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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been doing a LOT of listening to Eric the past few weeks, and I cannot get his tone out of my head. I've read all of the threads on SOTW about his mouthpiece setup and it looks like he changes pieces every few years or so. In one here, he himself mentioned John Reilly as the guy who does all of his mouthpiece work. I reached out to John asking what he typically does to Eric's Links and he was very tight-lipped about it, which I guess I understand, but he offered to do that work (whatever it is) for $100. "Send me any Link, any tip opening, it doesn't matter."

I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that exactly.

To my ear, it sounds like a smaller-tipped Link with a slightly "enhanced" baffle. I hear focus, med-brightness, and "compact" but big sound. And D-Eb-E-F-F# in the 2nd octave all have that hollow thing happening.

If I wanted to go down this rabbit hole, what sort of piece/modification do you think could get me on the right path?
 

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I am also a BIG fan of his playing and TONE.
I had the chance to hear him live in London about 1 year ago and it is simply amazing the tone he gets out of his tenor.


Been doing a LOT of listening to Eric the past few weeks, and I cannot get his tone out of my head. I've read all of the threads on SOTW about his mouthpiece setup and it looks like he changes pieces every few years or so. In one here, he himself mentioned John Reilly as the guy who does all of his mouthpiece work. I reached out to John asking what he typically does to Eric's Links and he was very tight-lipped about it, which I guess I understand, but he offered to do that work (whatever it is) for $100. "Send me any Link, any tip opening, it doesn't matter."

I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that exactly.

To my ear, it sounds like a smaller-tipped Link with a slightly "enhanced" baffle. I hear focus, med-brightness, and "compact" but big sound. And D-Eb-E-F-F# in the 2nd octave all have that hollow thing happening.

If I wanted to go down this rabbit hole, what sort of piece/modification do you think could get me on the right path?
 

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Huge fan of Eric's as well. Had the opportunity to do a masterclass with him a few years ago & the topic of tone came up. He posed the question "What's the most important aspect of tone?" & the answer...having a conception of what you want to sound like. Loved that - so true.

He also emphasized the importance of subtone in your core sound - you can definitely hear that in his timbre.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Been doing a LOT of listening to Eric the past few weeks, and I cannot get his tone out of my head. I've read all of the threads on SOTW about his mouthpiece setup and it looks like he changes pieces every few years or so. In one here, he himself mentioned John Reilly as the guy who does all of his mouthpiece work. I reached out to John asking what he typically does to Eric's Links and he was very tight-lipped about it, which I guess I understand, but he offered to do that work (whatever it is) for $100. "Send me any Link, any tip opening, it doesn't matter."

I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that exactly.

To my ear, it sounds like a smaller-tipped Link with a slightly "enhanced" baffle. I hear focus, med-brightness, and "compact" but big sound. And D-Eb-E-F-F# in the 2nd octave all have that hollow thing happening.

If I wanted to go down this rabbit hole, what sort of piece/modification do you think could get me on the right path?
This is sad...the guy who works on his mouthpieces says he'll do it for you on any Link you send him, and you're over there wringing your hands saying 'I just don't know about this'. Reilly is one of the foremost mouthpiece guys in the world. Buy a Link and send it to him. At the least, you'll have a great-playing Link - but don't expect to sound like Alexander. You'll still sound like you but it will be easier to do.
 

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You have to listen to A LOT of George Coleman and Trane to get a sense of Eric's sound. More Coleman than Coltrane.

I've played with Eric. He sounds great live and on recordings. I actually have a ton of recordings of him playing with John Swana (trumpet) in Philly.

Eric is a great guy, as well. He also has a SOTW account, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is sad...the guy who works on his mouthpieces says he'll do it for you on any Link you send him, and you're over there wringing your hands saying 'I just don't know about this'. Reilly is one of the foremost mouthpiece guys in the world. Buy a Link and send it to him. At the least, you'll have a great-playing Link - but don't expect to sound like Alexander. You'll still sound like you but it will be easier to do.
So what, send him a modern 10 and let him do things to it I guess? I was expecting "send me a Florida Link 6 or 7 for me to be able to get close", that's all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You have to listen to A LOT of George Coleman and Trane to get a sense of Eric's sound. More Coleman than Coltrane.

