I love Lawton mouthpieces, have got about 20 for SATB and have only had one that gave me problems with chirping.
The Lawton descriptions of the different models match my experience pretty well, although I would say that even the plain model (larger chamber model, lower baffle) is brighter than “classical” pieces from most other manufacturers. The Bill Lewington website has the following descriptions of Lawton models and these were originally on Lawton’s publicity information (I have got some of his old leaflets). http://www.bill-lewington.com/lawton.htm
Plain Numbers. Large chamber, low baffle for a big dark tone, ideally suited for orchestral, classical and Jazz playing.
Model B. Medium chamber and baffle for brilliant full tone. Specifically designed for projection (big band work and Jazz playing).
Model BB. Medium chamber and high baffle for maximum power and edge. Ideal for Jazz rock and producing harmonics.
You can do quite a bit to alter the sound by changing reed type – I sometimes use Rico Plasticover to make it loud and bright on my B model or even on my Plain baritone piece. The BB model I have played on bari, tenor and alto, and find them very bright but a bit inflexible – they are always loud and edgy and it is difficult to back off from that. I have also got ICON BB models for tenor and alto that are much more flexible, but I don’t think that ICONs were ever made for baritone or soprano.
There are lots of threads about Lawtons right here on SOTW, many of which include lengthy contributions about the different models and their playing characteristics. You could start with these threads:
I have owned 6 tenor Lawton pieces in the past and most were good bright players even the no baffle model. the finish and facing were so excellant on theses pieces i seem to liken them to a more refined Berg Larsen only better. definately not an Otto Link in sound, Lawtons have there own thing going which is not bad.
Expect to pay used around $400 + for a good clean piece.
I have a Lawton 7B brass that measures 102, and it is a terrific piece. The intonation is perfect top to bottom with no "lipping" or "chirping." In that respect alone it is a joy to play. But it also has a terrific sound. I'd agree that it is in the same ballpark as a super nice Berg SS - very focused, gutsy and middle-to-bright with plenty of cut. The workmanship on this one is excellent. I'm very impressed with the effectiveness of the ligature, which works great. Tip, rails and baffle are beautiful. Like all other mouthpieces, I'm sure Lawtons vary, but if you find a good one, they can be very, VERY good! This one is easy to play and a gas for rock,funk or dueling with loud guitars.
I've played Lawtons since I first started playing tenor, thiry years ago. Never had a problem with the 'chirping'. I have a theory about it - that it's guys looking to blaim their equipment for their own issues. Two things. Lawtons seem to be sensitive to reed placement. Get it right, no problems. Get it slightly off and it might squeak. Just takes a little care and attention. Also, guys who nip their embouchure too tight might have a problem. Playing with a relaxed but firm ebouchure should see the squeaking go away. Either way, it doesn't take much.
Finally got my hands on a Lawton 8*B. I've been playing on a rubber Link 7* for about a year now, with some others sprinkled in but mostly the Link. The Lawton is a little bigger than I'm used to, but I think I can get used to it. I'm using the same Rigotti 3 1/2 reed that I used on the Link. The sound is extremely fat and it had the absolute BEST altissimo I've ever played. The ligature is great as well. I think this one is a keeper. I'd love to try one on alto.......
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