Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently acquired this mouthpiece from a friend of mine, its an Arnold Brilhart 2* and stamped 32867 which looks to be a 1967 build I assume from what I was able to find online? What would be the tip opening on it?

I put it on my 60's Vito Duke Special and it sounds really nice and seems to play better than my stock mouthpiece, and a bit more tame than my Vandoren T7 mouthpiece.

Does anyone play a mouthpiece like this, and what are your thoughts on it? I have never owned a Brilhart, I do have a Berg for my Bari though.

I am not sure of the value of this mouthpiece, but I could not say "no" to this one!

Here is a picture of it, seems to be very nice condition.

View attachment 201074
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
If the machine marks go side to side on the table, it's an earlier one according to https://theowanne.com/knowledge/mouthpiece-museum/brilhart-mouthpieces/.
He says they started making these in '66 so if the machine work is like that '67 would be about right.

http://saxmundstykker.dk/MPC_Brillys_Intro.html has a lot of data on thousands of Brilharts, tip openings, etc. But hardly any of it is for LevelAir models. The Brilhart spec was supposedly 0.071" for the 2* facing, but judging by all the data for Tonalins, Ebolins, etc. these pieces were all over the place as far as advertised tip opening. The only way to know is to measure it with a tip gauge.

Our thoughts on it? Totally immaterial. What matters is your thoughts, and more importantly, your sound, and how you feel about it. Try it with a lot of different reeds, and spend several weeks with it (and maybe some other pieces) to really size it up.
PS: I wouldn't bother measuring the tip. That's immaterial as well, unless after some time you really feel you must modify it or something. Just play it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
Quite a few great players played those. But they and others also played every other kind of thing... AND none of them were you, so again I would say play it... and if possible make some good recordings of yourself with it and listen to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
I happen to have several nice Brilharts and among them a similar Level Air 7*. The serial # on mine dates it somewhere in the 80's.
A very nice piece though. Plays very well and easy. Can get very punchy and when pushed.
But still keeps that typical thick Brilhart core. It rivals a Dukoff D9 that is actually a tad louder however more spread and airy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for those links above, good reading! So mine is a level air. I agree with asking about the thoughts on it, if I like it who cares what others think, right! I will look at the machine marks on it too.

I agree there jazzz, it did have a bit of punch to it when I let a few notes rip on it. I think it is a neat piece and will use it a little more.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,927 Posts
Hmm, I cannot imaging playing such a high baffle with that small a tip opening. I played Level Air pieces on tenor in the late '60s/early 70s. But I was using a 7* with a Rico 3. I don't know whether you could find a stiff enough reed to balance the sound at that tip opening.

Let us know what works for you.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
MN, just in case you didn't know......the ligature screws are meant to be on the top of the mpc. Meaning it's an "inverted" ligature. With the screws on top, it'll be right handed. It'll work with the screws on the bottom, but as you probably know, you have to tighten them with your left hand. I've never played a Level Air on tenor. Still have the alto Level Air that I used to play on (very little) about 25 yrs ago. As I remember, that thing would peel paint at 10 yds. ;-)

John
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,398 Posts
March 28, 1967. This was made after Selmer bought out Brilhart but they were still good Level Airs. 2* is the closest one I've heard of so you can probably play a #5 reed on it without too much trouble.

Protect the beak insert - they have not been available for many years. If it has deep grooves in it now, fill with epoxy. For minor grooves, carefully reface the insert by sanding, keeping the original slight curve across the top. After any corrective work, put a mouthpiece patch on it and change it as needed. This way the insert will last forever. Also do not ever leave the reed on the mouthpiece after playing. When you put the sax away, remove the reed and wipe/rinse/dry the mouthpiece.