I've played with Eric. He sounds great live and on recordings. I actually have a ton of recordings of him playing with John Swana (trumpet) in Philly.

Eric is a great guy, as well. He also has a SOTW account, btw.
He does have an account, I don't think he's on much though. I was listening to him play on "Jim Rotondi and The Loop: Hard Hittin' at the Bird's Eye" most recently and that's where I was really captivated my the tone.

OBVIOUSLY I understand I'm not going to sound like Eric, even if I had his exact setup, however, it would be more about getting a piece that could steer me in that direction. I'm just thinking out loud.
 

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So what, send him a modern 10 and let him do things to it I guess? I was expecting "send me a Florida Link 6 or 7 for me to be able to get close", that's all.
Yeah, his instructions weren't very clear. I assume he means for you to send him a Link in your preferred opening and he'll adjust it.???

John Reilly does excellent work, I can attest to that.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Been doing a LOT of listening to Eric the past few weeks, and I cannot get his tone out of my head. I've read all of the threads on SOTW about his mouthpiece setup and it looks like he changes pieces every few years or so. In one here, he himself mentioned John Reilly as the guy who does all of his mouthpiece work. I reached out to John asking what he typically does to Eric's Links and he was very tight-lipped about it, which I guess I understand, but he offered to do that work (whatever it is) for $100. "Send me any Link, any tip opening, it doesn't matter."

I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that exactly.

To my ear, it sounds like a smaller-tipped Link with a slightly "enhanced" baffle. I hear focus, med-brightness, and "compact" but big sound. And D-Eb-E-F-F# in the 2nd octave all have that hollow thing happening.

If I wanted to go down this rabbit hole, what sort of piece/modification do you think could get me on the right path?
I would be tight lipped about it also. I'm sure he doesn't want someone posting what he does on a forum like this so every other refacer knows what he does. I would just send him a Link and see how it turns out. He is quite good from what I have heard and the pieces I have played. Now that I am reading this, I am thinking of sending him a Link.........
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Keep listening to Eric and practice sounding like Eric. As long as there's nothing wrong with your current mouthpiece and it's not too slanted toward one particular sound, you'll add Eric's colors to your box of paints.
 

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I would be tight lipped about it also. I'm sure he doesn't want someone posting what he does on a forum like this so every other refacer knows what he does. I would just send him a Link and see how it turns out. He is quite good from what I have heard and the pieces I have played. Now that I am reading this, I am thinking of sending him a Link.........
Don’t forget to do a 3D laser scan before and after. :shock:
 

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Keep listening to Eric and practice sounding like Eric. As long as there's nothing wrong with your current mouthpiece and it's not too slanted toward one particular sound, you'll add Eric's colors to your box of paints.
+1. I remember Eric when he first got to New York. At that time he was playing one of Phil Barone's pieces, before which I believe he was playing an unmodified STM. He still sounds pretty much the same, so I don't think it is anything magical about the mouthpiece.
 

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I would be tight lipped about it also. I'm sure he doesn't want someone posting what he does on a forum like this so every other refacer knows what he does. I would just send him a Link and see how it turns out. He is quite good from what I have heard and the pieces I have played. Now that I am reading this, I am thinking of sending him a Link.........
I do not share everything I know, but I do share a lot (like 60+ Youtube videos on mouthpiece repairs and refacing). Mostly I hold back on things I do not want to have to explain in detail to those who can not fill in the blanks. Taking secrets to your grave is not a noble goal to me. How can the craft progress with this mentality?
 

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If I was in contact with a craftsman who would not engage any more than "send me anything and I will do something great with it" I would not trust that craftsman, no matter how many positive subjective reports I got. What kind of a craftsman is that?

