the black plastic is maybe 1/2 inch wide and flat, and the very tip of the top mouthpiece is metal.
The second one listed, the entire top where the teeth rest is all one piece of plastic, and curves up much more than the other mouthpiece.

I assume both are the "level-air" mouthpieces, but I'm interested in any more information on these - date of Mfg, why the different style/shape, etc..

View attachment 208769
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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The one on the left with the standard bite insert is a much later model that has nothing but the name in common with a real Level Air. The one on the right with the total beak cover is a real Level Air. I have played them on and off over my whole 60 years of sax playing on alto, tenor and baritone. Right now, I'm only using one on baritone. I used to play a 7* on alto. David Sanborn was playing a Level Air on alto when he was on the Tonight Show. It can be a great alto mouthpiece, especially since you have a 4-digit one which means it was actually made by Brilhart before Selmer bought him out. In this original series, the serial number was not a date code. On the similar ones made by Selmer, which also can be great, like the 1975 one I have for baritone, the serial number is a date code.
The Level Air was a radical design when it came out in the '50s but it caught on quick. It was the thing to have, and we called it the 'shotgun' mouthpiece because it looked like a 12 gauge shotgun barrel when you looked into the shank bore - just open all the way to the 'step'. The 'step' at the end of the baffle was the main feature but another feature often overlooked is the sharp angle of the reed table which forced the player into a more correct angle of the reed to the embouchure, particularly standing players. The Level Air still has a following and certain ones, like yours, are also collectable since they came out of Brilhart's shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looking at the TheoWanne website article, it appears the one on the left is a 1980’s ARB metal mouthpiece. this is the one I am currently using now, and find it easier to hit the high E and F notes on the alto, as compared to the one on the right.
 

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The one on the left was designed by Runyon. It has the same baffle and chamber as the Quantum. Called Brilhart and sold by Selmer. Go figure. Nothing like the original Levelair, but not a bad mouthpiece.
 

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While the late Selmer 'Level Air' should have a different name, its also true that its not a bad mouthpiece. Really its a Runyon and their 'Spoiler' fits it. I'm sure Runyon made both the old-style and new-style Level Airs for Selmer. They even came out with what amounted to a plastic Level Air called the 'Quantum' (also in metal, but that one is the basis for the new Level Air). Whatever, the Quantums just don't play like the real Level Airs, but you should play exactly what works for you. If you decide to stay with the 'new' Selmer Level Air and want to sell your old Level Air, I think its probably worth around $250 if its good all over with no pitting on the table. I can already see that it has a good insert on it and those have not been available for years.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Again, much thanks for all the information and knowledge and expertise here to help answer my questions.

Yes, I do like how the late Selmer Runyon designed level air plays better for me as compared to the "real" Brilhart level Air....for me, it just works and sounds better. I'm using it on a Trevor James Raw Custom Alto, which I'm starting to like better than my Yamaha YAS-62ii
 

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I would not say they are nothing alike. They both have high baffles and can appeal to the same player. The Runyon has a medium long free blowing radial facing on it. If you get one with the same tip opening (real measured tip opening, not the number stamped on it), it will blow with less resistance than the original LA that has a short facing.

I switched to a Quantum after playing on LAs on tenor/Bari for over 20 years. After I got used to the Q’s, I could not play on the LAs anymore. My sound was similar but the response up and down the sax was a lot different.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Question -> 1Saxman...you mention a Runyon "spoiler".....what is that ???

( To All, I appreciate the info and advice !! )
 

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Question -> 1Saxman...you mention a Runyon "spoiler".....what is that ???

( To All, I appreciate the info and advice !! )
I know you asked 1Saxman, but a spoiler is a removable plastic baffle insert that was included with many Runyon mouthpieces.
 

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The Spoiler also has a metal reed attached to the plastic wedge baffle. But the metal part is gimmick IMO. I have clipped it off with no change in sound.
 
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