I played a 1966 9* tenor for 23 years. At one time I played them on alto and baritone too. After many years, I recently started playing one on baritone again. Never say never :). Anyway, you have the original cap and ligature there too which are also irreplaceable. And yes, the lig is designed to be inverted. As far as value, #2* is pretty closed, so value would be affected to some degree. Assuming the insert is in good condition and there is no pitting on the table, basically a new mouthpiece with a little use on it, I would guess tops on it would be around $200, going down from there as condition dictates.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
jgreiner.....I did put the ligature screws on the top, makes sense! It does sound nice on the old Tenor! I haven't tried to peel paint with it however....yet :mrgreen:

1saxman, a #5 reed, now that's funny!!!! I will give a 2x4 a whirl while I am at it!

As for the beak insert, it looks new. The person I got it from said he bought it new, used it a couple times, and put it back and went back to his stock mouthpiece. The only wear you see on it is from being in the case, or being moved around, nothing other than that, no pitting on it.

With all my mouthpieces I have with my Tenor, and my Bari's, I always wipe the reed, and I clean out the mouthpieces too. The only time reeds are left on is if I play the horns throughout the day and leave them on their stands with mouthpiece caps on.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,398 Posts
Yeah, that's okay, just not overnight. Get in the habit of rinsing the mouthpiece and wiping dry. I actually wasn't kidding about the #5 reed - that is a very closed mouthpiece. I play a #3 on my 9* baritone piece. What reed you play is of course up to you, and some players have become famous with a soft reed on a close mouthpiece. One that comes to mind is the big, warm sound of Gato Barbieri.
On the Level Air, the * means 'short facing' which was said to be better for high notes, etc. but the tip opening would be the same as a 'no-star' mouthpiece of the same number. But there are variations of the facings and tip openings depending on who was doing the hand finishing on any given day.
Looking at yours again (didn't expand the picture the first time) I am impressed by the 'newness' of it and the accessories. Very unique to find one in that condition although the baritone one I recently found was also 'new' but without lig or cap. The Level Air was a sensation when it came out and there are still players out there. David Sanborn played one on alto for years and so did Edgar Winter (maybe still does). The Level Air has a greater angle of the table-to-bore to throw the reed up at a better angle for standing players. The beak is nearly level which allows you to take more mouthpiece comfortably. The beak cover insert is a special plastic that allows the teeth a good 'grip' without being rubbery. They really are addictive and if you can get the sound you want out of it you are good to go!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,535 Posts
Someone gave me a Level Air bari sax mouthpiece missing the bite plate. I just put a mouthpiece patch on the top of the raw stainless steel and played it, and it was a fantastic. Actually MUCH more comfortable in the mouth that way than with that awful bulbous thick bite plate. I never should've gotten rid of that one.


jgreiner.....I did put the ligature screws on the top, makes sense! It does sound nice on the old Tenor! I haven't tried to peel paint with it however....yet :mrgreen:

1saxman, a #5 reed, now that's funny!!!! I will give a 2x4 a whirl while I am at it!

As for the beak insert, it looks new. The person I got it from said he bought it new, used it a couple times, and put it back and went back to his stock mouthpiece. The only wear you see on it is from being in the case, or being moved around, nothing other than that, no pitting on it.

With all my mouthpieces I have with my Tenor, and my Bari's, I always wipe the reed, and I clean out the mouthpieces too. The only time reeds are left on is if I play the horns throughout the day and leave them on their stands with mouthpiece caps on.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,398 Posts
We all have gotten rid of great mouthpieces so don't feel like the 'Lone Ranger'. :) Back in the day, I knew a baritone player who played the Level Air with the bare steel beak! The steel under the insert is like sandpaper, not polished at all, actually reflecting the original sand-casting surface, so it wore down his teeth. That cat is still around, living in FL. Yes, Ross, I mean you!
BTW, the last revisions of the original-style Level Air had a raised lug on the beak that fit in a recess in the insert for quicker/more accurate assembly, so there would be no way to use one of those without an insert unless you filed the lug down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,743 Posts
If the machine marks go side to side on the table, it's an earlier one according to https://theowanne.com/knowledge/mouthpiece-museum/brilhart-mouthpieces/.
He says they started making these in '66 so if the machine work is like that '67 would be about right.

http://saxmundstykker.dk/MPC_Brillys_Intro.html has a lot of data on thousands of Brilharts, tip openings, etc. But hardly any of it is for LevelAir models. The Brilhart spec was supposedly 0.071" for the 2* facing, but judging by all the data for Tonalins, Ebolins, etc. these pieces were all over the place as far as advertised tip opening. The only way to know is to measure it with a tip gauge.