I have used Sakshama, Philtone, jeeze, several others, and they have been great to work with. I am sorry to hear this about the fellow mentioned. I have never had any of his stuff, or used his services.

Compare with mojo here [besides this posted, the contact throughout with mojo is precise, detailed, and very helpful, completely open to answer questions, not that I ever had any, as he anticipated every one every time]:

Our current rates are $75-$95 for hard rubber, wood and plastics, $110-$140 for metals. (We only do minor work on stainless steel or hard copper mouthpieces.) Some good CNC MPs, like Guardala LTs, are 1/2 our full rate. If a piece needs less work, our rate is $60/hr. Adding an epoxy baffle: $30. Scooping metal sidewalls or minor metal chamber mods: $40. Lowering a metal baffle: typically $50. Bite plate repair: $25. Bite plate replacement: $40 to $55. Most tip chip repairs are $20 over a standard reface job. Personal visits to our shop are $60/hr. We sometimes are backlogged for several weeks. You can hold a spot in line by sending a $50 deposit or by just sending the mouthpiece. We need full payment before we start on the job. Ask us for a quote on special jobs. 1-week rush jobs are a 50% upcharge.

Return s/h via regular mail is $5 in US, $15 International. We take check, MO, or Paypal to: [email protected]

1. We can measure your mouthpiece and provide you with an analysis for $15 + s/h. If you get work done on the mouthpiece, the analysis in included.

2. Pieces we have for sale have been personally checked out and reworked as needed by Mojo. This is a value-added service. If they have been refaced the listing will say so. Otherwise the listing will often say it is a "stock" or original facing.

3. We will allow 2-3 week trials on the mouthpieces For Sale. You pay for them while in your possession plus our s/h. If you return them in good condition, we refund all $ except for s/h.

4. Facings we have "tweeked" have had minor flaws corrected in the table and facing curve. This is typically a discounted job from Mojo. We mark these pieces with an "M". Mouthpieces marked "MOJO" have had more extensive work done to them. They have new facings, thinned side and tip rails, baffle and chamber work. We never use the word "perfected" or "blueprinted" to describe our work. But if it is marked "MOJO", it will hang with the best of them.

5. As of 3/15/03, Mojo started marking tip openings on pieces he has reworked. As of 1/1/04, we started adding facing length and a curve designation too. On 1/15/06 we started sending out documentation with the rework jobs.

6. We measure tips from the inside of the tip rail to the table plane in inches. Facing Lengths are from the tip to where a .0015" feeler gauge fits between the facing and the table plane. The numbers are in mm * 2. Example: 50 Lnth = 25 mm = .984".

Please keep in mind that part of the "system" is your "chops". This includes the way you are built and how you develop and use your physiology. A mouthpiece can not give you great chops. The best players can play on virtually any piece, sound great, and have full control.

When you talk to a player, it is fun to discuss equipment. But before asking what mouthpiece they use, you should ask who they listen too, or what their sound goal and concept is. Then you can ask them how they think their equipment helps to get them there.

http://www.mojomouthpiecework.com/ServicesRates/tabid/57/Default.aspx
 

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Well I have not taken it down but that is from my old web site. It is mostly true but see my new web site for new rates and info. I kept the old site up since it is easier for me to show Guardala photos and photos of items for sale. I link to those areas from my new site.
 

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Been doing a LOT of listening to Eric the past few weeks, and I cannot get his tone out of my head. I've read all of the threads on SOTW about his mouthpiece setup and it looks like he changes pieces every few years or so. In one here, he himself mentioned John Reilly as the guy who does all of his mouthpiece work. I reached out to John asking what he typically does to Eric's Links and he was very tight-lipped about it, which I guess I understand, but he offered to do that work (whatever it is) for $100. "Send me any Link, any tip opening, it doesn't matter."

I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that exactly.

To my ear, it sounds like a smaller-tipped Link with a slightly "enhanced" baffle. I hear focus, med-brightness, and "compact" but big sound. And D-Eb-E-F-F# in the 2nd octave all have that hollow thing happening.

