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Heard Bruce Johnstone last night, and he made a point of showing me the piece he was playing: one of them newfangled Drake ceramic deals. Bruce has been a Lawton guy *forever*, and it was downright shocking to see him playing something else. He said he'd just gotten it and this was his first gig with it.

Did he sound any different? Nope. He sounded *exactly* like Bruce Johnstone -- and that is, for me, The Model of a great bari sound.

He seemed to be quite surprised that he loved the piece. I'd call myself a skeptic that material matters in terms of mouthpiece sound, but Bruce said the piece just seemed more resonant to him, that it made all of his reeds seem livelier and better. He said the piece had virtually no resistance, which is how he likes it.

Mainly, he said it just seemed easy to play and shape and do what he wanted to do with it, and he was clearly delighted.

I haven't been following these Drake pieces, and I ain't shilling for them in the least -- and I'll tell you right now that if you run out and buy one this moment, you still aren't going to sound like Bruce, sorry -- but I'll at least say that they're now definitely on my radar screen...

(Another thing: what a joy to hear Bruce Johnstone live. His playing was so beautiful, and he called a nice selection of his own very fine originals and some tunes nobody plays, like Dexter's I Was Doing All Right. And: he's just plain the nicest guy...)
 

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I'd call myself a skeptic that material matters in terms of mouthpiece sound, but Bruce said the piece just seemed more resonant to him, that it made all of his reeds seem livelier and better. He said the piece had virtually no resistance, which is how he likes it.
I think the most critical part of Aaron Drake's pieces is the fact that he has the facings absolutely dead on for maximum response. I don't think it would make much difference if he made them in hard rubber, ceramic, or metal (because he has worked in all of them). He has all the best attributes of a perfected Link in every single piece -- even the "production" pieces that used to sell for $160.

Grab any one of his pieces, match it with an appropriately strong reed, and it will JUST WORK. You may not care for the sound (that's why he offers so many chambers), but it will not be hard to make it do what it was built for.
 

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I think the most critical part of Aaron Drake's pieces is the fact that he has the facings absolutely dead on for maximum response. I don't think it would make much difference if he made them in hard rubber, ceramic, or metal (because he has worked in all of them). He has all the best attributes of a perfected Link in every single piece -- even the "production" pieces that used to sell for $160.

Grab any one of his pieces, match it with an appropriately strong reed, and it will JUST WORK. You may not care for the sound (that's why he offers so many chambers), but it will not be hard to make it do what it was built for.
I've been very impressed with what I've heard so far, and am glad to see some more high-quality
options at reasonable prices .
 

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I have a couple of Aaron's resin bari pieces here as I have been helping him test these out as they have been developed. I have a 122 (this is VRCCB1) and a 118 with a bit less less baffle (VRCCB2). They are both outstanding playing bari pieces, I would even venture to say they are among the best playing bari pieces available. Response is lightning fast, and you can play at a whisper down to the bottom of the horn like it's nothing, or absolutely scream. There is something about the material that does feel "lively", and reeds are definitely more cooperative than I have been used to. That alone is making me very happy. I've got a couple of Barone pieces I have been playing on for about ten years now, and those have been in a drawer since I received these from Aaron. As far as the sound goes, I still sound like me on my other pieces, but maybe a bit "thicker" sound. Overall, it just behaves so much better, it just does what I expect it to... Honestly, I think that when players get these into their hands, he will sell a lot of these.

I have been planning a more in depth review with some audio clips, I have just been swamped lately...
 

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Great to hear that Bruce is enjoying the pieces I sent him! I haven't had a chance to catch up with him yet, but just noticed this post.
Just wanted to clarify that Bruce has our new Vintage Resin models, the Contemporary II and the Contemporary Rollover design both with the new double rail vintage resin lig and the "quad point" ceramic resonance plate lig.

Thank you Adam for all your help in the beta testing of these models! (the ligs went out today)

All the best!
 

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Very pleased to say that Bruce Johnstone is officially endorsing our Bari mouthpieces. Please have a look at his endorsement / testimonial at our site www.DrakeMouthpieces.com it is really an honor to have his endorsement! Ever since I first heard him on the Maynard album "Live at Jimmy's" I have admired his playing. Many thanks Bruce!
 
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