Our thoughts on it? Totally immaterial. What matters is your thoughts, and more importantly, your sound, and how you feel about it. Try it with a lot of different reeds, and spend several weeks with it (and maybe some other pieces) to really size it up.
PS: I wouldn't bother measuring the tip. That's immaterial as well, unless after some time you really feel you must modify it or something. Just play it...
I have to agree. What difference does the tip opening make if you like the way you sound with it. If you have access to a feeler gauge like the kind used in automotive work you could measure it. I just don't know why it would make any difference to know unless you're comparing it to something you already have. Then it might make sense to see if it's more or less open then something else you own and like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
Hi all. Someone gave me a Brilhart Ebolin 3 mp, tenor. No serial number, plastic ... I am assuming it is a newer mp. Tried it with a #3 Java Jazz red box on my MKVI and yeah, I like the sound but to get it to tune, I use up only a bit more than a 1/4" on my neck cork and the result is wobbly. I use up 1-1/16" of neck cork for my Link STMs, 3/4" for my RPC. So a 1/4" placement on the neck is a non-starter for me. I read lots of players like them. Anyone want to chime in. I know it is a small opening and I made sure I wasn't biting down hard, and played with relaxed jaw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
Hi all. Someone gave me a Brilhart Ebolin 3 mp, tenor. No serial number, plastic ... I am assuming it is a newer mp. Tried it with a #3 Java Jazz red box on my MKVI and yeah, I like the sound but to get it to tune, I use up only a bit more than a 1/4" on my neck cork and the result is wobbly. I use up 1-1/16" of neck cork for my Link STMs, 3/4" for my RPC. So a 1/4" placement on the neck is a non-starter for me. I read lots of players like them. Anyone want to chime in. I know it is a small opening and I made sure I wasn't biting down hard, and played with relaxed jaw.
It sounds like you're a steady player with solid embouchure. So then this sounds like an issue of the combination of MPC chamber size (volume) and shank length (overall length actually), being a mismatch for your horn/you. Maybe it would work for some players, but is just not right for you.
Tip opening, in my experience, is not a factor in MPC/sax matching/tuning issues like these.
A lot of great players played Brilhart Ebolin/Tonalin pieces, quite a few on MkVIs I'm sure. But newer Brilharts may be different, MkVIs are different from one another, and, I think perhaps most important, players' chops and mouth/facial structure along with how we put air to it, matter a lot.
This is part of why so many different shapes/sizes of MPCs on the market down through the years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
I've got a few Level Airs, and have used them. A lot of good music was made and recorded with them. Your's looks like it might be a bit more open than the "2*" suggests. You might measure the opening to confirm. And get the neck cork fitted. That is important to good tone as well as intonation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
Hi all. Someone gave me a Brilhart Ebolin 3 mp, tenor. No serial number, plastic ... I am assuming it is a newer mp. Tried it with a #3 Java Jazz red box on my MKVI and yeah, I like the sound but to get it to tune, I use up only a bit more than a 1/4" on my neck cork and the result is wobbly. I use up 1-1/16" of neck cork for my Link STMs, 3/4" for my RPC. So a 1/4" placement on the neck is a non-starter for me. I read lots of players like them. Anyone want to chime in. I know it is a small opening and I made sure I wasn't biting down hard, and played with relaxed jaw.
Hey another thing is that if you just started playing the mouthpiece, you really should give it more play time with a lot of different reeds. The reeds should be new, not reeds that have taken a "set" to some other mouthpiece facing. All that can make a big difference.
Your chops may need to get used to how this piece responds.
After blowing a lot, at least several days in succession, with different reeds and after warming up the horn well, if it still tunes like that it may just not be the piece for you. Or the facing could simply be bad, enough to make it incompatible with your chops.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top