If I wanted to go down this rabbit hole, what sort of piece/modification do you think could get me on the right path?
John did a few things for me by mail. I believe he is a little old-fashioned and one not likely to reply by email at great length. I can understand that. If you phone you may get more detail than email or text.

I believe he usually throws in one additional adjustment for free, but you should check.

Bob Carpenter is also old-school in this way, but another good craftsman. He'll reface Links and make removable baffle inserts for them.
 

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If I remember well Eric is on a smaller tip Link, something about 6* (an Early Babbitt STM).

John Reilly is a great mouthpiece refacer, I've played some of his pieces and they where all very good.

But remember that not every Link can be converted into THE miracle one (not even by a great refacer) and that the influence of the player on the sound is huge!

Best is to get a good and for you easy playing mouthpiece and after that you will have to listen a lot to your favorite player and try to work his 'things' into your sound. Even then you probably never mirror his sound exactly, but it can bring you closer.
 

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Heard him about 6 month ago here in Munich in a smaller club (Unterfahrt) that accomodates around 200 people. Went to the gig as I thought I liked his sound. After that experience I am not at all certain that what you hear in a recording is what the player really sounds like. Much to my surprise he used heavy amplification to fill the rather small room with sound and also constantly signaled to the sound engineer to turn up reverb. He was so far the only pro I heard liive that used that kind of sound set up for such a small location. By the way, he used a stationary mic rather than a clip on. When he walked away from the mic he sounded great and different to his amplified self, he easily filled the room. I just don't understand his sound concept for that gig. My conclusion would be that his recordings might have been "fine-tuned" as well. So if you go by a players recordings you might draw wrong conclusions about his equipment. Whenever you have a chance take the reality check of a live gig.

Alphorn
 

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10MFAN MOUTHPIECES--- "Innovation over imitation"
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I’ve seen Eric play live many times and he is a real master of the saxophone. Great sound, great player, and the bands are always super tight!!!
He sounds fantastic and I have also had tons of mouthpieces refaced by John Reilly. He is also a wonderful player and refacer.
He’s been at it a long time. He’s not like a lot of the younger guys today who will polish and buff everything so it looks perfect. He is very old-school and will make pieces play great and leave them like they are once they play the way he wants.
 

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Several years ago, Eric told me he was more or less the mouthpiece whisperer. (Those are NOT his words, but an easy way for me to think about those conversations.)

He said something along the lines of, "I can pick up any Link and I'll know within a couple of seconds if it's a good one or not." He mentioned that the Links he likes have a lot of overtones inherent in their sound. He also mentioned buying several Links and going to all the NYC shops like Roberto's, etc, to buy up Links.

I saw him live a few months ago, and he was (still) sharing his Link-only philosophy. He said something along the lines of "All my heroes played Links. I play a Link. That's the only mouthpiece choice there is, in my opinion."

Much to my surprise he used heavy amplification to fill the rather small room with sound and also constantly signaled to the sound engineer to turn up reverb.
I went to his sound check a few months ago before his gig here locally and noticed the same thing. He told the sound engineer something like, "add more reverb than you think is necessary and then add some more." He would play a few notes and then request more reverb and more reverb and more reverb. I was kinda shocked. :) Also, the only thing/feed/sound he wanted in his monitor was himself. He said this is because he didn't want to have to work so hard to hear himself. (I can relate... if you can't hear yourself you push and play louder than normal and it that can cause issues on it's own.)

Another thing I noticed at the sound check was that Eric pulled out his horn with the neck, mouthpiece, and reed already attached. He just slid the neck on and started to play and it sounded great. Either he can play on a dry reed or his was practicing/playing a short time before the sound check.

Anyway....

A couple of weeks later I went to Joel Frahm's sound check at the same place, and he wanted a more balanced mix in his monitor. "Can I get some more piano in the mix," etc. I don't recall him asking for any reverb at all.
 
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