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Discussion Starter #1
As you may know from the Kessler-brand saxophone thread, Dave Kessler ran a contest to name his brand's newest saxophones and I was declared the winner. Dave offered a new Kessler Custom mouthpiece of the winner's choice - I chose a Kessler Custom #7 soprano saxophone mouthpiece.

The mouthpiece, along with a Rico ligature and cap, arrived yesterday. The Kessler Custom 7 is a player. My standard warning applies - what works for me may not work for you. But if you like the same mouthpieces that I like, this may interest you.

The Kessler Custom appears to be a plastic/hard-rubber material - not sure of what it is, but similar to many black mouthpieces. It measured .15-inch longer than my Super Sessions and the barrel (neck-opening) was pretty tight on my neck corks - about the same as a Super Session, but smaller than my Morgan Vintage pieces, which have fairly open neck-openings.

Inside the Kessler Custom had a small round chamber opening much like an old Soloist or Super Session. I'm not a baffle/squeeze-throat, chamber-size guy, so I'll pass on trying to describe all of that. Suffice to say it looks like a soprano saxophone mouthpiece.

So many soprano mouthpieces don't do a thing for me, but this one has potential.

For serious playing, I use a Morgan Vintage 7 (.070; big, strong and dark), a Morgan Vintage 6 (.065; smoother than the MV 7 but not quite as full), and a Selmer Super Session J (.069; loud and edgy). I also have a Super Session E which I tried today in doing this comparison. It was okay but not up to the Kessler Custom 7.

I compared the Kessler Custom 7 to several of my mouthpieces and it is close to my Morgan Vintage 6 in playing pleasure. The Kessler Custom 7 seems to be not as full-sounding as the MV 6 but just as smooth and maybe just a tad more bright.

Mouthpiece playing characteristics are SO personal and so difficult to define, and by the time the mouthpiece and/or reed has been switched and compared, one almost turns into the other in my mind . . . If I like a piece or a horn, by the time I've played it for ten seconds or so, it is like old home week. So it was with the Kessler Custom.

I used reeds I'd already prepped - mostly Vandoren ZZ 2 and Vandoren plain 2. I also tried a number of Fibracell SOFT and Premiere 1 1/2 synthetic reeds. Most of the Fibracells worked okay but cane was better. I used the included Rico metal two-screw ligature as well as a Vandoren Optimum.

The Rico ligature works well. The lig was a dark honey gold color with an "H" design for the part that goes over the reed, screws on top. The cap is a bit odd in that it won't sit upright on its own because of the slanted bottom. But on the horn, it fits nicely.

Dave told me that this lig/cap is included with all higher-level mouthpiece and horn purchases. They are not available unless one buys a horn or a good mouthpiece from him.

I used a Yanagisawa S992 and an S901 for this test.

I spent the whole morning fooling around with the Kessler Custom 7 mouthpiece and ligature. I even got out some of my lesser-played mouthpieces to see if I could come up with something that compared (. . . plays like . . .). Of all my pieces, the Kessler Custom 7 played most like a Yanagisawa 5. My Yamaha 4C was much brighter than either the Kessler or the Yanagisawa. The rest weren't even close.

So, in ranking order for MY chops . . . Morgan Vintage 7 and 6 (depends on the reed), Super Session J, Kessler Custom 7, and all others below that. I found it interesting that the Kessler Custom played best with reeds that matched the Morgans and SS-J, even though the Kessler probably has a smaller tip-opening (and I don't know what that it, but I am a larger-tip-opening person).

Further, the Kessler seemed suited for classical playing (while I don't play classical I can appreciate how classical players would want something focused and spot-on for pitch) - it was very focused (centered?); it played right on pitch without any effort to adjust for pitch unlike my favored pieces that allow for some intonation wiggle-room (and with that, better expression, which I must have for trad jazz). I'll keep it in my case and try it on a gig. DAVE
 

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Dave, thanks for this wonderful review. I wish you could post this review earlier. When I purchased my Antigua sop 3 months ago, I also bought the kessler custom 5 for a sale price. At that time my chop was very weak and I found it very hard to blow. So I returned it the next day and sticked to the stock piece which is much easier. Two months later my chop improved a lot and I started to miss the kessler MP. I tried bunches of different mouthpiece but not very satisfied. Now I am using SS F but it is more than twice the price of kessler one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You are welcome. Thanks to Dave Kessler for sending it to me. I played it on my gig today - it worked better than I thought it would, although I ended up using my Morgan Vintage 7. The Kessler Custom sounded strong from my position on the stage, but the lower end didn't have quite the same buzz (maybe "resonance" is a better word) as my Morgan Vintage 7.

The Super Session F should be a good player, but it all depends on you. Over time, the money you spent on GAS (including various mouthpieces, ligatures, horns, etc.) will pale in significance to the pleasure you had exploring and learning. If at all possible, keep the stuff you acquire and go back to it from time to time. As you develop and learn, the old stuff will take on more significance than you think it will. DAVE
 

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The Super Session F should be a good player, but it all depends on you. Over time, the money you spent on GAS (including various mouthpieces, ligatures, horns, etc.) will pale in significance to the pleasure you had exploring and learning. If at all possible, keep the stuff you acquire and go back to it from time to time. As you develop and learn, the old stuff will take on more significance than you think it will. DAVE
+1 Words of wisdom right there. I have to admit that exploring different gear choices is one of the pleasures of the hobby. I too find that some old stuff (esp mpcs) that we discard often turn out to be useful at some later point in time. Case in point - after a few decades of dabbling, the two tenor mpcs that I like the best now turn out to be the original two mpcs that I bought, a Link STM and a Berg HR, go figure...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As a follow-up to my original post in this thread, this morning I tried the Kessler Custom 7 mouthpiece on my curved Yanagisawa SC902. This combination was really fun - and rewarding.

The SC902 usually has a brightness (maybe "buzz" would be an appropriate word) to it that proved to be distracting in some situations. Out front not so much (I've made recordings with the SC902 and if I didn't know it was a curved soprano, the shape of the horn certainly couldn't have been known - regardless of some claims that the listener can identify curved or straight sops by their sound). But right over the bell is another matter for the player - and the SC902, even as mellow as a bronze horn can be, could be very buzzy (even harsh) when I played it with other mouthpieces (mainly a Super Session J).

The Kessler Custom 7 played very nicely on the SC902 - even with the solid-silver straight neck I prefer. The piece dampened the buzz and made the horn dark and mellow, yet when I pushed it, the volume did not distort the tone. It played top to bottom easily. Like all equipment, the best test is on a gig, so I will try this set-up at my next gig. DAVE
 
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